I beheld the earth
The land of Judea, not the whole world; and this the prophet says, either in spirit, as Jerom; or in prophecy, as Kimchi; or in a visionary way; for these are not the words of God continued, as Cocceius, but of the prophet; who, by a prophetic spirit, describes the dreadful destruction of the Jewish nation, as follows: and, lo, it was without form, and void;
as the first earth or chaos was, before it was brought into form and order; the same words, "tohu" and "bohu", are used here, as in ( Genesis 1:2 ) , the land of Judea now was, in the prophet's view of it, like the first earth, when darkness covered it; no grass sprung out of it, not a tree to be seen in it, and neither man nor beast as yet upon it, but all an undigested mass, and in the utmost wild disorder and confusion; and this may denote not only the natural, but the political, and ecclesiastical, disorder of the Jewish nation and state: and the heavens, and they had no light;
that were over the land of Judea;
``their lights did not shine,''as the Targum paraphrases it; that is, the sun, moon, and stars, which were darkened by the smoke of the burning of Jerusalem; or which withdrew their light, as blushing at, and being ashamed of, the iniquities of his people, and who were unworthy of enjoying the light of them; and which this phrase may denote.