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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Joel 1

 

 

Verses 1-20

THE PROPHET JOEL

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PART FIRST

THE JUDGMENT AND CALL TO REPENTANCE

Joel 1:1 to Joel 2:17

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SECTION I

Complaint of the Desolation of Judah by Locusts and Drought

Joel 1

1The word of Jehovah which came to[FN1] Joel, the son of Pethuel.

2Hear this, ye[FN2] old men,

And give ear[FN3] all ye inhabitants of the land!

Hath such[FN4] a thing been in your days,

Or even in the days of your fathers?

3Tell it[FN5] to your children,

And your children to their children,

And their children to another generation.

4What the palmer worm[FN6] hath left, the locust hath eaten,

And what the locust hath left, the beetle hath eaten,

And what the beetle hath left, the caterpillar hath eaten.

5 Awake[FN7] ye drunkards,[FN8] and weep,

And cry out[FN9] all ye drinkers of wine

On account of the new wine (or must),[FN10]

For it is cut off (removed) from your mouth.

6 For[FN11] a people[FN12] hath invaded[FN13] my land,[FN14]

Mighty and numberless;

Their teeth are the teeth of a lion,

And they have the jaw teeth of a lioness.

7 They have laid waste my vine,[FN15]

And barked (or broken) my fig trees;

They have made it quite bare,[FN16] and cast it away;

Its branches are made white.

8 Lament[FN17] like a bride[FN18]

Girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

9 Cut off is the meat offering and the drink offering from the house of Jehovah;

The priests mourn

The ministers[FN19] of Jehovah.

10 The field is wasted,[FN20]

The land mourneth,[FN21]

For the corn is destroyed,

The new wine is dried up,

The oil[FN22] fails.

11Be ashamed ye husbandmen,

Howl ye vine-dressers,

For the wheat and for the barley[FN23];

Because the harvest of the field hath perished.

12The vine is dried up,

And the fig tree faileth,

The pomegranate, also the palm, and the apple tree (quince),

All the trees of the field are withered,

So that joy is dried up[FN24] from the sons of men.

13Gird yourselves and Lamentations, ye priests,

Cry out ye ministers of the altar;

Come, lie all night in sackcloth

Ye ministers of my God,

For the meat offering and the drink offering

Are withheld from the house of your God.

14Sanctify a fast,

Appoint a solemn assembly,

Gather the elders,

And all the inhabitants of the land

In the house of Jehovah your God;

And cry unto Jehovah.

15 Alas for the day!

Because the day of Jehovah is at hand;

It will come like[FN25] a tempest from the Almighty (Shaddai).[FN26]

16 Is not the food cut off before our eyes?

Joy and gladness from the house of our God?

17 The grains[FN27] (seeds) are rotten27 under their clods,27

The garners are destroyed,

The barns27 are broken down,

Because the corn is withered.

18 How the beasts groan!

The herds of cattle are perplexed,

Because they have no pasture;

Even the flocks of sheep perish.

19 Unto Thee, O Jehovah, will I cry,

For the fire hath devoured all the pastures of the plain,

And the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.

20 Even[FN28] the beasts of the field[FN29] cry nnto Thee

For the streams of water are dried up,

And the fire hath devoured the pastures of the plain (wilderness).

EXEGETICAL

Joel 1:2-4. (Hear this ye old men,—) the caterpillar hath eaten. A call is made upon the inhabitants of Judah, and especially the old men, to testify that an unheard-of thing had happened,—an event to be told to their posterity, namely, the complete desolation of the land by successive swarms of locusts.

Joel 1:2. (Old men.) They are named because their memory goes back the farthest. The calamity might well be deemed extraordinary if they could recall nothing like it. Inhabitants of the land, i. e., of Judah, as is evident from what follows Joel 1:14; Joel 2:1. זאֹת refers to what is stated in Joel 1:4. In Joel 1:2-3 there is an allusion to Exodus 10:2-6, where the plague of locusts in Egypt is spoken of.

