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Joe 1:1-20. THE DESOLATE ASPECT OF THE COUNTRY THROUGH THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS; THE PEOPLE ADMONISHED TO OFFER SOLEMN PRAYERS IN THE TEMPLE; FOR THIS CALAMITY IS THE EARNEST OF A STILL HEAVIER ONE.
2, 3. A spirited introduction calling attention.
4. This verse states the subject on which he afterwards expands. Four species or stages of locusts, rather than four different insects, are meant (compare Le 11:22). Literally, (1) the gnawing locust; (2) the swarming locust; (3) the licking locust; (4) the consuming locust; forming a climax to the most destructive kind. The last is often three inches long, and the two antennæ, each an inch long. The two hinder of its six feet are larger than the rest, adapting it for leaping. The first "kind" is that of the locust, having just emerged from the egg in spring, and without wings. The second is when at the end of spring, still in their first skin, the locusts put forth little ones without legs or wings. The third, when after their third casting of the old skin, they get small wings, which enable them to leap the better, but not to fly. Being unable to go away till their wings are matured, they devour all before them, grass, shrubs, and bark of trees: translated "rough caterpillars" (Jer 51:27). The fourth kind, the matured winged locusts (see on Na 3:16). In Joe 2:25 they are enumerated in the reverse order, where the restoration of the devastations caused by them is promised. The Hebrews make the first species refer to Assyria and Babylon; the second species, to Medo-Persia; the third, to Greco-Macedonia and Antiochus Epiphanes; the fourth, to the Romans. Though the primary reference be to literal locusts, the Holy Spirit doubtless had in view the successive empires which assailed Judea, each worse than its predecessor, Rome being the climax.
5. Awake--out of your ordinary state of drunken stupor, to realize the
cutting off from you of your favorite drink. Even the drunkards (from a
Hebrew root, "any strong drink") shall be forced to "howl," though
usually laughing in the midst of the greatest national calamities, so
palpably and universally shall the calamity affect all.
6. nation--applied to the locusts, rather than "people"
(Pr 30:25, 26),
to mark not only their numbers, but also their savage
hostility; and also to prepare the mind of the hearer for the
transition to the figurative locusts in the second chapter, namely, the
"nation" or Gentile foe coming against Judea (compare
7. barked--BOCHART, with the
Septuagint and Syriac, translates, from an Arabic
root, "hath broken," namely, the topmost shoots, which locusts most
feed on. CALVIN supports English Version.
8. Lament--O "my land"
9. The greatest sorrow to the mind of a religious Jew, and what ought
to impress the whole nation with a sense of God's displeasure, is the
cessation of the usual temple-worship.
10. field . . . land--differing in that "field" means
the open, unenclosed country; "land," the rich red soil (from a
root "to be red") fit for cultivation. Thus, "a man of the field," in
Hebrew, is a "hunter"; a "man of the ground" or "land," an
"Field" and "land" are here personified.
11. Be . . . ashamed--that is, Ye shall have the shame of
disappointment on account of the failure of "the wheat" and "barley . . .
12. pomegranate--a tree straight in the stem growing twenty feet high;
the fruit is of the size of an orange, with blood-red colored pulp.
13. Gird yourselves--namely, with sackcloth; as in
the ellipsis is supplied (compare
14. Sanctify . . . a fast--Appoint a solemn fast.
15. day of the Lord-- (Joe 2:1, 11); that is, the day of His anger (Isa 13:9; Ob 15; Zep 1:7, 15). It will be a foretaste of the coming day of the Lord as Judge of all men, whence it receives the same name. Here the transition begins from the plague of locusts to the worse calamities (Joe 2:1-11) from invading armies about to come on Judea, of which the locusts were the prelude.
and latter part of
17. is rotten--"is dried up," "vanishes away," from an Arabic root
[MAURER]. "Seed," literally, "grains." The drought causes the seeds to
lose all their vitality and moisture.
18. cattle . . . perplexed--implying the restless gestures of the dumb
beasts in their inability to find food. There is a tacit contrast
between the sense of the brute creation and the insensibility of the
19. to thee will I cry--Joel here interposes, As this people is
insensible to shame or fear and will not hear, I will leave them and
address myself directly to Thee (compare
20. beasts . . . cry . . . unto thee--that is, look up to heaven with heads lifted up, as if their only expectation was from God (Job 38:41; Ps 104:21; 145:15; 147:9; compare Ps 42:1). They tacitly reprove the deadness of the Jews for not even now invoking God.