yet thus shall they be cut down; or "shorn" (l); as the wool is shorn off the back of a sheep with sheers; or grass or corn is mowed with a scythe; or else as the hair of a man's head and beard are shaved with a razor; which sometimes was done, not only in a way of ignominy and contempt, as David's servants were served by Hanun, 2 Samuel 10:4; but as a token of servitude; hence those words of the poet (m),
"after thou art a servant, dost thou let thy hair grow?''
upon which it is observed (n), that it belongs to freemen to let the hair grow; and so the philosopher says (o), to let the hair grow, or to nourish it, is commendable with a Lacedemonian, for it is a sign of liberty; for it is not for him who lets his hair grow to do any servile work; and it was usual with conquerors to shave the conquered, and such as were carried captives (p), which some think is referred to in Deuteronomy 32:42; and render the latter clause of that verse,
"and there shall be captivity, by reason of the head of nakedness of the enemy;''
that is, there should be captives whose heads should be made bare, or shaved by the enemy the conqueror (q); hence the king of Assyria, when a conqueror, is compared to a sharp razor, that should shave the head, and feet, and beard, even all sorts of people, Isaiah 7:20; but now he and his army should be shaved themselves; that is, conquered, slain, or taken captives, and become slaves, and treated with contempt; all which may be taken into the sense of this phrase, and serve to illustrate it:
when he shall pass through; when the angel should pass through the camp of the Assyrians, then were they cut down by him in great numbers, a hundred and fourscore and five thousand slain at once, 2 Kings 19:35;
though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more: or "any longer" (r); though the Lord had afflicted the people of the Jews by the Assyrian king, the rod of his anger, again and again, yet after this he would afflict them no more by him; for otherwise they were afflicted afterwards, yet not by the Assyrians, but by the Babylonians, Syrians, and Romans, Some understand this, as before, of the Ninevites and Assyrians, that should be utterly destroyed at once, and their affliction should not be a second time; see Nahum 1:9; so Abarbinel: or, "I will not hear thee any more" (s); as he did formerly, when they repented at the preaching of Jonah.
(l) "tonsi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (m) Aristophanes in Avibus, p. 584. (n) Scholia Graec. in ib. (o) Aristotel. Rhetor. l. 1. c. 9. (p) "Tonsa comas imo Barathri claudere recessu", Claudian in Ruffin. l. 1. prope finem. Vid. Barthium in ib. (q) Lydius de Re Militari, l. 6. c. 6. p. 237. (r) "non ultra", Pagninus, Montanus; "non amplius", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius. (s) "non exaudiam te amplius", Burkius.