Joel 2:15
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
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(15, 16) Sanctify a fast.—The prophet renews, therefore, his summons to the priests to proclaim a day of humiliation, on which all, without distinction of age or circumstances, are to be required to present themselves before the Lord. There was no room for the plea, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”

Joel 2:15-16. Blow the trumpet in Zion — This was a signal for assembling the people at the solemn times of public worship. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly — Or, appoint ye a fast, proclaim a solemn day: so Archbishop Newcome. Sanctify the congregation — Let the people prepare themselves for this solemn time of humiliation, not only by washing themselves and their clothes, and cleansing themselves from all legal impurities, as is required Exodus 19:10-15, but by true contrition of heart, godly sorrow for, and forsaking all known sin, as also by abstaining from all sensual pleasures, however innocent and allowable at other times. Absolute self-denial is but a reasonable preparation for keeping a day of solemn humiliation before God, on account of national sins or calamities. This kind of abstinence was recommended among the heathen as a necessary preparation for solemn worship. Assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts — Let both young and old join in this duty, for all ages joining in it will add much to the solemnity of it, and is very proper to work in men’s minds that sincere contrition, which may avert those judgments which threaten the whole nation, and in which their posterity may suffer. Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet — Even on the day of their marriage, or during the marriage-feast. Let newly-married persons disregard the concerns and enjoyments peculiar to their situation, and afflict themselves with the rest of the people.

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.Before, he had, in these same words Joel 2:1; Joel 1:14, called to repentance, because the Day of the Lord was coming, was near, "a day of darkness," etc. Now , because God is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger and plenteous in goodness," he agains exhorts, "Blow ye the trumpet;" only the call is more detailed, that every sex and age should form one band of suppliants to the mercy of God. : "Most full abolition of sins is then obtained, when one prayer and one confession issueth from the whole Church. For since the Lord promiseth to the pious agreement of two or three, that He will grant whatever is so asked, what shall be denied to a people of many thousands, fulfilling together one observance, and supplicating in harmony through One Spirit?" "We come together," says Tertullian of Christian worship, "in a meeting and congregation as before God, as though we would in one body sue Him by our prayers. This violence is pleasing to God." 15. Blow the trumpet—to convene the people (Nu 10:3). Compare Joe 1:14. The nation was guilty, and therefore there must be a national humiliation. Compare Hezekiah's proceedings before Sennacherib's invasion (2Ch 30:1-27). Blow the trumpet in Zion: see Joel 2:1.

Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: see Joel 1:14.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,.... For the calling of the people together to religious duties, which was one use of the silver trumpets made for and blows by the priests, Numbers 10:2;

sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; See Gill on Joel 1:14.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
15. Blow ye the horn in Zion] Repeated verbatim from Joel 2:1, though in a different sense, as a call, namely, to a religious gathering, not as a signal of the approach of judgment (cf. on Amos 2:2).

sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly] as Joel 1:14 a (first two clauses).

15–17. With the view of making the preceding exhortation (Joel 2:12 f.) more practically effective, the prophet here repeats more emphatically the command of Joel 1:14 : he bids all ranks and classes assemble in the Temple for a solemn religious service, and prescribes at the same time the words in which the priests may intercede on behalf of the nation.

Verses 15-17. - "The harsh blast of the consecrated ram's horn called an assembly for an extraordinary fast. Not a soul was to be absent. Like the fiery cross, it convened old and young, men and women, mothers with infants at their breasts, the bridegroom and the bride on their bridal day. All were there stretched in front of the altar. The altar itself presented the dreariest of all sights - a hearth without its sacred fire, a table spread without its sacred feast. The priestly caste, instead of gathering as usual upon its steps and its platform, were driven, as it were, to the further space; they turned their backs to the dead altar, and lay prostrate, gazing towards the Invisible Presence within the sanctuary. Instead of the hymns and music which, since the time of David, had entered into their prayers, there was nothing heard but the passionate sobs and the loud dissonant howls such as only an Eastern hierarchy could utter. Instead of the mass of white mantles which they usually presented, they were wrapt in black goat's-hair sackcloth, twisted round them, not with the brilliant sashes of the priestly attire, but with a rough girdle of the same texture, which they never unbound night or day. What they wore of their common dress was rent asunder or cast off. With bare breasts they waved their black drapery towards the temple, and shrieked aloud, 'Spare thy people, O Lord!'" Such is Dean Stanley's vivid picture of the circumstances and scene described by the prophet in the above verses. A scene exceedingly similar occurs in the commencement of the 'OEdipus Tyrannus' of Sophocles -

"Why sit ye here, my children, younger brood
Of Cadmus famed of old, in solemn state,
Your bands thus wreathed with the suppliants' boughs?
And all the city reeks with incense,

