Joel 1:16
Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
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1:14-20 The sorrow of the people is turned into repentance and humiliation before God. With all the marks of sorrow and shame, sin must be confessed and bewailed. A day is to be appointed for this purpose; a day in which people must be kept from their common employments, that they may more closely attend God's services; and there is to be abstaining from meat and drink. Every one had added to the national guilt, all shared in the national calamity, therefore every one must join in repentance. When joy and gladness are cut off from God's house, when serious godliness decays, and love waxes cold, then it is time to cry unto the Lord. The prophet describes how grievous the calamity. See even the inferior creatures suffering for our transgression. And what better are they than beasts, who never cry to God but for corn and wine, and complain of the want of the delights of sense? Yet their crying to God in those cases, shames the stupidity of those who cry not to God in any case. Whatever may become of the nations and churches that persist in ungodliness, believers will find the comfort of acceptance with God, when the wicked shall be burned up with his indignation.Is not the meat cut off before our eyes? - The prophet exhibits the immediate judgment, as if it were already fullilled in act. He sets it in detail before their eyes. "When the fruits of the earth were now ripe, the grain now calling for the reaper, and the grapes fully ripe and desiring to be pressed out, they were taken away, when set before their eyes for them to enjoy." Yea, "joy and gladness from the house of our God." The joy in the abundance of the harvest was expressed in one universal thanksgiving to God, by fathers of families, sons, daughters, menservants, maidservants, with the priest and Levite. All this was to be cut off together. The courts of God's house were to be desolate and silent, or joy and gladness were to be turned into sorrow and wailing.

: "So it befell those who rejected and insulted Christ. "The Bread of life Which came down from heaven and gave life to the world John 6:48, John 6:51, the grain of wheat, which fell into the ground and died, and brought forth much fruit" John 12:24, that spiritual "wine" which knoweth how to "gladden the heart of man," was already in a manner before their eyes. But when they ceased not to insult Him in unbelief, He, as it were, disappeared from their eyes, and they lost all spiritual sustenance. All share in all good is gone from them. "Joy and gladness" have also gone "from the House" which they had. For they are given up to desolation, and "abide without king or prince or sacrifice" Hosea 3:4. Again, the Lord said, "Man, shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which cometh forth out of the Mouth of God" Matthew 4:4. The word of God then is food. This hath been taken away from the Jews, for they understood not the writings of Moses, but "to this day the veil is upon their heart" 2 Corinthians 3:15. For they hate the oracles of Christ. All spiritual food is perished, not in itself but to "them." To them, it is as though it were not. But the Lord Himself imparts to these who believe in Him a right to all exuberance of joy in the good tilings from above. For it is written, "The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish; but He thrusts away the desire of the wicked" Proverbs 10:3.

16. Compare Joe 1:9, and latter part of Joe 1:12.

joy—which prevailed at the annual feasts, as also in the ordinary sacrificial offerings, of which the offerers ate before the Lord with gladness and thanksgivings (De 12:6, 7, 12; 16:11, 14, 15).

Is not the meat? the question does most vehemently affirm, our food, what we should eat, i.e. all provision we should live upon.

Cut off; devoured by locusts, or withered with drought, it is perished.

Before our eyes; we see it, it is not so far off as what is foretold, it is under our eye.

Yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God: sacrifices fail much, and priests have scarce enough to live upon, while free-will offerings, first-fruits, and tithes amount to very little, not sufficient to feast the sacrificers and offerers, who on such occasion did use to rejoice in the house of God.

