on Joel 2 :16
Gather the children - Let all share in the humiliation, for all must feel the judgment, should it come. Let no state nor condition among the people be exempted. The elders, the young persons, the infants, the bridegroom, and the bride; let all leave their houses, and go to the temple of God.
on Joel 2 :16
Sanctify the congregation - o: "Do what in you lies, by monishing, exhorting, threatening, giving the example of a holy life, that the whole people present itself holy before its God" , "lest your prayers be hindered, and a little leaven corrupt the whole lump."
Assemble the elders - o: "The judgment concerned all; all then were to join in seeking mercy from God. None were on any pretence to be exempted; not the oldest, whose strength was decayed, or the youngest, who might seem not yet of strength." The old also are commonly freer from sin and more given to prayer.
Gather the children - o: "He Who feedeth the young ravens when they cry, will not neglect the cry of poor children. He assigns as a reason, why it were fitting to spare Nineveh, the "six-score thousand persons that could not discern between their right hand and their left" Jonah 4:11. The sight of them who were involved in their parents' punishment could not but move the parents to greater earnestness. So when Moab and Ammon 2 Chronicles 20:1-4, 2 Chronicles 20:13, a great multitude, came against Jehoshaphat, he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah, and Judah gathered themselves together to ask help of the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord. And all Judah was standing before the Lord, their little ones also, their wives, and their children." So it is described in the book of Judith, how "with great vehemency did they humble their souls, both they and their wives and their children - and every man and woman and the little children - fell before the temple, and cast ashes upon their heads and spread out their sackcloth before the Face of the Lord" (Judith 4:9-11).
Let the bridegroom go forth - He says not even, the married, or the newly married, he who had taken a new wife, but he uses the special terms of the marriage-day, "bridegroom" and "bride." The new-married man was, during a year, exempted from going out to war, or from any duties which might "press upon him" Deuteronomy 24:5. But nothing was to free from this common affliction of sorrow. Even the just newly married, although it were the very day of the bridal, were to leave the marriage-chamber and join in the common austerity of repentance. It was mockery of God to spend in delights time consecrated by Him to sorrow. He says, "In that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth. And behold joy and gladness - surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you until ye die, saith the Lord God of Hosts" Isaiah 22:12-14. Whence, in times of fasting or prayer, the Apostle suggests the giving up of pure pleasures, "that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer" 1 Corinthians 7:5.
: "He then who, by chastisement in food and by fasting and alms, says that he is doing acts of repentance, in vain doth he promise this in words, unless he "go forth out of his chamber" and fulfill a holy and pure fast by a chaste penitence."
on Joel 2 :16
2:16 The children - Though they understand little what is done, yet their cities ascend, and God with pity looks on their tears. These that suck - Their cries and tears may perhaps move the congregation to more earnest supplication to God for mercy. So the Ninevites, Jonah 3:7,8. The bridegroom - Let the new married man leave the mirth of the nuptials and afflict himself with the rest.