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will at least follow that the destruction of the locusts cannot have taken place during the existence of Judea as a kingdom. Maimonides is probably right in thinking, that the expression in the abstract denotes any day in which God sends a singular or extraordinary punishment *: but I am persuaded that it peculiarly means the two times of the first and second advent of the Messiah; insomuch that I am almost inclined to believe, that, whenever it is applied to other events, it is only applied to them as being typical of those two great times. Malachi uses it to describe the first advent† and Joel, properly to describe the second advent. The one advent however is a figure of the other; and they are both equally denominated the great day of the Lord. Hence St. Peter applies to the first a prophecy, which properly and ultimately belongs to the second. And hence Bp. Horsley most truly observes, that "a far greater proportion of the prophecies, even of the Old Testament, than is generally imagined, relate to the second advent of our Lord; that few comparatively relate to the first advent by itself, without reference to the second; and that of those, that have been supposed to be accomplished in the first, many had in that only an inchoate accomplishment, and have yet to receive their full completion §.
Joel (for I wish only that he should be his own interpreter) has given us a most decisive mark, whereby we may know which of the two advents he is properly treating of. He tells us, that the time of God's gathering together the nations to the great day of the Lord shall be in the days when he will bring again the captivity of
*Mor. Nev. L. ii. C. 29. cited by Chandler.
† Mal. iv. 5.
When this prophecy is applied to the first advent, the signs in the sun and moon will relate to the dissolution of the Jewish polity: but I certainly think, that it properly relates to the second advent and to the revolutions which are to precede and usher it in. Nothing however is more common in prophecy, than a sort of double allusion both to the first and second advent; to the first as typical of the second. I believe Dr Gray to be perfectly right in observing, that Joel, in this prediction, "foretells the general effusion of the Holy Spirit, which was to characterize the Gospel dispensation; concluding with a striking description of the destruction of Jerusalem which followed soon after, and punished the Jews for their obstinate rejection of the sacred influence ; speaking in terms that, as well as those of our Saviour which resembled them, had a double aspect, and referred to a primary and a final dispensation. Comp. Joel ii. 30, 31. with Matt. xxiv. 29." Key to the Old Testament, P. 436.
S Letter on Isaiah xviii. P. 3.
Judah and Jerusalem. Thus it is manifest, that, since the whole of his prophecy, as he four times carefully tells us, relates to the great day of the Lord, it must necessarily relate, so far as its full completion is concerned, to the great day of the second advent; for, at that great day, not at the great day of the first advent (for then they were dispersed), the Jews will be restored. This being the case, the destruction of the symbolical locust-army will take place at the era of the second great day of the Lord, the era of the second advent, the era of the restoration of Judah. But the locust-army is not only to be destroyed at this era: it is likewise to be destroyed in Palestine between the two seas. Now we are taught by Daniel, that the confederacy of the Infidel king is to be overthrown both at the same era, and in the same bismarine country*. Hence we necessarily, I think, arrive at the conclusion which I have already stated, that the locust-army is no other than the army of Antichrist.
Chandler's exposition of the last chapter of Joel is yet more exceptionable than that of the former part of the prophecy. He separates it from all that had preceded it, notwithstanding Joel firmly binds together in one the whole of his prediction, by four times referring us for its accomplishment to the great day of the Lord: and fancies, that it relates to nothing but a war between Ahaz and the Edomites and Philistines, in the course of which several of the Jews were taken prisoners; and to some subsequent victories of Hezekiah, in consequence of which, and of the destruction of Sennacherib's army, many of the captives were probably restored to liberty t. Thus does he reduce the restoration of Judah and Jerusalem to the mere recovery, and that the only probable recovery, of some prisoners of war; and the magnificent description of the overthrow of the nations in the great
*Dan. xi. 45. xii. 1.
"Probably under the prosperity of Hezekiah's reign many were restored to liberty-The sacred historian takes notice, that after the slaughter of Sennacherib's army many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah-If amongst these offerings there were any prisoners and captives, they must have been a very grateful present to this religious and virtuous prince."
day of the Lord to some petty victory of Hezekiah, not of sufficient consequence to be particularly mentioned by the sacred historian*. Yet this strange interpretation of one of the noblest prophecies in Holy Writ he requires us to receive in preference to that of R. Kimchi, who naturally supposes, that the scattering of Israel among the nations and the parting of God's land means the scattering of the Jews and the partition of Palestine by the Romans, and consequently that the bringing again the captivity of Judah means his final restoration. On the same principle he attempts to lower all the promises, with which the prophecy concludes, to the short-lived tranquillity of Jerusalem during the latter part of the reign of Hezekiah; a tranquillity ere long disturbed by the captivity of his son Manasseh, and the subsequent general Babylonian captivity which put an end to the kingdom of Judah. How the divine declaration, that Jerusalem should be holy, that hostile strangers should pass through her no more, and that Judah should dwell for ever, could have been fulfilled in the reign of Heze
* "If we take the valley of Jehoshaphat in a literal sense, the prophet foretells some signal vengeance that should be taken on the Jewish enemies there; which, because of the shortness of the history, we may not be so well able to point out the exact accomplishment of. It is certain Hezekiah had many victories over the neighbouring nations, but whether any of them happened in this valley is not particularly mentioned."