And all re-echoes with your hymns and groans;
And I, my children, counting it unmeet
To hear report from others, I have come
Myself, whom all name OEdipus the Great."
Joel 2:15To make this admonition still more emphatic, the prophet concludes by repeating the appeal for the appointment of a meeting in the temple for prayer, and even gives the litany in which the priests are to offer their supplication. Joel 2:15. "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, proclaim a meeting. Joel 2:16. Gather the people together, sanctify an assembly, bring together the old men, gather together the children and sucklings at the breasts. Let the bridegroom go out of his chamber, and the bride out of her room. Joel 2:17. Between the porch and the altar are the priests, the servants of Jehovah, to weep and say, Spare, O Jehovah, Thy people, and give not up Thine inheritance to shame, so that the heathen scoff at them. Wherefore should men say among the nations, Where is their God?" Joel 2:15 is a literal repetition from Joel 2:1 and Joel 1:14; Joel 1:16 a more detailed expansion of Joel 1:14, in which, first of all, the people generally (עם) are mentioned, and then the objection of the summons explained in the words קדּשׁוּ קהל, "Call a holy meeting of the congregation." But in order that none may think themselves exempt, the people are more precisely defined as old men, children, and sucklings. Even the bride and bridegroom are to give up the delight of their hearts, and take part in the penitential and mournful worship. No age, no rank, is to stay away, because no one, not even the suckling, is free from sin; but all, without exception, are exposed to the judgment. "A stronger proof of the deep and universal guilt of the whole nation could not be found, than that on the great day of penitence and prayer, even new-born infants were to be carried in their arms" (Umbreit). The penitential supplication of the whole nation is to be brought before the Lord by the priests as the mediators of the nation. יבכּוּ in Joel 1:17 is jussive, like יצא in Joel 1:16, though Hitzig disputes this, but on insufficient grounds. The allusion to the priests in the former could only be unsuitable, if they were merely commanded to go to the temple like the rest of the people. But it is not to this that Joel 1:17 refers, but to the performance of their official duty, when the people had assembled for the penitential festival. They were to stand between the porch of the temple and the altar of burnt-offering, i.e., immediately in front of the door of the holy place, and there with tears entreat the Lord, who was enthroned in the sanctuary, not to give up the people of His possession (nachălâh as in 1 Kings 8:51; cf. Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 32:9) to the reproach of being scoffed at by the heathen. למשׁל־בּם גּוים is rendered by Luther and others, "that heathen rule over them," after the ancient versions; and Psalm 106:41; Deuteronomy 15:6, and Lamentations 5:8, might be appealed to in support of this rendering. But although grammatically allowable, it is not required by the parallelism, as Hengstenberg maintains. For even if the reproach of Israel could consist in the fact that they, the inheritance of the Lord, were subjected to the government of heathen, this thought is very remote from the idea of the passage before us, where there is no reference at all in the threatening of punishment to subjection to the heathen, but simply to the devastation of the land. משׁל with ב also signifies to utter a proverb ( equals to scoff) at any one, for which Ezekiel indeed makes use of משׁל משׁל (Ezekiel 17:2; Ezekiel 18:2, and in Ezekiel 12:23 and Ezekiel 18:3 construed with ב); but it is evident that mâshal was sometimes used alone in this sense, from the occurrence of mōshelı̄m in Numbers 21:27 as a term applied to the inventors of proverbs, and also of meshōl as a proverb or byword in Job 17:6, whether we take the word as an infinitive or a substantive. This meaning, as Marck observes, is rendered probable both by the connection with חרפּה, and also by the parallel clause which follows, viz., "Wherefore should men among the heathen say," etc., more especially if we reflect that Joel had in his mind not Deuteronomy 15:6, which has nothing in common with the passage before us except the verb mâshal, but rather Deuteronomy 28:37, where Moses not only threatens the people with transportation to another land for their apostasy from the Lord, and that they shall become "an astonishment, a proverb (mâshâl), and a byword" among all nations, but (Deuteronomy 28:38, Deuteronomy 28:40-42) also threatens them with the devastation of their seed-crops, their vineyards, and their olive-grounds by locusts. Compare also 1 Kings 9:7-8, where not only the casting out of Israel among the heathen, but even the destruction of the temple, is mentioned as the object of ridicule on the part of the heathen; also the combination of לחרפּה and למשׁל in Jeremiah 24:9. But Joel 2:19 is decisive in favour of this view of למשׁל בם ג. The Lord there promises that He will send His people corn, new wine, and oil, to their complete satisfaction, and no longer make them a reproach among the nations; so that, according to this, it was not subjugation or transportation by heathen foes that gave occasion to the scoffing of the nations at Israel, but the destruction of the harvest by the locusts. The saying among the nations, "Where is their God?" is unquestionably a sneer at the covenant relation of Jehovah to Israel; and to this Jehovah could offer no inducement, since the reproach would fall back upon Himself. Compare for the fact itself, Exodus 32:12; Micah 7:10, and Psalm 115:2. Thus the prayer closes with the strongest reason why God should avert the judgment, and one that could not die away without effect.
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