Joel 1:4. Swarms of locusts come, each one devouring what its predecessor had left. This, however, is not described in a dry, prosaic way. As the locusts appear four times, they bear four distinct names. Their proper name is אַרִבֶּה, the others are poetic ones. These names are not used simply to denote the changes which the locusts undergo, nor their invasion of the land during successive years, as this would not consist with the statement that what one kind had left, another had eaten. The preterite אָבַל is to be taken in its proper sense. The whole chapter speaks of something that has actually happened. The desolation is described in detail, one feature of it after another being depicted in such a way as to arouse those affected by it to earnest prayer.

Joel 1:5-7. Awake ye drunkards.—Its branches are made white. The drunkards are called upon to mourn, to show poetically how complete is the desolation of the vineyards. At the same time, this is to be regarded as a punishment for the sins of the people, who are summoned to repent, though this last idea is not yet explicitly expressed.

Joel 1:6. The locusts are represented under the figure of a hostile army. They are not to be regarded as a type of such an army, as if the passage was simply allegorical. Yet the idea of enmity to Israel implied in the word גוֹי—a heathen people,—must not be lost sight of, for these locusts actually ravage the land of Israel. Hence there is no ground for taking עָלַה otherwise than as a preterite, nearly in the sense of a future, as predicting something to come. אַרְצי is the land of the prophet as speaking in the name of the people. Jehovah himself does not speak directly, comp. Joel 5:13. The arms of these invaders are their teeth, which grind like those of a lion. The jaw-teeth of the lioness protecting or avenging her young are added by way of climax.

Joel 1:7. The vine and fig tree. These are added because they are among the most valuable of fruit trees, comp. Hosea 2:14. לִקִצָפָה is properly that which is broken off, i. e., a fragment of wood, splinter, chip. הֲשָׂפָה, made bare, by barking or paring, so as to peel off. The bark is thrown away; and the whole vine is made white or blanched by the barking of it.

Joel 1:8-10. (Lament like a bride,—the oil fails.) The lamentation of the drunkards is simply a prelude to what follows. It would be a mistake to suppose that sensual pleasures and enjoyments alone are meant. The thing at stake was so much greater than these, that the whole land had cause to mourn.

Joel 1:8. Judah is here regarded as a wife, and hence the fitness of comparing this lamentation to that of a young bride mourning the husband of her youth. Certainly no judgment could be more severe than one that made it impossible to present “the meat and drink offerings.” Hence the priests had reason to mourn; and Judah, in danger of losing the visible emblems of the presence of his God, is fitly compared to the young wife who had lost her husband. These offerings could not be presented because everything was destroyed. [The corn, wine, and oil were essential ingredients of these offerings, and every sacrifice would be imperfect without them. The locusts and the drought combined must also have caused a great dearth of the animals used in sacrifice.—F.]

Joel 1:11-12. Be ashamed, ye husbandmen,—from the sons of men. The husbandmen and vine-dressers are next addressed. The worst feature of the desolation, already mentioned, is not again noticed until we come to Joel 1:13. In Joel 1:11, הֵילִילוּ,הֹבישׁוּ are imperfects. הֹבִישׁ, from בוּשׁ (perhaps to distinguish it from הוֹבִיש the Hiphil of יָבֵשׁ, here without the ו which precedes and follows it), to be ashamed, to grow pale. Going into their fields and finding nothing there, they are ashamed.

Joel 1:12 adds the reason for their lamentation. Besides the vine and the fig, other noble trees are mentioned which may have been under the special care of the vine-dresser; as well as the trees of the field generally. הֹבִיש שׁשׂוֹן here also the Hiph. of בוּש, to grow paler. Joy becomes, as it were, ashamed; she withdraws herself, and is no more seen.

