Joel 2:8
Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall on the sword, they shall not be wounded.
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2:1-14 The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The striking description which follows, shows what would attend the devastations of locusts, but may also describe the effects from the ravaging of the land by the Chaldeans. If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.When they fall upon the sword - (literally, "among the darts") they shall not be wounded It may be that the prophet would describe how the locust seems armed as in a suit of armor. As one says , "Their form was wondrous; they had a sort of gorget round their neck like a lancer, and a helm on their head, such as soldiers wear." But, more, he exhibits their indomitableness and impenetrableness, how nothing checks, nothing retards, nothing makes any impression upon them. : "They do not suffer themselves to be impeded by any obstacles, but fly boldly on, and are drowned in the sea when they come to it." : "When on a march during the day, it is utterly impossible to turn the direction of a troop, which is generally with the wind." : "The guard of the Red Town attempted to stop their irruption into Transylvania by firing at them; and indeed when the balls and shot swept through the swarm, they gave way and divided; but having filled up their ranks in a moment, they proceeded on their journey."

And in like way of the young swarms ; "The inhabitants, to stop their progress, made trenches all over their fields and gardens and filled them with water; or else, placing in a row great quantities of heath, stubble, and such like combustible matter, they set them on fire on the approach of the locusts. But all this was to no purpose, for the trenches were quickly filled up, and the fires put out by infinite swarms, succeeding one another; while the front seemed regardless of danger, and the van pressed on so close, that a retreat was impossible." : "Like waves, they roll over one another on and on, and let themselves be stopped by nothing. Russians and Germans try many means with more or less success against them, when they come from the waste against the grainlands. Bundles of straw are laid in rows and set on fire before them; they march in thick heaps into the fire, but this is often put out thro' the great mass of the animals and those advancing from behind march away over the corpses of their companions, and continue the march." : "Their number was astounding; the whole face of the mountain was black with them. On they came like a living deluge. We dug trenches, and kindled fires, and beat and burned to death heaps upon heaps, but the effort was utterly useless. wave after wave rolled up the mountain side, and poured over rocks, walls, ditches and hedges, those behind covering up and bridging over the masses already killed. After a long and fatiguing contest, I descended the mountain to examine the depth of the column, but I could not see to the end of it." "It was perfectly appalling to watch this animated river, as it flowed up the road and ascended the hill."

Both in ancient and modern times, armies have been marched against them ; but in vain, unless they destroyed them, before they were full-grown.

Since the very smallest of God's judgments are thus irreversible, since creatures so small cannot be turned aside, since we cannot turn away the time of one of the least of our Master's servants, since they are each as a "man of might", (so he calls them, it is the force of the word rendered "each") what of the greater? what of the whole?

8. Neither shall one thrust another—that is, press upon so as to thrust his next neighbor out of his place, as usually occurs in a large multitude.

when they fall upon the sword—that is, among missiles.

not be wounded—because they are protected by defensive armor [Grotius]. Maurer translates, "Their (the locusts') ranks are not broken when they rush among missiles" (compare Da 11:22).

Neither shall one thrust another: the prophet, in pursuance of the allegory, tells us how this army of locusts do move without disorder; so shall they who are hereby typified; it is much the same with the last clause of the former verse.

They shall walk; before it was run, i.e. for speed, now it is walk, for stedfast and even motion.

Every one in his path; the track he first takes to, follow his leader exactly, and observe rank and file.

When they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded; the sword shall not be a weapon to destroy them, they shall run among swords, yet not be wounded; literally verified in the locusts, and verified in the strange preservations and escapes from dangers in midst of the most desperate adventures made by Assyrians or Babylonians. Neither shall one thrust another,.... Press upon another, thrust him out of his place, or push him forward, or any ways straiten and distress him, or in the least hinder him in his progress:

they shall walk everyone in his path; or "highway" (o); everyone should have his path, and keep in it, and it should be as roomy to him as if he had a highway to walk in by himself, and in which he could not err:

and when they shall fall upon the sword; on which they would pitch without any fear or dread of it:

they shall not be wounded: or "cut to pieces" (p) by it; it not being easy for the sword to pierce and cut them, through the smoothness and smallness of their bodies; see Revelation 9:9; and besides, their numbers being so great, the loss of a few by the use of a sword, or a dart, or any such flying projectile, as the word (q) signifies, would be of little consequence, and avail very little to the utter rout, or cutting of them in pieces. Kimchi observes that the word signifies haters of gain; and to this sense Jarchi explains it; and so the Targum,

"they go to the place whither they are sent, they slay, and receive not mammon;''

they are not, as other enemies, to be appeased by money, as Kimchi interprets it. The Targum is, they are not to be bribed, as soldiers sometimes may be, and so depart; see Isaiah 13:17; and to this sense are other versions (r).