Is not the meat cut off before our eyes?.... Such an interrogation most strongly affirms; it was a matter out of all question, they could not but see it with their eyes; it was a plain case, and not to be denied, that every eatable thing, or that of which food was wont to be made, was cut off by the locusts, or the drought, or by the Assyrian or Chaldean army:

yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God; the harvest being perished, there were no firstfruits brought to the temple, which used to be attended with great joy; and the corn and vines being wasted, no meat offerings made of fine flour, nor drink offerings of wine, were offered, which used to make glad God and man; nor any other sacrifices, on which the priests and their families lived, and were matter of joy to them; and these they ate of in the temple, or in courts adjoining to it. So Philo (y) the Jew says of the ancient Jews, that

"having prayed and offered sacrifices, and appeased the Deity, they washed their bodies and souls; the one in lavers, the other in the streams of the laws, and right instruction; and being cheerful, turned themselves to their food, not going home oftentimes, but remaining in the holy places where they sacrificed; and as mindful of the sacrifices, and reverencing the place, they kept a feast truly holy, not shining either in word or deed.''

(y) De Plantatione Noe, p. 237.

Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
16. the meat] food, the reference being in particular to the products of the soil mentioned in Joel 1:10. Meat in the A.V., and sometimes (as here) in the R.V. as well, is not restricted, as in modern English, to the flesh of animals (comp. on Amos 5:22).

before our eyes] The position of these words shews that they are the emphatic words in the sentence. The fact which they emphasize is the helplessness of those who witness the process going on, and their inability to stay it. This is the regular force of this, or similar expressions, in Hebrew: comp. Isaiah 1:7 (“your land, strangers are devouring it in your presence”); Deuteronomy 28:31 (“Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof”); Psalm 23:5 (“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies,”—who experience the mortification of being unable to overthrow it).

joy and gladness from the house of our God] There would be no first-fruits, for instance, to be presented in the Temple with gladness (Deuteronomy 26:1-2; Deuteronomy 26:10-11). The feasts of Weeks and of Ingathering, which marked respectively the completion of wheat-harvest, and of vintage, could no longer be observed with the rejoicings which naturally accompanied them (Deuteronomy 16:10 f., 13–15); and the number of persons offering peace-offerings, with the sacred meals which formed their distinctive concomitant (cf. Deuteronomy 12:6-7), would naturally be much fewer than usual.

16–20. In justification of the alarm just expressed, the prophet points again to the terrible condition to which the country has been reduced: anything which the locusts may have spared has been parched by the drought: the water brooks are dried up; cattle and human beings alike are perishing from thirst.

