And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far,
&c.] Not to the Chaldeans or Babylonians, for they were not nations, but one nation, and were a people near; but to the Romans, who consisted of many nations, and were afar off, and extended their empire to the ends of the earth; these, by one providence or another, were stirred up to make an expedition into the land of Judea, and besiege Jerusalem: and this lifting up of an ensign is not, as sometimes, for the gathering and enlisting of soldiers, or to prepare them for the battle, or to give them the signal when to begin the fight; but as a direction to decamp and proceed on a journey, on some expedition: and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth,
or "to him" F9; the king, or general of them, wherever he is, even though at the end of the earth: and the phrase denotes the secret and powerful influence of divine Providence, in moving upon the hearts of the Romans, and their general, to enter upon such a design against the Jews; and which was as easily done as for one man to hiss or call to another; or as for a shepherd to whistle for his sheep; to which the allusion seems to be; the Lord having the hearts of all in his hands, and can turn them as he pleases, to do his will: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly;
or "he shall come"; the king with his army; and so the Targum paraphrases it;
``and behold, a king with his army shall come swiftly, as light clouds;''this shows the swift and sudden destruction that should come upon the Jews; and is an answer to their scoffs, ( Isaiah 5:19 ) .