In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves…
In the description of the infirmities of old age, the window doubtless stands for the eyes, with lashes like lattice-work of an Oriental house, and the fringe of the iris regulating the light as a curtain. Observe that it is said, not that the windows, but "those that look out of them" are darkened: the reference, therefore, being not to the failing eyesight, as many have supposed, but rather to the growing dullness of the inner person, the mind, which takes less and less interest in the world as one advances towards senility. A person may be blind in years, yet young in heart, if he only keeps alert to the life about him. Think of Ranke beginning his "Universal History" at eighty-three years of age, and finishing his seventh volume at ninety-one! The venerable Kaiser Wilhelm not long before his death was asked by his daughter if he had not better rest a little. "No," he replied, "I will have plenty of time to rest by and by." In a call upon George Bancroft, at eighty-eight years of age, I found him as full of questions about men and things that he thought I knew of as if I were the representative of old times and he the interviewer. The eyes of such men may be dim, but the spirits that look out of them are not "darkened." They are the really senile people who pull down the curtains of selfishness on amiable curiosity, on generous solicitude for the evils of society, and on delight in the good of the world, though they have not yet come to wear glasses. Let us keep at the windows until God closes them by dropping over them the curtain of the last night. And then, when the dusk of life's eventide has fallen around us, when secular things do turn dim, we may look up through the window at the infinite sky, and see the stars of a better world coming out.
(J. M. Ludlow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,