Joel 3:4
Yes, and what have you to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will you render me a recompense? and if you recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompense on your own head;
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(4) What have ye to do with me?—Rather, What are ye to me? God, identifying Himself with His people, threatens retaliation upon their enemies for the wrongs they had inflicted upon them. Tyre and Zidon had oppressed the Jews in the time of the judges, and would do so again: the Philistines also were to the last the inveterate enemies of Israel; but in the end, could they measure strength with God?

Joel 3:4. O Tyre, and Zidon, &c. — “When the Babylonians, the appointed instruments of my vengeance, afflict my land, why do you also, and the bordering nations, assist them? Do you take this occasion of avenging the former victories of my people over you? If so, this your act of revenge shall be speedily punished.” — Newcome. The expression which he here uses, What have ye to do with me? signifies the same as that other so common in the sacred books, What have I to do with you? that is, What is the reason of your so frequently invading and plundering my land and people?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.Yea, and what have ye to do with Me? - Literally, "and also, what are ye to Me?" The words, "And also," show that this is something additional to the deeds of those before spoken of. Those, instanced before, were great oppressors, such as dispersed the former people of God and "divided their land." In addition to these, God condemns here another class, those who, without having power to destroy, harass and vex His heritage. The words, "what are ye to Me?" are like that other phrase, "what is there to thee and me?" (Joshua 22:24, etc; Matthew 8:29, ...), i. e., what have we in common? These words, "what are ye to Me?" also declare, that those nations had no part in God. God accounts them as aliens, "what are ye to Me?" Nothing. But the words convey, besides, that they would, unprovoked, have to do with God, harassing His people without cause. They obtruded themselves, as it were, upon God and His judgments; they challenged God; they thrust themselves in, to their destruction, where they had no great temptation to meddle, noticing, but inbred malice, to impel them.

This was, especially, the character of the relations of Tyre and Zidon and Philistia with Israel. They were allotted to Israel by Joshua, but were not assailed . On the contrary, "the Zidonians" are counted among those who "oppressed" Israel, and "out of" whose "hand" God "delivered" him, when he "cried" to God Judges 10:12. The Philistines were the unwearied assailants of Israel in the days of the Judges, and Saul, and David Judges 13:1; 1 Samuel 4; 13; 17; 1 Samuel 23:1; 1 Samuel 30; 1 Samuel 31:1-13; during 40 years Israel was given into the hands of the Philistines, until God delivered them by Samuel at Mizpeh. When David was king of all Israel, the Philistines still acted on the offensive, and lost Gath and her towns to David in an offensive war 2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1; 1 Chronicles 18:1; 2 Samuel 21:18; 2 Samuel 13:9-16. To Jehoshaphat some of them voluntarily paid tribute 2 Chronicles 17:11; but in the reign of Jehoram his son, they, with some Arabians, marauded in Judah, plundering the king's house and slaying all his sons, save the youngest 2 Chronicles 21:16-17; 2 Chronicles 22:1. This is the last event before the time of Joel. They stand among the most inveterate and unprovoked enemies of God's people, and probably as enemies of God also hating the claim of Judah that their God was the One God.

Will ye render Me a recompense? - People never want pleas for themselves. The Philistines, although the aggressors, had been signally defeated by David. People forget their own wrong-doings and remember their sufferings. It may be then, that the Philistines thought that they had been aggrieved when their assaults were defeated, and looked upon their own fresh aggressions as a requital. If moreover, as is probable, they heard that the signal victories won over them were ascribed by Israel to God, and themselves also suspected, that these "mighty Gods" 1 Samuel 4:7-8 were the cause of their defeat, they doubtless turned their hatred against God. People, when they submit not to God chastening them, hate Him. This belief that they were retaliating against God, (not, of course, knowing Him as God,) fully corresponds with the strong words, "will ye render Me "a recompense?" Julian's dying blasphemy, "Galilean, thou hast conquered," corresponds with the efforts of his life against the gospel, and implies a secret consciousness that He whose religion he was straining to overthrow "might" be, What he denied Him to be, God. The phrase "swiftly," literally "lightly, and speedily, denotes" the union of easiness with speed. The recompense is returned "upon" their head, coming down upon them from God.

4. what have ye to do with me—Ye have no connection with Me (that is, with My people: God identifying Himself with Israel); I (that is, My people) have given you no cause of quarrel, why then do ye trouble Me (that is, My people)? (Compare the same phrase, Jos 22:24; Jud 11:12; 2Sa 16:10; Mt 8:29).

