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Archive for October, 2011


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Following is a little background for the book of Joel (from here) :

A terrible plague of locusts is followed by a severe famine throughout the land. Joel uses these happenings as the catalyst to send words of warning to Judah. Unless the people repent quickly and completely, enemy armies will devour the land as did the natural elements. Joel appeals to all the people and the priests of the land to fast and humble themselves as they seek God’s forgiveness. If they will respond, there will be renewed material and spiritual blessings for the nation. But the Day of the Lord is coming. At this time the dreaded locusts will seem as gnats in comparison, as all nations receive His judgment.

The overriding theme of the Book of Joel is the Day of the Lord, a day of God’s wrath and judgment. This is the Day in which God reveals His attributes of wrath, power and holiness, and it is a terrifying day to His enemies. In the first chapter, the Day of the Lord is experienced historically by the plague of locusts upon the land. Chapter 2:1-17 is a transitional chapter in which Joel uses the metaphor of the locust plague and drought to renew a call to repentance. Chapters 2:18-3:21 describes the Day of the Lord in eschatological terms and answers the call to repentance with prophecies of physical restoration (2:21-27), spiritual restoration (2:28-32), and national restoration (3:1-21).

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I like the 5 time repetition of “locust” in verse 4.  It helps to illustrate what is said  in verse 6:  “Mighty and without number”:  Locust, locust, locust, locust, locust.

I like the ‘social’ contrast between A and A’, with “drunkards” and “wine drinkers” contrasted with the “elders” and “the house of the Lord”. 

And I like the bottom line.  …  In the face of trouble, “Cry out to the Lord!”  …  Afterall, in the face of overwhelming difficulty, what else is there to do?

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1  The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.  2  Hear this, O elders, And listen, all inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this happened in your days Or in your fathers’ days?  3  Tell your sons about it, And let your sons tell their sons, And their sons the next generation.  4  What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten; And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.

A

1    (a)   5  Awake,   (a)   drunkards,   (b)   and weep;   (b)   (b’)   And wail,   (a’)   all you wine drinkers,  /  On account of the sweet wine that is cut off from your mouth.

2    [Me:  A nation invades:]    6  For a nation has invaded my land, Mighty and without number; Its teeth are the teeth of a lion, And it has the fangs of a lioness.

B

1    7  It has made my vine a waste, And my fig tree splinters. It has stripped them bare and cast them away; Their branches have become white. 

2    8  Wail like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the bridegroom of her youth.  9  The grain offering and the libation are cut off From the house of the LORD. The priests mourn, The ministers of the LORD.

C   

a    10  The field is ruined,

b

1    the land mourns,

2    For the grain is ruined, The new wine dries up, Fresh oil fails.

 

b’

1′   11  Be ashamed, O farmers, Wail, O vinedressers,

2′   For the wheat and the barley;

a’   Because the harvest of the field is destroyed

B’

1    12  The vine dries up, And the fig tree fails; The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field dry up.

2    Indeed, rejoicing dries up From the sons of men. 13  Gird yourselves with sackcloth, And lament, O priests;  /  Wail, O ministers of the altar! Come, spend the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God, For the grain offering and the libation Are withheld from the house of your God.

A’

1    (b’)   14  Consecrate a fast,   (a’)   Proclaim a solemn assembly;

2     [Me:  A nation responds:]    Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land   /   To the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD!!!

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