Joel 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Joel 1)

Verse 1

[1] 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.

Verse 2

[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?

Old men — The oldest among you, who can remember things done many years ago.

Verse 4

[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.

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.

Verse 5

[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.

Is cut off — Suddenly cut off even when you are ready to drink it, and totally cut off by these devouring vermin.

Verse 6

[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.

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.

Verse 8

[8] 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.

Verse 9

[9] 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.

Verse 10

[10] 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.

Verse 11

[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.

Be ye ashamed — This is a just cause why you should lament and enquire why God is so displeased with you.

Verse 14

[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,

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.

Verse 15

[15] 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.

Verse 16

[16] 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.

Verse 17

[17] 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.

Verse 19

[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.

The fire — The immoderate heats.

The wilderness — The world, only means places not ploughed, and less inhabited than others.

Verse 20

[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.

Cry — They utter their complaints, their sad tones, they have a voice to cry, as well as an eye to look to God.