Joel 1:13-17. Gird yourselves and lament ye Priests,—the corn is withered. The discourse returns to what had been complained of in Joel 1:9, as the worst feature of the calamity, namely, the inability to offer sacrifices. Here ( Joel 1:13) the priests are again called upon to lament the want of materials for the temple service. “Gird yourselves,” i. e., with sackcloth or hair-cloth “Pass the night,” i. e., even in the night-time their lamentations on this account should continue. [They should weep between the court and the altar. See 1 Kings 21:27. There was nothing strange in this direction, for there was no intermission in the temple service by day or night. See Psalm 134:1.—F.] “Ministers of my God,” the God whose prophet I am. [The suffix of the first person shows that the prophet, on the one hand, stood apart from the priests, and on the other, stood in a very near relation to God as his organ, and therefore elevated far above all other ranks and conditions of men.—Wünsche.[FN30] F.] The phrase “your God,” is immediately afterward used, and repeated in Joel 1:14, hence it must not be supposed that the prophet intended, or was obliged to separate himself wholly from the priests. There must be fasting as well as lamentation. This was to be observed not by the priests alone; on the contrary, the whole people must be assembled in the temple, and there in the midst of these masses the priests should cry unto the Lord. “Sanctify a fast,” because fasting was held to be, in the popular estimation, a holy, religious service. קִרְאוּ עַצָרָה. The word שצָרָה ordinarily denotes a religious assembly, one to observe a great festival. Fürst thinks that it comes from עָצַר, to fix, to settle, i. e., a fixed time,[FN31] hence to proclaim a fast day. The “old men,”—not the elders in the official sense of the term, as one might perhaps infer from the E. V.—who had been called upon ( Joel 1:2) to testify that no such calamity had ever before happened, must be present in this assembly, as well as those who are to hear their testimony, זָעַק, to cry out as an expression of want, or distress. The substance of this “cry,” or complaint, is presented in the verses that immediately follow. This complaint probably extends as far as Joel 1:17, in which the desolation of the land is set forth as the ground of the lamentation. Joel 1:18 seems to begin a new section, in which the cries of the lower animals are represented as mingled with the complaints of men.

Joel 1:15. Alas for the day, i. e., the present time of desolation. This cry of distress is caused by the nearness of the day of the Lord. The character of this day may be learned from its results. It is close at hand; it is coming as a desolating scourge from the Almighty, and its effect will be such as to show that it could come only from Him. That this terrible state of things had already begun is evident from Joel 1:16. The meat is cut off; the voice of joy and gladness is no longer heard in the temple. Why? Because it is not possible to present there the usual thank-offerings. Besides the invasion of the locusts which had eaten up every green thing, there was an unusual drought ( Joel 1:18) which had greatly intensified the calamity that had befallen Judah. In consequence of these things the granaries were empty, the barns had gone to ruin, for the corn had failed. The question arises, how is the passage from Joel 1:13 and onwards to be viewed. It is commonly taken to be a new section, the subject of which is the call to repentance. Keil thus explains its connection with the preceding context: “Lamentation and mourning alone will not bring release from the calamity: with these must be conjoined repentance and prayer to Jehovah, who can avert every evil.” But though this view seems to be favored by Joel 1:14-15, it really mistakes the prophet’s train of thought. The call to repentance does not come formally into view until Joel 2:12, though the way had been prepared for it, Joel 2:1. Now the description of the day of the Lord in Joel 2:2 has a relation to what is said in Joel 1:15, so that the call to repentance may be said to have its root and nothing more, in this earlier section. The special design of Joel 1is to lay a foundation for what is to follow, by exhibiting the magnitude of Judah’s distress, and the special reason for repentance. The intensity of the mourning showed the magnitude of the judgment. The priests ( Joel 1:13) and the people at large ( Joel 1:15) are alike called upon to recognize the judgment, and to return to God who had sent it. This passage and Joel 2:15 seem to be exactly alike in purport, but there are differences between them which should not be overlooked. They differ in regard to the motive and the object of the proposed fasting and humiliation. In Joel 2:15 the priests are charged to call a solemn assembly, because in this way they might hope for God’s mercy. In Joel 1:14 the ground of lamentation is the suspension of sacrifices, which not only affected the public worship of God in the temple as conducted by the priesthood, but also the immediate interests of the people themselves. They also differ in the object proposed. In Joel 2:15 the priests in the people’s name and behalf beseech the mercy of the Lord. In Joel 1:14-15 they cry to Him, “Alas.” They bring their complaint before the Lord, because this great calamity bears upon their relation to Him as his ministers, depriving them of the means for carrying on divine service, and hence they cry out, “the day of the Lord is near.” So thorough is the desolation that one may well say “the day of the Lord is at hand.” Things have this look. But as yet there is no word about repentance, confession of sin, and return to God. The calamity, in its unequaled magnitude, and far-reaching effects, just now fills the prophet’s mind. He naturally regards it as coming from God’s hand, but he here says nothing about the cause of it. The reason for deeming it a divine infliction is only implied in the connection between the devastation and what the day of the Lord would bring.

