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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - JOEL 2
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    CHAPTER 2

    Joe 2:1-32. THE COMING JUDGMENT A MOTIVE TO REPENTANCE. PROMISE OF BLESSINGS IN THE LAST DAYS.

    A more terrific judgment than that of the locusts is foretold, under imagery drawn from that of the calamity then engrossing the afflicted nation. He therefore exhorts to repentance, assuring the Jews of Jehovah's pity if they would repent. Promise of the Holy Spirit in the last days under Messiah, and the deliverance of all believers in Him.

    1. Blow . . . trumpet--to sound an alarm of coming war (Nu 10:1-10; Ho 5:8; Am 3:6); the office of the priests. Joe 1:15 is an anticipation of the fuller prophecy in this chapter.

    2. darkness . . . gloominess . . . clouds . . . thick darkness--accumulation of synonyms, to intensify the picture of calamity (Isa 8:22). Appropriate here, as the swarms of locusts intercepting the sunlight suggested darkness as a fit image of the coming visitation.
    - as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people--Substitute a comma for a colon after mountains: As the morning light spreads itself over the mountains, so a people numerous [MAURER] and strong shall spread themselves. The suddenness of the rising of the morning light, which gilds the mountain tops first, is less probably thought by others to be the point of comparison to the sudden inroad of the foe. MAURER refers it to the yellow splendor which arises from the reflection of the sunlight on the wings of the immense hosts of locusts as they approach. This is likely; understanding, however, that the locusts are only the symbols of human foes. The immense Assyrian host of invaders under Sennacherib (compare Isa 37:36) destroyed by God (Joe 2:18, 20, 21), may be the primary objects of the prophecy; but ultimately the last antichristian confederacy, destroyed by special divine interposition, is meant (see on Joe 3:2).
    - there hath not been ever the like--(Compare Joe 1:2; Ex 10:14).

    3. before . . . behind--that is, on every side (1Ch 19:10).
    - fire . . . flame--destruction . . . desolation (Isa 10:17).
    - as . . . Eden . . . wilderness--conversely (Isa 51:3; Eze 36:35).

    4. appearance . . . of horses-- (Re 9:7). Not literal, but figurative locusts. The fifth trumpet, or first woe, in the parallel passage (Re 9:1-11), cannot be literal: for in Re 9:11 it is said, "they had a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit"--in the Hebrew, Abaddon ("destroyer"), but in the Greek, Apollyon--and (Re 9:7) "on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men." Compare Joe 2:11, "the day of the Lord . . . great and very terrible"; implying their ultimate reference to be connected with Messiah's second coming in judgment. The locust's head is so like that of a horse that the Italians call it cavalette. Compare Job 39:20, "the horse . . . as the grasshopper," or locust.
    - run--The locust bounds, not unlike the horse's gallop, raising and letting down together the two front feet.

    5. Like the noise of chariots--referring to the loud sound caused by their wings in motion, or else the movement of their hind legs.
    - on the tops of mountains--MAURER connects this with "they," that is, the locusts, which first occupy the higher places, and thence descend to the lower places. It may refer (as in English Version) to "chariots," which make most noise in crossing over rugged heights.

    6. much pained--namely, with terror. The Arab proverb is, "More terrible than the locusts."
    - faces shall gather blackness-- (Isa 13:8; Jer 30:6; Na 2:10). MAURER translates, "withdraw their brightness," that is, wax pale, lose color (compare Joe 2:10; Joe 3:15).

    7-9. Depicting the regular military order of their advance, "One locust not turning a nail's breadth out of his own place in the march" [JEROME]. Compare Pr 30:27, "The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands."

    8. Neither shall one thrust another--that is, press upon so as to thrust his next neighbor out of his place, as usually occurs in a large multitude.
    - when they fall upon the sword--that is, among missiles.
    - not be wounded--because they are protected by defensive armor [GROTIUS]. MAURER translates, "Their (the locusts') ranks are not broken when they rush among missiles" (compare Da 11:22).

    9. run to and fro in the city--greedily seeking what they can devour.
    - the wall--surrounding each house in Eastern buildings.
    - enter in at the windows--though barred.
    - like a thief-- (Joh 10:1; compare Jer 9:21).

    10. earth . . . quake before them--that is, the inhabitants of the earth quake with fear of them.
    - heavens . . . tremble--that is, the powers of heaven (Mt 24:29); its illumining powers are disturbed by the locusts which intercept the sunlight with their dense flying swarms. These, however, are but the images of revolutions of states caused by such foes as were to invade Judea.

    11. Lord . . . his army--So among Mohammedans, "Lord of the locusts" is a title of God.
    - his voice--His word of command to the locusts, and to the antitypical human foes of Judea, as "His army."
    - strong that executeth his word-- (Re 18:8).

    12. With such judgments impending over the Jews, Jehovah Himself urges them to repentance.
    - also now--Even now, what none could have hoped or believed possible, God still invites you to the hope of salvation.
    - fasting . . . weeping . . . mourning--Their sin being most heinous needs extraordinary humiliation. The outward marks of repentance are to signify the depth of their sorrow for sin.

