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Joe 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Ver. 1. The word of the Lord that came, &c. ] See the note on Hosea 1:1 , with whom Jerome and some other interpreters make this prophet a contemporary, for the likeness of argument; and that common canon of the Jewish doctors, that the prophet who sets not down his time is to be held of the same time with him that is placed before him. The Seventy set him not only after Hosea, but also after Amos and Micah: and the ancient Hebrew Chronicle, called Sedar Olam, affirmeth that Joel prophesied together with Nahum and Habakkuk, the days of King Manasseh; which Drusius would prove out of Joel 3:5 . Others, with more show of reason, out of 2 Kings 21:10 ; 2 Kings 23:26 . Joel might very well be one of those prophets that denounced God’s heavy judgments against Judah, for the sins and abominations of Manasseh, whom some make to be his convert. For although at first the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people, but they would not hearken, 2Ch 33:10 yet the rod might set the word to work afterwards; for Manasseh, when he was in affliction, besought the Lord, and humbled himself greatly, 2Ch 33:12 and Joel might very well be to him a son of Pethuel, or of God’s persuasion: God, by his ministry, might speak to his heart, Hosea 2:14 , set before him an open door (another Etymology of the name Pethuel, ostium Dei mouth of God), Revelation 3:8 , minister unto him an entrance farther and farther into Christ’s everlasting kingdom, 2 Peter 1:11 . If any think it more likely that Joel prophesied under Josiah, king of Judah, when that great famine occured which is described in like terms by Jeremiah, Jer 14:1-2 cf. 2 Kings 23:26 , I shall not strive with him. But that this Joel was the son of Samuel (here called Pethuel, a persuader of God, because what he asked of God he obtained), as R. Salomon would carry it, I cannot imagine: for that Joel was not a prophet, but a corrupt judge, 1 Samuel 8:1-5 .
Joe 1:2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
Ver. 2. Hear this, ye old men ] Who, as ye are fittest to hear serious discourses (Aristotle excludeth young men from his ethic lectures, because raw and rash: green wood is ever shrinking and warping), so ye are more experienced; and yet not so wise, but that, by hearing, ye may become wiser, Proverbs 1:5 . Solon said, he could never be too old to learn, γηρασκω αιει πολλα διδασκομενος . Julianus, the lawyer, said, that when he had one foot in the grave, yet he would have the other in the school. David Chytraeus, when he lay dying, lifted up himself to hear the divine discourses of his friends that sat by him; and said, that he should die with better cheer if he might die learning something, Si moribundus etiam aliquid didicisset.
And give ear, all, &c. ] Hear and give ear: draw up the ears of your minds to the ears of your bodies, that one sound may pierce both. When these two words are joined together, as they are often, the matter propounded is either very dark or very remarkable, and commands attention, as Deu 1:45 Isaiah 1:2 ; Isa 1:10 Jeremiah 13:15 Hosea 5:1 .
All ye inhabitants of the land ] sc. of Judea, or all ye inhabitants of the whole earth, q.d. I shall speak of so great a matter, as that I could wish to be heard all the world over. And because all men love to hear news, I shall tell you that that was never known to happen in any age. Rem novam pollicetur emphaticoteros quam more Rhetorico, saith Oecolampadius. Prick up your ears, therefore, and listen.
Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers ] Was there ever such havoc made by several sorts of vermin successively, for four years together? This was the very finger of God, Exodus 8:19 , all whose works (by how small instruments soever) are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein, Psalms 111:2 . His extraordinary works especially are to be noted and noticed; the memory of them is to be transmitted to all posterity. "This shall be written for the generation to come," Psalms 102:18 . "They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this," Psalms 22:31 . Sed vae stupori nostro. There is a woe to such as regard not the works of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands, Isaiah 5:12 , that make of them but a nine days’ wonderment at best, and so pass them over. Whereas every judgment of God should be a warning peal to repentance. We be like the smith’s dog (saith one), who the harder the anvil is beaten on, lies by, and sleeps the sounder. Like the hen (saith another), which loseth her chickens one after another by the devouring kite; and yet still continues to pick up what lies before her: such a deep drowsiness and dressiness of spirit there is upon most of us.