Tyre … Zidon … Palestine—(Am 1:6, 9).

if ye recompense me—If ye injure Me (My people), in revenge for fancied wrongs (Eze 25:15-17), I will requite you in your own coin swiftly and speedily.

What have ye to do with me? what just cause of quarrel have you against me? Have I done you any wrong which now you avenge upon my people? or do you begin to violate the law of neighbourhood and friendship, and think to escape? Do ye think you have to do with a poor oppressed people, my people, and I nothing concerned at it?

Tyre, a great mart town, which neighbour to the Jews, and ought to be friends, either joined forces with the enemy against them, or, retaining friendship with the enemy, bought the Jews for slaves, and sold them again to strangers, to Grecians: this, in his man trade, Tyre was accustomed to, Ezekiel 27:13.

Zidon, a famous ancient emporium, whose merchants also bought up captive Jews at cheap rates of these barbarous soldiers.

All the coasts of Palestine, which lay along the midland sea, among which were towns of trade, and merchants that bought and sold these captives.

Will ye render me a recompence? Do ye this by way of reprisal? Have I or my people so dealt with you or yours?

Speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; I will, since you deal so with my people, and with me, certainly and speedily avenge myself and my people on you; as you have used them they shall use you. It is probable this may refer to the Assyrian invasion, when Sennacherib took all the fenced cities of Judah, and might sell the captives, or to Shalmaneser’s time’, when he captured the ten tribes; or it may be a prediction of what Tyre, and Zidon, and these cities of Palestine would do in the Babylonish successes, and a threat what God would do against them for it; but to whatever particular history it refer, who sees not this in it, that God will plead the cause of his oppressed church, and avenge it as his own cause? Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?.... The Tyrians, Zidonians, and Philistines, were near neighbours of the Jews, and implacable enemies to them; and are here put for the enemies of the true church of Christ, the Papists and Turks, and in whose possession those places now are: these are addressed by the Lord, inquiring or demanding the reason of their ill usage of him and his people: "what have ye to do with me?" to be called by my name, or accounted my people? I know you not, nor will I have any fellowship with you: or what have ye to do with my people, to disturb and distress them? what wrong have I or they done you, that you thus use them?

will ye render me a recompence? for turning you out of your land, and putting my people into it? do you think to retaliate this?

and if ye recompense me; by doing an injury to my people:

swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; bring swift and sudden destruction upon you.

Yea, and {d} what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me {e} a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;

(d) He takes the cause of his Church in hand against the enemy, as though the injury were done to himself.

(e) Have I done you wrong, that you will render me the same?

4. And also what are ye to me?] i.e., apparently, what would ye do to me? the following words, will ye repay &c. explaining in what sense the question is meant.

all the districts of Philistia] lit. circles, i.e. (probably) the districts ruled by the five ‘lords’ of the Philistines: see Joshua 13:2 f., where the same expression also occurs (A.V. “borders,” R.V. “regions”; Heb. gelîlôth), and comp. 1Ma 5:15, where πᾶσα Γαλιλαία ἀλλοφύλων (“all Galilee[48] of the foreigners”) must, it seems, represent the same Hebrew original (ἀλλόφυλοι standing often in LXX. for Philistines).

[48] “Galilee” is properly “the gâlîl (or ‘circle’)”, Joshua 20:7; in full, “the gâlîl (or ‘circle’) of the nations” (Is. 8:23).

will ye repay a deed of mine, or will ye do aught unto me? (R.V. marg.)] i.e. is there any injustice that I have done to you (through Israel) which you would avenge, or would you even assail me gratuitously? The question is a rhetorical one, to which of course a negative answer is expected: their treatment of Israel has been unprovoked; it is they, and not Israel, who merit vengeance; accordingly the retort follows, Swiftly and speedily will I return your deed (R.V. marg.) upon your own head.

upon your head] for the phrase, comp. Obadiah 1:15 (where ‘reward’ is properly doing, or deed, as here); also Jdg 9:57; 1 Samuel 25:39, &c.

