The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Came to Joel — Probably in the latter end of Jeroboam the second's reign over Israel and in the days of Uzziah, over Judah.
 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?
Old men — The oldest among you, who can remember things done many years ago.
 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.
Palmer-worm — Four sorts of insects, are here mentioned, which succeeded each other, and devoured all that might be a support to the Jews, whence ensued a grievous famine.
 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.
Is cut off — Suddenly cut off even when you are ready to drink it, and totally cut off by these devouring vermin.
 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.
A nation — An innumerable multitude of locusts and caterpillars, called a nation here, as Solomon calls the conies and the ant, Proverbs 30:25,26, and perhaps a prognostick of a very numerous and mighty nation, that ere long will invade Judah.
Strong — Mighty in power, and undaunted in courage, if you refer it to the Assyrian or Babylonians; if to those vermin, they are, though each weak by itself, yet in those multitudes, strong and irresistible.
A great lion — Such waste as lions make, these the locusts do, and the Assyrians will make.
 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
The husband of her youth — Espoused to her, but snatched away by an untimely death.
 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD's ministers, mourn.
The drink-offering — By the destruction of the vines, all wine (out of which they ought to offer the drink-offering) failed.
 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
The corn — The wheat and barley, is eaten up in its greenness.
Dried up — The drought was so great, that the vines were withered, and all their hopes of new wine cut off.
The oil — The olive-trees.
Languisheth — This is a plain account of the reason why the priests were called to mourn, and why the meal-offering and drink-offering were cut off.
 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.
Be ye ashamed — This is a just cause why you should lament and enquire why God is so displeased with you.
 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,
Sanctify ye — Ye priests, set apart a day wherein to afflict yourselves, confess your sins, and sue out your pardon.
Into the house — The courts of the temple, where the people were wont to pray.
 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
The day of the Lord — A day of greater trouble than yet they felt, troubles which God will heap upon them.
Shall it come — Unless fasting, prayers and amendment prevent.
 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
Cut off — Devoured by locusts, or withered with drought.
 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
Laid desolate — Run to ruin because the owners discouraged with the barrenness of the seasons, would not repair them.
 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.
The fire — The immoderate heats.
The wilderness — The world, only means places not ploughed, and less inhabited than others.
 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.
Cry — They utter their complaints, their sad tones, they have a voice to cry, as well as an eye to look to God.