Matthew Poole's Commentary
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;The prophet describeth the locusts as a mighty ar led by God to destroy the land, Joel 2:1-11. He exhorteth to repentance, Joel 2:12-14; prescribeth a general fast and humiliation, Joel 2:15-17; and promiseth mercy from God, Joel 2:18-20. He comforteth Zion with present blessings, Joel 2:21-27; and prophesieth the effusion of the Holy Spirit, and other blessings of the gospel, Joel 2:28-32.
Blow ye the trumpet: the prophet continueth his advice or exhortation to the priests, who were by office appointed to summon the solemn assemblies, and to call them together by sound of trumpet or cornet; and so would he have the priests to gather the people together to fast, and weep, and pray.
In Zion; which taken largely is the same with Jerusalem, though strictly taken it is the hill on which the city of David, or his royal palace, did stand.
Sound an alarm; give notice that all may be prepared against the enemy, let it be known that the enemy is coining, what danger attends his coming, and what provision should be made.
In my holy mountain; in Jerusalem, in Moriah, on which the temple did stand.
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; stand in awe of God’s majesty, fear his displeasure, and do this with a penitent heart, all you that dwell in the land of Canaan, the parched and burnt land.
For the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand: see Joel 1:15.
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.A day of darkness and of gloominess; metaphorically taken for a time of exceeding great troubles and calamities, according to the style of the Scriptures, which express prosperity by the metaphor of light, and adversity by darkness. which certainly is intended here; and the synonymous terms are here multiplied, to intimate the extremity and length of these troubles. And this passage may well allude to the day of judgment, and the calamities which shall precede that day.
Thick darkness does undoubtedly imply, as the gradual approach, so the dismal effect of God’s judgments and the Jews’ miseries. See this word used 2 Samuel 22:10, with 12-16 Psa 18:9,11. It was such terror with which God gave the law, and in such he will punish the transgressors of his law.
As the morning spread upon the mountains; as the morning spreads itself suddenly over all the hemisphere, and as it first spreads itself upon the high mountains, so should the approaching calamities overtake this people.
A great people: this seems more directly to intend the Babylonians rather than locusts, yet both are numerous, as the word imports, Heb.: see Joel 1:6.
And a strong; bold to attempt, and mighty in strength to execute; both true of Assyrians or Babylonians, or the locusts.
There hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more: locusts, emblem of the warlike nations, and the spoil done by both, are here described the greatest that ever yet were known; and of the Assyrian or Babylonian spoil made in Judea, the history doth ascertain this.
Even to the years of many generations; if ever the like be, it shall not be in many ages to come.
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.A fire, either the heat of the sun more vehement than usual, or the locusts, or Chaldeans and Babylonians resembled by locusts, as fire, shall devour, utterly consume and eat up,
before them; that people, Joel 2:2.
Behind them a flame burneth; what is left behind them is as burnt with a flame; all that the locusts leave behind them is as that which the flame hath scorched, dried, and turned into charcoal; or, all the Chaldeans and Babylonians leave behind them is (as customary with the barbarous invaders) set on fire, and what they cannot bat or carry away they destroy with fire.
The land is as the garden of Eden before them; it is every where most fruitful and pleasant, a land where they have not yet come. This is expressed in that proverbial speech,
as the garden of Eden: see Isaiah 51:3 Ezekiel 36:35.
And behind them a desolate wilderness; but wherever these locusts, or the armies they signify, come, all is turned into a most desolate wilderness. Nothing shall escape; nothing that was for beauty and pleasure, nor any thing for necessity and support of life.
The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; their carriage, for fierceness, agility, and irresistibleness, is like that of horses trained up to the wars, of which Job 39:19, &c.
And as horsemen, so shall they run: this gives light to the former expression, and by it we see these locusts are not resembled to the horse for shape, but for their nimbleness in motion. And as were these types, so should the armies which were typified be also.
Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap; such warlike chariots on resounding mountains do, with their rapid motions, and shaking their irons about them, make a great and dreadful noise; so should these locusts in their flight; by which they shall terrify the people before they come to them, for the noise of them may be heard, say some, at six miles’ distance.