Joe 1:3 Tell ye your children of it, and [let] your children [tell] their children, and their children another generation.
Ver. 3. Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children ] Heb. Cipher them up diligently, after the manner of mathameticians; reckon up the several years with the several calamities thereof to your children and nephews, that they may hear, and fear, and do no more so, Deuteronomy 19:20 . Let your woes be their warnings, your sufferings their standing sermons; your corrections their instructions. See 1 Corinthians 10:5-12 . Ruina maiorum sit cautela minornm (Greg. Mot.). Hast thou marked the old way (saith Eliphaz to Job, Job 22:15-16 ), which wicked men have trodden, which were cut down out of time; whose foundation was overflown with a flood (Heb. a flood was poured upon their foundation), which said unto God, Depart from us? &c. He speaketh of those antediluvian atheists, buried in one universal grave of waters. See Joshua 22:20 Neh 13:26 Judges 1:5-7 , and learn to keep a catalogue of God’s great works, whether of mercy or judgment; yea, to polish and garnish them for the use of posterity, not with vain affectation of wit, nor with pedantic pomp of words, but with sobriety and holy gravity, as here; such as may stick by our children, and leave impression.
Joe 1:4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.
Ver. 4. That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten ] The palmerworm hath its name in Hebrew from shaving, גזם (because it shaveth off the fruits of the earth). In Chaldee from creeping; in Greek from crookening; in Latin from gnawing. (Zachala. καμπη . Eruca ab erodendo. ) The locust hath its name in Hebrew from multitude, wherewith the very sun is darkened; in Latin from burning places, where it spoileth, Locusts, quasi loca ustulans; in Greek from cropping the tops of grain and plants, which, as they fled, they fed upon. The cankerworm hath its name in Hebrew from licking; in Chaldee from fleeing; in Greek and Latin from feeding upon the flowers of apples and other fruits, Aκρις Mηλοχονθη . Comester some render it. Flemings call it, The preacher, a bombo quem palando edit, from the noise it maketh as it flies. The caterpillar hath its name, Chasil, from wasting, because it utterly consumeth all, not only fruits and leaves, but tender boughs and branches: Ut ita creseat oratio sicut ipsum malum, to show that as their sin increased so did their punishment. The Lord of hosts cannot possibly want a weapon wherewith to beat a rebel; neither may wicked men expect that he should lay down the bucklers first. To that bold question of Pharaoh, Exodus 5:2 , "Who is the Lord, that I should obey him?" God made a large reply, by his armies of locusts, lice, flies, &c., till Pharaoh was forced to answer himself, "The Lord is righteous." What spoil hath been made by these despicable creatures here mentioned in other countries, Pliny recordeth. Pierius testifieth that the Egyptians made the locust a hieroglyphic of famine. And although we find not expressly set down in the holy history when this particular plague was executed, yet we need not doubt but it was done according to Deuteronomy 28:38-39 . See 1 Kings 8:37 .
Joe 1:5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
Ver. 5. Awake, ye drunkards ] Ye ale stakes, and suckers (Heb. Shiccorim), that pour in heady and intoxicating drinks, such as soon lay you to sleep, and (besides) take away your heart, Hosea 4:11 , rob you of yourselves, and lay a beast in your room. Portentosum sane potionis genus, saith Pliny concerning ale, that excessively drunk maketh men mere sleepy than dormice: besides that worse sleep of carnal security, Eph 5:14 Romans 13:11 . These, therefore, are here called upon to be sober and watch, see 1 Thessalonians 5:6 1 Peter 5:8 1Pe 4:7 yea, to weep and howl, to turn their laughter into mourning, and their joy into heaviness. And why? For their sin they should have done (as that drunkard in the ecclesiastical history, that, touched with a sense of his sin, wept himself blind), but here they are sarcastically called upon to weep for their great loss, as they esteem it.