Joel 1:17-18 show that the prophet is not yet exhorting the people, but is still describing the great calamity. It would be strange, therefore, for him to introduce in Joel 1:13 a topic so entirely new, as repentance. Nor do we find in these verses the proper motives for such an exercise. Logically, then, these two passages are quite distinct, the one being a call to lamentation, and the other a call to repentance. When the prophet, in Joel 1:14 and Joel 2:15, exhorts the priests to appoint a fast and call a solemn assembly, he does not mean that this should be done twice, at two different times. The one call is simply a repetition of the other, but in a different sense. He wishes the people to fast, and to meet in the temple, to mourn there with the priests, and that they should also manifest their penitence by prayer for mercy offered by the priests as their representatives.

Joel 1:18-20. How do the beasts groan,—the pastures of the wilderness. The beasts of the field must suffer equally with men. This fact is used to illustrate the magnitude of the calamity. But as these dumb animals cannot describe their sufferings, the prophet himself becomes their interpreter, and as if sharing their distress, exclaims, To Thee, O Jehovah, do I cry—for help. That this appeal is in the name of the beasts of the field is evident from Joel 1:19. The flame, the fire, Joel 1:19-20 = the fierce heats that produced the drought. The beasts include domestic and wild animals.

THEOLOGICAL

1. We may here discuss the question whether the visitation of the locusts is to be regarded as an allegorical prediction of an invasion of the land by a hostile people, as most of the older expositors, and more recently Hengstenberg and Havernick take it to be. They think that the prophecy of the desolation of the land begins in chap1. If this be Song of Solomon, as there is no formal mention of the future, we must suppose that the prophet sees the approach of the calamity so vividly, that he pictures the future as a present reality. While this view may be admissible, it is not natural. On its face, the text describes not a future, but a present fact, and there is no exegetical necessity for assigning to it any other sense. We may also remark that the call to the old men to testify whether such a thing had happened in their day, and to the people generally to transmit the account of it to their children, would have no significance, if the event were a future one. Chap 1 certainly describes a devastation that had actually happened, and as no foreign foe had as yet invaded the land, it must have been caused by locusts and drought. It needs no proof that the word “people” ( Joel 1:6) does not necessarily denote a real nation. Again, the devastation caused by locusts would be an inadequate type of an invasion of the land, since one of the essential features of the latter would be wanting, namely, the shedding of blood. The picture of the calamity in no way suggests the terrors caused by an inroad of foreign foes. The chapter simply treats of the damage done to the products of the earth, and the complaints of men in consequence of it.—But as regards chap2, the question whether the visitation of locusts is to be taken in an allegorical sense, is not so easily settled. Here the coming of “the day of the Lord” is for the first time distinctly announced, and in this connection there is a renewed mention of the destruction caused by locusts and drought. That this latter event should be made the theme of a prophetic discourse, is no way surprising, because Holy Scripture teaches us that all public calamities are divine dispensations designed to awaken men to a sense of their sins, and to bring them to repentance. What more natural, then, than that the prophets should, in God’s name, threaten such calamities, and when they did come, interpret and apply them so as to arouse the people to penitence, so that they might escape still heavier judgments? A clear illustration of this is found in Amos 6:6, and as he closely follows Joel, we may regard it as settled that the latter prophet had these calamities before his mind. But the prophet is a poet as well as a preacher of repentance; and so he presents a most vivid poetic picture of the great misfortune which had befallen Judah. In its surpassing magnitude, God’s chastising hand was all the more manifestly displayed, and his voice was all the more distinctly heard calling his people to repent.

