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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Joel 1:5

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.

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.

The Prophet adds this verse for the sake of amplifying; for when God sees men either contemptuously laughing at or disregarding his judgments, he derides them; and this mode the Prophet now adopts. Ye drunkards,' he says, awake, and weep and howl.' In these words he addresses, on the subject in hand, those who had willfully closed their eyes to judgments so manifest. The Jews had become torpid, and had covered themselves over as it were with hardness; it was then necessary to draw them forth as by force into the light. But the Prophet accosts the drunkards by name; and it is probable that this vice was then very common among the people. However that might be, the Prophet by mentioning this instance shows more convincingly, that there was no pretense for passing by things, and that the Jews could not excuse their indifference if they took no notice; for the very drunkards, who had degenerated from the state of men, did themselves feel the calamity, for the wine had been cut off from their mouth. And this expression of the Prophet, |Awake|, ought to be noticed; for the drunkards, even while awake, are asleep, and also spend a great portion of time in sleep. The Prophet had this in view, that men, though not endued with great knowledge, but even void of common sense, could no longer flatter themselves; for the very drunkards, who had wholly suffocated their senses, and had become thus estranged in their minds, did yet perceive the judgment of God; though drowsiness held them bound, they were yet constrained to awake at such a manifest punishment. What then does this ignorance mean, when ye see not that you are smitten by God's hand?

To the same purpose are the words, Weep and howl. Drunkards, on the contrary, give themselves up to mirth, and intemperately indulge themselves; and there is nothing more difficult than to make them to feel sorrow; for wine so infatuates their senses, that they continue to laugh in the greatest calamities. But the Prophet says, Weep and howl, ye drunkards! What then ought sober men to do? He then adds, Cut off is the wine from your mouth. He says not, |The use of wine is taken away from you;| but he says, from your mouth. Though no one should think of vineyards or of winecellars or of cups, yet they shall be forced, willing or unwilling, to feel the judgment of God in their mouth and in their lips. This is what the Prophet means. We then see how much he aggravates what he had said before: and we must remember that his object was to strike shame into the people, who had become thus torpid with regard to God's judgments.

As to the word sys osis, some render it new wine. ss osas is to press; and hence sys osis is properly the wine that is pressed in the wine-vat. New wine is not what is drawn out of the bottle, but what is pressed out as it were by force. But the Prophet, I have no doubt, includes here under one kind every sort of wine. Let us go on.

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