|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:14-21 Peter's sermon shows that he was thoroughly recovered from his fall, and thoroughly restored to the Divine favour; for he who had denied Christ, now boldly confessed him. His account of the miraculous pouring forth of the Spirit, was designed to awaken the hearers to embrace the faith of Christ, and to join themselves to his church. It was the fulfilling the Scripture, and the fruit of Christ's resurrection and ascension, and proof of both. Though Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance, yet he did not think to set aside the Scriptures. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bible; and the Spirit is given, not to do away the Scriptures, but to enable us to understand, approve, and obey them. Assuredly none will escape the condemnation of the great day, except those who call upon the name of the Lord, in and through his Son Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of sinners, and the Judge of all mankind.
Verse 17. - Be for come to pass, A.V.; pour forth for pour out, A.V. In the last days. This does not agree with either the Hebrew or the LXX. in the existing texts, where we read merely afterwards (אַהְרֵי כֵן μετὰ ταῦτα The phrase, "in the last days," which occurs in Isaiah 2:2 and elsewhere, denotes the days of Messiah. St. Peter is perhaps expounding the passage as relating to the days of Messiah; or בְ אַחְֲרִית הַיָמִים may have been another reading. Saith God is no part of Joel's prophecy, but Peter's words. Your young men shall see visions, etc. The order of this and the following clause is inverted. In the Hebrew and LXX. the old men are mentioned first.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it shall come to pass in the last days,.... In Joel it is, "afterwards"; instead of which Peter puts, "in the last days"; the sense is the same: and so R. David Kimchi, a celebrated commentator with the Jews, observes, that "afterwards" is the same "as in the last days", and which design the times of the Messiah; for according to a rule given by the same writer on Isaiah 2:2 wherever the last days are mentioned, the days of the Messiah are intended,
Saith God, or "the Lord", as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read. This clause is added by Peter, and is not in Joel; and very rightly, since what follow are the words of God speaking in his own person:
I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; not "upon every animal", as the Ethiopic version renders it: this is extending the sense too far, as the interpretation the above named Jewish writer gives, limits it too much, restraining it to the people of Israel. It being a maxim with them, that the Shekinah does not dwell but in the land of Israel; and also that prophecy, or a spirit of prophecy, does not dwell on any but in the holy land (r). For though as it regards the first times of the Gospel, it may chiefly respect some persons among the Jews, yet not to the exclusion of the Gentiles; and it designs all sorts of persons of every age, sex, state, and condition, as the distribution afterwards shows. Jarchi's note upon it is,
"upon everyone whose heart is made as tender as flesh; as for example, "and I will give an heart of flesh", Ezekiel 36:26.
By the Spirit is meant the gifts of the Spirit, the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, of understanding the mysteries of the Gospel, of explaining the Scriptures, and of speaking with tongues; and by the pouring of it out, is intended the abundance and great plenty of the gifts and graces of the Spirit bestowed; but yet not all of him, or all his gifts and grace in the large extent of them: therefore it is said, not "my Spirit", but "of my Spirit", or "out of it"; as out of an unfathomable, immeasurable, and inexhaustible fountain and fulness:
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: or foretell things to come, as Agabus, and the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist, Acts 21:9.
and your young men shall see visions; as Ananias, Acts 9:10, and Peter, Acts 10:17 and Paul when a young man, Acts 22:17 and John, the youngest of the apostles, Revelation 1:10 though he was in years, when he saw the visions in the Revelations:
and your old men shall dream dreams; or shall have night visions, as Paul at Troas, Acts 16:9 and in his voyage when at sea, Acts 27:23. The order of the words is inverted, this last clause stands first in Joel; perhaps the change is made, because the apostles were young men, on whom the Spirit was poured; and the thing was the more wonderful that so it should be, than if they had been old men,
(r) Zohar in Gen. fol. 118. 4. & 128. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. in the last days—meaning, the days of the Messiah (Isa 2:2); as closing all preparatory arrangements, and constituting the final dispensation of God's kingdom on earth.
pour out of my Spirit—in contrast with the mere drops of all preceding time.
upon all flesh—hitherto confined to the seed of Abraham.
sons … daughters … young men … old men … servants … handmaidens—without distinction of sex, age, or rank.
see visions … dream dreams—This is a mere accommodation to the ways in which the Spirit operated under the ancient economy, when the prediction was delivered; for in the New Testament, visions and dreams are rather the exception than the rule.
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