New American Standard Bible
Let the priests, the LORD'S ministers, Weep between the porch and the altar, And let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not make Your inheritance a reproach, A byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, 'Where is their God?'"
King James Bible
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?
Darby Bible Translation
Let the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare, O Jehovah, thy people, and give not thine inheritance to reproach, that they should be a byword of the nations. Wherefore should they say among the peoples, Where is their God?
World English Bible
Let the priests, the ministers of Yahweh, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, "Spare your people, Yahweh, and don't give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
Young's Literal Translation
Between the porch and the altar weep let the priests, ministrants of Jehovah, And let them say: 'Have pity, O Jehovah, on Thy people, And give not Thy inheritance to reproach, To the ruling over them of nations, Why do they say among peoples, Where is their God?'
Joel 2:17 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar - The porch in this, Solomon's temple, was in fact a tower, in front of the holy of holies, of the same breadth with the temple, namely, 20 cubits, and its depth half its breadth, namely, 10 cubits 1 Kings 6:3, and its height 120 cubits, the whole "overlaid within with pure gold" 2 Chronicles 3:4. The brass altar for burnt-offerings stood in front of it 2 Chronicles 8:12. The altar was of brass, twenty cubits square; and so, equal in breadth to the temple itself, and ten cubits high 2 Chronicles 4:1. The space then between the porch and the altar was enclosed on those two sides 2 Chronicles 7:7; it became an inner part of the court of the priests. Through it the priests or the high priest passed, whenever they went to sprinkle the blood, typifying the atonement, before the veil of the tabernacle, or for any other office of the tabernacle. It seems to have been a place of prayer for the priests. It is spoken of as an aggravation of the sins of those 25 idolatrous priests, that here, where they ought to worship God, they turned their backs toward the Temple of the Lord, to worship the sun Ezekiel 8:16. Here, in the exercise of his office, Zechariah was standing 2 Chronicles 24:20-21; Matthew 23:35, when the Spirit of God came upon him and he rebuked the people and they stoned him. Here the priests, with their faces toward the holy of holies and the temple which He had filled with His Glory, were to weep. Tears are a gift of God. In holier times, so did the priests weep at the holy eucharist in thought of the Passion and Precious Death of our Lord Jesus, which we then plead to God, that they bore with them, as part of their dress, linen wherewith to dry their tears .
And let them say - A form of prayer is provided for them. From this the words, "spare us good Lord, spare thy people," enter into the litanies of the Christian Church.
And give not thine heritage to reproach - The enmity of the pagan against the Jews was an enmity against God. God had avouched them as His people and His property. Their land was an heritage from God. God, in that He had separated them from the pagan, and revealed Himself to them, had made them His special heritage. Moses Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 9:28, Deuteronomy 9:9, then Joshua Jos 7:9, the Psalmists Psalm 74; Psalm 79:1-13; 115, plead with God, that His own power or will to save His people would be called in question, if he should destroy them, or give them up. God, on the other hand, tells them, that not for any deserts of theirs, but for His own Name's sake, He delivered them, lest the Pagan should be the more confirmed in their errors as to Himself Ezekiel 20:5; Ezekiel 36:21-23. It is part of true penitence to plead to God to pardon us, not for anything in ourselves, (for we have nothing of our own but our sins) but because we are the work of His hands, created in His image, the prince of the Blood of Jesus, called by His Name.
That the pagan should rule over them - This, and not the rendering in the margin, use a byword against them, is the uniform meaning of the Hebrew phrase. It is not to be supposed that the prophet Joel would use it in a sense contrary to the uniform usage of all the writers before him. Nor is there any instance of any other usage of the idiom in any later writer . "The enigma which was closed," says Jerome, "is now opened. For who that people is, manifold and strong, described above under the name of the "palmerworm, the locust, the canker-worm" and "the catterpillar," is now explained more clearly, "lest the pagan rule over them." For the heritage of the Lord is given to reproach, when they serve their enemies, and the nations say, "Where is their God," whom they boasted to be their Sovereign and their Protector?" Such is the reproach ever made against God's people, when He does not visibly protect them, which the Psalmist says was as a sword in his bones (Psalm 42:3, Psalm 42:10; add Psalm 79:10; Psalm 115:2 : Micah 7:16); his tears were his meat day and night while they said it. The Chief priests and scribes and elders fulfilled a prophecy by venturing so to blaspheme our Lord, "He trusted in God; let Him, deliver Him now, if He will have Him" (Matthew 27:43, from Psalm 22:8).
JOEL ii. 12, 13. Therefore also now, saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; 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. This is one of the grandest chapters in the whole Old Testament, and one which may teach us a great deal; and, above all, teach us to be thankful to God for the blessings which …
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Then Moses entreated the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
"Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth '? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.
Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
2 Chronicles 8:12
Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of the LORD which he had built before the porch;
My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
You make us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to those around us.
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