Verses 16-18. - These verses contain manifest proofs that the day of the Lord was coming, and coming as a destruction from the Almighty. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes? The food for daily sustenance, and the food for Divine service - the corn and wine and oil, as mentioned in ver. 10 - had vanished while they beheld the process of destruction, but could not binder it. "These locusts," says Thomson, in 'The Land and the Book,' "at once strip the vines of every leaf and cluster of grapes, and of every green twig. I also saw many large fig orchards 'clean bare,' not a leaf remaining; and, as the bark of the fig tree is of a silvery whiteness, the whole orchards, thus rifled of their green veils, spread abroad their branches 'made white' in melancholy nakedness to the burning sun." He then refers to the exclamation in ver. 15, and to that in the words before us, "Is not the meat cut off before our eyes?" and then proceeds," This is most emphatically true. I saw under my own eye not only a large vineyard loaded with young grapes, but whole fields of corn, disappear as if by magic, and the hope of the husbandman vanish like smoke." Yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God. Not only had the food necessary for the support of daily life perished - "The food of the sinners," says Jerome, "perishes before their eyes, since the crops they looked for are snatched away from their hands, and the locust anticipates the reaper," - but the offerings used in Divine worship had ceased. Owing to the destruction of the crops, the firstfruits, as a matter of course, failed; the thank offerings could not be procured. Consequently, the joy that usually accompanied the presentation of these and other offerings was also cut off. When the Hebrews of old brought their burnt offerings, sacrifices, tithes, heave offerings, vows, free-will offerings, and firstlings of herds and flocks, it was a joyful season, a time of rejoicing before the Lord, as we learn from Deuteronomy 12:7, "There ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households." All this joy and gladness, so graciously associated with the worship of Jehovah, were now things of the past. The seed (margin, grains)is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. This was a fearful aggravation of their calamity. Their present distress thus prolonged itself into the future, as there was no prospect of a crop in the following year to cheer them. The rotting of the seed that had been sown and carefully covered in the earth was occasioned by the drought. The visitation of locusts, as Stanley says, "came, like all such visitations, in the season of' unusual drought - a drought which passed over the country like flames of fire." The rotting of the seed, and the withering of the corn, if the mouldering seed germinated and put forth a blade at all, rendered barns useless, and granaries, or the larger storehouses, unnecessary. The barns were left to decay and tumble down; and the granaries were desolate, and so there was no further use for them. Several difficult expressions occur in this verse, Perudoth is from parad, to scatter about, or to sow broadcast, and hence signifies "scattered things," - seed or grain sown. עַבַשׁ is to dry up, moulder, wither; and is said of seeds that lose their germinating power Megraphoth are clods of earth, the root being garaph, to wash away (Judges 5:21); the noun, therefore, denotes a clod of earth rolled together by water and swept away. Otsaroth were the storehouses, but these were allowed to moulder away, as there was no reasonable prospect of a harvest or of grain to store in them. The mam-megurah or megurah, viz. the barns, had now become a useless appendage of the farmstead. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. The drought that preceded and accompanied the plague of locusts destroyed the pasture-grounds, and thus the herds of cattle were bewildered, being deprived of pasture and water; they were perplexed to know where to find food to satisfy the cravings of hunger, and water to quench their thirst; in their perplexity they sought both, but found neither. The flocks of sheep, too, that are more easily satisfied and accustomed to browse on grass shorter and sparser, were desolate for want of nourishment, or, as the word ashem may be translated, "expiate the sin of man," inasmuch as they suffered from its consequences. This also was true to the life, as Thomson assures us. After quoting this verse (18) he adds, "This is poetic, but true. A field over which this flood of desolation [the locusts] has rolled shows not a blade for even a goat to nip." What with the locusts devouring what appeared above ground, and the drought destroying the seeds sown under the surface, the havoc was complete; famine and distress afflicted both man and beast. In the progress of this visitation the cereals - corn, and wheat, and barley, and other grains - were ruined; the fruit trees - vine, and olive, and fig, and pomegranate. and apple, and palm - were destroyed. But not only were the herbs for the service of man eaten up, but the grass for the cattle perished. Stanley refers to it in the following eloquent words: "The purple vine, the green fig tree, the grey olive, the scarlet pomegranate, the golden corn, the waving palm, the fragrant citron, vanished before them; end the trunks and branches were left bare and white by their devouring teeth. What had been but a few moments before like the garden of Eden was turned into a desolate wilderness. The herds of cattle and flocks of sheep so dear to the shepherds of Judah, the husbandmen so dear to King Uzziah, were reduced to starvation. The flour and oil for the 'meat offerings' failed; even the temple lost its accustomed sacrifices." The remarks of Kimchi on some of the difficult or unusual words of this verse deserve attention. On עבשו he observes, "It is equivalent in meaning to עפשו, for the beth and the pe belong to the same organ." In his note on perudoth he says, "They are the grains of seed that are under the earth; and he says another curse will be that the seed will be destroyed and rotten under the earth, and shall not bud; and what shall bud, the locusts shall eat it. Or the grains of seed shall rot because of the rains which do not descend upon them, for there shall also be in like manner a great drought [literally, ' restraint of rain'] in those years." On the garners (otsaroth) being laid desolate, and the barns (mammeguroth) broken down, he observes on the former, "The garners for the produce are laid desolate, for there was nothing to bring into them, and, lo! they are laid desolate. In reference to the latter he says, "He (the prophets) repeats the matter in different words; for mammeguroth is the same as otsaroth, and so 'is the seed yet in the barn, megurah (Hosea 2:20), gives proof of this." And he accounts for their being broken down either "(1) because they brought nothing into them, or

