Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sanctify a fast.—The prophet renews, therefore, his summons to the priests to proclaim a day of humiliation, on which all, without distinction of age or circumstances, are to be required to present themselves before the Lord. There was no room for the plea, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”Joel 2:15-16. Blow the trumpet in Zion — This was a signal for assembling the people at the solemn times of public worship. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly — Or, appoint ye a fast, proclaim a solemn day: so Archbishop Newcome. Sanctify the congregation — Let the people prepare themselves for this solemn time of humiliation, not only by washing themselves and their clothes, and cleansing themselves from all legal impurities, as is required Exodus 19:10-15, but by true contrition of heart, godly sorrow for, and forsaking all known sin, as also by abstaining from all sensual pleasures, however innocent and allowable at other times. Absolute self-denial is but a reasonable preparation for keeping a day of solemn humiliation before God, on account of national sins or calamities. This kind of abstinence was recommended among the heathen as a necessary preparation for solemn worship. Assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts — Let both young and old join in this duty, for all ages joining in it will add much to the solemnity of it, and is very proper to work in men’s minds that sincere contrition, which may avert those judgments which threaten the whole nation, and in which their posterity may suffer. Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet — Even on the day of their marriage, or during the marriage-feast. Let newly-married persons disregard the concerns and enjoyments peculiar to their situation, and afflict themselves with the rest of the people.Joel 2:1; Joel 1:14, called to repentance, because the Day of the Lord was coming, was near, "a day of darkness," etc. Now , because God is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger and plenteous in goodness," he agains exhorts, "Blow ye the trumpet;" only the call is more detailed, that every sex and age should form one band of suppliants to the mercy of God. : "Most full abolition of sins is then obtained, when one prayer and one confession issueth from the whole Church. For since the Lord promiseth to the pious agreement of two or three, that He will grant whatever is so asked, what shall be denied to a people of many thousands, fulfilling together one observance, and supplicating in harmony through One Spirit?" "We come together," says Tertullian of Christian worship, "in a meeting and congregation as before God, as though we would in one body sue Him by our prayers. This violence is pleasing to God." Blow the trumpet in Zion: see Joel 2:1.
Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: see Joel 1:14. Numbers 10:2;
sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; See Gill on Joel 1:14.Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. Blow ye the horn in Zion] Repeated verbatim from Joel 2:1, though in a different sense, as a call, namely, to a religious gathering, not as a signal of the approach of judgment (cf. on Amos 2:2).
sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly] as Joel 1:14 a (first two clauses).
15–17. With the view of making the preceding exhortation (Joel 2:12 f.) more practically effective, the prophet here repeats more emphatically the command of Joel 1:14 : he bids all ranks and classes assemble in the Temple for a solemn religious service, and prescribes at the same time the words in which the priests may intercede on behalf of the nation.Verses 15-17. - "The harsh blast of the consecrated ram's horn called an assembly for an extraordinary fast. Not a soul was to be absent. Like the fiery cross, it convened old and young, men and women, mothers with infants at their breasts, the bridegroom and the bride on their bridal day. All were there stretched in front of the altar. The altar itself presented the dreariest of all sights - a hearth without its sacred fire, a table spread without its sacred feast. The priestly caste, instead of gathering as usual upon its steps and its platform, were driven, as it were, to the further space; they turned their backs to the dead altar, and lay prostrate, gazing towards the Invisible Presence within the sanctuary. Instead of the hymns and music which, since the time of David, had entered into their prayers, there was nothing heard but the passionate sobs and the loud dissonant howls such as only an Eastern hierarchy could utter. Instead of the mass of white mantles which they usually presented, they were wrapt in black goat's-hair sackcloth, twisted round them, not with the brilliant sashes of the priestly attire, but with a rough girdle of the same texture, which they never unbound night or day. What they wore of their common dress was rent asunder or cast off. With bare breasts they waved their black drapery towards the temple, and shrieked aloud, 'Spare thy people, O Lord!'" Such is Dean Stanley's vivid picture of the circumstances and scene described by the prophet in the above verses. A scene exceedingly similar occurs in the commencement of the 'OEdipus Tyrannus' of Sophocles -
"Why sit ye here, my children, younger brood
Of Cadmus famed of old, in solemn state,
Your bands thus wreathed with the suppliants' boughs?
And all the city reeks with incense,
And all re-echoes with your hymns and groans;
And I, my children, counting it unmeet
To hear report from others, I have come
Myself, whom all name OEdipus the Great."
(Note: The first hemistich has been entirely misunderstood by the lxx, who have confounded כּחכּי with כּחך, and rendered the clause καὶ ἡ Ἰσχύς ἀνδρὸς πειρατοῦ· ἔκρυψαν (חבו or חבאו instead of חבר) ἱερεῖς ὁδόν. Jerome has also rendered כחכי strangely, et quasi fauces (כּחכּי) virorum latronum particeps sacerdotum. Luther, on the other hand, has caught the sense quite correctly on the whole, and simply rendered it rather freely: "And the priests with their mobs are like footpads, who lie in wait for people.")
The company (chebher, gang) of the priests resembled such a man. They murder on the way (derekh, an adverbial accusative) to Sichem. Sichem, a place on Mount Ephraim, between Ebal and Gerizim, the present Nablus (see at Joshua 17:7), was set apart as a city of refuge and a Levitical city (Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:21); from which the more recent commentators have inferred that priests from Sichem, using the privileges of their city to cover crimes of their own, committed acts of murder, either upon fugitives who were hurrying thither, and whom they put to death at the command of the leading men who were ill-disposed towards them (Ewald), or upon other travellers, either from avarice or simple cruelty. But, apart from the fact that the Levitical cities are here confounded with the priests' cities (for Sichem was only a Levitical city, and not a priests' city at all), this conclusion is founded upon the erroneous assumption, that the priests who were taken by Jeroboam from the people generally, had special places of abode assigned them, such as the law had assigned for the Levitical priests. The way to Sichem is mentioned as a place of murders and bloody deeds, because the road from Samaria the capital, and in fact from the northern part of the kingdom generally, to Bethel the principal place of worship belonging to the kingdom of the ten tribes, lay through this city. Pilgrims to the feasts for the most part took this road; and the priests, who were taken from the dregs of the people, appear to have lain in wait for them, either to rob, or, in case of resistance, to murder. The following כּי carries it still higher, and adds another crime to the murderous deeds. Zimmâh most probably refers to an unnatural crime, as in Leviticus 18:17; Leviticus 19:29.
Thus does Israel heap up abomination upon abomination. Hosea 6:10. "In the house of Israel I saw a horrible thing: there Ephraim practises whoredom: Israel has defiled itself." The house of Israel is the kingdom of the ten tribes. שׁערוּריה, a horrible thing, signifies abominations and crimes of every kind. In the second hemistich, zenūth, i.e., spiritual and literal whoredom, is singled out as the principal sin. Ephraim is not the name of a tribe here, as Simson supposes, but is synonymous with the parallel Israel.
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