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BLOW ye the trumpet in Sion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: because the day of the Lord cometh, because it is nigh at hand,

Ver. 1.  Blow.  The prophets often ordered, to signify what will take place.  W.


--- The people were gathered by the sound of trumpets.  The danger from the locusts was imminent; and all are exhorted to avert it, by praying in the temple, &c.


--- Tremble at the sound.  Amos iii. 6.  C.


--- Extemplò turbati.  Virgil, Æneid viii.


--- Lord.  That is, the time when he will execute justice on sinners, (Ch.) and suffer affliction to fall upon them.  W.  C. i. 15.

2 A day of darkness, and of gloominess, a day of clouds and whirlwinds: a numerous and strong people as the morning spread upon the mountains: the like to it hath not been from the beginning, nor shall be after it even to the years of generation and generation.

Ver. 2.  Darkness.  This implies great misery.  v. 10.  C.


--- People.  The Assyrians or Chaldeans.  Others understand all this of the army of locusts laying waste the land.  Ch.


--- Morning; unexpectedly, (C.) and soon.  H.


--- No human force can prevent the ravages of the locusts


--- Beginning, in Palestine.  Moses  says the same; but speaks of Egypt.  Ex. x. 14.

3 Before the face thereof a devouring fire, and behind it a burning flame: the land is like a garden of pleasure before it, and behind it a desolate wilderness, neither is there any one that can escape it.

Ver. 3.  Flame.  They destroy all by their bite.  C. i. 12.  C.  Theod.


--- Pleasure.  Heb. "Eden."  So luxuriant was Palestine.

4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses, and they shall run like horsemen.

Ver. 4.  Horsemen.  The head of a locust bears some resemblance with that of a horse, and its flight is rapid.  Apoc. ix. 7.  C.

5 They shall leap like the noise of chariots upon the tops of mountains, like the noise of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, as a strong people prepared to battle.

Ver. 5.  Mountains.  "The beat their wings so loudly, that they may be taken for other birds."  Pliny xi. 29.


--- They are much larger in hot climates, (C. i. 6.  H.) and may be heard at the distance of two miles, (Bochart) darkening the air for the space of four leagues.  Yet this description is poetical, and perhaps an allegory is nowhere better kept up.


6 At their presence the people shall be in grievous pains: all faces shall be made like a kettle.

Ver. 6.  Kettle.  The Jews were naturally of a dark complexion.  Fear causing the blood to retire, would make them black.  Is. xiii. 8.  Lam. iv. 8. and v. 10.  C.

7 They shall run like valiant men: like men of war they shall scale the wall: the men shall march every one on his way, and they shall not turn aside from their ranks.

Ver. 7.  Ranks.  Locusts march like a regular army.  Theod.


--- No fortification can keep them out.  H.

8 No one shall press upon his brother: they shall walk every one in his path: yea, and they shall fall through the windows, and shall take no harm.

Ver. 8.  Brother.  S. Jerom saw a cloud of them in Judea.  They were not "a finger-nail's breadth from each other."  C.


--- The Arabs discover the military art in them.  Bochart.


--- They invested France (A. 874) with all the skill of an army, the chiefs marking out the place for the camp the night before.  Sigebert.


--- Windows.  They eat the wood, (H.) and the windows were simple lattices or curtains.  C.


--- Heb. "they fall upon the sword, and shall not be hurt."  Sept. "consumed or filled."  H.


--- They are never satisfied.  Theod.

9 They shall enter into the city: they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up the houses, they shall come in at the windows as a thief. 10 At their presence the earth hath trembled, the heavens are moved: the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.

Ver. 10.  Shining.  The cloud of locusts intercepts the light; or, people in distress think all nature is in confusion.  S. Jer.  Ezec. xxxii.  Jer. iv. 23.


--- Aloysius (13.) saw locusts in the air for the space of twelve miles; and among the Cossacks, clouds of them may be found six leagues in length and three in breadth.  They frequently occasion a famine in Ethiopia.  C.


11 And the Lord hath uttered his voice before the face of his army: for his armies are exceeding great, for they are strong and execute his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible: and who can stand it?

Ver. 11.  Voice; thunder, (H.) or the noise of locusts.  v. 5.  C.


12 Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.

Ver. 12.  Mourning.  For moving the heart to repentance these external works are requisite, at least in will: if they be wilfully omitted, it is a sure sign that the heart is not moved.  S. Jer.  W.


13 And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.

Ver. 13.  Garments, as was customary in great distress.  God will not be satisfied with mere external proofs of repentance.  C.


--- Evil.  He will forego his threats if we do penance.  S. Jer.


--- He punishes unwillingly.  Is. xxviii. 21.


14 Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God?

Ver. 14.  Who knoweth.  Confidence in God and repentance must accompany prayer.


--- Blessing; plentiful crops, so that the usual sacrifices may be performed again.  C. i. 9.


15 Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly,

Ver. 15.  Trumpet.  Thus were festivals announced.  Num. x. 7.


16 Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride chamber.

Ver. 16.  Sanctify.  Let all make themselves ready to appear.


