Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 13:10

For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Astronomy;   Constellations;   Darkness;   Eclipse;   Moon;   Orion;   Stars;   Thompson Chain Reference - Eclipse;   The Topic Concordance - Day of the Lord;   Earthquakes;   Heaven/the Heavens;   Humbleness;   Iniquity;   Pride/arrogance;   Punishment;   Wickedness;   World;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Babylon;   Moon, the;   Sciences;   Stars, the;   Sun, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Darkness;   Isaiah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Stars;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Day of the Lord, God, Christ, the;   Mark, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Constellation;   Darkness;   Orion;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Darkness;   Matthew, the Gospel According to;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Darkness;   Isaiah;   Moon;   Orion;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Isaiah, Book of;   Kingdom of God;   Peter, Second Epistle of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Old Testament (Ii. Christ as Student and Interpreter of).;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Babylon ;   Constellations;   Orion, ;   Thessalonians, Epistles to the;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Medes;   Rebels;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Babylon;   Messiah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Moon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Astronomy;   Isaiah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Astronomy;   Constellations;   Moon;   Orion;   Sun;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 20;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For the stars of heaven "Yea, the stars of heaven" - The Hebrew poets, to express happiness, prosperity, the instauration and advancement of states, kingdoms, and potentates, make use of images taken from the most striking parts of nature, from the heavenly bodies, from the sun, moon, and stars: which they describe as shining with increased splendor, and never setting. The moon becomes like the meridian sun, and the sun's light is augmented sevenfold; (see Isaiah 30:26;); new heavens and a new earth are created, and a brighter age commences. On the contrary, the overflow and destruction of kingdoms is represented by opposite images. The stars are obscured, the moon withdraws her light, and the sun shines no more! The earth quakes, and the heavens tremble; and all things seem tending to their original chaos, See Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15, Joel 3:16; Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29; and De S. Poes. Herb. Prael. 6 et IX.

And the moon shall not cause her light to shine - This in its farther reference may belong to the Jewish polity, both in Church and state, which should be totally eclipsed, and perhaps shine no more in its distinct state for ever.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For the stars of heaven - This verse cannot be understood literally, but is a metaphorical representation of the calamities that were coming upon Babylon The meaning of the figure evidently is, that those calamities would be such as would be appropriately denoted by the sudden extinguishment of the stars, the sun, and the moon. As nothing would tend more to anarchy, distress, and ruin, than thus to have all the lights of heaven suddenly and forever quenched, this was an apt and forcible representation of the awful calamities that were coming upon the people. Darkness and night, in the Scriptures, are often the emblem of calamity and distress (see the note at Matthew 24:29). The revolutions and destructions of kingdoms and nations are often represented in the Scriptures under this image. So respecting the destruction of Idumea Isaiah 34:4:

And all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved,

And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll;

And all their host shall fall down,

As the leaf falleth from off the vine,

And as a falling fig from the fig-tree.

So in Ezekiel 32:7-8, in a prophecy respecting the destruction of Pharaoh, king of Egypt:

And when I shall put time out,

I will cover the heavens, and make the stoa thereof dark,

I will cover the sun with a cloud,

And the moon shall not give her light.

And the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee.

And set darkness upon thy land.

(Compare Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15-16.) Thus in Amos 8:9:

I will cause the sun to go down at noon,

And I will darken the earth in a clear day.

See also Revelation 6:12-14:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo,

The sun became black as sackcloth of hair,

And the moon became as blood;

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth,

Even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs

When she is shaken of a mighty wind:

And the heaven deputed as a scroll when it is rolled together.

Many have supposed that these expressions respecting the sun, moon, and stars, refer to kings, and princes, and magistrates, as the “lights” of the state; and that the sense is, that their power arid glory should cease. But it is rather a figurative representation, denoting calamity “in general,‘ and describing a state of extreme distress, such as would be if all the lights of heaven should suddenly become extinct.

