I The unheard of judgment of caterpillars and locusts, ver. 1-7. All sorts us people are called on to lament it, ver. 8-13. And to humble themselves before God, 14-20.
Verse 1. Came to Joel - Probably in the latter end of Jeroboam the second's reign over Israel and in the days of Uzziah, over Judah.
Verse 2. Old men - The oldest among you, who can remember things done many years ago.
4. Palmer-worm - Four sorts of insects, are here mentioned, which succeeded each other, and devoured all that might be a support to the Jews, whence ensued a grievous famine.
Verse 5. Is cut off - Suddenly cut off even when you are ready to drink it, and totally cut off by these devouring vermin.
Verse 6. A nation - An innumerable multitude of locusts and caterpillars, called a nation here, as Solomon calls the conies and the ant, Prov. xxx, 25, 26, and perhaps a prognostick of a very numerous and mighty nation, that ere long will invade Judah. Strong - Mighty in power, and undaunted in courage, if you refer it to the Assyrian or Babylonians; if to those vermin, they are, though each weak by itself, yet in those multitudes, strong and irresistible. A great lion - Such waste as lions make, these the locusts do, and the Assyrians will make.
Verse 8. The husband of her youth - Espoused to her, but snatched away by an untimely death.
9. The drink-offering - By the destruction of the vines, all wine (out of which they ought to offer the drink-offering) failed.
Verse 10. The corn - The wheat and barley, is eaten up in its greenness. Dried up - The drought was so great, that the vines were withered, and all their hopes of new wine cut off. The oil - The olive-trees. Languisheth - This is a plain account of the reason why the priests were called to mourn, and why the meal-offering and drink- offering were cut off.
Verse 11. Be ye ashamed - This is a just cause why you should lament and inquire why God is so displeased with you.
Verse 14. Sanctify ye - Ye priests, set apart a day wherein to afflict yourselves, confess your sins, and sue out your pardon. Into the house - The courts of the temple, where the people were wont to pray.
Verse 15. The day of the Lord - A day of greater trouble than yet they felt, troubles which God will heap upon them. Shall it come - Unless fasting, prayers and amendment prevent.
Verse 16. Cut off - Devoured by locusts, or withered with drought.
Verse 17. Laid desolate - Run to ruin because the owners discouraged with the barrenness of the seasons, would not repair them.
Verse 19. The fire - The immoderate heats. The wilderness - The world, only means places not ploughed, and less inhabited than others.
Verse 20. Cry - They utter their complaints, their sad tones, they have a voice to cry, as well as an eye to look to God.