--- Ones.  Their cries would make an impression on men, and prevail on God to shew mercy.  Judith iv. 9.

17 Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord's ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God?

Ver. 17.  Altar of holocausts.  They turned towards the holy place, lying prostrate.  1 Esd. x. 1. and 2 Mac. x. 26.  C.


--- Hither the victim of expiation was brought, and the high priest confessed.  Maimon.


--- Over them, as they might easily have done during the famine.

18 The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people.

Ver. 18.  Zealous.  Indignation is excited when a person perceives any thing contemned which he loves.  So God resented the injuries done maliciously by the Gentiles towards his people; though he often punished them for their correction or greater merit.  W.


--- He will resent the blasphemies uttered by infidels against his holy name, and will restore fertility to the land.  C.

19 And the Lord answered and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.

Ver. 19.  Nations.  This did not take place till after the seventy years captivity, nor then fully.  It is verified in true believers, and after death in the glory of the saints.  W.

20 And I will remove far off from you the northern enemy: and I will drive him into a land unpassable, and desert, with his face towards the east sea, and his hinder part towards the utmost sea: and his stench shall ascend, and his rottenness shall go up, because he hath done proudly.

Ver. 20.  The northern enemy.  Some understand this of Holofernes and his army, others of the locusts.  Ch.


--- Prot. "the northern army."  Heb. may denote (H.) wind.  This often drives away locusts.  Those here spoken of were drowned in the Mediterranean and Dead Seas.  C.


--- This occasioned a pestilence, (S. Jer.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. iv. 31.) to prevent which the locusts were to be speedily buried.  Is. xxxiii. 4.


--- Proudly.  Heb. "great things."  God, or the locusts are meant.

21 Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice: for the Lord hath done great things. 22 Fear not, ye beasts of the fields: for the beautiful places of the wilderness are sprung, for the tree hath brought forth its fruit, the fig tree, and the vine have yielded their strength.

Ver. 22.  Strength; fruit, as formerly.

23 And you, O children of Sion, rejoice, and be joyful in the Lord your God: because he hath given you a teacher of justice, and he will make the early and the latter rain to come down to you as in the beginning.

Ver. 23.  Teacher; Joel, &c. or rather the Messias.  John i. 9.  Mat. xxiii. 8.  Some translate Heb. "rain."  Sept. "meat," (C.) sufficient for the people.  Theod.

24 And the floors shall be filled with wheat, and the presses shall overflow with wine and oil.

Ver. 24.  Presses, or subterraneous reservoirs.

25 And I will restore to you the years which the locust, and the bruchus, and the mildew, and the palmerworm have eaten; my great host which I sent upon you.

Ver. 25.  Host.  God could have hurled his thunderbolts, or mountains, to destroy all mankind; but he chooses to shew their insignificance, (C.) by employing the vilest insects, which they cannot withstand.  S. Jer.

26 And you shall eat in plenty, and shall be filled: and you shall praise the name of the Lord your God, who hath done wonders with you, and my people shall not be confounded for ever. 27 And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be confounded for ever. 28 And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

Ver. 28.  After.  From this verse to the end the prophet speaks of the times succeeding the captivity, and more especially of the propagation of the gospel.  The enemies of God's people shall be destroyed, (C. iii. 1.) which seems to refer to Cambyses.  Ezec. xxxviii.  C.


--- My spirit.  This plainly foretells the coming of the Holy Ghost.  Acts ii.  W.


--- The Jews never had such a multitude of prophets after the captivity as the Church had.  1 Cor. xiv. 24.  What relates to them was only a shadow of what would befall true believers.


29 Moreover upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit.

Ver. 29.  Handmaids.  Sept. of S. Jer. and S. Peter read, my handmaids.  "My," is omitted in both places in Complut. and Heb. and the latter word in the Rom. Sept..

30 And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.

Ver. 30.  Wonders.  Many prodigies preceded the persecution of Epiphanes, the death of Christ, the ruin of the temple, and more will be seen before the day of judgment.  Though we cannot prove the same with respect to Cambyses, it suffices that the people were thrown into the utmost consternation (v. 2. 11.) when he forebade the building of the temple, (1 Esd. iv. 6.) and designed to plunder them.  Ezechiel (xxxviii. 11.) speaks of the same event, as the Jews assert.  Ctesias also mentions that when he offered sacrifice, the victims would not bleed; and that his wife, Roxana, brought forth a child without a head, implying, according to the magi, that he should have no heir.  His mother also frequently appeared, and reproached him with the murder of his brother.  See C. iii. 15.  Ezec. xxxviii. 22.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come.


32 And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: for in mount Sion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call.

Ver. 32.  Call.  Amid these fears, those who trust in the Lord shall have nothing to suffer.  Cambyses could not execute his designs.  But the prophet here alludes still more to the conversion of the Gentiles.  Acts ii. 21.  Rom. x. 13.  Some returned from Babylon, as a figure of this great event.  Only a few Jews embraced the faith.  C.


--- Salvation.  Sept. "shall be saved, as the Lord hath spoken, and the person preaching the gospel, whom the Lord hath called."  H.


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Holy Spirit