Joel 2:20
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New International Version
"I will drive the northern horde far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land; its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise." Surely he has done great things!

New Living Translation
I will drive away these armies from the north. I will send them into the parched wastelands. Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea, and those at the rear into the Mediterranean. The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land." Surely the LORD has done great things!

English Standard Version
“I will remove the northerner far from you, and drive him into a parched and desolate land, his vanguard into the eastern sea, and his rear guard into the western sea; the stench and foul smell of him will rise, for he has done great things.

New American Standard Bible
"But I will remove the northern army far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things."

King James Bible
But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I will drive the northerner far from you and banish him to a dry and desolate land, his front ranks into the Dead Sea, and his rear guard into the Mediterranean Sea. His stench will rise; yes, his rotten smell will rise, for he has done catastrophic things.

International Standard Version
"I will remove the northerners from you, driving them to a barren and desolate land— the front toward the Dead Sea and the back toward the Mediterranean. Their stench will rise, and their stinking odor will ascend, because they have done great things."

NET Bible
I will remove the one from the north far from you. I will drive him out to a dry and desolate place. Those in front will be driven eastward into the Dead Sea, and those in back westward into the Mediterranean Sea. His stench will rise up as a foul smell." Indeed, the LORD has accomplished great things.

New Heart English Bible
But I will remove the northern army far away from you, and will drive it into a barren and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its back into the western sea; and its stench will come up, and its bad smell will rise." Surely he has done great things.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"I will keep the northern [army] far from you, and I will force it into a dry and barren land. The soldiers in front will be forced into the eastern sea. The soldiers in back will be forced into the western sea. A foul odor will rise from the dead bodies. They will stink." He has done great things!

JPS Tanakh 1917
But I will remove far off from you the northern one, And will drive him into a land barren and desolate, With his face toward the eastern sea, And his hinder part toward the western sea; That his foulness may come up, and his ill savour may come up, Because he hath done great things.'

New American Standard 1977
“But I will remove the northern army far from you,
            And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land,
            And its vanguard into the eastern sea,
            And its rear guard into the western sea.
            And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up,
            For it has done great things.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
But I will remove far off from you he of the north wind and will drive him into a land barren and desolate; his face shall be toward the east sea, and his end unto the western sea, and he shall exhale his foul odour, and he shall decompose, because he has lifted himself up.

King James 2000 Bible
But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the eastern sea, and his back toward the western sea, and his stench shall come up, and his foul smell shall come up, because he has done great things.

American King James Version
But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill smell shall come up, because he has done great things.

American Standard Version
but I will remove far off from you the northern army , and will drive it into a land barren and desolate, its forepart into the eastern sea, and its hinder part into the western sea; and its stench shall come up, and its ill savor shall come up, because it hath done great things.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I will remove far off from you the northern enemy: and I will drive him into a land unpassable, and desert, with his face towards the east sea, and his hinder part towards the utmost sea: and his stench shall ascend, and his rottenness shall go up, because he hath done proudly.

Darby Bible Translation
And I will remove far off from you him [that cometh] from the north, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, his face toward the eastern sea, and his rear toward the hinder sea; and his stench shall come up, and his ill odour shall come up, for he hath exalted himself to do great things.

English Revised Version
but I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, his forepart into the eastern sea, and his hinder part into the western sea; and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.

Webster's Bible Translation
But I will remove far from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face towards the east sea, and his hinder part towards the utmost sea, and his odious scent shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, because he hath done great things.

World English Bible
But I will remove the northern army far away from you, and will drive it into a barren and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its back into the western sea; and its stench will come up, and its bad smell will rise." Surely he has done great things.

Young's Literal Translation
And the northern I put far off from you, And have driven him unto a land dry and desolate, With his face unto the eastern sea, And his rear unto the western sea, And come up hath his stink, And come up doth his stench, For he hath exerted himself to work.
Study Bible
Restoration Promised
19The LORD will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied in full with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. 20"But I will remove the northern army far from you, And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, And its vanguard into the eastern sea, And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up, For it has done great things." 21Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, For the LORD has done great things.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 11:24
"Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea.