And the constellations thereof - (וּכסיליהם ûkı̂sı̂ylēyhem ). The word (כסיל kesı̂yl ) means properly “a fool;” Proverbs 1:32; Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 10:18; Proverbs 13:19-20, “et al.” It also denotes “hope, confidence, expectation” Job 31:24; Proverbs 3:26; Job 8:14; also “the reins, the flanks or loins” Leviticus 3:4, Leviticus 3:10, Leviticus 3:15; Psalm 38:7. It is also, as here, applied to a constellation in the heavens, but the connection of this meaning of the word with the other significations is uncertain. In Job 9:9; Job 38:31, it is translated ‹Orion.‘ In Amos 5:8, it is translated the ‹seven stars‘ - the Pleiades. In Arabic, that constellation is called ‹the giant.‘ According to an Eastern tradition, it was Nimrod, the founder of Babylon, afterward translated to the skies; and it has been supposed that the name the “impious” or “foolish one” was thus given to the deified Nimrod, and thus to the constellation. The rabbis interpret it “Simis.” The word ‹constellations‘ denotes clusters of stars, or stars that appear to be near to each other in the heavens, and which, on the celestial globe, are reduced to certain figures for the convenience of classification and memory, as the bear, the bull, the virgin, the balance. This arrangement was early made, and there is no reason to doubt that it existed in the time of Isaiah (compare the notes at Job 9:9).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-13.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For the stars of heaven,.... This and what follows are to be understood, not literally, but figuratively, as expressive of the dismalness and gloominess of the dispensation, of the horror and terror of it, in which there was no light, no comfort, no relief, nor any hope of any; the heavens and all the celestial bodies frowning upon them, declaring the displeasure of him that dwells there:

and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; which are assemblages of stars, or certain configurations of the heavenly bodies, devised by the ancients; to which each of the names are given for the help of the imagination and memory; the number of them are forty eight, twelve in the Zodiac, twenty one on the northern side of it, and fifteen on the southern. R. Jonah, mentioned both by Aben Ezra and Kimchi, says that "Cesil", the word here used, is a large star, called in the Arabic language "Suel", and the stars that are joined unto it are called by its name "Cesilim"; so that, according to this, only one constellation is meant; and Aben Ezra observes, that there are some that say that Cesil is a star near to the south pole, on which, if camels look, they die; but, says he, in my opinion it is "the scorpion's heart". Jerom's Hebrew master interpreted it to him Arcturus; and it is in Job 9:9 rendered Orion, and by the Septuagint here; which is one of the constellations, and one of the brightest; and the word being here in the plural number, the sense may be, were there ever so many Orions in the heavens, they should none of them give light. The Targum and Jarchi interpret it of the planets:

the sun shall be darkened in his going forth; as soon as it rises, when it goes forth out of its chamber, as in Psalm 19:5 either by an eclipse of it, or by dark clouds covering it:

and the moon shall not cause her light to shine: by night, which she borrows from the sun; so that it would be very uncomfortable, day and night, neither sun, moon, nor stars appearing, see Acts 27:20 by the sun, moon, and stars, may be meant king, queen, and nobles, whose destruction is here prophesied of; it being usual in prophetic language, as well as in other writersF6"Solem Asiae Brutum appellat, stellasque salubres appellat comites", Hor. Serm. 1. Satyr. 7. , to express great personages hereby.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For the h stars of heaven and its constellations shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

(h) They who are overcome will think that all the powers of heaven and earth are against them, (Ezekiel 32:7) ; (Joel 3:15) ; (Matthew 24:29).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

stars, etc. — figuratively for anarchy, distress, and revolutions of kingdoms (Isaiah 34:4; Joel 2:10; Ezekiel 32:7, Ezekiel 32:8; Amos 8:9; Revelation 6:12-14). There may be a literal fulfillment finally, shadowed forth under this imagery (Revelation 21:1).

constellationsHebrew, “a fool,” or “impious one”; applied to the constellation Orion, which was represented as an impious giant (Nimrod deified, the founder of Babylon) chained to the sky. See on Job 38:31.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-13.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Constellations — Which consist of many stars, and therefore give a greater sight.

Darkened — All things shall look darkly and dismally; men shall have no comfort or hope.

Going forth — As soon as he rises. As soon as they have any appearance or hope of amendment, they shall be instantly disappointed.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Ver. 10. For the stars of heaven shall not give their light.] (a) They shall have punishment without pity, misery without mercy, sorrow without help, mischief without measure, crying without comfort, &c., and all this shall be but a typical hell to them, a foretaste of eternal torments.

The constellations thereof.] Which yet some interpreters take for some single and signal star, magnam lucem magnae sequuntur tenebrae.

The sun shall be darkened.] They shall neither have good day nor good night.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-13.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The constellations; which consist of many stars, and therefore give a greater light.