Like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble; which does with continued crackling burn what is under the flame, and threaten speedy and inevitable ruin to what is before it; all shall be endangered by it, as if surrounded with flaming fire.
As a strong people; so Joel 2:2.
Set in battle array; prepared to assault and destroy: in pursuance of this metaphor, see Joel 2:7-11.
Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.Before their face, at the sight of these locusts, both literally and figuratively considered,
the people of the land shall be much pained; as a woman in travail is in pain, their fears shall be very great, lest these devouring creatures should seize and destroy whatever was for support of their life, and life of their families.
All faces shall gather blackness; such as is the colour of dead men, or as is the dark paleness of men frighted into fits and swoons.
They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:They, locusts, and they who by the locusts are signified, viz. Chaldeans, Assyrians, or Babylonians,
shall run, with speed, fierceness, and irresistible power, against their enemies.
Mighty men; valiant and strong men, or giants.
They shall climb the wall; no walls of any fortified towns shall be high enough to keep them out. Strange locusts, that assault cities! but armed and commissioned of God, they shall vigorously act their part, and do what he appointeth and commandeth them to do.
Like men of war; who fear no power that from within the cities might oppose them, they shall valiantly and skilfully manage the assault.
They shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: naturalists testify the truth of this in the stories of these insects, and their marshalling of themselves, of which also see Proverbs 30:27 Nahum 3:17. This skill in ordering, and steadiness in keeping order, like exactly trained soldiers, foretells the terror and strength both of the armies signified by these locusts, and of the locusts themselves. As these then did, so the Assyrians, Chaldeans, or Babylonians should proceed in arms against this people.
Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.Neither shall one thrust another: the prophet, in pursuance of the allegory, tells us how this army of locusts do move without disorder; so shall they who are hereby typified; it is much the same with the last clause of the former verse.
They shall walk; before it was run, i.e. for speed, now it is walk, for stedfast and even motion.
Every one in his path; the track he first takes to, follow his leader exactly, and observe rank and file.
When they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded; the sword shall not be a weapon to destroy them, they shall run among swords, yet not be wounded; literally verified in the locusts, and verified in the strange preservations and escapes from dangers in midst of the most desperate adventures made by Assyrians or Babylonians.
They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.In this verse we must discern what is any whir proper to the locusts, and what is applicable more fitly to the soldiers figured by them.
They shall run to and fro: this seems not proper to these insects, which move forward, and alter not their course in such limited and straitened bounds as a city; but this well suits with soldiers that conquer a city, and search all places for plunder and prey.
In the city; in every city that they take.
They shall run upon the wall; to clear the wall of all the besieged who did defend it, to help up others that were scaling the wall, and to seize towers which were built upon the wall: this is better fitted to soldiers that take a city than to locusts.
They shall climb up upon the houses; either forsaken and shut fast up by the inhabitants before they left them, or houses defended by such as are in them, as is usual in cities taken by assault.
They shall enter in at the windows; where they can find the first entrance, there they will through, and nothing shall keep them out.
Like a thief; suddenly, unexpectedly, to spoil at least, if not to kill and destroy: locusts and soldiers will do this.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:Literally taken, this verse is an elegant description of most unparalleled armies of locusts, sent of God to waste this sinful people, in the description whereof the prophet shows his lofty style, and in a divine hyperbole warns the people: but there is another sense of the words we must look to; these locusts in this prophecy are hieroglyphics and emblems, and so are the earth, heaven, sun, moon, and stars. By
earth, thus considered, the vulgar, mean multitudes are many times set forth; here, the common people among the Jews.
Shall quake before them; locusts first, and armies of foreign enemies afterwards, and that ere long.
The heavens shall tremble; grandees, rulers, and counsellors, or the whole frame of the kingdom and government, shall shake and tremble, their hearts shall sink within them who should be a support to others.
The sun, their king,
and the moon, their queen, who may as particularly be here pointed at as the queen of Nineveh is Nahum 2:7,
shall be dark; overwhelmed with amazement from the greatness of their troubles. The stars shall withdraw their shining; the courtiers and men of eminency, that were as stars for glory and brightness, shall be covered with clouds, and these thick and black; all this miserable confusion threatened against them for their sins, and in this emblem of vast multitudes of locusts presented to their thoughts.