2. The memory of extraordinary events should be preserved in the popular mind. They thus become a tradition, or a history. Thus only can there be a continuous life in the case of individuals, of families, and of nations. This basis of history, namely, the remembrance of the experience of former generations, in the case of Israel is essentially a religious one. Here, events are manifestations of God,—of his mercy, or his judgment. As such they should never be forgotten, in order that the revelation of God to the consciousness of a nation may be maintained in an ever-living freshness.

3. Terrible as is the scourge which strikes at the means of subsistence in a land, in the prophet’s eye this is not its worst result. In this case, for example, the greatest evil produced by it was the loss of the sacrifices in the house of God. The Temple was the visible sign and pledge of God’s dwelling in the midst of Israel as his people. But it was such only while divine worship was kept up in it, according to the due order, by the priests as the representatives of the people. The daily morning and evening sacrifice formed an essential part of this service; and on its continuance depended the continuance of God’s covenant relation to his people [i. e, not really, but visibly.—F.]. The suspension of the one suspended the other. Hence no greater misfortune could happen to Israel than the inability, caused by famine, to supply the Temple with the materials for these sacrifices. Joel, realizing fully the necessity of these offerings for the purpose before named, turns to the priests, here and in chap, 2, entreating them to call upon God themselves and to endeavor to bring the people to repentance. Such, in any case, was their present duty. How it might be in the future will be disclosed in chap3. Meanwhile it is manifest that no merely formal service would meet the exigency. Only true repentance would avail.

HOMILETICAL

[Henry: The greatness of the judgment is expressed here in two things: (1.) It was such as could not be paralleled in the ages that were past; in history, or the memory of any living. Those that outdo their predecessors in sin, may justly expect to fall under greater and sorer judgments than any of their predecessors knew. (2.) It was such as would not be forgotten in the ages to come. We ought to transmit to posterity the memorial of God’s judgments as well as of his mercies.—F.]

Joel 1:3. How necessary it is that our children should be taught the will of God, and what his purpose is when He chastises us, so that the fear of his holy name may be deepened in our hearts.

Ver4. Here we learn the omnipotence of God, and how vainly human power is arrayed against Him, since He can employ the smallest and meanest insect to do his will.

Joel 1:5. Ye drunkards who consume God’s kindly gifts in intemperance and sin, know that your sin carries a curse with it, and that God can easily cut off the wine from your mouths, and punish you with years of famine.

[Pusey: All sin stupefies the sinner. All intoxicate the mind, bribe and pervert the judgment, dull the conscience, blind the soul, and make it insensible to its own ills. God arouses those who will be aroused by withdrawing from them the pleasures wherein they offended Him. Weeping for things temporal may awaken the fear of losing things eternal.—F.].

Joel 1:6-8. The Christian Church is God’s vineyard. If at any time it yields not good fruit, but only wild grapes, it shall be laid waste.

[Robinson: Prevailing sins are often visited with corresponding judgments. The Lord in his righteous dealings withholds those gifts of his providence which have been abused. He takes from an ungodly people the means of gratifying their lusts, and leads them to repentance by afflictions which are not capriciously ordered, but with exactest wisdom are suited to their character. Be assured, the prosperity of the Church depends not on a grand ceremonial, or crowds of admiring devotees, or the countenance of the state, however desirable these things may be, but only on the favor of God, whose blessing, and whose Spirit will I be withdrawn, if we defile his sanctuary with superstitious rites.—F.]

Joel 1:9. No greater sorrow can befall the teachers and hearers of the Word, than the cessation of divine worship. Want of the means of livelihood must exert a very prejudicial influence on the public service of God. Under the old economy there would be, of necessity, a failure of tithes and offerings. So now, when people have a hard and constant struggle for the bare means of subsistence, they will be far behind others in knowledge of the truth, in the proper training of children, and in mutual love.

Joel 1:10. How quickly the Lord can turn all human joy into sorrow! How comes it then, O sinner, that thou cleavest so closely to temporal things which may be taken away at any moment? What reason have we to praise the goodness of the Lord, who gives us fruitful seasons, and fills our hearts with gladness?

Joel 1:11. Husbandmen are too apt to desire the blessings of the field through avarice, or for the sake of their own carnal enjoyment. Therefore God sometimes sends them a sad instead of a joyful harvest-time.

