Nahum 3:17

Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

Thy crowned men are as the locusts,.... Tributary kings, and hired officers, as some think, who might be distinguished by what they wore on their heads; or their own princes and nobles, who wore coronets or diadems; unless their religious persons are meant, their Nazarites and devotees, their priests; these were like locusts for their number, fear, and flight in time of danger, and for their spoil of the poor; and some locusts have been seen with little crowns on their heads, as those in Revelation 9:7 "which had on their heads as it were crowns like gold". In the year 1542 came locusts out of Turkish Satmatia into Austria, Silesia, Lusatia, and Misnia, which had on their heads little crowns {e}. In the year 1572 a vehement wind brought large troops of locusts out of Turkey into Poland, which did great mischief, and were of a golden colour {f}; and Aelianus {g} speaks of locusts in Arabia, marked with golden coloured figures; and mention is made in the Targum on Jeremiah 51:27, of the shining locust, shining like gold:

and thy captains as the great grasshoppers; or "locusts of locusts" {h}; those of the largest size. The Vulgate Latin renders the word for captains "thy little ones", junior princes, or officers of less dignity and authority; these were, as the Targum paraphrases it, as the worms of locusts; but rather as the locusts themselves, many and harmful:

which camp in the hedges in the cold day; in the cold part of the day, the night; when they get into the hedges of fields, gardens, and vineyards, in great numbers, like an army, and therefore said to encamp like one:

but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are; whither they are fled, as the Targum; so these captains, or half pay officers, swarmed in great numbers about the city, and in the provinces, while it was a time of peace, and they were indulged in sloth, and enjoyed much ease and prosperity; but when war broke out, and the heat of it began to be felt, these disappeared, and went into their own countries, from whence they came, with the auxiliaries and hired troops; nor could they be found where they were, or be called upon to do their duty: this is true of locusts in a literal sense, who flee away when the sun rises; hence the Arabs, as Bochart says {i} elegantly express this by the word "ascaara"; signifying, that when the sun comes to the locust it goes away, According to Macrobius {k}, both Apollo and Hercules are names for the sun; and both these are surnamed from their power in driving away locusts: Hercules was called Cornopion by the Oeteans, because he delivered them from the locusts {l}: and Apollo was called Parnopius by the Grecians, because, when the country was hurt by locusts, he drove them out of it, at Pausanias {m} relates; who observes, that they were drove out they knew, but in what manner they say not; for his own part, he says, he knew them thrice destroyed at Mount Sipylus, but not in the same way; one time a violent wind drove them out; another time a prodigious heat killed them; and a third time they perished by sudden cold; and so, according to the text here, the cold sends them to the hedges, and the heat of the sun obliges them to abandon their station.

{e} Vid. Frantzii Hist. Animal. Sacr. par. 5. c. 4. p. 799.
{f} Ibid. p. 798.
{g} Hist. Animal. l. 10. c. 13.
{h} ybwg bwgk "ut locustae locustarum", Vatablus, Pagninus, Montanus; "sicut locusta locustarum", Burkius.
{i} Hierozoic. par. 2. c. 2. col. 458.
{k} Saturnal l. 1. c. 17. p. 335. & c. 20. p. 362.
{l} Strabo. Geograph. l. 13. p. 422.
{m} Attica, sive l. 1. p. 44.