And the shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses
The heads of locusts, especially of some of them, are very much like the heads of horses: and here they are compared to horses
prepared unto battle;
as they are in ( Joel 2:4 ) . The horse is a warlike creature, swift, strong, and courageous, ( Job 39:21-25 ) . Locusts sometimes have appeared in the form of armies, and have marched in great order with their leaders before them, and have pitched their camps very regularly; see ( Joel 2:7 ) ; of which we have lately had an account from Transylvania in our public papers. (This was published in 1747, Ed.) This part of their description may denote the wars of the Saracens, and the rapidity, force, and power with which they overran great part of the empire; and as it may be applied to the western locusts, the disputes, contentions, and quarrels raised by the Romish clergy.
And on their heads [were], as it were, crowns like gold;
and in this shape some locusts have appeared, to which the allusion seems to be in, ( Nahum 3:17 ) , "thy crowned men are as the locusts". In the year 1542, it is said F12, that locusts came out of Turkish Sarmatia, into Austria, Silesia, and other places, which had on their heads "little crowns"; see ( Ezekiel 23:42 ) . And the Arabians, as Pliny observes, go "mitrati" F13, with mitres, turbans like crowns, on their heads. This may design the several victories and conquests which the Saracens obtained in Arabia, Persia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, Spain, and many other places; and supposing this to have any reference to the western locusts, it may respect the triple crown of the head of then, the caps of the cardinals, the mitres of the bishops, and the shaven pates of the priests, in form of crowns.
And their faces [were] as the faces of men;
which may be expressive of the affable carriage of Mahomet, and his followers, especially to the Christians, and of his great pretensions to holiness and religion, and of the plausible and insinuating ways, and artful methods, used by him, to gain upon men; and being applied to the clergy of the church of Rome, may denote their show of humanity, and their pretended great concern for the welfare of the souls of men, their flatteries, good words, and fair speeches, with which they deceive the simple and unwary.
F12 Vid. Frentz. Hist. Animal. sacr. p. 5. c. 4. p. 799.
F13 Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28.