Joel 3:7
Behold, I will raise them out of the place where you have sold them, and will return your recompense on your own head:
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Joel 3:7-8. Behold, I will raise them, &c. — I will restore them, or their posterity, out of their several captivities whither their enemies have dispersed them. Grotius on this place mentions, that Alexander and his successors set at liberty many Jews, who were slaves in Greece. Many also, on occasion of Cyrus’s decree, might return to their country, from such parts of Asia Minor and the Ionian islands as were subject to that monarch. And will return your recompense upon your own head — Will inflict upon you the punishments mentioned in the following verse. I will sell your sons, &c. — This was fulfilled when Alexander took Gaza, Zidon, and Tyre, and made a great multitude of captives, of whom he is said to have sold thirty thousand for slaves. These captives the Jews, who were in favour with him, had the liberty of buying, and probably afterward sold many of them, by way of traffic, to the Arabians, here meant by the Sabeans. 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.Behold I will raise them - If this promise relates to the same individuals who had been sold, it must have been fulfilled silently; as indeed the return of captives to their own land, unless brought about by some historical event, belongs not to history, but to private life. The prophet, however, is probably predicting God's dealings with the nations, not with those individuals. The enslaving of these Hebrews in the time of Joram was but one instance out of a whole system of covetous misdeeds. The Philistines carried away captives from them again in the time of Ahaz 2 Chronicles 28:18, and yet again subsequently Ezekiel 16:27, Ezekiel 16:57; and still more at the capture of Jerusalem Ezekiel 25:15. 7. raise them—that is, I will rouse them. Neither sea nor distance will prevent My bringing them back. Alexander, and his successors, restored to liberty many Jews in bondage in Greece [Josephus, Antiquities, 13.5; Wars of the Jews, 3.9,2]. Behold; observe it well, for as it will be strange when done, so it shall certainly be done, to your joy, O my people, and to the astonishment of your enemies.

I will raise them; awaken and raise them; though they lay sleeping, or as dead men, I will stir up some who shall befriend them. Out of the place whither ye have sold them; fulfilled when Alexander the Great and his successors, as Josephus, lib. 13. cap. 5, reports, dismissed all Jews that were slaves in Greece, and gave them leave to return to their own country.

And will return your recompence upon your own head; and more than this, I will pay you in your own coin, you shall read and know your sin in your punishment. Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them,.... That is, bring them back to their own land, from their places whither they have been carried captive, and where they have dwelt in obscurity, and as if theft had been buried in graves, but now should be raised up and restored; and this their restoration will be as life from the dead. So the Targum,

"behold, I will bring them publicly from the place whither ye have sold them;''

this is to be understood, not of the same persons, but of their posterity, they being the same natural body. Kimchi interprets it of them and their children; them at the resurrection of the dead, their children at the time of salvation. Some think this had its accomplishment in Alexander and his successors, by whom the Jews, who had been detained captives in other countries, were set free; particularly by Demetrius, as Josephus (f) relates: though it may be applied to the future restoration of the Jews, out of all countries, unto their own land; or rather to the gathering together the spiritual Israel, or people of God, who have been persecuted from place to place by their antichristian enemies;

and will return your recompence upon your own head; do to them as they have done to others; pay them in their own coin; retaliate the wrongs done to his people; see Revelation 13:10.

(f) Antiqu. l. 13. c. 5.

Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:
7. Behold, I am stirring them up] i.e. arousing them into activity (Isaiah 13:17; Jeremiah 50:9, R.V.: Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 41:25; Isaiah 45:13, A.V., R.V. render badly raise up), and enabling them to leave the land of their servitude.

and will return your deed upon your own head] repeated from Joel 3:4 b.

7–8. The punishment, awarded according to the Lex talionis.Verse 7. - Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them. Instead of "raise," some prefer "waken," "rouse," or "stir up." The Judaeans would be roused out of the countries into which they had been sold, and restored to their own land, and the measure which had been meted to them meted in turn to their enemies. The deliverance mentioned here may be exemplified, if not realized in part, in the time of Alexander the Great and his successors, when Jewish captives in many lands were set at liberty. Thus Demetrius, in his letter to Jonathan, writes, "I also make free all those Jews who have been made captives and slaves in my kingdom." And will return your recompense upon your own head; better rendered, and will turn back your doing upon your head. A righteous retaliation awaited Philistines and Phoenicians. They in turn would fall into the hands of the Judaeans, and be made prisoners of war, and, as they had done, so should it be done to them. This will Israel reap from its ungodly conduct. Hosea 8:7. "For they sow wind, and reap tempest: it has no stalks; shoot brings no fruit; and even if it brought it, foreigners would devour it." With this figure, which is so frequently and so variously used (cf. Hosea 10:13; Hosea 12:2; Job 4:8; Proverbs 22:8), the threat is accounted for by a general thought taken from life. The harvest answers to the sowing (cf. Galatians 6:7-8). Out of the wind comes tempest. Wind is a figurative representation of human exertions; the tempest, of destruction. Instead of rūăch we have און, עמל, עולה (nothingness, weariness, wickedness) in Hosea 10:13; Job 4:8, and Proverbs 22:8. In the second hemistich the figure is carried out still further. קמה, "seed standing upon the stalk," is not to it (viz., that which has been sowed). Tsemach brings no qemach, - a play upon the words, answering to our shoot and fruit. Qemach: generally meal, here probably the grain-bearing ear, from which the meal is obtained. But even if the shoot, when grown, should yield some meal, strangers, i.e., foreigners, would consume it. In these words not only are the people threatened with failure of the crop; but the failure and worthlessness of all that they do are here predicted. Not only the corn of Israel, but Israel itself, will be swallowed up.
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