And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth.—This is the case almost invariably with all the severer visitations of locusts. “The plain was covered with them,” says Denon (Travels, p. 286), speaking of Egypt. “The ground is covered with them for several leagues,” declares Volney (Travels, vol. i., p. 285).” Over an area of 1,600 or 1,800 square miles,” observes Barrow, “the whole surface might literally be said to be covered with them.” The Hebrew name, which means “multitudinous,” is thus very appropriate.
They shall eat the residue of that which is escaped . . . every tree.—Comp. Exodus 9:32. The description of Joel has never been surpassed: “A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them” (Joel 2:3). Comp. Volney (50s.100): “When their swarms appear, everything green vanishes instantaneously from the fields, as if a curtain were rolled up; the trees and plants stand leafless, and nothing is seen but naked boughs and stalks.” Very graphic is Joel again in respect of this last feature: “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” (Joel 1:7). Nor is it only shrubs, but even trees, that suffer. “They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees,” says Burckhardt; “these they strip of everv leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons, with bare branches.”Exodus 10:5. They shall cover the face — Hebrew, the eye; of the earth — That is, of its inhabitants; that one cannot be able to see the earth — It is observable that no living creature multiplies so fast as the locust. It is almost incredible in what swarms they are sometimes seen in some parts. Thevenot gives an account of armies of locusts laying waste the country of the Cossacks. “They live,” he says, “about six months, and lay their eggs in autumn, to the number of three hundred each, which are hatched in the spring following. Such as have been eye-witnesses report, that they have seen the whole air in Arabia darkened by them, in their flight, for eighteen or twenty miles.” “They eclipse the light of the sun,” says Pliny, “in their flight, the people looking up to them in anxious suspense lest they should cover their whole country. They are so destructive that large territories have bean laid bare by them in a few hours, and the inhabitants reduced to famine. They do not spare even the bark of trees, but eat every thing that comes in their way, even to the very doors of the houses.”Numbers 11:7 or the eye of man looking upon the earth, which would not be able to see it, because the locusts would be between his eye and the earth. The Targum of Onkelos is,"and shall cover the eye of the sun of the earth,''so that its rays shall not reach the earth; and so Abarbinel interprets it of the sun, which is the light of the earth, when it casts forth its rays, as the eye upon the object that is seen; and the meaning is, that the locusts should be so thick between the heavens and the earth, that the eye of the earth, which is the sun, could not see or cast its rays upon it, as in Exodus 10:15, and so Pliny says (a), that locusts came sometimes in such multitudes as to darken the sun:
and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail; particularly the wheat and the rye, or rice, which was not grown, Exodus 9:32 and the herb or grass of the land, Exodus 10:12.
and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field; such fruit trees as escaped the hail, and such boughs and branches of them which were not broken off by it, Exodus 10:15 and locusts will indeed eat trees themselves, the bark of them, and gnaw everything, even the doors of houses, as Pliny (b) relates.And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. they shall cover, &c.] This is literally true of locusts. As Thomson says of an invasion in the Lebanon district, ‘Their number was astounding; the whole face of the mountain was black with them’ (Joel, p. 89).
face] Heb. eye. A peculiar usage: so v. 15, Numbers 22:5; Numbers 22:11.
they shall eat, &c.] their voracity is insatiable. Cf. Joel 2:3, with the passage cited in the writer’s note from a traveller, ‘On whatever spot they fall, the whole vegetable produce disappears. Nothing escapes them, from the leaves on the forest to the herbs on the plain.’Verse 5. - They shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth. This is one of the points most frequently noticed by travellers. "The ground is covered with them for several leagues," says Volney. "The steppes," says Clarke, "were entirely covered by their bodies." "Over an area of 1600 or 1800 square miles," observes Barrow, "the whole surface might literally be said to be covered with them." They shall eat the residue of that which escaped. Locusts eat every atom of verdure in the district attacked by them. "In A.D. ," says Barhebraeus, "a large swarm of locusts appeared in the land of Mosul and Baghdad, and it was very grievous in Shiraz. It left no herb nor even leaf on the trees. When their swarms appear," writes Volney, "everything green vanishes instantaneously from the fields, as if a curtain were rolled up; the trees and plants stand leafless, and nothing is seen but naked boughs and stalks." And shall eat every tree. The damage done by locusts to trees is very great. "He (the locust) has laid my vine waste, and barked my fig-tree; he hath made it clean bare and east it away; the branches thereof are made white" (Joel 1:7). Travellers constantly notice this fact. "When they have devoured all other vegetables," says one, "they attack the trees, consuming first the leaves, then the bark." "After having consumed herbage, fruit, leaves of trees," says another, "they attacked even their young shoots and their bark." "They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees," writes a third; "these they strip of every leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons with bare branches." A fourth notes that "the bushes were eaten quite bare, though the animals could not have been long on the spot. They sat by hundreds on a bush, gnawing the rind and the woody fibres." (See Pusey's Minor Prophets, p. 106.)
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