[Scott: We are so dependent upon God in everything, that no human wisdom or power can provide plenty when He pleases to send scarcity; without his rain, the seed even must perish, the trees of the field must wither, and all our temporal joys must sicken and die, and such judgments are emblems of the great day of retribution. How stupid then are sinners who are insensible under such judgments, or only mourn with a rebellious and unhumbled sorrow.

Pusey: The vine is the richness of divine knowledge, the fig the sweetness of contemplation and the joyousness in things eternal. Well is the life of the righteous likened to a palm, in that the palm below is rough to the touch, and in a manner enveloped in a dry bark, but above it is adorned with fruit, fair even to the eye; below it is compressed by the enfoldings of its bark, above it is spread out in amplitude of beautiful greenness. For so is the life of the elect,—despised below, beautiful above.—F.]

Joel 1:13-14. Who shall blame God’s ministers when they complain of the declension of religion? Who would not weep when he thinks of the miserable condition of many churches.

Fasting is one of the ways of deepening and manifesting repentance, sanctioned by Holy Scripture. When properly observed, the result will be to stimulate us to cry more earnestly to God. Under great calamities, men should be taught to look to God, not only in a general way, but they should be told to seek Him in special and appropriate exercises of penitence and prayer.

[Henry: They that are employed in holy things are therein God’s ministers, and on Him they attend. A people may be filling up the measure of their iniquity apace, and yet may keep up a course of external performances in religion. As far as any public trouble is an obstruction to the course of religion, it is to be on that account more than any other, sadly lamented, especially by the Lord’s ministers.

Pusey: The fast which the Lord approveth is that which lifteth up to Him hands full of almsdeeds, which is passed with brotherly love, which is seasoned with piety. What thou subtractest from thyself, bestow on another, that thy needy neighbor’s flesh may be recruited.—F.]

Joel 1:15-18. When God punishes, He seeks our improvement; but if this does not follow, He will utterly destroy.—The sufferings of the lower animals are caused by the sin of man.

[Henry. Though it is common for the heart not to rue what the eye sees not, yet that heart is hard indeed which does not humble itself when God’s judgments are before the eyes. If when God’s hand is lifted up, men will not see, when his hand is laid on they shall see.—The house of our God is the proper place for joy and gladness; when David goes to the altar of God, it is to God my exceeding joy; but when joy and gladness are cut off from God’s house, either by corruption of holy things, or the persecution of holy persons, when serious godliness decays, and love waxes cold, then it is time to cry to the Lord, time to cry Alas!—F.]

Joel 1:19-20. It is one of the special duties of a teacher of the Word to be constant in prayer to God.—God hears the cries even of dumb animals. Then, O my soul, trust Him in all thy troubles, and know that He will listen to thy cries as much more readily than to theirs, as thou art of more value than they. The prophet, in his appeal to God, is not ashamed to be found in fellowship with the beasts of the field. So the Divine Spirit, by way of arousing our faith, points us to the fact that God feeds the young ravens, and gives the cattle their food. Yet how readily can God turn all our joys into deepest griefs ! How unexpectedly can He do this, and by what feeble mean! How preposterous, then, for any to regard their earthly possessions as secure, and to boast of them! How plainly God shows us that we live only in and through his blessing, that everything we possess is his gift. How thankful we should be when He permits us to enjoy fully what He has bestowed upon us!

[Henry: The prophet stirs them up to cry to God.

(1) By his own example. He would not put them upon doing that which he would not resolve to do himself; nay, whether they would do it or no, he would.

Note.—If God’s ministers cannot prevail to affect others with the discoveries of divine wrath, yet they ought to be themselves affected with them; if they cannot bring others to cry to God, yet they must themselves be much in prayer. In times of trouble we must not only pray, but cry, must be fervent and importunate in prayer; and to God, from whom both the destruction Isaiah, and the salvation must be, ought our cry always to be directed

(2) By the example of the inferior creatures. The beasts of the field do not only groan, but they cry unto Thee. They appeal to thy pity, according to their capacity, and as if, though they are not capable of a rational and revealed religion, yet they had some dependence upon God by natural instinct. Much more will He put a favorable construction on the groanings of his own children, though sometimes so feeble, that they cannot be uttered.

