Joel 1:20
The beasts of the field cry also to you: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
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(20) The beasts of the field cry also unto thee.—The prophet has cried to God; the very beasts echo that cry, “looking up” to Him. As yet, man seems dumb.

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.The beasts of the field cry also unto Thee - o: "There is an order in these distresses. First he points out the insensate things wasted; then those afflicted, which have sense only; then those endowed with reason; so that to the order of calamity there may be consorted an order of pity, sparing first the creature, then the things sentient, then things rational. The Creator spares the creature; the Ordainer, things sentient; the Saviour, the rational." Irrational creatures joined with the prophet in his cry. The beasts of the field cry to God, though they know it not; it is a cry to God, who compassionates all which suffers. God makes them, in act, a picture of dependence upon His Providence, "seeking to It for a removal of their sufferings, and supply of their needs." So He saith, "the young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God" Psalm 104:21, and, "He giveth to the beast his food and to the young ravens that cry" Psalm 147:9, and, "Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God" Job 38:41. If the people would not take instruction from him, he "bids them learn from the beasts of the field how to behave amid these calamities, that they should cry aloud to God to remove them." 20. beasts … cry … unto thee—that is, look up to heaven with heads lifted up, as if their only expectation was from God (Job 38:41; Ps 104:21; 145:15; 147:9; compare Ps 42:1). They tacitly reprove the deadness of the Jews for not even now invoking God. The beasts: see Joel 1:18.

Cry; the wilder sort, that rove about many miles seeking their livelihood, find no sustenance, they look up to God, and cry to him: these creatures, that can better shift for themselves, yet can make no good shift; they utter their complaints in their sad tones, they have a voice to cry, as well as an eye to look to God.

Unto thee, who only canst open thy hand, and fill them. Learn, ye brutish among men, look and cry to God. And again, Have pity, O God, many of thy sinless creatures perish without relief; hear them, though thou shouldst not hear men.

The rivers are dried up; most extreme and tedious drought, which hath dried up the rivers themselves; there is no drink for the cattle, they must perish without help, unless thou, O God, send a plentiful and fruitful rain.

The fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness: see this explained above, Joel 1:19. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee,.... As well as the prophet, in their way; which may be mentioned, both as a rebuke to such who had no sense of the judgments upon them, and called not on the Lord; and to express the greatness of the calamity, of which the brute creatures were sensible, and made piteous moans, as for food, so for drink; panting thorough excessive heat and vehement thirst, as the hart, after the water brooks, of which this word is only used, Psalm 42:1; but in vain:

for the rivers of waters are dried up; not only springs, and rivulets and brooks of water, but rivers, places where were large deep waters, as Aben Ezra explains it; either by the Assyrian army, the like Sennacherib boasts Isaiah 37:25; and is said to be done by the army of Xerxes, wherever it came; or rather by the excessive heat and scorching beams of the sun, by which such effects are produced:

and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness; See Gill on Joel 1:19; and whereas the word rendered pastures signifies both "them" and "habitations" also; and, being repeated, it may be taken in one of the senses in Joel 1:19; and in the other here: and so Kimchi who interprets it before of "tents", here explains it of grassy places in the wilderness, dried up, as if the sun had consumed them.

The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the {k} fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

(k) That is, drought.

20. Yea, the beasts of the field pant (R.V.) unto thee] lit. ascend, mount up (viz. with longing and desire). The verb occurs in Heb. only here and Psalm 42:1 (twice). In Ethiopic it is the regular word for to go up, and it has the same meaning also in Arabic: in Heb. it is used only metaphorically in the sense explained above[34]. Cry of A.V. is based upon the interpretation of the Rabbis, who, in their ignorance of the real etymological affinities of the word, conjectured a meaning that would agree fairly with the context.

[34] The derivative ‘arûgâh occurs in the sense of a raised flower-bed, Ezekiel 17:7; Ezekiel 17:10; Song of Solomon 5:13; Song of Solomon 6:2.

rivers] channels (Isaiah 8:7; Psalm 18:15), not a very common word, used most frequently by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 6:3, Ezekiel 31:12 al.)."Ephraim will become a desert in the day of punishment: over the tribes of Israel have I proclaimed that which lasts. Hosea 5:10. The princes of Judah have become like boundary-movers; upon them I pour out my wrath like water." The kingdom of Israel will entirely succumb to the punishment. It will become a desert - will be laid waste not only for a time, but permanently. The punishment with which it is threatened will be נאמנה. This word is to be interpreted as in Deuteronomy 28:59, where it is applied to lasting plagues, with which God will chastise the obstinate apostasy of His people. By the perfect הודעתּי, what is here proclaimed is represented as a completed event, which will not be altered. Beshibhtē, not in or among the tribes, but according to ענה ב, in Deuteronomy 28:5, against or over the tribes (Hitzig). Judah also will not escape the punishment of its sins. The unusual expression massı̄gē gebhūl is formed after, and to be explained from Deuteronomy 19:14, "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark;" or Deuteronomy 27:17, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark." The princes of Judah have become boundary-removers, not by hostile invasions of the kingdom of Israel (Simson); for the boundary-line between Israel and Judah was not so appointed by God, that a violation of it on the part of the princes of Judah could be reckoned a grievous crime, but by removing the boundaries of right which had been determined by God, viz., according to Hosea 4:15, by participating in the guilt of Ephraim, i.e., by idolatry, and therefore by the fact that they had removed the boundary between Jehovah and Baal, that is to say, between the one true God and idols. "If he who removes his neighbour's boundary is cursed, how much more he who removes the border of his God!" (Hengstenberg). Upon such men the wrath of God would fall in its fullest measure. כּמּים, like a stream of water, so plentifully. For the figure, compare Psalm 69:25; Psalm 79:6; Jeremiah 10:25. Severe judgments are thus announced to Judah, viz., those of which the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser and Sennacherib were the instruments; but no ruin or lasting devastation is predicted, as was the case with the kingdom of Israel, which was destroyed by the Assyrians.
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