(o) "per aggerem suum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "via elevata", Drusius; "via strata sua", Cocceius. (p) "verbum significat discidit", Amos ix. 1. Tarnovius, so Ben Melech. (q) "per missile", Cocceius; so Bochartus, Castalio, Drusius, Burkius; "super missile", Montanus. (r) "Non avari erunt", Montanus; "nec lucro inhiant", Tigurine version; "non studebunt avaritiae", so some in Vatablus.

Neither shall one {f} thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.

(f) For none will be able to resist them.

8. they move along every one in his highway] or raised way, specially prepared by throwing up earth, stones, &c., and then levelling the surface (Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10). Here figuratively for a definitely marked path.

and they fall about the weapons without breaking (their course)] i.e. weapons are powerless to arrest their progress: a few may fall wounded, when the sword is directed against them, but the mass moves on, with its ranks still unbroken. Similarly R.V. marg. The words are however difficult; and this explanation cannot be said to be certain. R.V. renders the first clause (with Hitzig, Keil, and Wellhausen) “and they burst through (i.e. in between) the weapons,” viz. without injuring themselves, or having their progress impeded; but this implies a rather doubtful paraphrase of fall. The rendering of A.V. is not tenable.

weapons] not the usual word, but one (שׁלח) which otherwise occurs only in late writings, viz. 2 Chronicles 23:10 (where the parallel passage 2 Kings 11:11 has the ordinary word כלים), 2 Chronicles 32:5 (no parallel in Kings); Nehemiah 4:11; Nehemiah 4:17 [A.V. 17, 23]; Job 33:18; Job 36:12. Silâḥ in Arabic has the same sense.

It is practically impossible[38] to arrest or divert the advance of a body of locusts. “The guard of the Red Tower attempted to stop their irruption into Pennsylvania by firing at them; and indeed when the balls and shot swept through the swarm, they gave way and divided; but having filled up their ranks in a moment, they proceeded on their journey.” When locusts on the march approach a village, the inhabitants endeavour often to stop their advance by kindling fires, or digging trenches and filling them with water, but to little effect (see pp. 88 ff.): a flight of locusts is however sometimes deterred from alighting by the noise of pots and pans, kettles, drums, &c.

[38] Except indeed by elaborate contrivances such as are in use now in Cyprus.Verse 8. - Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path. "And not one shall stand aloof from his brother." This is either the sequence of their not breaking rank, or perhaps it is a co-ordinate particular in the detail. They neither straggle away from each other, and so fall out of rank, nor do they crowd and crush and press each other while keeping rank. The order of their march is perfect, every one keeping his proper place and in the proper path. And when they fall upon the sword (margin, dart), they shall not be wounded. The meaning is either

(1) that the weapons shall not wound them, or intransitively, as in the text, they shall not be wounded, כּצע, to cut, or break in pieces, being here synonymous with פצע, to wound; or