And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?The Lord, Jehovah, the eternal and almighty God, Lord of hosts,
shall utter his voice; summon them in, and encourage them, as a general doth encourage his soldiers engaging in fight; God commands their attendance, and countenanceth their attempts.
Before his army of locusts and insects; and of Assyrians, Chaldeans, or Babylonians, signified by locusts.
His camp is very great; very numerous and strong, and therefore described by the prophet in a manner almost above belief; it is the host which God gathers together, and by which he will do great things.
He is strong; he giveth strength to his army, and is among them the Strong One; he doth by them execute his own purpose and threats, and so shows his strength.
That executeth his word; what he hath declared and threatened to do.
The day of the Lord: see Joel 1:15.
Is great; wherein great sinners are punished, great judgments are executed, by great power in the instruments, and by greater power in the hand that useth them.
Very terrible; full of terror, and such as will make the stoutest heart quail.
Who can abide it? neither king, nobles, nor warriors, but all faces gather blackness, as it is Joel 2:6,10.
Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:Therefore, since so great displeasure is conceived against you for your sins, and so terrible execution is shortly to be made upon you, and there is no way of resistance or escape left,
turn ye even to me; repent of your sins whereby you have departed from me; all this preparation made against you is made not to destroy you utterly, but to awaken you to repentance; whilst you may find mercy upon repentance, be advised to it, and prevent your final desolation.
With all your heart; not hypocritically, with divided heart, but sincerely and with full purpose of amendment: let your heart, your whole heart, first be turned to me your God and Sovereign.
With fasting; public fasting as well as private, such fasting as is required, Joel 1:14,
With weeping; make it appear that you are sensible of, and deeply affected with, your former sins in the jollity of your sensual life, now weep for it.
And with mourning; tears do well become a fast, but they must not be tears only, but a mournful frame of heart within, a fountain of these tears, is expected, and indeed required.
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.Rend your heart; lay them open, as chirurgeons lay open putrefying sores that they may be thoroughly cleansed; remove iniquity from your heart, as the Chaldee paraphrast.
And not your garments; as hypocrites do, who in sudden or great troubles easily stoop to tear a loose garment, but hardly are brought to rend their hearts: what God expecteth most they cannot be persuaded to, but what he careth least for they are ready to do. Be not such hypocrites before God, who cannot be mocked, nor spare them who dare do it: let your garments escape if you please; but your hearts, break them, circumcise them, Deu 10:16.
Turn unto the Lord your God; in repenting keep hope alive, look to God as your God, who by covenant hath promised to stow you mercy on your repenting and turning to him, Deu 13:17 30:8,9 Isa 55:7 Jeremiah 31:19,20 32:38-10.
He is gracious; gentle, easy to be entreated, and ready to forgive the guilty.
Merciful; compassionate, and ready to show pity and relieve the indigent: you are both guilty and afflicted; return to your God, who is gracious to pardon your guilt, and merciful to relieve your miseries.
Slow to anger; who hath spared, doth still spare, and waits purposely that you might have time to repent, and turn and live.
Of great kindness: your provocations are many and great, yet return, for his mercy is great, his kindnesses are many.
And repenteth him of the evil; not as man, but as becometh his own holy, just, and immutable nature, he turneth from executing the fierceness of his wrath, Jeremiah 18:7-10. Be wise and obedient, and follow my counsel, repent and make your peace with God.
Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?None need be discouraged, as if it were too late to seek and hope for mercy; God will pardon the truly penitent, and deliver them from eternal miseries, and it is possible he may deliver from present temporal calamities also. If you obtain not all you would, you shall obtain enough to show that it was worth your while to seek God.
Return: God doth not locally move from one place to another, but when he withholds his blessings, the fruits of his favour, he is said to withdraw himself; so when he gives out his blessings, he is said to return.
Repent: see Joel 2:13.
Leave a blessing behind him; cause the locusts to depart before they have eaten up all that is in the land.
A meat-offering and a drink-offering: see Joel 1:9.
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:Blow the trumpet in Zion: see Joel 2:1.
Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: see Joel 1:14.
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.Gather the people, assemble the elders: see Joel 1:14.
