|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-8 The restoration of the Jews, and the final victory of true religion over all opposers, appear to be here foretold. The contempt and scorn with which the Jews have often been treated as a people, and the little value set upon them, are noticed. None ever hardened his heart against God or his church, and prospered long.
Verse 3. - They have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. Such was the contumely with which they were treated at the time of the great catastrophe referred to. The captives were distributed by lot among the conquerors; these in turn sold them to the slave-dealers for the merest trifle - a slave-boy for the hire of a harlot, or a slave-girl for a glass or draught of wine. Such treatment had been predicted ages before, and was verified by contemporaneous history (comp. Leviticus 26:33, sqq., and Deuteronomy 28:36 for the prediction; and Josephus, . De Bell. Jud., 6.9.2,3, for the fulfilment). Ninety-seven thousand prisoners were disposed of as follows: those under seventeen years of age were publicly sold; some exiled to work in Egyptian mines; others reserved to fight with wild beasts in the amphi-theatre. Also in the time of Hadrian four Jewish captives were sold for a measure of barley. Nay, more, the Syrian commander, Nicanor, bargained by anticipation for the sale of such Jews as should be taken cap-tire in the Maccabean war. The prophet, moreover, looks forward in prophetic vision to the day of final judgment, when God will, in just retribution, pour out the vials of his wrath on all the oppressors of his Church and people.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they have cast lots for my people,.... Not only parted their land, but cast lots for their persons, Or played at dice for them, how many captives each soldier should have, and which should be their share and property: ninety seven thousand Jews, Josephus (d) says, were carried captive by the Romans, who, very probably, cast lots for them, as was usual in such cases; see Nahum 3:10;
and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink; either they gave a boy to be prostituted to natural lusts, in lieu of a whore; and a girl to be debauched for a bottle of wine: or they gave a boy for the price of a whore, as the Targum and Kimchi interpret it; that is, they gave a boy, instead of money, to a whore, to lie with her, as the eunuch was given to Thais; and they gave a girl to the wine merchant for as much wine as they could drink at one sitting. These phrases both express their uncleanness and intemperance, and also the low price and value they set upon their captives; and is applicable enough to the Papists, notorious for the same abominable lusts.
(d) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
3:3 Cast lots - It was customary with conquerors to divide the captives by lot, and so did these enemies of the Jews.
Joel 3:3 Parallel Commentaries
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