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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Joel 3:16

16. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

16. Et Jehova e Sion rugiet, et e Jerusalem dabit (edat) vocem suam; et contremiscent coeli et terra: et Jehova spes erit populo suo, et fortitudo filiis Israel.

The Prophet explains here more clearly his object, or the end for which he had hitherto spoken of God's judgment; for what we have heard served only to spread terror: but now the Prophet shows that his purpose was to console the faithful, and to give some relief to their troubles and sorrows. This is the reason why he introduces God as roaring from Zion and crying from Jerusalem. Roaring is ascribed to God, inasmuch as he compares himself in another place to a lion, when representing himself as the faithful protector of the salvation of his people: |I will be,| he says, |like the lion, who suffers not the prey to be taken from him, but boldly defends it with all the fierceness he possesses: so also will I do, I will not suffer my people to be taken from me.| In this sense does the Prophet now say, that God will roar from Zion. God had been for a time despised; for the nations had prevailed against his chosen people, and plundered them at their pleasure; and God then exercised not his power. Since God had been for a time still, the Prophet says now, that he will not always conceal himself, but that he will undertake the defense of his people, and be like a lion; for he will rise up in dreadful violence against all his enemies.

And tremble, he says, shall the heaven and the earth. As almost the whole world was opposed to his elect people, the Prophet carefully dwells on this point, that nothing might hinder the faithful from looking for the redemption promised to them: |Though the heaven and the earth,| he says, |raise oppositions God will yet prevail by his wonderful power. Tremble, he says, shall all the elements; what, then, will men do? Though they muster all their forces, and try all means, can they close up the way against the Lord, that he may not deliver his people?| We now understand the Prophet's design in speaking of the shaking of heaven and earth.

He at last adds, God will be a hope to his people, and strength to the children of Israel. In this part he gives a sufficient proof of what I have stated, -- that he denounces extreme vengeance on the nations for the sake of his Church; for the Lord will at length pity his people, though they may seem to have perished before he succors them. However past hope then the people may be in their own estimation and in that of all others, yet God will again raise up the expectation of all the godly, who shall remain, and will inspire them with new courage. He speaks in general of the children of Israel; but what he says belongs only to the remnant, of which the Prophet had lately spoken; for not all, we know, who derive their origin from the fathers according to the flesh, were true Israelites. The Prophet refers here to the true Church; and hence Israel ought to be taken for the genuine and legitimate children of Abraham; as Christ, in the person of Nathanael, calls those true Israelites who imitated the faith of their father Abraham. I shall to-day finish this Prophet; I do not therefore dwell much on every sentence. It now follows --

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