Isaiah 34:3
So their slain will be thrown out, And their corpses will give off their stench, And the mountains will be drenched with their blood.

Jeremiah 1:14
Then the LORD said to me, "Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.

Jeremiah 1:15
"For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north," declares the LORD; "and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah.

Amos 4:10
"I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.

Zechariah 14:8
And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.
Treasury of Scripture

But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill smell shall come up, because he has done great things.

remove.

Joel 2:2-11 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick …

Joel 1:4-6 That which the palmerworm has left has the locust eaten; and that …

Exodus 10:19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the …

the northern.

Jeremiah 1:14 Then the LORD said to me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth …

the east.

Ezekiel 47:7,8,18 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very …

Zechariah 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from …

utmost.

Deuteronomy 11:24 Every place where on the soles of your feet shall tread shall be …

his stink.

Ezekiel 39:12-16 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that …

because.

2 Kings 8:13 And Hazael said, But what, is your servant a dog, that he should …

done. Heb. magnified to do.

(20) The northern army.--Literally, him of the north. "This is an exception to the usual direction of the flight of locusts" (Stanley, Jewish Church), but it may be literally applied to the Assyrian hordes, whom the Jews generally spoke of as dwelling in the north. In Jeremiah 1:13 the symbolical caldron is represented as pouring its contents (the Chaldan army) southwards from the face of the north. And even though the wind might be conceived as capriciously blowing the locusts from the north, yet the addition of the patronymic syllable to the Hebrew word indicates a native of the north, which excludes a reference to locusts. Under the image of the destruction of the locusts, the prophet points to the deliverance from the northern invaders.

The east sea is the Dead Sea; the utmost or hinder sea is the Mediterranean; the desolate land is the southern desert. The northern invader shall be expelled all along the coasts of Palestine. His stink shall come up. In the eighth plague of Egypt, when on the repentance of Pharaoh the locusts were removed, they were cast into the Red Sea, and there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt (Exodus 10:19). In the present instance there is the result stated in the case of the decomposition of the bodies of the locusts left on the land: the air was infected with a horrible pestilence. There are various allusions to this terrible result of their putrefaction in the writers who describe the horrors of a plague of locusts. St. Jerome tells of the awful sufferings inflicted on man and beast through this cause; and St. Augustine (De Civitate Dei, iii. 31) relates that eight hundred thousand men perished from this reason in the kingdom of Masinissa alone, besides many more near the coast. Thus Joel declares the complete destruction of the enemies of Israel, who having completed the purpose of vengeance for which they were summoned, and, like the Assyrians under the walls of Jerusalem, having exalted themselves against the Lord, perish miserably under the stroke of His power.

Verse 20. - But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea. This verse promises the destruction of the devastator. The prophet here specifies the means by which the Eternal was going to restore the blessings of harvest. The order of sequence is inverted - the effect preceding the cause; thus, re. storation of prosperity and plenty goes before, and the cause thereof, being relief from invasion and loss, follows after. Nor is there anything singular in this, as men are more alive to recovery from a distressful state of any kind than to the remedy which effects it. The "army" of this verse we still hold to be the tribes of locusts, which, like an invading army, with its numerous regimental divisions, had overrun the land, scattering dismay and distress wherever it advanced; yet from this very verse, and the expression "northern" in particular, it has been argued that it cannot refer to locusts, but to human invaders symbolized by locusts and the havoc wrought by them.