The sun shall be darkened; either,

1. Properly and really, by an eclipse; for prodigies in heaven do sometimes go before or accompany great and public calamities upon earth. Or,

2. Figuratively, and in appearance. All things shall look darkly and dismally; men shall have no comfort nor hope. See the like descriptions of a most calamitous state, Isaiah 5:30 34:4 Joel 2:10,31, &c.

In his going forth; as soon as he riseth, when he is most welcome to men, and giveth them hopes of a pleasant day. As soon as they have any appearance or hope of amendment, they shall be instantly disappointed.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-13.html. 1685.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Stars. This is not to be taken literally, but only implies that the people shall be in as much consternation (Calmet) as if the world were at an end, ver. 13. (Haydock) (Grotius) (Matthew xxiv. 27., Apocalypse vi. 12., and Jeremias iv. 23.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

shall not give their light. Quoted in Matthew 24:29. Shall not celebrate [Thee]. Compare Psalms 19:1-3; Psalms 145:10. Hebrew. halel.

Occurs twice in "former" portion (here and in Isaiah 38:18 "celebrate") and four times in "latter" portion (Isaiah 41:16; Isaiah 45:25, "glory"; Isaiah 62:9; Isaiah 64:11, "praise") See App-79.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

The stars ... shall not give their light ... - figurative for anarchy, distress, and revolutions of kingdoms (Isaiah 34:4; Joel 2:10; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Amos 8:9; Revelation 6:12-14). There may be a literal fulfillment finally, shadowed forth under this imagery (Revelation 21:1).

And the constellations - Hebrew, k

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) The constellations thereof.—The noun in the singular (kesîl, foolhardy, or impious) is translated as Orion in Job 9:9; Amos 5:8. It is significant, as pointing to some widely-diffused legend, that the Persian name for the constellation is Nimrod and the Arabian Giant. In Greek mythology Orion is a giant hunter, conspicuous for acts of outrage against the gods, and finally slain by Zeus. It is obvious that the words in their first application had a figurative, and not a literal, fulfilment. Such imagery has been at all times the natural symbolism of a time of terror (Joel 2:31; Joel 3:15; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
5:30; 24:21,23; Ezekiel 32:7,8; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Amos 8:9,10; Zephaniah 1:15,16; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; Revelation 6:12-14; 8:12
Reciprocal: Genesis 1:16 - to rule;  Job 9:7 - sealeth;  Isaiah 14:12 - How art thou fallen;  Isaiah 34:4 - all the;  Jeremiah 4:23 - the heavens;  Jeremiah 51:3 - spare;  Ezekiel 30:18 - the day;  Amos 5:20 - darkness

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-13.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.For the stars of heaven. In order to strike our minds with a stronger and more distressing fear of the judgment of God, the prophets are accustomed to add to their threatenings extravagant modes of speaking, which place the anger of God, as it were, before their eyes, and affect all our senses, as if all the elements were now arising to execute his vengeance. And yet the expressions, though unusually strong, do not go beyond the dreadful nature of what took place; for it is impossible to exhibit an image of the judgment of God so alarming that the reality shall not be felt to be more revolting and terrible.

The sun, and the moon, and the stars are mentioned, because they are striking proofs of God’s fatherly kindness towards us. Hence also Christ shows that it is an eminent proof of the goodness of God that

he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. (Matthew 5:45.)

Accordingly, when the sun and moon and stars shine in heaven, God may be said to cheer us by his bright and gracious countenance. Since therefore in the brightness of heaven God shows a cheerful and friendly countenance, as if he might be said to smile upon us, the darkness which the Prophet describes conveys the thought, that God, by hiding his face, cast the men with whom he was angry into the darkness of sorrow.

A similar description is given by the Prophet Joel.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, the moon into blood, before it comes — the day of Jehovah, great and terrible.
(
Joel 2:31.)

We have already said that this mode of expression is frequently employed by the prophets, in order to inform us that everything will tend to our destruction, when God is against us. Sometimes indeed God gives tokens of his anger by means of the stars; but that is out of the usual course of events, and the darkness which the Prophet now describes will not take place till the second coming of Christ. But we ought to be satisfied with knowing that all the creatures, which by discharging their duties to us are proofs and instruments of God’s fatherly kindness, not only cease to be useful to us, when God arises to judgment, but in some measure are armed for vengeance.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-13.html. 1840-57.