(2) that they do not cut off, break off, or interrupt their course. No force of arms can stay their progress or step their advance. On this clause Kimchi remarks, "This army is not like other enemies, which you may hinder by the sword from coming upon you; but these light upon the swords, and are not wounded by reason of their lightness? He also remarks on גֶּבֶר, "Because he compares them with men and heroes, he uses גּבר, although this word does not apply except to the sons of men." To this threat the prophet appends in the concluding strophe, both the command to return to the Lord, and the promise that the Lord will raise His smitten nation up again, and quicken them anew with His grace. The separation of these three verses from the preceding one, by the division of the chapters, is at variance with the close connection in the actual contents, which is so perfectly obvious in the allusion made in the words of Hosea 6:1, "Come, and let us return," to those of Hosea 5:15, "I will go, and return," and in טרף וירפּאנוּ (Hosea 6:1) to the similar words in Hosea 5:13 and Hosea 5:14. Hosea 6:1. "Come, and let us return to Jehovah: for He has torn in pieces, and will heal us; He has smitten, and will bind us up. Hosea 6:2. He will quicken us after two days; on the third He will raise us up, that we may live before Him." The majority of commentators, following the example of the Chald. and Septuagint, in which לאמר, λέγοντες, is interpolated before לכוּ, have taken the first three verses as an appeal to return to the Lord, addressed by the Israelites in exile to one another. But it would be more simple, and more in harmony with the general style of Hosea, which is characterized by rapid transitions, to take the words as a call addressed by the prophet in the name of the exile. The promise in v. 3 especially is far more suitable to a summons of this kind, than to an appeal addressed by the people to one another. As the endurance of punishment impels to seek the Lord (Hosea 5:15), so the motive to return to the Lord is founded upon the knowledge of the fact that the Lord can, and will, heal the wounds which He inflicts. The preterite târaph, as compared with the future 'etrōph in Hosea 5:14, presupposes that the punishment has already begun. The following יך is also a preterite with the Vav consec. omitted. The Assyrian cannot heal (Hosea 5:13); but the Lord, who manifested Himself as Israel's physician in the time of Moses (Exodus 15:26), and promised His people healing in the future also (Deuteronomy 32:39), surely can. The allusion in the word ירפּאנוּ to this passage of Deuteronomy, is placed beyond all doubt by Hosea 6:2. The words, "He revives after two days," etc., are merely a special application of the general declaration, "I kill, and make alive" (Deuteronomy 32:39), to the particular case in hand. What the Lord there promises to all His people, He will also fulfil upon the ten tribes of Israel. By the definition "after two days," and "on the third day," the speedy and certain revival of Israel is set before them. Two and three days are very short periods of time; and the linking together of two numbers following one upon the other, expresses the certainty of what is to take place within this space of time, just as in the so-called numerical sayings in Amos 1:3; Job 5:19; Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 30:15, Proverbs 30:18, in which the last and greater number expresses the highest or utmost that is generally met with. הקים, to raise the dead (Job 14:12; Psalm 88:11; Isaiah 26:14, Isaiah 26:19). "That we may live before Him:" i.e., under His sheltering protection and grace (cf. Genesis 17:18). The earlier Jewish and Christian expositors have taken the numbers, "after two days, and on the third day," chronologically. The Rabbins consequently suppose the prophecy to refer either to the three captivities, the Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Roman, which has not ended yet; or to the three periods of the temple of Solomon, of that of Zerubbabel, and of the one to be erected by the Messiah. Many of the fathers, on the other hand, and many of the early Lutheran commentators, have found in them a prediction of the death of Christ and His resurrection on the third day. Compare, for example, Calovii Bibl. illustr. ad h. l., where this allusion is defended by a long series of undeniably weak arguments, and where a fierce attack is made, not only upon Calvin, who understood these words as "referring to the liberation of Israel from captivity, and the restoration of the church after two days, i.e., in a very short time;" but also upon Grotius, who found, in addition to the immediate historical allusion to the Israelites, whom God would soon liberate from their death-like misery after their conversion, a foretype, in consequence of a special divine indication, of the time "within which Christ would recover His life, and the church its hope." But any direct allusion in the hope here uttered to the death and resurrection of Christ, is proved to be untenable by the simple words and their context. The words primarily hold out nothing more than the quickening of Israel out of its death-like state of rejection from the face of God, and that in a very short period after its conversion to the Lord. This restoration to life cannot indeed be understood as referring to the return of the exiles to their earthly fatherland; or, at all events, it cannot be restricted to this. It does not occur till after the conversion of Israel to the Lord its God, on the ground of faith in the redemption effected through the atoning death of Christ, and His resurrection from the grave; so that the words of the prophet may be applied to this great fact in the history of salvation, but without its being either directly or indirectly predicted. Even the resurrection of the dead is not predicted, but simply the spiritual and moral restoration of Israel to life, which no doubt has for its necessary complement the reawakening of the physically dead. And, in this sense, our passage may be reckoned among the prophetic utterances which contain the germ of the hope of a life after death, as in Isaiah 26:19-21, and in the vision of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

That it did not refer to this in its primary sense, and so far as its historical fulfilment was concerned, is evident from the following verse. Hosea 6:3. "Let us therefore know, hunt after the knowledge of Jehovah. His rising is fixed like the morning dawn, that He may come to us like the rain, and moisten the earth like the latter rain." ונדעה נר corresponds to לכוּ ונשׁוּבה in Hosea 6:1. The object to נדעה is also את־יהוה, and נדעה is merely strengthened by the addition of נרדּפה לדּעת. The knowledge of Jehovah, which they would hunt after, i.e., strive zealously to obtain, is a practical knowledge, consisting in the fulfilment of the divine commandments, and in growth in the love of God with all the heart. This knowledge produces fruit. The Lord will rise upon Israel like the morning dawn, and come down upon it like fertilizing rain. מוצאו, His (i.e., Jehovah's) rising, is to be explained from the figure of the dawn (for יצא applied to the rising of the sun, see Genesis 19:23 and Psalm 19:7). The dawn is mentioned instead of the sun, as the herald of the dawning day of salvation (compare Isaiah 58:8 and Isaiah 60:2). This salvation which dawns when the Lord appears, is represented in the last clause as a shower of rain that fertilizes the land. יורה is hardly a kal participle, but rather the imperfect hiphil in the sense of sprinkling. In Deuteronomy 11:14 (cf. Deuteronomy 28:12 and Leviticus 26:4-5), the rain, or the early and latter rain, is mentioned among the blessings which the Lord will bestow upon His people, when they serve Him with all the heart and soul. This promise the Lord will so fulfil in the case of His newly quickened nation, that He Himself will refresh it like a fertilizing rain. This will take place through the Messiah, as Psalm 72:6 and 2 Samuel 23:4 clearly show.

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