(1) The north is not the native land of locusts; it is rather the south - the Arabian, Lybian, or Egyptian desert. But

(2) "northern" may denote the quarter from which the locusts appeared to the prophet in vision to enter the land; or, driven upward by a south wind which regularly blows, as we are informed, in those regions during spring, and then to the north of Palestine by an east wind which blows with similar regularity in summer, and again into and ultimately out of Palestine by the north wind blowing in the autumn. "In this case," says a writer in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' "the northern plague would have been a natural expression for an inhabitant of Jerusalem to use in speaking of the locusts; as natural as it would be for a Londoner to speak of a pestilence that had commenced its ravages in Great Britain at Edinburgh, as coming to him from the north, though it were originally imported from France or Spain." The word

(3) may symbolically denote "calamitous," according to the explanation of some, since calamity is so frequently represented as coming from the north, so that the north is more or less identified with diasaster; thus we read in Jeremiah 4:6, "I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction." It may, however, be safely admitted that, by the locust, the northern or Assyrian enemies of Judah, who advanced from the north as the most accessible quarter for attack, are in a subsidiary sense represented. The expulsion of these enemies brings relief; they are driven into a parched, and so desert and desolate, land; "and there," as Kimchi observes, "they shall die because they shall find nothing to eat." That land may be either the Idumaean desert south of Judah or Arabia Deserta. Thus the main body of the great locust-army perishes in the southern desert; while the van of the army is driven into the Dead Sea, and the rear of it into the Mediterranean Sea. Or, more literally, the face of this locust-host was towards the east, or front sea, that is, as already intimated, the Dead Sea eastward; his hinder part toward the west, or hinder sea, that is, the Mediterranean westward. Thus they were driven in every other direction than that by which they came, namely, south, east, and west. In marking the quarters of the world, the Jews faced the east, so that the west was behind them, the south on their right hand, and the north on their left. We have thus a most vivid picture of the speedy and total destruction of the locusts. After expulsion, no danger was to be apprehended from them, for, blown into the sea or desert, they perished at once and for ever. The terms employed are very graphic; thus, me'alekem is much more than mikkem would be, and imply that a heavy burden was lifted from upon, or up off the face of a desolated land, and the heart of a distressed people. And his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things; margin, magnified to do. The stench emitted from the putrefying bodies of those locusts would be sickening and stifling - sufficient to occasion a pestilence. Many testimonies from travellers and others prove the reality of both circumstances - the ill savour and its pestiferous nature. Several expressions in this verse are applicable enough to an army, as in the last clause, where he is said to do great things, or literally, "magnified to do," that is, magnified himself in his doings; it may, however, apply equally well to the great destruction by the locust-army. There is no doubt the superadded notion of haughtiness along with that of great doings. It really means that, as an instrument of God, they had effected a fearfully violent desolation, and this is assigned as a reason for the total destruction of those locusts. But I will remove far off from you the northern army,.... The army of the locusts, which came from the northern corner, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; and is the first sense Jarchi makes mention of; though he says their Rabbins (b) interpret it of the evil imagination hid in the heart of men; and the two seas, later mentioned, of the two temples, first and second, destroyed by it; so, Kimchi says, they explain this verse of the days of the Messiah, and observes, the same sense they give; but Jarchi mentions another, according to which a people coming from the north are designed, even the kings of Assyria; and with this agrees the Targum, which paraphrases it,

"and the people which come from the north I will remove far off from you;''

and indeed locusts do not usually come from the north, but from the south, or from the east; it was an east wind that brought the locusts into Egypt, Exodus 10:13; though the word "northern" may be used of the locusts in the emblem, because the Assyrians or Chaldeans came from the north to Judea:

and will drive him into a land barren and desolate: where there are no green grass, herbs, plants, and trees, to live upon, and so must starve and die:

with his face towards the east sea; the front of this northern army was towards the east sea, into which it was drove and fell; that is, the sea of Chinnereth, or Gennesareth, the same with the lake of Tiberias, often mentioned in the New Testament; or the Salt sea, the same with the lake Asphaltites, or Dead sea, which was where Sodom and Gomorrah formerly stood, as is usually said; and both these were to the east of the land of Israel, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; and so either of them might be called the "eastern sea":

and his hinder part towards the utmost sea; the rear of this army was towards the utmost sea, or hinder sea, as it is called in Zechariah 14:8; the western sea, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it, the same with the Mediterranean sea, which lay to the west of the land of Israel; so the Egyptian locusts were cast into the Red sea, Exodus 10:19; and Pliny (c) observes, that they are sometimes taken away with a wind, and fall into seas and lakes, and adds, perhaps this comes by chance; but what is here related came not by chance, but by the will and providence of God:

and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up: that is, the stink and ill savour of the locusts shall come, up out of the seas and lakes into which they fell, and where they died and putrefied; or, being cast up from thence upon the shares, gave a most noisome stench; so Jerom on the place says,

