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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Joel 3:8

8. And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it

8. Et vendam filios vestros et filias vestras in manum filiorum Jehadah, et vendent eos Sabaeis, genti lonquinquae, quia Jehovah loquutus est.

The Prophet describes here a wonderful change: the Syrians and Sidonians did sell the Jews; but who is to be the seller now? God himself will take this office, -- I, he says, will sell your children, as though he said, |The Jews shall subdue you and reduce you to bondage,| -- by whose authority? |It shall be, as if they bought you at my hands.| He means that this servitude would be legitimate; and thus he makes the Jews to be different from the Syrians and Sidonians, who had been violent robbers, and unjustly seized on what was not their own: and hence the manner of the sale is thus described, -- |I myself shall be the author of this change, and the thing shall be done by my authority, as if I had interposed my own name;| and the Jews themselves shall sell, he says, your sons and your daughters to the Sabeans, a distant nation; that is, the people of the East: for the Prophet, I doubt not, by mentioning a part for the whole, meant here to designate Eastern nations, such as the Persians and Medes; but he says, that the Tyrians and Sidonians shall be driven to the meet distant countries; for the Sabeans were very far distant from the Phoenician Sea, and were known as being very nigh the Indians.

But it may be asked here, When has God executed this judgment? for the Jews never possessed such power as to be able to subdue neighboring nations, and to sell them at pleasure to unknown merchants. It would indeed be foolish and puerile to insist here on a literal fulfillment: at the same time, I do not say, that the Prophet speaks allegorically; for I am disposed to keep from allegories, as there is in them nothing sound nor solid: but I must yet say that there is a figurative language used here, when it is said, that the Syrians and Sidonians shall be sold and driven here and there into distant countries, and that this shall be done for the sake of God's chosen people and his Church, as though the Jews were to be the sellers. When God says, |I will sell,| it is not meant that he is to descend from heaven for the purpose of selling, but that he will execute judgment on them; and then the second clause, -- that they shall be sold by the Jews, derives its meaning from the first; and this cannot be a common sake, as if the Jews were to receive a price and make a merchandise of them. But God declares that the Jews would be the sellers, because in this manner he signifies his vengeance for the wrong done to them; that is, by selling them to the Sabeans, a distant nation. We further know, that the changes which then followed were such that God turned upside down nearly the whole world; for he drove the Syrian and the Sidonians to the most distant countries. No one could have thought that this was done for the sake of the Jews, who were hated and abominated by all. But yet God declares, that he would do this from regard to his Church even sell the Syrians and the Sidonians, though it was commonly unknown to men; for it was the hidden judgment of God. But the faithful who had been already taught that God would do this, were reminded by the event how precious to God is his heritage, since he avenges those wrongs, the memory of which had long before been buried. This then is the import of the whole. The Prophet now subjoins --

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