4–8. The Phoenicians and Philistines are here singled out as the nations which have sinned especially against Israel: they have not only enriched their own palaces with the plunder of Judah, but have also sold Judahite captives into slavery to the Greeks; a swift and just retribution is accordingly pronounced against them.Verses 4-8. - In these verses the prophet pauses before proceeding to describe the final judgment of the world-powers for their hostility to and oppression of his Church, and points out the bitter enmity of neigh-bouring nations to the covenant people in the prophet's own day, with a prediction of the righteous retribution that awaited them. Verse 4. - The northern sea-board of the Phoenicians, including the famous cities of Tyre and Sidon, also the southern sea-coast and plain of the Philistines, with their five principalities, are joined by vegam with the nations notorious for injuring and oppressing the people of God. The words rendered in the Authorized Version, What have ye to do with me? rather mean, What would ye with me? or still better, What are ye to me? that is. how worthless and despicable in my sight! The disjunctive question which follows becomes clearer by adopting the rendering of Keil and Wunsche, Will ye repay me a deed, or do anything against me? that is, will ye repay me some wrong-doing which ye fancy I have inflicted on you? or will ye, without such supposed provocation, and of your own free will, do or attempt to do anything against me? The double question with veim instead of im repeats, in other words or in a modified form, the preceding question; while the question itself, as often, implies a negative sense to the effect that they had neither right nor reason for averting themselves on the people of God - for God here identifies himself with his people - nor for attempting wantonly and gratuitously to harm them. The consequence would only be a swift and speedy return of the mischief on their own head, so that, as is usual with the wicked, they fall themselves into the pit which they dig for others. The idea of revenge rather than of punishment gets too great prominence in the old versions and commentators. The comment of Kimchi is instructive, though more in harmony with the rendering of the Authorized Version than with that which we prefer; it is as follows: "What have I to do with you, that ye enter my land while ye are neighbours? and it behoved you to do good to my people, but ye have not done so; but when ye saw that the kings of the nations (Gentiles)came upon them, ye allied yourselves with them to plunder and spoil.... Why is it, then, that ye are doing evil to me, if ye think to avenge yourselves of me because I have done you evil? When did I do you evil? Or if you will say that of yourselves ye are doing evil to me now, for he that does evil to Israel from his thought of doing evil to me, they are my children... swiftly and suddenly will I return your doing on your own head." The proof of Israel's renunciation of its God is to be found in the facts mentioned in Hosea 8:4. "They have set up kings, but not from me, have set up princes, and I know it not: their silver and their gold they have made into idols, that it may be cut off." The setting up of kings and princes, not from Jehovah, and without His knowledge, i.e., without His having been asked, refers chiefly to the founding of the kingdom by Jeroboam I. It is not to be restricted to this, however, but includes at the same time the obstinate persistence of Israel in this ungodly attitude on all future occasions, when there was either a change or usurpation of the government. And the fact that not only did the prophet Ahijah foretel to Jeroboam I that he would rule over the ten tribes (1 Kings 11:30.), but Jehu was anointed king over Israel by Elisha's command (2 Kings 9), and therefore both of them received the kingdom by the express will of Jehovah, is not at variance with this, so as to require the solution that we have a different view here from that which prevails in the books of Kings, - namely, one which sprang out of the repeated changes of government and anarchies in this kingdom (Simson). For neither the divine promise of the throne, nor the anointing performed by the command of God, warranted their forcibly seizing upon the government, - a crime of which both Jeroboam and Jehu rendered themselves guilty. The way in which both of them paved the way to the throne was not in accordance with the will of God, but was most ungodly (see at 1 Kings 11:40). Jeroboam was already planning a revolt against Solomon (1 Kings 11:27), and led the gathering of the ten tribes when they fell away from the house of David 91 Kings Hosea 12:2.). Of Jehu, again, it is expressly stated in 2 Kings 9:14, that he conspired against Joram. And the other usurpers, just like the two already named, opened the way to the throne by means of conspiracies, whilst the people not only rebelled against the rightful heir to the throne at Solomon's death, from pure dislike to the royal house of David, which had been appointed by God, and made Jeroboam king, but expressed their approval of all subsequent conspiracies as soon as they have been successful. This did not come from Jehovah, but was a rebellion against Him - a transgression of His covenant. To this must be added the further sin, viz., the setting up of the idolatrous calf-worship on the part of Jeroboam, to which all the kings of Israel adhered. It was in connection with this, that the application of the silver and gold to idols, by which Israel completely renounced the law of Jehovah, had taken place. It is true that silver was not used in the construction of the golden calves; but it was employed in the maintenance of their worship. למען יכּרת: that it (the gold and silver) may be destroyed, as more fully stated in Hosea 8:6. למען describes the consequence of this conduct, which, though not designed, was nevertheless inevitable, as if it had been distinctly intended.
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