"in our times we have seen swarms of locusts cover the land of Judea, which upon the wind rising have been driven into the first and last seas; that is, into the Dead and Mediterranean seas; and when the shores of both seas have been filled with heaps of dead locusts, which the waters have thrown up, their rottenness and stench have been so very noxious as to corrupt the air, and produce a pestilence among men and beasts;''

or this may be understood of the fall and ruin of the enemies of the Jews, signified by these locusts; and some apply it to Sennacherib's army smote by the angel, when there fell in one night a hundred and fourscore and five thousand of them in the land of Israel, and lay unburied, 2 Kings 19:35; Theodoret interprets the seas of armies; the first sea of the army of the Babylonians, by which Nineveh the royal seat of the Assyrians was destroyed; and the other sea of the army of the Persians, who, under Cyrus, took Babylon, the metropolis of the Chaldean empire:

because he hath done great things; evil things, as the Targum; either the locust, which had done much mischief to the fruits of the earth; or the enemy, signified by it, who had behaved proudly, and done much hurt to the inhabitants of Judea: or, "though he hath done great things" (d), as some render it, yet all this shall come to him. Some interpret it of God, "for he (God) hath done", or "will do, great things" (e); in the removing of the locusts, or in the destruction of those enemies they represented, as is expressly said of him in Joel 2:21.

(b) Vid. T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1.((c) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29. (d) "quamvis magna gesserit", Gataker. (e) "Quia magnifica Jehovah agit", Junius & Tremellius; "aget", Piscator, Liveleus, Castalio. 20. the northern army—The Hebrew expresses that the north in relation to Palestine is not merely the quarter whence the invader comes, but is his native land, "the Northlander"; namely, the Assyrian or Babylonian (compare Jer 1:14, 15; Zep 2:13). The locust's native country is not the north, but the south, the deserts of Arabia, Egypt, and Libya. Assyria and Babylon are the type and forerunner of all Israel's foes (Rome, and the final Antichrist), from whom God will at last deliver His people, as He did from Sennacherib (2Ki 19:35).

face … hinder part—more applicable to a human army's van and rear, than to locusts. The northern invaders are to be dispersed in every other direction but that from which they had come: "a land barren and desolate," that is, Arabia-Deserta: "the eastern (or front) sea," that is, the Dead Sea: "the utmost (or hinder) sea," that is, the Mediterranean. In front and behind mean east and west; as, in marking the quarters of the world, they faced the east, which was therefore "in front"; the west was behind them; the south was on their right, and the north on their left.

stink—metaphor from locusts, which perish when blown by a storm into the sea or the desert, and emit from their putrefying bodies such a stench as often breeds a pestilence.

because he hath done great things—that is, because the invader hath haughtily magnified himself in his doings. Compare as to Sennacherib, 2Ki 19:11-13, 22, 28. This is quite inapplicable to the locusts, who merely seek food, not self-glorification, in invading a country.2:15-27 The priests and rulers are to appoint a solemn fast. The sinner's supplication is, Spare us, good Lord. God is ready to succour his people; and he waits to be gracious. They prayed that God would spare them, and he answered them. His promises are real answers to the prayers of faith; with him saying and doing are not two things. Some understand these promises figuratively, as pointing to gospel grace, and as fulfilled in the abundant comforts treasured up for believers in the covenant of grace.
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Alphabetical: a and arise army barren But columns come desolate done drive eastern far For foul from front go going great guard has he I in into it its land northern parched pushing rear remove rise sea smell stench Surely the things those up vanguard western will with you

OT Prophets: Joel 2:20 But I will remove the northern army (Jl Joe.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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