King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Joel 1

A plague of locusts. (1-7) All sorts of people are called to lament it. (8-13) They are to look to God. (14-20)

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A plague of locusts

1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.

2 Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?

3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.

4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.

6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.

7 He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

All sorts of people are called to lament it

8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’s ministers, mourn.

10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.

11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.

12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.

They are to look to God

14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,

15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?

17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.

18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.

19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.

20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Planted. Sept. “Bathuel.” He was born in the tribe of Gad, at Bethaven, the town which Herod styles Livias Jos. xiii. 27. C.

Ver. 2. Men. Magistrates, and all who have children. H. He speaks to Juda, as the kingdom of Israel was ruined. C. iii. 2. His principal object is to describe the ravages of locusts, and to exhort the people to repent, promising them better times after the captivity, and under the Messias. C. ii. 28. and iii. 20. C.

Ver. 3. Generation. Prophecies relate to all future times, that people may see their accomplishment, (W.) and believe. H.

Ver. 4. Left, &c. Some understand this literally of the desolation of the land by these insects: others understand it of the different invasions of the Chaldeans, or other enemies. Ch. — Jerusalem was four times plundered by the Babylonians, and every time worse than before, as these four sorts of destructive things shew. But we shall not enlarge upon these points, nor pursue the mystical sense of the prophets, which may be found in the fathers and Ribera. W. — Others suppose that the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, (particularly Epiphanes) and Romans, are meant. We explain it simply of the devastation by insects. C. — Four different species of locusts are denoted. Bochart, p. 2. b. iv. 1. — Mildew. Heb. chasil, (H.) is often rendered “a locust,” by Sept. (C. ii. 25. &c.) and most suppose this is here the sense. The mildew destroys corn chiefly in low damp situations. C.

Ver. 5. Sweet. Heb. “wine, because of the sweet wine,” (H.) or liquors extracted from fruit. The things which you have abused, are now taken away.

Ver. 6. Nations. Some understand the Assyrians or Chaldeans. But locusts are here styled a nation. Prov. xxx. 25. — Lion. Such locusts are described. Apoc. ix. 8. C. — “In India they are said to be three feet long, and their legs and thighs are used for saws when dried.” Pliny xi. 29. — They were attacked by regular troops in Syria. Ib.

Ver. 8. Youth, whom she espoused first. Such are more tenderly loved, particularly where polygamy prevails. C. — So Dido speaks of Sichæus, Virg. Æn. iv.:

Ille meos primus qui se mihi junxit amores

Abstulit, ille habeat secum servetque sepulchro.

Ver. 9. Lord. No harvest being reaped, the fruits could not be paid. Yet it is thought that what was requisite for sacrifice, would be procured from other countries. C. — When Jerusalem was destroyed, sacrifices ceased. W.

Ver. 12. Withered. The bite of locusts corrupts the juice of plants.

Ver. 13. Go in to the temple, or sleep on sackcloth. Judith iv. 9. C.

Ver. 14. Sanctify. Appoint (H.) or proclaim a general fast, as was usual in such emergencies. 3 K. xxi. 9. and 2 Par. xx. 3. Fasting and other good works are calculated to appease God’s wrath. W.

Ver. 15. Day. Heb. ahah layom: (H.) “Ah, what a day!” — Mighty. Sept. “destruction.” They have read in a different manner. God is about to give sentence, (C.) and to send Nabuchodonosor, (S. Jer.) or to destroy by famine. v. 17.

Ver. 16. God. None can bring the first-fruits. All appear in mourning.

Ver. 17. Dung. Horse-dung dried for bedding, was used in the East instead of straw, (Busb. 3.) as it is still by the Arabs. Darvieux. 11. — Heb. “the seeds are rotten under their clods,” (H.) finding no moisture. Sept. “the cows have stamped in their stalls;” or Syr. “remain without food in their cribs.” Chal. “the pitchers of wine have been corrupted under their covers,” as there was no new wine. C. — Houses. Heb. mammeguroth. Prot. “barns, (H.) or country houses;” which means cabins erected for the season, (Ruth ii. 7.) the Magaria (C.) or Mopalia of the Africans. S. Jer. pref. Amos. — Sept. “the wine presses.” Wine and corn were preserved in pits carefully covered over. Agg. ii. 20. These fell to decay, as there was no use for them.

Ver. 19. Places. Heb. “dwellings,” or shepherds’ huts. — Wilderness, denoting all pasture land unploughed.

Ver. 20. Up, as if to pray for rain. Jer. xiv. 6. C. — Heb. “cry,” (H.) or “pant.” — As…rain is not in Heb. or Sept. C.