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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Joel 3:18-19

18. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

18. Et erit in die illa, stillabunt montes mustum, et colles decurrere facient lac; et omnes rivi Jehudah emittent aquas (hoc est, descendere facient,) et fons e domo Jehovae egredietur et irrigabit vallem Sittim.

19. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

19. Aegyptus in solitudinem erit, et Edom in desertum solitudinis erit, propter vexationem filiorum Jehudah; quia fuderunt sanguinem innoxium (vel, purum) in terra sua (vel, ipsorum.)

The Prophet here declares that God will be so bountiful to his people, that no good things will be wanting to them either in abundance or variety. When God then shall restore his Church, it will abound, he says, in every kind of blessing: for this is the meaning of this language, Distill new wine shall the mountains, and the hills shall make milk to run down; and all rivers also shall have abundant waters, and a fountain shall arise from the house of Judah to irrigate the valley of Shittim. We now perceive the design of Joel. But we must remember that when the Prophets so splendidly extol the blessings of God, they intend not to fill the minds of the godly with thoughts about eating and drinking; but profane men lay hold on such passages as though the Lord intended to gratify their appetite. We know, indeed, that God's children differ much from swine: hence God fills not the faithful with earthly things, for this would not be useful for their salvation. At the same time, he thus enlarges on his blessings, that we may know that no happiness shall in any way be wanting to us, when God shall be propitious to us. We hence see that our Prophet so speaks of God's earthly blessings, that he fills not the minds of the godly with these things but desires to raise them above, as though he said, that the Israelites would in every way be happy, after having in the first place been reconciled to God. For whence came their miseries and distresses of every kind, but from their sins? Since, then, all troubles, all evils, are signs of God's wrath and alienation, it is no wonder that the Lord, when he declares that he will be propitious to them, adds also the proofs of his paternal love, as he does here: and we know that it was necessary for that rude people, while under the elements of the Law, to be thus instructed; for they could not as yet take solid food, as we know that the ancients under the Law were like children. But it is enough for us to understand the design of the Holy Spirit, namely, that God will satisfy his people with the abundance of all good things, as far as it will be for their benefit. Since God now calls us directly to heaven, and raises our minds to the spiritual life, what Paul says ought to be sufficient, -- that to godliness is given the hope, not only of future life, but also of that which is present, (1 Timothy 4;) for God will bless us on the earth, but it will be, as we have already observed, according to the measure of our infirmity.

The valley of Shittim was nigh the borders of the Moabites, as we learn from Numbers 25:1, and Joshua 2:1. Now when the Prophet says, that waters, flowing from the holy fountains would irrigate the valley of Shittim, it is the same as though he said, that the blessing of God in Judea would be so abundant, as to diffuse itself far and wide, even to desert valleys.

But he afterwards joins, that the Egyptians and Idumeans would be sterile and dry in the midst of this great abundance of blessings, for they were professed enemies to the Church. Hence God in this verse declares that they shall not be partakers of his bounty; that though all Judea would be irrigated, though it would abound in honeys milk, and wine, yet these would remain barren and empty; Mizraim, then, shall be a solitude, Edom shall be a desert of solitude. Why? Because of the troubles, he says, brought on the children of Judah. God again confirms this truth, that he has such a concern for his Church, that he will avenge wrongs done to it. God, then, does not always come to our help when we are unjustly oppressed, though he has taken us under his protection; but he suffers us for a time to endure our evils; and yet the end will show, that we have been ever dear to him and precious in his sight. So he says now, that for the harassments which the Egyptians and Idumeans occasioned to the children of Judah, they shall be destitute, notwithstanding the abundance of all good things.

Because they shed, he says, innocent blood in their (or, in their own) land. If we refer this to Egypt and Idumea, the sense will be, that they had not protected fugitives, but, on the contrary, cruelly slew them, as though they had been sworn enemies. Many, we know, during times of distress, fled to Egypt and Idumea, to seek refuge there. As, then, the Egyptians had been so inhuman towards the distressed, the Prophet threatens them with vengeance. But I prefer to view what is said as having been done in Judea; they have then shed innocent Blood, that is, in Judea itself. As God had consecrated this land to himself to pollute it with unjust slaughters was a more atrocious crime. Forasmuch then as the Egyptians and Idumeans thus treated the Jews, and slew them in their own country in a base manner, though they were abiding quietly at home, it is no wonder that God declares, that he would be the avenger of these wrongs. It follows --

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