Scott: God will hear the united prayers of the remnant of his servants, and often for their sakes will rescue a guilty nation from impending destruction.

Pusey: O Lord, to Thee will I cry. This is the only hope left, and contains all hopes. From the Lord was the infliction; in Him is the healing. The prophet appeals to God by his own Name, the faithful Fulfiller of his promises, Him who Isaiah, and who had promised to hear all who call upon Him. Let others call to their idols, if they would, or remain stupid, the prophet would call unto God, and that earnestly.—F.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Joel 1:1.—The preposition אֶל indicates direction, and like the Arab. ال includes ordinarily the terminus oulquem. Sept. ὅς ἐγενηθη προς ʼΙωηλ.

FN#2 - Joel 1:2.—הַזְקֵנִים. The Hebrews, unlike the Arab, has no proper vocative, and hence the simple noun with or with out the article takes its place.

FN#3 - Joel 1:2.—הַיֲֹזִינוּ, denom. verb from אָזַן: it is stronger than שָׁמַע, but is only used in poetry.

FN#4 - Joel 1:2.—The dagesh in the second זּא̇ה is the dag. forte conj.

FN#5 - Joel 1:3.—עָלֶיהָ. The fem. suffix, which according to a peculiar Heb. idiom stands for the neut, has for its antecedent זאת. The prep. על denotes the object of the discourse; it is used like the lat. super, and Gr. ὑπέρ.

FN#6 - Joel 1:4.—There is little difference of opinion in regard to the etymology of the names of the insects mentioned in this verse.—גָזָם from the same root = to cut off. אַרְבֶה, the most common name for locust, from רָבַה, to multiply. יֶלֶק from the same root, to lick up. חָסִל from חסל, to consume. Expositors are, however, very much divided as to whether these terms are names of the locust at different stages of its growth, or of different species of insect. Bp. Newcome renders them, the grasshopper; the locust, the devouring locust; the consuming locust. Hitzig, Keil, and others regard them as simply poetical epithets of one and the same species of locust. It is hardly possible to give their exact equivalents in English.

FN#7 - Joel 1:5.—הָקִיצוּ from קוּץ, to cut off, to separate, then to arouse, or awaken; the opposite of the onomatopoetic word רָדַם to snore, to sleep heavily.

FN#8 - Joel 1:5.—שִׁכּוֹרִים, from שָׁכַר, a strong drink made of honey, raisins, dates, and other fruits. Hence the word=notorious drunkards.

FN#9 - Joel 1:5.—והילִילוּ, from the onomatopoetic יָלַל, to howl, complain.

FN#10 - Joel 1:5.—עָסִים is the fresh sweet juice of the grape, and other kinds of fruit, as the pomegranate, Song of Solomon 8:3, and is to be distinguished from תִּירושׁ, new wine, strictly so called. The former must have been a favorite drink of the old Hebrews.

FN#11 - Joel 1:6.—כִי makes the connection between this and the preceding verse.

FN#12 - Joel 1:6.—גוֹי denotes a heathen, hostile people, and differs from עִם, though the distinction between the two words is not always observed. See Text. notes on Obadiah, Joel 1:1.

FN#13 - Joel 1:6.—עָלַה עַל, lit. gone up, upon, perhaps with reference to the fact that Palestine is higher than the countries around it; but the word is often used in the more general sense: to approach, to enter, etc, where the region is a level one.

FN#14 - Joel 1:6.—“My land.” אַרצִי i. e., not the land of Jehovah, nor simply the native land of Joel, but the land with which he was allied as the prophet of the Lord.

FN#15 - Joel 1:7.—גַפִנִי “my vine,”—not the vine of the Lord, but of the Prophet speaking in his name

FN#16 - Joel 1:7.—חָשׂף lit, “peeling it have peeled it,” i. e., completely.

FN#17 - Joel 1:8.—אֱלִי, imper. fem. of אָלַה, and ἅπ. λεγ., like the Chald. and Syr. ܙܥܐܱ The more usual form is הֵילִיל. Many expositors, without reason, take it as a denom. from אֵל God.

