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THE word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Phatuel.

Ver. 1.  Planted.  Sept. "Bathuel."  He was born in the tribe of Gad, at Bethaven, the town which Herod styles Livias  Jos. xiii. 27.  C.


THE PROPHECY OF JOEL.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

Joel, whose name, according to S. Jerom, signifies the Lord God, (or, as others say, the coming down of God) prophesied about the same time in the kingdom of Juda as Osee did in the kingdom of Israel.  He foretells, under figures, the great evils that were coming upon the people for their sins; earnestly exhorts them to repentance, and comforts them with the promise of a teacher of justice, viz. Christ Jesus, our Lord, and of the coming down of his Holy Spirit (Ch). upon the hundred and twenty faithful assembled in Sion.  He describes the land of the twelve tribes made desolate, and the people cast off.  S. Jer. ad Paulin.

 

--- Yet he speaks chiefly of the kingdom of Juda, and mentions the house of God, sacrifices, &c.  W.

 

--- S. Jerom infers from his being placed after Osee, without any fresh title, (C.) that he lived in that order of time.  W.

 

--- But this rule is not general, as Jonas lived before Amos; and Sept. observe not the same disposition of the prophets as we do.  The exact time of the famine, when Joel prophesied, cannot be ascertained.  It seems he addressed the people in autumn, when a second year's famine was apprehended.  He paints every thing with great force and beauty of style.  C.


2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land: did this ever happen in your days, or in the days of your fathers?

Ver. 2.  Men.  Magistrates, and all who have children.  H.  He speaks to Juda, as the kingdom of Israel was ruined.  C. iii. 2.  His principal object is to describe the ravages of locusts, and to exhort the people to repent, promising them better times after the captivity, and under the Messias.  C. ii. 28. and iii. 20.  C.



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3 Tell ye of this to your children, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.

Ver. 3.  Generation.  Prophecies relate to all future times, that people may see their accomplishment, (W.) and believe.  H.


4 That which the palmerworm hath left, the locust hath eaten: and that which the locust hath left, the bruchus hath eaten: and that which the bruchus hath left, the mildew hath destroyed.

Ver. 4.  Left, &c.  Some understand this literally of the desolation of the land by these insects: others understand it of the different invasions of the Chaldeans, or other enemies.  Ch.

 

--- Jerusalem was four times plundered by the Babylonians, and every time worse than before, as these four sorts of destructive things shew.  But we shall not enlarge upon these points, nor pursue the mystical sense of the prophets, which may be found in the fathers and Ribera.  W.

 

--- Others suppose that the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, (particularly Epiphanes) and Romans, are meant.  We explain it simply of the devastation by insects.  C.

 

--- Four different species of locusts are denoted.  Bochart, p. 2. b. iv. 1.

 

--- Mildew.  Heb. chasil, (H.) is often rendered "a locust," by Sept. (C. ii. 25. &c.) and most suppose this is here the sense.  The mildew destroys corn chiefly in low damp situations.  C.


5 Awake, ye that are drunk, and weep, and mourn all ye that take delight in drinking sweet wine: for it is cut off from your mouth.

Ver. 5.  Sweet.  Heb. "wine, because of the sweet wine," (H.) or liquors extracted from fruit.  The things which you have abused, are now taken away.


6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong and without number: his teeth are like the teeth of a lion: and his cheek teeth as of a lion's whelp.

Ver. 6.  Nations.  Some understand the Assyrians or Chaldeans.  But locusts are here styled a nation.  Prov. xxx. 25.

 

--- Lion.  Such locusts are described.  Apoc. ix. 8.  C.

 

--- "In India they are said to be three feet long, and their legs and thighs are used for saws when dried."  Pliny xi. 29.

 

--- They were attacked by regular troops in Syria.  Ib.



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7 He hath laid my vineyard waste, and hath pilled off the bark of my fig tree: he hath stripped it bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white. 8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

Ver. 8.  Youth, whom she espoused first.  Such are more tenderly loved, particularly where polygamy prevails.  C.

