Lecture One Hundred and Seventy-seventh
24. Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her; anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.
24. Remissa est (vel, debilitata) Damascus; convertit se ad fugam; et tremor apprehendit eam; angustia et dolores tenuerunt eam tanquam parturientem.
The Prophet goes on with the same subject, for as the kingdom of Syria had flourished, and had been eminent in wealth and power, it was hardly credible that it could so soon be overthrown. This, then, is the reason why the Prophet, according to his usual manner, describes at large the ruin of that kingdom in order to confirm what he said.
He then says, relaxed, or weakened, is Damascus. This verb, indeed, sometimes means to cease: he means that she was broken in strength. But under the name of this city, he includes, as it was stated yesterday, the whole kingdom of Syria, which was celebrated for its riches, largeness, and number of men. She turns, he says, to flight. By these words he intimates that no safety remained for the Syrians except by fleeing into other countries. And it is a miserable safety when men cannot otherwise secure it than by a voluntary exile. He adds the reason, Trembling has laid hold on her, anguish and pangs have seized her as a woman in travail. Whenever this comparison occurs in Scripture, some sudden and unexpected evil is intended. The Prophet then no doubt means that the ruin of Syria would be sudden; and he says this, that it might not trust in its own power, and that others might not think her to be beyond danger, because they saw that it was fortified by the number of its men, and by the abundance of all other things. It now follows, --