Because of the new wine, for it is cut off from your mouth ] As many things occur between the chin and the chalice, the cup and the lip: you made account to have mouthed it, to have swilled your souls, as they say, and to have swallowed it down your wide gullets, Vinum merum nondum dilutum. But behold, it happens somewhat otherwise; the caterpillar hath been before you, and left you nothing better than Adam’s ale to tipple. This as cold comfort to the drunkard, whose word is that of the vine in Jotham’s parable, Non possum relinquere vinum meum, I am not able to leave my wine. Take away my liquor, you take away my life. Austin brings him in saying, Malle se vitam quam vinum eripi, He would rather lose his life than his wine. And Ambrose tells of one Theotimus, that being told by his physicians, that much quaffing would make him blind, Vale lumen amicum, said he, Farewell, sweet eyes; if ye will not bear wine, ye are no eyes for me. This drunkard would rather lose his sight than his sin; his soul than his lust. Such kind of persons are like the panther, which is said to love the dung of man so much, as if it be hanged on high from it, it will skip and leap up, and never leave till it have burst itself in pieces to get it; and this is the way they take that creature. God will take these natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, 2 Peter 2:14 , after another manner. He will not only cut them short enough here, but turn a cup of fire and brimstone down their throats, Psalms 11:6 , which will be worse to them than that ladleful of boiling lead poured down the throat of a drunken Turk, by the command of a bashaw.
Joe 1:6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth [are] the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
Ver. 6. For a nation is come up upon my land ] A nation, sc. of vermin, by swarms, as Joel 2:9 , called afterwards an army, Joel 2:11 , and a people, Joel 2:2 . See the like Proverbs 30:25-26 . "Is come," that is, shortly shall come, "upon my land," this glorious and goodly land, as it is called, Daniel 11:16 . Tarnovius makes this by a mimesis a to be the drunkard’s lamentation. "A nation is come up," &c.
Strong and without number ] Yea, therefore strong, because without number; insuperable, because innumerable. Feeble they are, and yet formidable; because set on by God Almighty, whose warriors they are, as the Roman spoilers are called, Matthew 22:7 . And perhaps the Assyrians may here be hinted at. I doubt not but the literal sense is chiefly intended; neither can I concur with Oecolampadius, who holdeth it to be propheta indignum, unbeseeming the prophet to preach thus concerning worms and locusts: for concerning such poor creatures deal the prophets by the instinct of the Holy Ghost, in sundry other places, Proverbs 6:6 Amos 4:9 ; Amo 7:1 Nahum 3:15 .
Whose teeth are the teeth of a lion ] That is, they devour all that is in their way; as there is no standing before a lion, no, not before a moth that hath commission to crush a man, Job 4:19 .
a Rhet. A figure of speech, whereby the supposed words or actions of another are imitated. ŒD
Joe 1:7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast [it] away; the branches thereof are made white.
Ver. 7. He hath laid my vine waste ] The prophet proceeds in aggravating the calamity, that he might make the people the more sensible. There is nothing in the world more stupid and more stubborn than a drunkard. Of such it is that that saying of an ancient is often verified, Ablatus est a peccantibus timor, ne possit esse cautela, Fear is taken away from offenders, that there should be no caution against it. Here therefore let the words of the wise be as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of the assemblies. Let them so preach with Peter, that their hearers may be pricked at heart, Acts 2:37 , may be galled and sawed, as it were, Acts 7:54 , may startle and tremble, as Acts 24:25 , may awaken out of that dead lethargy, whereinto Satan hath cast them, and recover out of his snare who are taken captive by him at his pleasure, 2 Timothy 2:26 . True it is, we can hardly get men to believe that hell is so hot, or sin so heavy, or the devil so black or God so unmerciful as the preachers make him. The lion, say they, is not so terrible as he is painted; nor is our case so dangerous as is borne us in hand. Sed non pergamus exaggerare, saith Pareus here. Let God’s ministers lay load upon men’s sins, and set forth to the full the miseries that will fall upon them. The prophets did so for temporal (as here most graphically and to the life), shall not we much more for eternal punishments? "Oh" (saith one) "that I could get words to gore your very hearts with smarting pain; that this doctrine might be written in your flesh!"
