on Joel 3 :4
What have ye to do with me - Why have the Syrians and Sidonians joined their other enemies to oppress my people? for they who touch my people touch me.
Will ye render me a recompense? - Do you think by this to avenge yourselves upon the Almighty? to retaliate upon God! Proceed, and speedily will I return your recompense; I will retaliate.
on Joel 3 :4
Yea, and what have ye to do with Me? - Literally, "and also, what are ye to Me?" The words, "And also," show that this is something additional to the deeds of those before spoken of. Those, instanced before, were great oppressors, such as dispersed the former people of God and "divided their land." In addition to these, God condemns here another class, those who, without having power to destroy, harass and vex His heritage. The words, "what are ye to Me?" are like that other phrase, "what is there to thee and me?" (Joshua 22:24, etc; Matthew 8:29, ...), i. e., what have we in common? These words, "what are ye to Me?" also declare, that those nations had no part in God. God accounts them as aliens, "what are ye to Me?" Nothing. But the words convey, besides, that they would, unprovoked, have to do with God, harassing His people without cause. They obtruded themselves, as it were, upon God and His judgments; they challenged God; they thrust themselves in, to their destruction, where they had no great temptation to meddle, noticing, but inbred malice, to impel them.
This was, especially, the character of the relations of Tyre and Zidon and Philistia with Israel. They were allotted to Israel by Joshua, but were not assailed . On the contrary, "the Zidonians" are counted among those who "oppressed" Israel, and "out of" whose "hand" God "delivered" him, when he "cried" to God Judges 10:12. The Philistines were the unwearied assailants of Israel in the days of the Judges, and Saul, and David Judges 13:1; 1 Samuel 4; 13; 17; 1 Samuel 23:1; 1 Samuel 30; 1 Samuel 31:1-13; during 40 years Israel was given into the hands of the Philistines, until God delivered them by Samuel at Mizpeh. When David was king of all Israel, the Philistines still acted on the offensive, and lost Gath and her towns to David in an offensive war 2 Samuel 5:17-25; 2 Samuel 8:1; 1 Chronicles 18:1; 2 Samuel 21:18; 2 Samuel 13:9-16. To Jehoshaphat some of them voluntarily paid tribute 2 Chronicles 17:11; but in the reign of Jehoram his son, they, with some Arabians, marauded in Judah, plundering the king's house and slaying all his sons, save the youngest 2 Chronicles 21:16-17; 2 Chronicles 22:1. This is the last event before the time of Joel. They stand among the most inveterate and unprovoked enemies of God's people, and probably as enemies of God also hating the claim of Judah that their God was the One God.
Will ye render Me a recompense? - People never want pleas for themselves. The Philistines, although the aggressors, had been signally defeated by David. People forget their own wrong-doings and remember their sufferings. It may be then, that the Philistines thought that they had been aggrieved when their assaults were defeated, and looked upon their own fresh aggressions as a requital. If moreover, as is probable, they heard that the signal victories won over them were ascribed by Israel to God, and themselves also suspected, that these "mighty Gods" 1 Samuel 4:7-8 were the cause of their defeat, they doubtless turned their hatred against God. People, when they submit not to God chastening them, hate Him. This belief that they were retaliating against God, (not, of course, knowing Him as God,) fully corresponds with the strong words, "will ye render Me "a recompense?" Julian's dying blasphemy, "Galilean, thou hast conquered," corresponds with the efforts of his life against the gospel, and implies a secret consciousness that He whose religion he was straining to overthrow "might" be, What he denied Him to be, God. The phrase "swiftly," literally "lightly, and speedily, denotes" the union of easiness with speed. The recompense is returned "upon" their head, coming down upon them from God.
on Joel 3 :4
3:4 Yea - Have I done you any wrong, which you avenge upon my people? Or do you begin to violate the laws of neighbourhood and friendship, and think to escape? Do ye think you have to do with a poor opprest people, my people, and I nothing concerned at it? Palestine - On which were towns of trade, and merchants that bought and sold these captives. A recompence - Have I or my people so dealt with you? And if - If you will deal thus, I will speedily avenge myself and my people of you.