Gather the children; though they understand little what is done, yet their cries under the affliction of a fast ascend, God hears, and with pity looks on their tears.
And those that suck the breasts; let your fast be most universal, spare not sucking children, bring them with you; their tears and cries may perhaps move the congregation to greater mourning and earnest supplication to God for mercy, or will be a fit object to present unto the God of mercy to move him to show mercy. So the Ninevites, Jonah 3:7,8.
Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber; let the new-married man leave the mirth of the nuptials, and lay aside his bravery awhile, and afflict himself with the rest.
And the bride out of her closet, or chamber, in which with the virgins she adorned herself or caressed them. That these may more earnestly seek the Lord, let them at this season forbear lawful delights.
Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep, see Joel 1:13.
Between the porch; that stately porch built by Solomon, 1 Kings 6 3 Eze 40:48,49.
And the altar; not of incense, for that was in the holy place; but the great brazen altar, or altar of burnt-offering, which stood at some distance from this porch; and here the priests are commanded to stand, fasting and praying, whence they might be heard and seen by the people in the next court, in which the people were wont to pray.
Let them say, with loud voice, and with louder heart and affection; after this manner let them pray and intercede with God.
Spare: this includes confession of sin, acknowledging God’s justice, laying themselves at the foot of God for mercy, and imploring of mercy; Though we have sinned and deserve severe wrath, yet spare, deal not with us as we deserve.
Thy people: this includes all they can plead from the covenant of God with them, his grace, promise, faithfulness, &c.; We are thy peculiar people, thou art our God, therefore spare, &c.
Give not; thou only canst expose us to famine and servitude, and both will come upon us if thou first give us up to these predooming locusts, they will consume all, and if thou after give us up to those nations which as locusts are innumerable and irresistible. O give us not up to them.
Thine heritage; chosen, redeemed, possessed through many ages by thee. O Lord, even since we came out of Egypt thou hast owned us for thine heritage: though whilst we were impenitent, and sinned high against thee, we deserved to be cast off; now we return, repent, and pray, be gracious to us, and continue to own and bless thine heritage; since thou canst make it fruitful and beautiful, command it to excel in both; cultivate, fence, and watch over it, it is thine-heritage.
To reproach; it is a reproach to any land that it starves or eats up the inhabitants thereof, Numbers 13:32 Ezekiel 36:30; and famine, though by locusts, will be a reproach to this thine heritage; it will be greater reproach to be slaves to the nations signified by the locusts; therefore of mercy deliver us from both one and the other.
The heathen; whether Assyrians, or Chaldeans, or Babylonians.
Rule over them; conquer first, and then enslave thy people; or, as the word will bear, take them up for a taunt and proverb, when they shall know that they leave their own land as too barren a place to maintain them, or seek their bread at a dear rate in heathen lands.
Wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? nay, these barbarous people will not so much consider our sins, or justify our God, but they will reproach God, our God, the great God, as if unable to maintain us. O spare for thine own glory’s sake, never let them as Psalm 115:2 deride thee our God.
Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.Then, when you follow my advice, saith Joel. and heartily you of your sins, and turn to God, &c.,
will the Lord be jealous, will show his love and zeal, for the credit of his land, the land of Canaan,
and pity his people; consider their prayers, their arguments, and tears, and upon the whole will deal so with them that they shall know I do own them for my people, and that I will do them good.
Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:Yea, or And, Heb.
The Lord will answer; before it was he would pity, Joel 2:18; not as men many times pity and profess to have compassion for the miserable who cry to them, yet do nothing; but God will pity their case and hear their request, nay, grant their request and relieve them.
And say; speak to and work for his people.
Unto his people; his covenant, praying, repenting, and reforming people.
Behold; what he doth for such a people shall be visible, remarkable, and such as they may observe.
I will send you corn, and wine, and oil: fruitful seasons shall come when God sends them, his command to the heavens to pour down their sweet and fruitful influences shall certainly be obeyed; these must hear God, and then the earth shall hear the corn, and wine, and oil, as Hosea 2:21,22.
Ye shall be satisfied therewith; you shall have abundance to fill and satisfy you, that you may rejoice in your habitations and know no want.