And barked my fig tree ] Take away the bark from the tree, and the sap can never find the way to the boughs. These vermin had barked the trees with their teeth, cast the bark out of their mouths upon the ground, and made the branches naked and all white as froth; so that the drunkards, deprived of their sweet draughts, were brought ad effiationem animae (as the Chaldee here expounded Chetsephah), to a yielding up of the ghost, yea, ad laqueum et restim, as the Latins, to the very halter.
Joe 1:8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
Ver. 8. Lament like a virgin ] Our prophet hath done with his drunkards; and now applieth himself to the soberer sort, whom also he calleth to deep and downright mourning, in this case of common calamity; there being not any so innocent and holy, but had some hand, if not upon the greater cart ropes, yet surely upon the smaller cords, that drew down dearth and judgment upon the land.
Lament therefore like a virgin ] Betrothed, but bereft of her espoused husband before she was married to him: so Placater. Others understand it of her that (lately a virgin, but now newly married) passionately loved her husband and bitterly bewaileth his death; which some young women have taken so grievously, that they have refused to live any longer; but have chosen to put an end to their life and grief together, as historians testify.
Girded with sackcloth ] Sacco non serico, with mourning weeds as a testimony of help to your humiliation. The dead we see may be lawfully lamented; indeed, it is one of the dues of the dead, τα νομιζομενα , iusta defunctorum. It is fit that the body, when sown in corruption, should be watered by the tears of those that plant it in the earth. Only we must not mourn in this case as heathens, without hope, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 . Our grief must not be excessive, either for measure or continuance; neither must we mourn so much for our friends departed as for our sins against God. In the former case baldness is forbidden; in the latter it is required, Isa 22:12 Zechariah 12:10 ; Zechariah 11:13 . One poor woman weeping over Christ shall be as deeply affected as all the people were in that unspeakable loss of their good king Josiah, at Hadadrimmon, in the valley of Megiddo, where Jeremiah lamented, and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentation, and made them an ordinance, 2 Chronicles 35:24-25 .
Joe 1:9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’S ministers, mourn.
Ver. 9. The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off ] Periit libatio et oblatio. This was the godly man’s greatest grief, that there wanted matter of testifying their thankfulness to God in his commanded worships; and that God was so deeply displeased, as that he had deprived himself and his ministers of the due allowance; so that they also mourned, and could not cheerfully execute their office, for lack of maintenance; for they were not of the chameleon kind.
Joe 1:10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
Ver. 10. The field is wasted, the land mourneth ] The sacrifices are not only cut off for present, but little hopes left for the future; for the field, that common storehouse, that horreum unde hauriatur, is wasted: Shuddad Sadeh, there is an elegant allusion in the original: as in the following words a personification not inferior to those of the poets, as Luther and Vatablus here note.
The land mourneth ] By an ordinary metaphor among the Hebrews, those things are said to mourn that are wasted, desolated, corrupted, and changed for the worse. Lamentations 2:8 , the rampart and the wall are said to lament, and to languish together. When Ephestion died, Alexander not only clipped his horses’ and mules’ hair, but plucked down also the battlements of the walls of the city; because it should appear that the wails and ramparts did mourn for his death (Plutarch): so Isaiah 24:7 , "The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry hearted do sigh." It is fit that if the land mourn and fail of her increase, men should much more mourn and be moved with a sense of their sins, the cause of such calamities. The earth lies under a curse of barrenness, at its best, Genesis 3:17 , and was never so beautiful and cheerful since the fall of Adam. At this day it lieth bedridden, as it were, waiting for the coming of the Son of God, that it may be delivered from the bondage of corruption, Romans 8:20 . But in times of dearth it seemeth to mourn more than ordinary, yea, to blush and bleed.
