|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-7 The most aged could not remember such calamities as were about to take place. Armies of insects were coming upon the land to eat the fruits of it. It is expressed so as to apply also to the destruction of the country by a foreign enemy, and seems to refer to the devastations of the Chaldeans. God is Lord of hosts, has every creature at his command, and, when he pleases, can humble and mortify a proud, rebellious people, by the weakest and most contemptible creatures. It is just with God to take away the comforts which are abused to luxury and excess; and the more men place their happiness in the gratifications of sense, the more severe temporal afflictions are upon them. The more earthly delights we make needful to satisfy us, the more we expose ourselves to trouble.
Verse 3. - Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. The prophet thus draws attention to the event which be is about to relate, or rather predict, a8 a calamity unknown in the memory of living men, unheard of in the days of their fathers, unparalleled in the past experience of their nation, and one affecting all the inhabitants of the land. He challenges the old men whose memory went furthest back, and whose experience had been longest and largest, to confirm his statements; he calls on the inhabitants of the land to consider an event in which they were all concerned, and to recognize the hand of God in a disaster in which all would be involved. But, though the visitation with which they are threatened had had no precedent or parallel among the generation then present, or that which preceded it, or for many long years before, it was not to remain without memorial or record in the time to come. To this end the prophet commands his countrymen of Judah to relate it to their children, to their grandchildren, and even to their great-grand-children. The expression reminds us of Virgil's -
"Yea, sons of sons, and those who shall from them be born." It reads like a reminiscence of what is recorded of one of the plagues - the plague of locusts - in Egypt, of which we read in Exodus 10:6, "Which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day they were upon the earth unto this day;" while the direction to have it transmitted by tradition seems an echo of what we read in the second verse of the same chapter: "That thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt." Similarly, it is written in Psalm 78:5, 6, "He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children." The solemn manner in which the prophet draws attention to this by "Hear," "Give ear," and the earnestness with which he insists on the record of it being handed on from generation to generation, are intended to impress on the people the work of God in this visitation, its severity, the sin that caused it, and the call to repentance conveyed by it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Tell ye your children of it,.... Give them a particular account of it; describe the creatures and their number as near as you can; say when they begun and how long they continued, and what devastations they made, and what was the cause and reason of such a judgment, your sins and transgressions:
and let your children tell their children, and their children other generation; or, "to the generation following" (l); let it be handed down from one generation to another that it may be a caution to future posterity how they behave and lest they bring down the like awful judgments on them. What this referred to was as follows:
(l) "posteritati sequenti", Vatablus; "generationi posterae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Tell ye your children—in order that they may be admonished by the severity of the punishment to fear God (Ps 78:6-8; compare Ex 13:8; Jos 4:7).
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