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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Joel 2:25

25. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

25. Et reddam vobis annos (pro aliis annis, subaudiendum est) quibus comedit locusta, bruchus, eruca (chsyl, alii vertunt, rubiginem: sed dixi primo capite me non adeo solicitum esse de istis vocibus, quia etiam ignotae sunt hodie ipsis Judaeis; sed certum est esse insecta, quae corrumpunt omnes terrae fruges, ut tunc diximus,) exercitus meus magnus, quem miseram ad vos.

The Prophet confirms what he had previously said, and states what is of an opposite character, -- that God can as easily restore a rich fruitfulness to the land as he had before rendered it barren by sending devouring insects. I will give you years, (for the other years,) he says; and that the Jews might more fully understand that all this was in God's hand, he expressly declares that the cankerworms, the chafers, and the locusts , were his army and as it were his hired army, whom he had employed as it seemed good to him. The spoilers, then, which had destroyed the whole produce of the land, were, as the Prophet declares, the messengers of God: it was not, he says, by chance that the locusts, or the cankerworms, or the chafers came; but God hired these soldiers, they were his forces and his army to distress the whole people; then famine and want consumed them. It is not then to no purpose that the Prophet mentions here that these destructive insects were God's army; it is to show more fully what is here promised; for God, who had by this army devoured the whole increase of the land, can now easily restore plenty for the barrenness of past years. Now, when any one lays down his arms, the land is afterwards cultivated, and brings forth its usual fruit: so the Lord also now shows, that the land had been barren, because he had sent forth his army, which laid waste its whole produce. But now, he says, when I shall restore you to favor, there will be no army to devour your fruit: the land then will nourish you, for there will be nothing to prevent you to receive its wonted produce.

Had not the Jews been made assured that the land had been sterile, because the locusts, and the chafers, and the cankerworms, were the army which the Lord had prepared they might have ever dreaded these spoilers: |Surely the locusts will spring up, the chafers and the cankerworms will come, to devour all the fruit.| The Prophet shows that this happened not by chance: |Now then, when God shall be reconciled to you, the land will yield its increase, and nothing shall hinder you from enjoying its abundance.|

By calling this army great, he shows that God has no need of strong forces to subdue men; for when he prepares locusts and insects, which are but little things, they snatch food from the mouths of men and leave them in want; though no one puts forth a sword against them, they yet pine away with hunger. The Prophet then derides here the arrogance of men, and shows that God needs not do much, when he intends to reduce them to nothing. Let us now proceed --

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