The new wine is dried up ] Or is abashed; as loth to look men in the face, because not answerable to their expectation: see Isaiah 33:9 .
The oil languisheth ] Or, is sick. Grain, wine, and oil are the main supports of man’s life: all is gone.
Joe 1:11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
Ver. 11. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen ] This repetition of his former exhortation is not needless; for man is a stout and stubborn creature; neither goeth anything more against the hair and the heart with him than to come downward, and to be so soundly sensible of God’s judgments as seriously to repent. Hence St James’s extraordinary importunity in pressing this most needful but much neglected duty, James 4:9-10 . He knew, and so did our prophet, that this work must be done, or else men are undone. Hence that heap of words. Nunquam satis dicitur quod nunquam satis discitur (Seneca). That can never be too much taught that is never enough learned.
Joe 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, [even] all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
Ver. 12. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree lanquisheth ] God cutteth you short of all things both for necessity and delight; and this is so much inculcated and iterated that you may not slight it as a common occurrence; but be deeply affected with it, as a sore affliction. Verba toties repetita viva sunt, vera sunt, sana sunt, plana sunt (Aug.). Let no man think that this is a superfluous tautology, or an idle repetition of the same thing. For, in sacred Scripture there is not a tittle in vain; there is not an apex whereon there hangs not a mountain of sense, as the Rabbis use to say. By one and the same thing repeated, memory is helped, affection is excited, and matters of moment are better minded, Philippians 3:1 . Besides, Repetitio confirmatio est, saith Ambrose, The repeating of a matter implieth, 1. The infallible truth of it; 2. The inexpressible excellency of it; 3. The profitable use of it; 4. The absolute necessity of it. Aut faciendum, aut patiendum. Either to do or to endure.
Joe 1:13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
Ver. 13. Gird yourselves and lament, ye priests ] Be you priest, and first in the practice of humiliation: be you an example of the believers in word, in conversation, &c., 1 Timothy 4:12 , a pattern of piety, τυπος . Si vis ne flere, &c. If others shall lament, you must begin to them; and say, as Abimolech did to his soldiers, "What ye have seen me do, make haste and do likewise," Judges 9:48 ; and as St Paul doth to his Philippians, "Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you," Philippians 4:9 .
For the meat offering and the drink offering, &c. ] Your maintenance is substracted, and (that which should more affect you) the sacred service of God is intermitted, and so the glory is departed, the daily sacrifice is neglected, which the Jews counted and called the abomination of desolation. Phineas’s wife was not without natural affection, 1 Samuel 4:21 , but her spiritual affections prevailed. Therefore in the declaration of her sorrow, that of her father-in-law and husband is but once named; but twice it came in, The glory is departed, The glory is departed. All comforts are but Ichabods to a good heart without the ordinances: without the sincere milk of the word God’s new-born babes cannot be quitted. I could not live in paradise without the word (said Luther), as with the word I could easily live in hell itself.
Joe 1:14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders [and] all the inhabitants of the land [into] the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
Ver. 14. Sanctify ye a fast ] Having humbled yourselves, preach repentance to others. That is the best sermon that is digged out of a man’s own breast. "Sanctify yourselves first, and then prepare your brethren," saith Josiah to the priests of his time, 2 Chronicles 35:6 . A religious fast (for that the prophet intends here by sanctify), rightly observed and referred to religious ends, is both a testimony of true repentance, and a furtherance thereunto; for it tames the rebel flesh, 1 Corinthians 9:27 , which else will wantonize and overtop the spirit, Deuteronomy 32:15 . And it giveth wings to our prayers, which before grovelled on the ground, as it were. Fasting inflameth prayer; and prayer sanctifieth fasting.
Sanctify therefore a fast, call a solemn assembly ] Heb. a day of restraint, separating yourselves, as Zechariah 8:19 , from all fleshly delights; amercing and punishing yourselves in that sort by a holy revenge, as Psalms 35:18 , and afflicting your souls with voluntary sorrows for your sins and miseries.
