King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Joel 2

God’s judgments. (1-14) Exhortations to fasting and prayer; blessings promised. (15-27) A promise of the Holy Spirit, and of future mercies. (28-32)

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God’s judgments

1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.

7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:

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

9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.

10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

Exhortations to fasting and prayer; blessings promised

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:

16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.

19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.

21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.

22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.

23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.

27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

A promise of the Holy Spirit, and of future mercies

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Blow. The prophets often ordered, to signify what will take place. W. — The people were gathered by the sound of trumpets. The danger from the locusts was imminent; and all are exhorted to avert it, by praying in the temple, &c. — Tremble at the sound. Amos iii. 6. C. — Extemplò turbati. Virgil, Æneid viii. — Lord. That is, the time when he will execute justice on sinners, (Ch.) and suffer affliction to fall upon them. W. C. i. 15.

Ver. 2. Darkness. This implies great misery. v. 10. C. — People. The Assyrians or Chaldeans. Others understand all this of the army of locusts laying waste the land. Ch. — Morning; unexpectedly, (C.) and soon. H. — No human force can prevent the ravages of the locusts — Beginning, in Palestine. Moses says the same; but speaks of Egypt. Ex. x. 14.

Ver. 3. Flame. They destroy all by their bite. C. i. 12. C. Theod. — Pleasure. Heb. “Eden.” So luxuriant was Palestine.

Ver. 4. Horsemen. The head of a locust bears some resemblance with that of a horse, and its flight is rapid. Apoc. ix. 7. C.

Ver. 5. Mountains. “The beat their wings so loudly, that they may be taken for other birds.” Pliny xi. 29. — They are much larger in hot climates, (C. i. 6. H.) and may be heard at the distance of two miles, (Bochart) darkening the air for the space of four leagues. Yet this description is poetical, and perhaps an allegory is nowhere better kept up.

Ver. 6. Kettle. The Jews were naturally of a dark complexion. Fear causing the blood to retire, would make them black. Is. xiii. 8. Lam. iv. 8. and v. 10. C.

Ver. 7. Ranks. Locusts march like a regular army. Theod. — No fortification can keep them out. H.

Ver. 8. Brother. S. Jerom saw a cloud of them in Judea. They were not “a finger-nail’s breadth from each other.” C. — The Arabs discover the military art in them. Bochart. — They invested France (A. 874) with all the skill of an army, the chiefs marking out the place for the camp the night before. Sigebert. — Windows. They eat the wood, (H.) and the windows were simple lattices or curtains. C. — Heb. “they fall upon the sword, and shall not be hurt.” Sept. “consumed or filled.” H. — They are never satisfied. Theod.

Ver. 10. Shining. The cloud of locusts intercepts the light; or, people in distress think all nature is in confusion. S. Jer. Ezec. xxxii. Jer. iv. 23. — Aloysius (13.) saw locusts in the air for the space of twelve miles; and among the Cossacks, clouds of them may be found six leagues in length and three in breadth. They frequently occasion a famine in Ethiopia. C.

Ver. 11. Voice; thunder, (H.) or the noise of locusts. v. 5. C.

Ver. 12. Mourning. For moving the heart to repentance these external works are requisite, at least in will: if they be wilfully omitted, it is a sure sign that the heart is not moved. S. Jer. W.

Ver. 13. Garments, as was customary in great distress. God will not be satisfied with mere external proofs of repentance. C. — Evil. He will forego his threats if we do penance. S. Jer. — He punishes unwillingly. Is. xxviii. 21.

Ver. 14. Who knoweth. Confidence in God and repentance must accompany prayer. — Blessing; plentiful crops, so that the usual sacrifices may be performed again. C. i. 9.

Ver. 15. Trumpet. Thus were festivals announced. Num. x. 7.

Ver. 16. Sanctify. Let all make themselves ready to appear. — Ones. Their cries would make an impression on men, and prevail on God to shew mercy. Judith iv. 9.

Ver. 17. Altar of holocausts. They turned towards the holy place, lying prostrate. 1 Esd. x. 1. and 2 Mac. x. 26. C. — Hither the victim of expiation was brought, and the high priest confessed. Maimon. — Over them, as they might easily have done during the famine.

Ver. 18. Zealous. Indignation is excited when a person perceives any thing contemned which he loves. So God resented the injuries done maliciously by the Gentiles towards his people; though he often punished them for their correction or greater merit. W. — He will resent the blasphemies uttered by infidels against his holy name, and will restore fertility to the land. C.

Ver. 19. Nations. This did not take place till after the seventy years captivity, nor then fully. It is verified in true believers, and after death in the glory of the saints. W.

Ver. 20. The northern enemy. Some understand this of Holofernes and his army, others of the locusts. Ch. — Prot. “the northern army.“ Heb. may denote (H.) wind. This often drives away locusts. Those here spoken of were drowned in the Mediterranean and Dead Seas. C. — This occasioned a pestilence, (S. Jer. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. iv. 31.) to prevent which the locusts were to be speedily buried. Is. xxxiii. 4. — Proudly. Heb. “great things.” God, or the locusts are meant.

Ver. 22. Strength; fruit, as formerly.

Ver. 23. Teacher; Joel, &c. or rather the Messias. John i. 9. Mat. xxiii. 8. Some translate Heb. “rain.” Sept. “meat,” (C.) sufficient for the people. Theod.

Ver. 24. Presses, or subterraneous reservoirs.

Ver. 25. Host. God could have hurled his thunderbolts, or mountains, to destroy all mankind; but he chooses to shew their insignificance, (C.) by employing the vilest insects, which they cannot withstand. S. Jer.

Ver. 28. After. From this verse to the end the prophet speaks of the times succeeding the captivity, and more especially of the propagation of the gospel. The enemies of God’s people shall be destroyed, (C. iii. 1.) which seems to refer to Cambyses. Ezec. xxxviii. C. — My spirit. This plainly foretells the coming of the Holy Ghost. Acts ii. W. — The Jews never had such a multitude of prophets after the captivity as the Church had. 1 Cor. xiv. 24. What relates to them was only a shadow of what would befall true believers.

Ver. 29. Handmaids. Sept. of S. Jer. and S. Peter read, my handmaids. “My,” is omitted in both places in Complut. and Heb. and the latter word in the Rom. Sept..

Ver. 30. Wonders. Many prodigies preceded the persecution of Epiphanes, the death of Christ, the ruin of the temple, and more will be seen before the day of judgment. Though we cannot prove the same with respect to Cambyses, it suffices that the people were thrown into the utmost consternation (v. 2. 11.) when he forebade the building of the temple, (1 Esd. iv. 6.) and designed to plunder them. Ezechiel (xxxviii. 11.) speaks of the same event, as the Jews assert. Ctesias also mentions that when he offered sacrifice, the victims would not bleed; and that his wife, Roxana, brought forth a child without a head, implying, according to the magi, that he should have no heir. His mother also frequently appeared, and reproached him with the murder of his brother. See C. iii. 15. Ezec. xxxviii. 22.

Ver. 32. Call. Amid these fears, those who trust in the Lord shall have nothing to suffer. Cambyses could not execute his designs. But the prophet here alludes still more to the conversion of the Gentiles. Acts ii. 21. Rom. x. 13. Some returned from Babylon, as a figure of this great event. Only a few Jews embraced the faith. C. — Salvation. Sept. “shall be saved, as the Lord hath spoken, and the person preaching the gospel, whom the Lord hath called.” H.