The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Joel 2:7-8; the most striking fact in the flight of the locust-swarms was their apparent order and discipline, sweeping over the land like the invasion of a great army. Have no king to rule and order them.
By bands; in great numbers, and in several companies, and in exact order, as is observed in Scripture, as Judges 6:5 7:12 Joel 1:6 2:7, and by other writers. Exodus 10:13; they are very numerous, and move in large bodies, and yet with great regularity and order; which shows the wisdom there is in them by natural instinct, though they have no king to command, guide, and direct them: in this the mystical locusts differ from them, who have a king, whose name is Abaddon, Revelation 9:11;
yet they go forth all of them by bands; the Targum is,
"they are all gathered together as one.''
They get together in one place; they associate and join themselves in bands, and keep together, though they have no ruler over them; an emblem of unity, concord, and harmony, let the form of government be what it will, as the best security to a people: and these creatures, when they move from place to place, they move in a body, in a very regular manner; "in precise order" (u), as the words may be rendered, with great exactness, everyone in his proper place, all in rank and file; and though they have no general to marshal them, yet are in, and march in as good order as the most regular army does. So the Arabic version,
"yet in their army, their affairs and manner are in a beautiful disposition;''
indeed they are God's army, as they are called, Joel 2:25; and it is he that gives them their wisdom, instructions, directions, and commission. It is rendered by some, "everyone cutting"; that is, as Kimchi (w) interprets it, cutting the green grass and trees; or, "every one dividing" (x); that is, to himself, the prey or spoils, as kings do; see Isaiah 33:4.
(u) Vid. Hilier. Onomastic. Sacr. p. 187. (w) Sepher Shorash. rad. so Stockius, p. 377. "exeidens omnia, herbas, scil. et fruges", Schindler. col. 633. so Ben Melech. (x) "unaquaeque sibi dividens", Bochart; so Schultens.The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. by bands] Lit. divided, i.e. not jostling one another like an unorganised rabble, but arranged in well-ordered ranks. Comp. the description of the ordered march of the locusts: “They break not their ranks, neither doth one thrust another.” Joel 2:7-8.Verse 27. - The locusts have no king (Proverbs 6:7), yet they show discipline, guidance, and order. They go forth all of them by bands; so that Joel (Joel 2:7, 8) speaks of them as a well-ordered army, as it were men of war, marching every one on his ways, not entangling their ranks, walking every one in his path. Septuagint, "The locusts are without a king, yet march at one command in good order." Proverbs 30:7, and שׁתּי, Proverbs 30:15; after the cipher 2 there then, Proverbs 30:18, followed the cipher 3, which is now here continued:
21 Under three things doth the earth tremble,
And under four can it not stand:
22 Under a servant when he becomes king,
And a profligate when he has bread enough;
23 Under an unloved woman when she is married,
And a maid-servant when she becomes heiress to her mistress.
We cannot say here that the 4 falls into 3 + 1; but the four consists of four ones standing beside one another. ארץ is here without pausal change, although the Athnach here, as at Proverbs 30:24, where the modification of sound occurs, divides the verse into two; מארץ, 14b (cf. Psalm 35:2), remains, on the other hand, correctly unchanged. The "earth" stands here, as frequently, instead of the inhabitants of the earth. It trembles when one of the four persons named above comes and gains free space for acting; it feels itself oppressed as by an insufferable burden (an expression similar to Amos 7:10); - the arrangement of society is shattered; an oppressive closeness of the air, as it were, settles over all minds. The first case is already designated, Proverbs 19:10, as improper: under a slave, when he comes to reign (quum rex fit); for suppose that such an one has reached the place of government, not by the murder of the king and by the robbery of the crown, but, as is possible in an elective monarchy, by means of the dominant party of the people, he will, as a rule, seek to indemnify himself in his present highness for his former lowliness, and in the measure of his rule show himself unable to rise above his servile habits, and to pass out of the limited circle of his earlier state. The second case is this: a נבל, one whose mind is perverted and whose conduct is profligate - in short, a low man (vid., Proverbs 17:17) - ישׂבּע־לחם (cf. Metheg-Setzung, 28), i.e., has enough to eat (cf. to the expression Proverbs 28:19; Jeremiah 44:17); for this undeserved living without care and without want makes him only so much the more arrogant, and troublesome, and dangerous. The שׂנוּאה, in the second case, is not thought of as a spouse, and that, as in supposed polygamy, Genesis 29:31; Deuteronomy 21:15-17, as fallen into disfavour, but who again comes to favour and honour (Dathe, Rosenmller); for she can be שׂנואה without her own fault, and as such she is yet no גּרוּשׁה; and it is not to be perceived why the re-assumption of such an one should shatter social order. Rightly Hitzig, and, after his example, Zckler: an unmarried lady, an old spinster, is meant, whom no one desired because she had nothing attractive, and was only repulsive (cf. Grimm, under Sir. 7:26b). If such an one, as כּי תבעל says, at length, however, finds her husband and enters into the married relation, then she carries her head so much the higher; for she gives vent to ill-humour, strengthened by long restraint, against her subordinates; then she richly requites her earlier and happily married companions for their depreciation of her, among whom she had to suffer, as able to find no one who would love her. In the last case it is asked whether כּי־תירשׁ is meant of inheriting as an heiress (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, the Targ., Jerome, the Venet., and Luther), or supplanting (Euchel, Gesenius, Hitzig), i.e., an entering into the inheritance of the dead, or an entering into the place of a living mistress. Since ירשׁ, with the accus. of the person, Genesis 15:3-4, signifies to be the heir of one, and only with the accus. of peoples and lands signifies, "to take into possession (to seize) by supplanting," the former is to be preferred; the lxx (Syr.), ὅταν ἐκβάλῃ, appear to have read כּי־תגרשׁ. This גּרשׁ would certainly be, after Genesis 21:10, a piece of the world turned upside down; but also the entering, as heiress, into the inheritance, makes the maid-servant the reverse of that which she was before, and brings with it the danger that the heiress, notwithstanding her want of culture and dignity, demean herself also as heiress of the rank. Although the old Israelitish law knew only intestate succession to an inheritance, yet there also the case might arise, that where there were no natural or legal heirs, the bequest of a wife of rank passed over to her servants and nurses.
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