Gather the elders ] Both those qui canis et annis sunt tales, who are full of days and so of sins; and also those that are in place of authority, whose offences have soared higher on the wings of example and scandal.
And all the inhabitants of the land ] For as all are sin guilty, so your unanimity and charity will further the service. All should get together in this case, and bring their buckets to quench a common fire; the more public and general the humiliation is, the more pleasing and prevalent, Judges 20:26 2 Chronicles 30:8 ; 3 John 1:3; 3 John 1:33 John 1:3 :5 ; John 3:7-8 .
Into the house of the Lord your God ] Which house was a type of Christ (in whom God heareth his), and had made many promises to prayers there put up in faith, 1 Kings 18:37-39 2 Chronicles 6:28-29 .
Of the Lord your God ] Yours still by virtue of the covenant: be sure to keep faith in heart, when we are at the greatest under.
And cry unto the Lord ] With the heart, at least, as Moses did at the Red Sea, when yet none heard him but the ear of heaven only ( Moses egit vocis silentio ut magis audiretur ); and as Hannah did when she uttered no audible voice, and yet poured forth her soul to the Lord with such a strange and unwonted writing of her lips, that Eli thought she had been drunk, 1 Samuel 1:15 .
Joe 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD [is] at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Ver. 15. Alas, for the day, &c. ] Gr. Alas, Alas, Alas; the Vulgate Latin A, A, A, which a Lapide makes much ado about, to little purpose.
For the day of the Lord ] That is, the day of the greatest evils and miseries that ever hitherto they had suffered, if repentance prevent not. That they had suffered much already appeareth Joel 2:25 , but those were but the beginnings of their sorrows, if they yet went on in their sins.
For as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come ] An elegant alliteration there is in the original; together with an allusion to that tremendis title of God, Shaddai. The Jews (probably) boasted much and bare themselves overly bold upon their interest in God Almighty. The prophet therefore tells them that God’s greatest power should be little to their profit while impenitent; for that it should be put forth and exercised for their utter destruction. Aben Ezra interpreteth Shaddai a conqueror, others a destroyer, which a conqueror must needs be. And hereto this text and that Isaiah 13:6 , do allude, when they say Shod shall come from Shaddai, Destruction from the Almighty. Here, also, we may learn when we are under affliction to ascend to the first cause thereof, Amos 3:6 , as David did in that three years’ famine, 2 Samuel 21:1 . See James 3:3-8 .
Joe 1:16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, [yea], joy and gladness from the house of our God?
Ver. 16. Is not the meat cut off before your eyes ] Heb. before your eyes: and so it appeareth to be the prophet’s speech, and not a form prescribed by him to the people, by adding the word (saying) to the end of the fourteenth verse, "Cry to the Lord, saying, Alas, for the day," &c. And it is as if the prophet should say; Do ye not yet see what case you are in? Are ye so stupid and so stout or sturdy, as not to stoop, though starved almost? should not vexation give understanding? are not the fiercest creatures tamed with hard hunger? Will not men in such case buy or beg food of their deadly enemies? O brawny breasts! O horny heart strings!
Yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God ] All God’s services were to be performed with joy; but now, for want of corn and wine (which cheereth God and man, Jdg 9:13 ), the daily sacrfice ceased, and all good hearts were thereby saddened. Joel 1:9 . See Trapp on " Joe 1:9 "
Joe 1:17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
Ver. 17. The seed is rotten under their clods ] It lieth buried or drowned with excessive rain and moisture, corrupting the seed soon after it was sown: and that which was not so marred was afterwards, when it came to be grain, dried up with excessive heat.
