The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.…
1. When men become incorrigible, and sin ripens to a height, then the Lord will reprove and plead against it by judgments, and not by His Word only; for whereas the method of other prophets is, first, to reprove sin, then to threaten for it, and then to subjoin exhortations to repentance with encouragements and promises; this prophet doth at first point out their sin and guilt, as to be read in visible judgments,
2. Famine is one of the rods whereby the Lord pleads against the Church for her sin, and strips her of abused mercies, and of temptations to wantonness and rebellion.
3. God can, when He pleaseth, arm very mean and contemptible creatures to execute His judgments, and particularly, to deprive men of the fruits of the ground; for here He sends out "the palmer-worm, the locust, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar," and they eat up all.
4. As God hath still one scourge after another with which to plague a sinful and incorrigible people, who will not repent, but think to escape with the plagues that have come on them. So it speaks sad things when one calamity stints not the controversy, but He pursueth still one judgment after another, and with breach upon breach, for so it is here, what one left another did eat up.
5. Albeit the Lord in every age be testifying His displeasure against sin, yet at some times, and when sin is come to a great height, He may make one age a remarkable spectacle of justice, and bring judgments on them, the like of which have not been seen in many generations; for such was His dealing with this generation, their fathers, past memory of man, had not seen the like, nor should the like be seen for many generations to come.
Parallel VersesKJV: The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.