Nevertheless, the dimness [shall] not [be] such as [was] in
The words may be rendered, "for there shall be no weariness to him that straitens" or "afflicts" them F6; so Jarchi, who interprets it of the king of Assyria; but it is better to understand it of Titus Vespasian, who would not be weary of, but indefatigable in carrying on the siege of Jerusalem, and in distressing the Jews in all parts: or thus, "for there shall be no fleeing from him that is oppressed in it" F7; either that is besieged in Jerusalem, or distressed in Judea; and so the words are a reason of the former distress, and a continuation and amplification of it; though many interpreters think they are to be understood by way of comfort, and as a mitigation of it, which is the sense of our version: when at first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land
either by Pul king of Assyria, in the reign of Menahem king of Israel, ( 2 Kings 15:19 2 Kings 15:20 ) or rather by Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, in the reign of Pekah king of Israel, since by him Galilee, and all the land of Naphtali, were carried captive, ( 2 Kings 15:29 ) which at the time of this prophecy was past, and was but a light affliction in comparison of what followed: and afterwards did more grievously afflict [her]:
by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, in the reign of Hoshea king of Israel, who took Samaria, and carried Israel or the ten tribes into captivity, from whence they returned not; and yet it is suggested, that the tribulation and distress that should come upon the Jews by the Romans should be greater than the heaviest of these; there should be no fleeing, no escape, no, not of any, as at those times mentioned, but wrath should come upon them to the uttermost, and particularly in the places following: by the way of the sea;
which some understand of the Mediterranean sea, and of that part of the land of Israel which lay next it; but it seems rather to design the sea of Tiberias or Galilee, as Jarchi rightly interprets it: beyond Jordan;
a part of the land of Israel so called, known by the name of Peraea; (See Gill on Matthew 4:25): in Galilee of the nations;
which was inhabited not only by Jews, but by persons of other nations, and therefore so called; now these places suffered much in the wars between the Jews and the Romans, by skirmishes, sieges, robberies, plunders as appears from the history of Josephus. Some interpreters understand all this, as before observed, as an alleviation of those times of trouble, as if it would be less than in former times; but it is certain that it was to be, and was, greater than ever was known, ( Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:22 ) it is true, indeed, it may be considered as an alleviation of it, and as affording some comfort in a view of it, that in those very parts where there should be so much distress and misery, the Messiah, previous to it, would appear, and honour it with his presence, who is afterwards spoken of, and so, in connection with the following words, these may be rendered thus; as by De Dieu, "but obscurity shall not be brought to it" (the land) "to which distress is brought; as at the first time he caused reproach towards the land of Zebulun, and towards the land of Naphtali, so in the last" (time) "he will give glory by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, on the border of the nations": and if it be asked what that glory should be, the answer is, "the people that walked in darkness", &c. and so the sense may be, that whereas the inhabitants of Zebulun and Naphtali, and all Galilee, were lightly esteemed of, being mean and illiterate, not famous for any arts or sciences, and having no prophet among them, should, in the days of the Messiah, be highly honoured, and made glorious by his presence, ministry, and miracles among them F8. See ( Matthew 14:13-15 ) , where it is quoted, and applied to Christ's being in those parts.
F6 (hl quwm rval Pewm al yk) "quia non defatigatio ei angustanti eos." Quidam in Gataker; so Jarchi.
F7 "Et non poterit avolare de angustia sua", Hieron.
F8 See my book of the Prophecies of the Messiah p. 148.