The corn is withered ] So that the garners were desolated, the barns broken down for want of stuffing, and for that there was no use of them, since they sowed but reaped not, Micah 6:15 . The husbandman was called to mourning, Amos 5:16 , for a threefold calamity that lay upon his tillage. First, immoderate rain in or about seeding; secondly, locusts and other vermin at spring; thirdly, extreme drought after all, Joel 1:19-20 . Thus God followeth sinners with one plague in the neck of another (as he did Pharaoh, that sturdy rebel), till he have made his foes his footstools. To multiply sin is to multiply sorrow, Psalms 16:4 ; to heap up wickedness is to heap up wrath, Romans 2:5 . "I will heap mischiefs upon them," saith God; "I will spend mine arrows upon them," Deuteronomy 32:23 , which yet cannot be all spent up, as Ovid feared of his Jupiter, that if he should punish men for every offence his store of thunder bolts would be soon spent and exhausted.
“ Si queries peccent homines sua fulmina mittat
Iupiter, exiguo tempore inermis erit. ”
Joe 1:18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
Ver. 18. How do the beasts groan ] The wild beasts groan in their kind.
The herds of cattle ] Home and tame beasts, as oxen,
&c., are perplexed ] as not knowing what to do; it is the same word with that, Esther 3:15 . God had "hid his face" (withdrawn his hand), "and they were troubled; he taketh away their breath" (for lack of pasture), "they die and return to their dust," as David telleth us in his psalm, Psalms 104:29 . Epiphanius’s physiologer reporteth of the bird called Charadius, that being brought where a sick man lieth, if he look upon the sick with a fixed and unremoved eye there is hopes of recovery, but if he look another way the disease is deadly. Sure it is, that if God look in mercy upon man and beast they are cared and catered for, Psalms 36:7 ; Psalms 104:27 ; Psalms 145:15-16 , &c. and the contrary. Yea, the flocks of sheep, &c., which yet can bite upon the bare, live with a little, and get pasture where the larger creatures cannot come.
Joe 1:19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
Ver. 19. O Lord, to thee will I cry ] I will, though others will not. I have called upon others to cry mightily unto thee, and to meet thee by repentance; but they, tanquam monstra marina, as so many sea monsters, pass by my words with a deaf ear, they refuse to return. "Thy hand is lifted up" in threatening, and will fall down in punishing, but "they will not see," Isaiah 26:11 , they will not search, they will not have their eyes (like the windows in Solomon’s temple) broad inward, 1 Kings 6:4 ; the eyes of their minds are as ill set (for this matter) as the eyes of their bodies, they see not what is within. But whatever they do, "my soul shall weep in secret for their pride, and mine eyes shall weep sore," &c., Jeremiah 13:17 , for their insensibleness of their misery.
For the fire hath devoured the pastures ] That is, the immoderate scorching heat of the season. See Psa 83:14 Jeremiah 17:6 . Or the blasting wind, as Lyra expounds it; or the locusts, as Drusius, or God (who is a consuming fire), by any, or all these instruments of his wrath, as Tarnovius.
And the flame hath burnt all the trees of the field ] This was dreadful, but yet nothing to that conflagratio mundi, spoken of by St Peter, 2 Peter 3:12 , "when the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements melt with fervent heat" on the heads of the wicked; who shall give a terrible account, with the world all on a light fire about their ears.
Joe 1:20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Ver. 20. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee ] Glocitant, a term taken from deer; they cry as they can, they cry by implication, imploring thine help, each for himself. See Psa 149:9 Job 39:3 Psalms 104:27 ; and should men be silent?
For the rivers of the waters are dried up ] This maketh the hart bray after the waterbrooks, yea, shed tears, as hunters say the hart will, when hot and hard pressed for water. Hereto David seems to allude, Psalms 42:3 , "My tears have been my meat," &c.
And the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness ] This had been said before, Joel 1:19 . The reason of such repetitions, See Trapp on " Joe 1:11 " See Trapp on " Joe 1:12 Neither let this last exaggeration of the common calamity, by that which befell the brute beasts, seem superfluous. For whereas the security and obstinace of most men is such, that they take little notice of present pressures, but promise themselves peace and safety, whatsoever God, by his servants, shall say to the contrary; it is but needful, surely, that their danger should be inculcated, and their calamity set out, and set on with utmost importunity and vehemence.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joel 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13