(2) they were broken down because they had no caretaker to repair them after the custom from year to year, and so they fell and were destroyed." Of the perplexity of the herds he gives the following explanation: "He speaks collectively (i.e. the verb is singular, agreeing with the noun), and afterwards individually (the verb being plural); perplexed has the meaning of confusion, as a man who is confused in his knowledge, and does not know what to do, and so they (the herds) are confused in the land," in other words, they wandered up and down, and knew not where to go for drink or pasture. He (Kimchi) adds, in his further explanation. "that the flecks of sheep sometimes find pasture where the oxen do not find it, because that they (sheep) go up upon the mountains and upon the hills - a thing which the oxen do not in general do." Joel 1:16"Is not the food destroyed before our eyes, joy and exulting from the house of our God? Joel 1:17. The grains have mouldered under their clods, the storehouses are desolate, the barns have fallen down; because the corn is destroyed. Joel 1:18. How the cattle groan! the herds of oxen are bewildered, for no pasture was left for them; even the flocks of sheep suffer." As a proof that the day of the Lord is coming like a devastation from the Almighty, the prophet points in Joel 1:16 to the fact that the food is taken away before their eyes, and therewith all joy and exulting from the house of God. "The food of the sinners perishes before their eyes, since the crops they looked for are snatched away from their hands, and the locust anticipates the reaper" (Jerome). אכל, food as the means of sustenance; according to Joel 1:19, corn, new wine, and oil. The joy is thereby taken from the house of Jehovah, inasmuch as, when the crops are destroyed, neither first-fruits nor thank-offerings can be brought to the sanctuary to be eaten there at joyful meals (Deuteronomy 12:6-7; Deuteronomy 16:10-11). And the calamity became all the more lamentable, from the fact that, in consequence of a terrible drought, the seed perished in the earth, and consequently the prospect of a crop the following year entirely disappeared. The prophet refers to this in Joel 1:17, which has been rendered in extremely different ways by the lxx, Chald., and Vulg., on account of the ̔απ. λεγ. עבשׁוּ, פּרדות, and מגרפות (compare Pococke, ad h. l.). עבשׁ signifies to moulder away, or, as the injury was caused by dryness and heat, to dry up; it is used here of grains of corn which lose their germinating power, from the Arabic ‛bs, to become dry or withered, and the Chaldee עפשׁ, to get mouldy. Perudōth, in Syriac, grains of corn sowed broadcast, probably from pârad, to scatter about. Megrâphōth, according to Ab. Esr., clods of earth (compare Arab. jurf, gleba terrai), from gâraph, to wash away (Judges 5:21) a detached piece of earth. If the seed-corn loses its germinating power beneath the clod, no corn-harvest can be looked for. The storehouses ('ōtsârōth; cf. 2 Chronicles 32:27) moulder away, and the barns (mammegurâh with dag. dirim. equals megūrâh in Haggai 2:19) fall, tumble to pieces, because being useless they are not kept in proper condition. The drought also deprives the cattle of their pasture, so that the herds of oxen and flocks of sheep groan and suffer with the rest from the calamity. בּוּך, niphal, to be bewildered with fear. 'Ashēm, to expiate, to suffer the consequences of men's sin.

The fact, that even irrational creatures suffer along with men, impels the prophet to pray for help to the Lord, who helps both man and beast (Psalm 36:7). Joel 1:19. "To Thee, O Jehovah, do I:cry: for fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flame has consumed all the trees of the field. Joel 1:20. Even the beasts of the field cry unto Thee; for the water-brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness." Fire and flame are the terms used by the prophet to denote the burning heat of the drought, which consumes the meadows, and even scorches up the trees. This is very obvious from the drying up of the water-brooks (in Joel 1:20). For Joel 1:20, compare Jeremiah 14:5-6. In Jeremiah 14:20 the address is rhetorically rounded off by the repetition of ואשׁ אכלה וגו from Jeremiah 14:19.

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