I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen; your heathen neighbours shall no more insult over you ny people, nor over The your God. Obey my prophet, turn from your sins, and I will do you all this good I promise, or you need and ask.
But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.But, Heb. And,
I will remove far off from you the northern army; that part of these numerous locusts which are towards the north shall be removed far from you, no more to annoy you on that quarter: some say this refers to the dissipation of Sennacherib’s army, which came up from the parts which lay somewhat northerly from Jerusalem and Judea.
And will drive him; some other part of this locust army shall be driven away into the southern deserts, here described by a
barren and desolate land.
His face; the van of this army, here called the face, shall be driven into the
east sea; the sea of Tiberias, or the Salt Sea, or the Dead Sea, east of Jerusalem.
His hinder part, the rear of this army of insects, shall be driven into the great, the west sea, here called the utmost sea, in the letter and history. The total destruction of this army of insects is here foretold, which no doubt came to pass. If Sennacherib’s army and its dissipation were here shadowed out, it is fairly accommodable to this place, when upon his death and the rout of his army from heaven, his forces retired out of Judea on all quarters with loss of men, as is ever the fate of an invading army beaten in the heart of the invaded country.
His ill savour shall come up; the stench of these locusts destroyed and lying putrefied on the face of the earth, or the corpses of the Assyrians slain and unburied.
Because he hath done great things: some refer this to the locusts, and those whom they signified; he, i.e. this army of locusts or Assyrians: others refer it to God, thus,
for he will do great things; as indeed the utter destroying of this devouring army, and removal of this dreadful famine, was a great work and marvellous, and it was an answer to their fasting and praying; though it was not all done which is contained in this conditional promise, for that this people never performed the condition.
Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.Fear not, O land. In Joel 2:10, the land is said to quake at the approach of this devouring army; now at the approach of mercy it is encouraged, and commanded not to fear; by the same figure and in the same sense, it should not fear now as before it did quake.
Be glad and rejoice: this tells us that fear not was a meosis; shout for joy, express the greatest confidence.
For the Lord, who is your God whom you seek, who by me assureth you it is his gracious purpose to do great things for your good,
will do great things: either this explains that last clause, Joel 2:20, or is antitheton to it; the locusts, God’s messengers and servants. did great things against, but now God will recall these, and do great things for Israel.
Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field. In Joel 1:18-20, the poor beasts were represented as in greatest perplexity, for want of pasture they were like to perish; but now they are (as if capable of fears or joy from foresight of what was coming toward them) encouraged, they should find pasture, both the tamer which are under man’s hand, and the wilder which range the mountains.
The pastures of the wilderness: see Joel 1:19. Do spring; begin to look green, and the grass fresh promise the food for you. The tree beareth her fruit; all sorts of trees, though they were withered, and seemed to be dead, Joel 1:12, now they recover their strength and bring forth fruit.
The fig tree does not, as Joel 1:12, languish.
The vine is not, as before, dried up, but with change of season hath changed its hue.
Do yield their strength; both these trees do mightily bear, are full of fruit, and bring forth as much as ever they are able to stand under.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.Be glad then, ye children of Zion: in the former verse the prophet, by a usual figure, and with known elegancy, called on land and beasts, though they understood him not; now he addresseth himself to them that can understand their work as well as their advantages, and the children of Zion, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judea, who were called to fast and weep.
Rejoice in the Lord; show yourselves sensible of your mercies, thankful to that free bounty which gave your mercies; rejoice, but not only in your barns, garners, and bellies full, but in the eternal God, who hath been found of you.
Your God; as such you were advised to seek him, as such own him, rejoice in him, and ascribe glory to him, who keepeth covenant to a thousand generations, and hath remembered his covenant for you in this your low estate.
He hath given you the former rain moderately; the Hebrew will bear it, a teacher of, or unto, or according to, righteousness. Either some eminent prophet, or prophets, as Isaiah, or Joel himself, but as forerunners and types of the great Prophet Christ; so the words will be a promise of the Messiah, and lead these children of Zion to the Messiah, as the fountain of all the blessings they receive of God in temporals as well as spirituals: it is usual in Scripture thus to pass from temporal to spiritual, and from spiritual to temporal promises and blessings; so Isaiah 7:4, &c, with Isaiah 7:14-16: but since our best interpreters retain, as ours, this version, rain moderately, or in due measure. We adhere to it also: God had sent sweet, gentle, yet sufficient showers to make the earth fruitful, and these showers have made pastures and trees to spring, flourish, and be fruitful.
