Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land
Brought into great distress and affliction; sore judgments and calamities being upon it; for not darkness in a natural, but in a figurative sense, is intended, see ( Isaiah 8:22 ) ( 9:1 ) the allusion is to the ascending of the smoke before mentioned, through fire being kindled in the thickets of the forest, which filled the air with darkness; as smoke arising in great quantity does. This sense of the word, which is only to be met with in this place, is given by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, from the use of it in the Arabic language, in which it signifies F6 darkness; but the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "the whole land is burned"; and which is confirmed by the Targum, which so interprets it; and this sense well agrees with the context: and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire;
this explains who are meant by the briers and thorns, and thickets of the forest, the inhabitants of the land of Israel; who, as they are the fuel of fire, were the objects of divine wrath and fury: no man shall spare his brother;
which may be ascribed either to the darkness and confusion in which they should be, and so not be able to discern a friend from a foe, as persons surrounded with smoke; or to their malignant spirit, cruelty and inhumanity, not only doing ill to their enemies, but to their own friends and relations, to their own flesh and blood.