† Joel iii. 2.
"Kimchi refers this (the bringing again the captivity of Judah) to the days of the Messiah; and the pouring out of the Spirit (Joel ii. 28.), to the days when the captivity of Judah should be brought back, without, as I can find, any reason for such an application-Kimchi understands the scattering of the Jews, and the partition of the land, of what was done by Titus and his army, when they came into the land of Israel. But this seems going much out of the way to find out the accomplishment of this prophecy. All that is implied is, that the nations mentioned made several incursions into the Jewish territories, seized upon several of their cities and towns, took the inhabitants captives, and sold them for slaves." What a singular mode of sinking a prophecy, replete with the boldest and most terrific images!
Chandler himself adopts the obvious exposition of Grotius, that the strangers, here mentioned, are hostile strangers. "Jerusalem shall be holiness, separated to God, and esteemed as under his peculiar protection by the stranger or neighbouring nations, who shall therefore no more pass through it; they shall neither besiege, nor take it: or, as Grotius expounds it, they shall no more pass through it with a hostile army. This prophecy seems to me to have been fulfilled in the time of Hezekiah, when God saved the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side: and when the Lord was with Hezekiah, and prospered him whithersoever he went forth."
kiah, when we consider what speedily followed that reign, it is not very easy to conceive*.
The dispersion of the Jews, and the occupation of their country by foreign invaders-Their restoration and triumph over the mystic Edom.
Amos viii. 11. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. 12. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.-ix. 4. Though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. 5. For the Lord God of Hosts toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall be come up upon as by a river†, and it shall be laid under water, as by the river of Egypt. 6. He that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and foundeth his compact foundation in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: Jehovah is his name-8. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving only that I will not utterly destroy the
* Dr. Gray observes, that this prophecy is supposed to relate to the circumstances predicted in Ezekiel xxxix. 5-11. and Rev. xx. 8, 9. (Key, P. 437.) I fully agree with him, that the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel are the same as the Gog and Magog of St. John; but I cannot think, that the prediction of Joel at all relates to them. It speaks of a formidable confederacy about to be destroyed at the era of the restoration of Judah; whereas the overthrow of Gog and Magog takes place at the end of the millennium. Hence I rather think, that it relates to the circumstances predicted in Isaiah lxiii. Ezek. xxvii, xxviii, xxxv. Dan. xi. 40---45. xii. 1. Rev. xiv. 17-.-20. xviii, xix. 11---21. and many other parallel prophecies.
It shall be come up upon as by a river.] The land shall be overflowed by invading armies, as completely as Egypt is by the periodical flood of the Nile. The same imagery is used by Isaiah. "Whose land rivers have spoiled" Isaiah xviii. 2.
house of Jacob, saith the Lord. 9. For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel† among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve; yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. 10. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
11. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. 12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the nations upon whom my name hath been called, saith the Lord that doeth this. 13. Behold, the day's come, saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper; and the treader of grapes, him that soweth seed: and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel ; and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and cat the fruit of them. 15. And I will plant them upon their own land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.
*The sinful kingdom---the house of Jacob.] There is a manifest and remarkable distinction here made between the kingdom and the house. The kingdom should be utterly destroyed in both its branches of Israel and Judah: the house, whatever calamites might befall it, should be preserved.
I will sift the house of Israel.] Sowing the house of Israel among the nations means, as Bp. Horsley observes, making them the seed of the Church: but sifting them with a sieve denotes most expressively their dispersion. His Lordship is so perfectly right in his observation, that not a single instance, I believe, can be produced, in which sowing the house of Israel ever signifies a judgment inflicted upon them.
Edom, and of all the nations upon whom my name hath been called.] This expression is remarkable, and clearly shews us what kind of nations are intended. The mystic Edom and his confederate nations are not pagans, ignorant of the very name of the Lord, but professed worshippers of him. Against these nominal and corrupt believers of the Roman Edom the wrath of God is denounced in almost every prophecy, that treats of the restoration of the Jews. The days come, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper.] "This and the following verses ought to be understood of the happy state of the Millennium, which may be supposed to begin after the Jews are restored to their country. Compare Joel iii. 18." Mr. Lowth in loc.
I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel.] "I will restore them to their own country, and settle them in it" (Mr. Lowth in loc.). Captivity is a noun of number meaning a multitude of captives, as in many other places.