1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
The Argument - The Prophet Joel first rebukes those of Judah, that being now punished with a great plague of famine, still remain obstinate. Secondly, he threatens greater plagues, because they grow daily to a more hardness of heart and rebellion against God in spite of his punishments. Thirdly, he exhorts them to repentance, showing that it must be earnest, and proceed from the heart, because they had grievously offended God. And in doing this, Joel promises that God will be merciful, and not forget his covenant that he made with their fathers, but will send his Christ, who will gather the scattered sheep, and restore them to life and liberty, even though they seem to be dead.
1:2 Hear this, ye a old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath b this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
(a) Signifying the princes, the priests, and the governors.
1:5 Awake, ye c drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
(b) He calls the Jews to the consideration of Godís judgments, who had now plagued the fruits of the ground for the space of four years, which was because of their sins, and to call them to repentance.
(c) Meaning, that the reason for their excess and drunkenness was taken away.
1:6 For d a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth [are] the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
(d) This was another plague with which God had punished them when he stirred up the Assyrians against them.
1:8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the e husband of her youth.
(e) Mourn grievously as a woman who has lost her husband, to whom she has been married in her youth.
1:9 The meat offering and the drink offering is f cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORDíS ministers, mourn.
(f) The signs of Godís wrath appeared in his temple, in so much that Godís service was discontinued.
1:10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: g the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
(g) All comfort and substance for nourishment is taken away.
1:13 h Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
(h) He shows that the only means to avoid Godís wrath, and to have all things restored, is true repentance.
1:15 Alas for the day! for the i day of the LORD [is] at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
(i) We see by these great plagues that utter destruction is at hand.
1:20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the k fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
(k) That is, drought.