FN#18 - Joel 1:8.—The proper Heb. word for virgin is עַלְמָה The word here used denotes a bride, i. e., a young woman espoused. See Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23.

FN#19 - Ver9.—משָרִתֵי. Ministers, from שָׁרַת, to serve. It denotes free and honorable service, e. g., of the temple, in contrast with עָבַד which denotes the enforced service of slaves.

FN#20 - Joel 1:10.—שְׁדַד שָׁדִה. A paronomasia. The root שָׁדַד has in Kal first the intrans. sense to be strong, next the trans, sense, to use strength, i. e., to waste, to desolate. שָׁדֶה denotes specially wheat or barley fields, then woodland, field is where cattle folder; אַדָמָה, farmland generally.

FN#21 - Joel 1:10.—אָבַלָה, the Sept. and Arab. versions take this as an imper., and render it “Mourn! O land.”

FN#22 - Joel 1:10.—יִצְהָר, from the root צָהר, to be clear, i. e., the oil newly pressed and clarified; as distinguished from שֶמֶז, fat.

FN#23 - Joel 1:11.—עַל־חִטָּה. The prep. על, as in Joel 1:5; Joel 1:7, marks the cause. חִטָה and שְעוֹרָה are the two kinds of דָּנָן; the one kind of grain being used as food by men, the other chiefly by cattle, though the very poor used both.

FN#24 - Joel 1:12.—כִי־הֹבִישׁ. We have here what is called constructio pregnans = שׂשׂוֹן הֹבִישׁ וּבָרַח, joy has withered and fled away.

FN#25 - Joel 1:15.—כִשֹׁד. The expression is regarded by some as a sort of proverbial one. כ is not pleonastic, nor the Song of Solomon -called כ veritatis, but indicates likeness in quality or degree.

FN#26 - Joel 1:15.—“From Shaddai—the Almighty.” The Rabbins, Raschi, Abarbanel, and Maimonides see in this name a profound mystery, because it is a noun compounded of the insep pronoun, שׁ, with pattach notat, and דִּי, or דָיַי to hold. The rendering of the Sept, καὶ ως ταλαιπωρία εκ ταλαιπωρίας ἥξει, is wholly inadmissible.

FN#27 - Joel 1:17.—The three ἅπαξ λεγομ. words in this verse, render it both as to etymology and grammar, one of the most difficult in the whole book. עָבְשוּ, according to Aben Ezra and Kimchi, means “rotted;” “perished,” New come; “dried up,” Pusey, Wünsche. Some light is cast on the sense of פְרֻדוֹת, by the Syr. seed, corn and the Chald. פָרָד, grain. In form the word is the Paûl participle of פָרַד. The third word, מֶגְרְפוֹת, is probably from the root גָרַףִ—found only in Judges 5:21,—which in all the dialects has the sense of to bear or carry away The Arab. ܩܪܪܷܬܱܐ denotes the breaking up of the soil by the plough. מֶרְָפָה, therefore, may be a lump of soil, a clod, such as is thrown up by the plough. So the old Jewish expositors have understood it. In מַמִּגֻרוֹת we have another ἅπαξ λεγ.—yet there can be little doubt as to its meaning. The מ local is prefixed. Newcome renders it “store-houses.” Tregelles, “granaries, or cells for keeping grain.”

FN#28 - Joel 1:20.—גַּם here as in Joel 1:13, marks an increase of the general calamity.

FN#29 - Joel 1:20.—The construction of the fem sing. with the plur. noun is common in poetry, and is proper here because בַהֲמוֹת is used in a collective sense. This term denotes domestic cattle.—F.]

FN#30 - Wünsche thinks that this circumstance shows that Joel could not have belonged to the priestly order. But this would be overstraining the sense of “my.”—F.]

FN#31 - The etymology of the word is right, but the sense which Furst suggests is an arbitrary one. and does not accord with its evident meaning in the many passages in which it occurs. It has the same sense here as in Leviticus 23:3-6; Numbers 29:35; Deuteronomy 16:8; 2 Chronicles 7:9; Nehemiah 8:18—F.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Joel 1:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/joel-1.html. 1857-84.

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Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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