 

--- So Dido speaks of Sichæus, Virg. Æn. iv.:

Ille meos primus qui se mihi junxit amores

Abstulit, ille habeat secum servetque sepulchro.


9 Sacrifice and libation is cut off from the house of the Lord: the priests, the Lord's ministers, have mourned:

Ver. 9.  Lord.  No harvest being reaped, the fruits could not be paid.  Yet it is thought that what was requisite for sacrifice, would be procured from other countries.  C.

 

--- When Jerusalem was destroyed, sacrifices ceased.  W.


10 The country is destroyed, the ground hath mourned: for the corn is wasted, the wine is confounded, the oil hath languished. 11 The husbandmen are ashamed, the vinedressers have howled for the wheat, and for the barley, because the harvest of the field is perished. 12 The vineyard is confounded, and the fig tree hath languished: the pomegranate tree, and the palm tree, and the apple tree, and all the trees of the field are withered: because joy is withdrawn from the children of men.

Ver. 12.  Withered.  The bite of locusts corrupts the juice of plants.


13 Gird yourselves, and lament, O ye priests, howl, ye ministers of the altars: go in, lie in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: because sacrifice and libation is cut off from the house of your God.

Ver. 13.  Go in to the temple, or sleep on sackcloth.  Judith iv. 9.  C.


14 Sanctify ye a fast, call an assembly; gather together the ancients, all the inhabitants of the land into the house of your God: and cry ye to the Lord:

Ver. 14.  Sanctify.  Appoint (H.) or proclaim a general fast, as was usual in such emergencies.  3 K. xxi. 9. and 2 Par. xx. 3.  Fasting and other good works are calculated to appease God's wrath.  W.



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15 Ah, ah, ah, for the day: because the day of the Lord is at hand, and it shall come like destruction from the mighty.

Ver. 15.  Day.  Heb. ahah layom: (H.) "Ah, what a day!"

 

--- Mighty.  Sept. "destruction."  They have read in a different manner.  God is about to give sentence, (C.) and to send Nabuchodonosor, (S. Jer.) or to destroy by famine.  v. 17.


16 Is not your food cut off before your eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?

Ver. 16.  God.  None can bring the first-fruits.  All appear in mourning.


17 The beasts have rotted in their dung, the barns are destroyed, the storehouses are broken down: because the corn is confounded.

Ver. 17.  Dung.  Horse-dung dried for bedding, was used in the East instead of straw, (Busb. 3.) as it is still by the Arabs.  Darvieux. 11.

 

--- Heb. "the seeds are rotten under their clods," (H.) finding no moisture.  Sept. "the cows have stamped in their stalls;" or Syr. "remain without food in their cribs."  Chal. "the pitchers of wine have been corrupted under their covers," as there was no new wine.  C.

 

--- Houses.  Heb. mammeguroth.  Prot. "barns, (H.) or country houses;" which means cabins erected for the season, (Ruth ii. 7.) the Magaria (C.) or Mopalia of the Africans.  S. Jer. pref. Amos.

 

--- Sept. "the wine presses."  Wine and corn were preserved in pits carefully covered over.  Agg. ii. 20.  These fell to decay, as there was no use for them.


18 Why did the beast groan, why did the herds of cattle low? because there is no pasture for them: yea, and the flocks of sheep are perished. 19 To thee, O Lord, will I cry: because fire hath devoured the beautiful places of the wilderness, and the flame hath burnt all the trees of the country.

Ver. 19.  Places.  Heb. "dwellings," or shepherds' huts.

 

--- Wilderness, denoting all pasture land unploughed.


20 Yea and the beasts of the field have looked up to thee, as a garden bed that thirsteth after rain, for the springs of waters are dried up, and fire hath devoured the beautiful places of the wilderness.

Ver. 20.  Up, as if to pray for rain.  Jer. xiv. 6.  C.

 

--- Heb. "cry," (H.) or "pant."

 

--- As...rain is not in Heb. or Sept.  C.


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