- The gates of hell threaten the church; but all issues well at last, verse 1-7.
- The spreading of the church, verse 8-16.
- The punishment of those that fought against Jerusalem, and that neglect to worship there, verse 17-19.
- The increase and purity of the church, verse 20, 21.
The day - Of vengeance, Joel 2:1,2, cometh, or will soon overtake you, O sinful, unthankful! bloody! Jews. Thy spoil - All thou hast, O, Jerusalem, shall become a prey to thine enemy.
All nations - The Romans who at that time had the rule over all the nations of that part of the world. The residue - That small number of the Jews who were spared by Titus. Shall not be cut off - Were not forbidden to dwell about the city.
Then - After he hath sufficiently punished the Jews. As when he fought - As in those days when he fought for his people.
Shall cleave - Sinai melted, at the presence of the God of the whole earth. Great valley - So rich shall be a plain access from the place of the feet of the Lord unto Jerusalem.
The valley of the mountains - A place provided of God for their safety. O Lord my God - As if it were said, though it will, O Lord, put us into fear; yet without such wonderful works we shall not see thy salvation; therefore, O Lord my God come, and bring thy holy ones with thee.
In that day - While God is fighting with the enemies of his church, the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Nor dark - There shall be some mercy to allay the bitterness of judgment, and some judgment with our mercy.
One day - One continued day, no setting of the sun to make it quite night: God will always act in order to the full salvation of his spiritual Jerusalem. Known unto the Lord - The Lord knows when it shall begin, and how, and when it shall end.
In that day - When the days of ignorance, and idolatry shall end. Living waters - The quickening, saving truths of the gospel, with all its ordinances in purity. From Jerusalem - The church of Christ, the true Jerusalem. The former sea - Or eastern sea. The hinder sea - Or western sea. In summer and in winter - Perpetually, without intermission, these waters shall never dry away, or lose their healing virtue.
In that day - All men shall agree in worshipping one God, in one way of spiritual worship, and hearty obedience.
All the land - The whole land of Judea, a type of the whole earth, shall be filled with the knowledge of God. As a plain - All high, uneven places, all rocky and barren grounds, shall be changed into fruitful vineyards. So the church of Christ shall be fruitful, humble and lovely. Geba - The north boundary of the land. Rimmon - The south boundary of Judea. Jerusalem - Which taken mystically, is the church of Christ, and by the repair of all to this Jerusalem, is shadowed out of the compleat building of the church on all sides, north, south, west and east. Lifted up - Raised out of the dust. Benjamin's gate - Benjamin's gate north-east, corner-gate north-west; Hananiel's tower south, wine-presses north; that is in brief, compleatly around the city.
And men - Many for number, eminent for worth. Utter destruction - There may be afflictions but no utter wasting of Jerusalem; the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
A great tumult - Confusion. Shall rise up - From murmurs one against another they shall at last run into civil wars, and so destroy themselves, and revenge Jerusalem.
Judah - The Jews, and possibly Judas Maccabeus might be intended.
The horse - Those creatures which the enemy in the wars made use of, shall by the hand of God be suddenly and strangely destroyed.
That is left - That escapes the stroke. To worship - By a ceremonial usage which shadowed out a better worship, the prophet foretells the constant zeal of the converted Gentiles to worship the Lord. The feast of tabernacles - One solemn festival is by a figure, put for all the days consecrated to God for holy worship.
Shall there be - Written as it were on every common thing. Holiness unto the Lord - Their persons shall bear the dedicating inscription of holiness to the Lord, and by their study of holiness they shall make good their motto. The pots - Which were used in the kitchens of the temple, and were not accounted so sacred as the utensils near the sacrifices, and altar. The bowls - Which received the blood of the sacrifices, were esteemed more holy; so shall thy holiness in these days exceed the holiness of those former days.
Every pot - The utensils of private houses shall be all dedicated to God's service. That sacrifice - So the prophet expresses all religious affections, practice, and worship, which shall be as pleasing to God, as were the sacrifices of his people offered up with divine warrant and approbation. Seethe therein - That part of the sacrifice which pertaineth to the priests, and to the offerer to feast on. The Canaanite - Any of the accursed nation, or one who makes merchandise of religion. But all shall know that the Lord hath the greatest pleasure in upright, and sincere love and holiness.