And he will cause to come down for you the rain; as he hath already given some, so he will give more, as the earth and trees shall need.
The former rain; the autumn rain, which is needful to mellow the earth, and fit it to receive the corn and fruits, and to plant and sow them, about September.
The latter rain; needful to bring forward and ripen the fruits planted or sown, accounted the latter rain because these husbandmen and vine-dressers reckoned from seed time unto spring and harvest.
In the first month; that is, our March; both these rains, as promised Deu 11:14 Leviticus 26:4, shall be given from heaven.
And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.The floors, where they thrashed their corn, shall be full of wheat, the best and most useful grain, the bread corn for man’s life and support.
The fats, the vessels into which the liquor ran out of the press,
shall overflow with wine and oil; there shall be of the grape and olive enough to fill the vessels, nay, to make them run over, though the care of good husbands will save it; for what was said, Joel 2:22, is here fulfilled, the vine doth yield its strength.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.I will restore; make up to you, or compensate: the lean years of Egypt did eat up the fat, but with you now the fat years shall feed and enrich the lean ones.
The years: by this it appears that this dreadful famine by these insects was longer than of one year’s continuance, and perhaps countenanceth the Jewish conjecture of four because four sorts of insects are mentioned. These in the late years devoured the fruit of the earth, but now God will restore the fruits.
The locust, & c.; all recounted Joel 1:4, with little variation of the order wherein named.
My great army: see Joel 2:3-11.
Which I sent: there was somewhat extraordinary in these armies of insects by which the people then living and afflicted by them might see they were sent immediately from Heaven, though history do not report it to us.
And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.Ye shall eat; enjoy and live upon. In plenty; not with scarcity, as when water is measured to them, and bread is given by weight, Ezekiel 4:16.
Be satisfied; the broad they eat shall refresh them, maintain their strength, not be as that Haggai 1:6.
Praise the name; ascribe the glory to the mercy and faithfulness, to the power and wisdom, of your God; ye shall speak of it to his praise, stop the months of insulting heathens.
The Lord your God: see Joel 2:13. Dealt wondrously; in one year giving as much as the locusts wasted in the years foregoing, whether three, or four, or more.
My people; you that are my people, demeaning yourselves as becometh my people.
Shall never be ashamed; neither disappointed of your hopes, nor refused when you pray, nor necessitated to seek relief among the heathen, who will reproach you and me.
And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.And ye, who repent, pray, are blessed with such answer to your prayers,
shall know; by experience shall see, and acknowledge.
That I am in the midst of Israel; my true Israel, obedient Israel; I am with them to bless them, defend them, guide them, and provide for them.
That I am the Lord; the almighty and everlasting God.
Your God, as I was the God of your father Abraham; yours in peculiar manner by covenant, and to redeem you from evil.
And none else; that there is not a god beside me, that the idols you formerly doted upon were no gods, that the idols the heathen boast of are a doctrine of lies, and deceive them that trust on them.
My people shall never be ashamed: see Joel 2:26.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:It shall come to pass, most certainly this shall be done, afterward; in the latter days, after the return out of Babylonish captivity, after the various troubles and salvations by which they may know that I am the Lord, their God in the midst of them, when those wondrous works shall be seconded by the most wonderful of all, the sending the Messiah, in his day and under his kingdom.
I will pour out my Spirit; in large abundant measures will I give my Holy Spirit, which the Messiah exalted shall send, John 16:7; in extraordinary power and gifts in the apostles and first preachers of the gospel, and in ordinary measure and graces to all believers, Ephesians 4:8-11.
Upon all flesh; before these gifts were confined to a few people, to one particular nation, to a very small people; but now they shall be enlarged to all nations, Acts 2:33 10:45, to all that believe, all that are regenerate.