    13. Let there be the inward sorrow of heart, and not the mere outward manifestation of it by "rending the garment" (Jos 7:6).
    - the evil--the calamity which He had threatened against the impenitent.

    14. leave . . . a meat offering and a drink offering--that is, give plentiful harvests, out of the first-fruits of which we may offer the meat and drink offering, now "cut off" through the famine (Joe 1:9, 13, 16). "Leave behind Him": as God in visiting His people now has left behind Him a curse, so He will, on returning to visit them, leave behind Him a blessing.

    15. Blow the trumpet--to convene the people (Nu 10:3). Compare Joe 1:14. The nation was guilty, and therefore there must be a national humiliation. Compare Hezekiah's proceedings before Sennacherib's invasion (2Ch 30:1-27).

    16. sanctify the congregation--namely, by expiatory rites and purification with water [CALVIN], (Ex 19:10, 22). MAURER translates, "appoint a solemn assembly," which would be a tautological repetition of Joe 2:15.
    - elders . . . children--No age was to be excepted (2Ch 20:13).
    - bridegroom--ordinarily exempted from public duties (De 24:5; compare 1Co 7:5, 29).
    - closet--or, nuptial bed, from a Hebrew root "to cover," referring to the canopy over it.

    17. between the porch and . . . altar--the porch of Solomon's temple on the east (1Ki 6:3); the altar of burnt offerings in the court of the priests, before the porch (2Ch 8:12; compare Eze 8:16; Mt 23:35). The suppliants thus were to stand with their backs to the altar on which they had nothing to offer, their faces towards the place of the Shekinah presence.
    - heathen should rule over them--This shows that not locusts, but human foes, are intended. The Margin translation, "use a byword against them," is not supported by the Hebrew.
    - wherefore should they say . . . Where is their God?--that is, do not for thine own honor's sake, let the heathen sneer at the God of Israel, as unable to save His people (Ps 79:10; 115:2).

    18. Then--when God sees His people penitent.
    - be jealous for his land--as a husband jealous of any dishonor done to the wife whom he loves, as if done to himself. The Hebrew comes from an Arabic root, "to be flushed in face" through indignation.

    19. corn . . . wine . . . oil--rather, as Hebrew, "the corn . . . the wine . . . the oil," namely, which the locusts have destroyed [HENDERSON]. MAURER not so well explains, "the corn, &c., necessary for your sustenance." "The Lord will answer," namely, the prayers of His people, priests, and prophets. Compare in the case of Sennacherib, 2Ki 19:20, 21.

    20. the northern army--The Hebrew expresses that the north in relation to Palestine is not merely the quarter whence the invader comes, but is his native land, "the Northlander"; namely, the Assyrian or Babylonian (compare Jer 1:14, 15; Zep 2:13). The locust's native country is not the north, but the south, the deserts of Arabia, Egypt, and Libya. Assyria and Babylon are the type and forerunner of all Israel's foes (Rome, and the final Antichrist), from whom God will at last deliver His people, as He did from Sennacherib (2Ki 19:35).
    - face . . . hinder part--more applicable to a human army's van and rear, than to locusts. The northern invaders are to be dispersed in every other direction but that from which they had come: "a land barren and desolate," that is, Arabia-Deserta: "the eastern (or front) sea," that is, the Dead Sea: "the utmost (or hinder) sea," that is, the Mediterranean. In front and behind mean east and west; as, in marking the quarters of the world, they faced the east, which was therefore "in front"; the west was behind them; the south was on their right, and the north on their left.
    - stink--metaphor from locusts, which perish when blown by a storm into the sea or the desert, and emit from their putrefying bodies such a stench as often breeds a pestilence.
    - because he hath done great things--that is, because the invader hath haughtily magnified himself in his doings. Compare as to Sennacherib, 2Ki 19:11-13, 22, 28. This is quite inapplicable to the locusts, who merely seek food, not self-glorification, in invading a country.

    21-23. In an ascending gradation, the land destroyed by the enemy, the beasts of the field, and the children of Zion, the land's inhabitants, are addressed, the former two by personification.
    - Lord will do great things--In contrast to the "great things" done by the haughty foe (Joe 2:20) to the hurt of Judah stand the "great things" to be done by Jehovah for her benefit (compare Ps 126:2, 3).

    22. (Zec 8:12). As before (Joe 1:18, 20) he represented the beasts as groaning and crying for want of food in the "pastures," so now he reassures them by the promise of springing pastures.

    23. rejoice in the Lord--not merely in the springing pastures, as the brute "beasts" which cannot raise their thoughts higher (Isa 61:10; Hab 3:18).
    - former rain . . . the rain . . . the former . . . the latter rain--The autumnal, or "former rain," from the middle of October to the middle of December, is put first, as Joel prophesies in summer when the locusts' invasion took place, and therefore looks to the time of early sowing in autumn, when the autumnal rain was indispensably required. Next, "the rain," generically, literally, "the showering" or "heavy rain." Next, the two species of the latter, "the former and the latter rain" (in March and April). The repetition of the "former rain" implies that He will give it not merely for the exigence of that particular season when Joel spake, but also for the future in the regular course of nature, the %%

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