1. The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
1. Verbum Jehovae quod fuit ad Joel, filium Pethuel.
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?
2. Audite hoc senes, et auscultate omnes incolae terrae, an fuerit hoc diebus vestris, et si diebus patrum vestrorum.
3. Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
3. Super hoc filiis vestris narrate, et filii vestri filiis suis, et filii ipsorum generationi posterae.
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
4. Residuum locustae comedit (est alia species) bruchus (ita ponamus, quoniam non possumus certo scire quaenam fuerint istae species) et residuum bruchi comedit locusta et residuum locustae comedit eruca (alii primo loco ponunt Erucam, est proprie chenille, et puto potius esse hoc posterius. Picardi vocant casee, quasi lyox: verisimile est deductum fuisse nomen illud vulgare ab Hebraeis, quia est fere idem: sed tamen ego non anxie sudo in istis nominibus, quia de sensu Prophetae satis constabit. Nunc venio ad inscriptionem libri.)
Now what he declared by saying, that he delivered the word of the Lord, is worthy of being observed; for he shows that he claimed nothing for himself, as an individual, as though he wished to rule by his own judgment, and to subject others to his own fancies; but that he relates only what he had received from the Lord. And since the Prophets claimed no authority for themselves, except as far as they faithfully executed the office divinely committed to them, and delivered, as it were from hand to hand, what the Lord commanded, we may hence feel assured that no human doctrines ought to be admitted into the Church. Why? Because as much as men trust in themselves, so much they take away from the authority of God. This preface then ought to be noticed, which almost all the Prophets use, namely, that they brought nothing of their own or according to their own judgment, but that they were faithful dispensers of the truth intrusted to them by God.
And the word is said to have been to Joel; not that God intended that he alone should be his disciple, but because he deposited this treasure with him, that he might be his minister to the whole people. Paul also says the same thing, -- that to the ministers of the Gospel was committed a message for Christ, or in Christ's name, to reconcile men to God, (2 Corinthians 5:20;) and in another place he says, 'He has deposited with us this treasure as in earthen vessels,' (2 Corinthians 4:7.) We now understand why Joel says, that the word of the Lord was delivered to him, it was not that he might be the only disciple; but as some teacher was necessary, Joel was chosen to whom the Lord committed this office. Then the word of God belongs indeed indiscriminately to all; and yet it is committed to Prophets and other teachers; for they are, so to speak, as it were trustees (depositarii -- depositories.)
As to the verb
We now see what is the lawful authority which ought to be in force in the Church, and which we ought to obey without dispute, and to which all ought to submit. It is then only that this authority exists, when God himself speaks by men, and the Holy Spirit employs them as his instruments. For the Prophet brings not forward any empty title; he does not say that he is a high priest of the tribe of Levi, or of the first order, or of the family of Aaron. He alleges no such thing, but says that the word of God was deposited with him. Whosoever then demands to be heard in the Church, must of necessity really prove that he is a preacher of God's word; and he must not bring his own devices, nor blend with the word any thing that proceeds from the judgment of his own flesh.
But first the Prophet reproves the Jews for being so stupid as not to consider that they were chastised by the hand of God, though this was quite evident. Hence they pervert, in my judgment, the meaning of the Prophet, who think that punishments are here denounced which were as yet suspended; for they transfer all these things to a future time. But I distinguish between this reproof and the denunciations which afterwards follow. Here then the Prophet reproaches the Jews, that having been so severely smitten, they did not gain wisdom; and yet even fools, when the rod is applied to their backs, know that they are punished. Since then the Jews were so stupid, that when even chastised they did not understand that they had to do with God, the Prophet justly reproves this madness. "
Grant, Almighty God that as almost the whole world give such loose reins to their licentiousness, that they hesitate not either to despise or to regard as of no value thy sacred word -- Grant, O Lord that we may always retain such reverence as is justly due to it and to thy holy oracles and be so moved whenever thou deignest to address us that being truly humbled, we may be raised up by faith to heaven, and by hope gradually attain that glory which is as yet hid from us. And may we at the same time so submissively restrain ourselves, as to make it our whole wisdom to obey thee and to do thee service, until thou gatherest us into thy kingdom, where we shall be partakers of thy glory, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
He afterwards adds,
He then adds,
He adds what that judgment was, -- that the hope of food had for many years disappointed them. It often happened, we know, that locusts devoured the standing corn; and then the chafers and the palmer worms did the same: these were ordinary events. But when one devastation happened, and another followed, and there was no end; when there had been four barren years, suddenly produced by insects, which devoured the growth of the earth; -- this was certainly unusual. Hence the Prophet says, that this could not have been chance; for God intended to show to the Jews some extraordinary portent, that even against their will they might observe his hand. When any thing trifling happens, if it be rare, it will strike the attention of men; for we often see that the world makes a great noise about frivolous things. But this wonder, says the Prophet, "ought to have produced effect on you. What then will ye do, since ye are starving, and the causes are evident; for God has cursed your land, and brought these insects, which have consumed your food before your eyes. Since it is so, it is surely the time for you to repent; and you have been hitherto very regardless having overlooked God's judgments, which have been so remarkable and so memorable." Let us now proceed.
1 All these are different kinds of locusts. There are in Hebrew ten names for them, designative probably of so many kinds. There are four here:
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