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: this was in part fulfilled according to the letter in the first days of the gospel; but this promise is rather of a comparative meaning, thus, By pouring out of the Holy Spirit on your sons and your daughters, they shall have as clear and full knowledge of the deep mysteries of God’s law as prophets beforetime had. The law and prophets were till John, and during this time the gifts of the Spirit were given in lesser measures, and of all men the prophets had greatest measures of the Spirit; but in these days, the least in the kingdom of God is greater than John.
Your old men shall dream dreams; no difference of age, to old men who had been long blind in the things of God the mysteries of grace shall be revealed, and these shall know as certainly and clearly as if God had extraordinarily revealed himself to them by dreams sent of God upon them.
Your young men shall see visions; many young men shall be as eminent in knowledge as if the things known were communicated by vision. In a word, all knowledge of God and his will shall abound among all ranks, sexes, and ages in the Messiah’s days, and not only equal, but surpass, all that formerly was by prophecy dreams, or visions.
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.And also, with equal freeness, upon the servants and upon the handmaids, upon the meanest believers: see Galatians 3:28 Colossians 3:11.
My Spirit, of sanctification and adoption.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.And I will show wonders; as he promiseth such grace to believers, so he warneth them that they should not be surprised with those alarming prodigies which in those days God would show, which would usher in the hard times that should be chastisement to the best, and destruction to the worst: whoso will read and observe what historians and naturalists report of those times will see this fulfilled in the very letter, and Matthew 24:7,29 Mr 13:24 Luke 21:11,25.
In the heavens and in the earth; above men, and under their feet; all which signs are particularly named, and first the signs on the earth.
Blood; possibly eruption of blood, as some fountains have been reported to have run with blood, and these prefiguring the great effusion of blood by the sword and wars following, or by antichristian persecutions.
Fire; either breaking out of the earth, or else unusual lightnings, and unparalleled flashes of lightnings in the lower region of the air, setting many things on fire.
Pillars of smoke; from those burning things fired by lightnings, or by extraordinary flashes, a smoke shall go up like a pillar. Particular instances of these may not here be gathered together, but Hottinger, that learned and painful historian, hath gathered many together of the first age, and so of the following ages of the church, in his Ecclesiastical History, which who desireth may consult.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.Having mentioned the prodigies which were to be wrought on earth, now the prophet specifieth what shall be done in heaven, where the great luminaries shall be wonderfully affected.
The sun shall be turned into darkness; shall be greatly obscured; shall seem to be turned from a body of light to mere darkness.
The moon into blood; either by eclipse, or by the intervention of vapours drawn up from the places where was great slaughter and effusion of blood; however as to manner, it is most certain as to the event; the moon shall seem to be blood.
Before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come; great to all, terrible to the rejecters and persecutors of Christ. This day was the day of Jerusalem’s’ destruction, and burning of the temple, and slaughter of the Jews, for their violence against and murder of the Messiah, for their sins against the gospel: this was fulfilled partly in the devastation of Jerusalem, but shall fully and finally be fulfilled in the day of judgment, and at the consummation of the world.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.Yet when nature seems out of course, and such terrible convulsions overthrow all states and kingdoms, and nothing but ruin and destruction appear on every side, yet then most certainly
it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord; whoso heareth the gospel, repenteth of sin, believeth in Christ, and prayeth for grace, peace, and glory; whoso worshippeth the Father through the Son in truth and faith;
shall be delivered; either delivered from those sad outward afflictions, or else, which is infinitely better, from eternal miseries, which will swallow up the unbelieving and impenitent world. When the Jews who rejected Christ were destroyed by the Romans, all (as Eusebius reports) the Jews that believed in Christ and submitted to the gospel escaped.
In Mount Zion; in the true church, typified by Zion, the city of David; and in Jerusalem; not local Jerusalem; there was the chief place of slaughter, blood, fire, and death; but mystical Jerusalem, the church and city of the Messiah;
shall be deliverance; salvation, whether temporal or eternal, or both;
as the Lord hath said; according as God hath promised; and this promised deliverance gives the believer satisfaction and rest, whether in life or by death.
And in the remnant, not of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also, whom the Lord shall call; called of God to be his peculiar people; called to the knowledge of Christ, to profess his name, to believe in Christ, and by him to wait for eternal life and glory, John 10:16 Acts 13:46 Romans 11:4,5,7.