on Joel 1 :7
He hath laid my vine waste - The locusts have eaten off both leaves and bark. חשף חשפה chasoph chasaphah, he hath made it clean bare; שדד שדה suddad sadeh, the field is laid waste, Joel 1:10; and כשד משדי kesod mishshaddai, a destruction from the Almighty, Joel 1:15; are all paronomasias in which this prophet seems to delight.
on Joel 1 :7
He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree - This describes an extremity of desolation. The locusts at first attack all which is green and succulent; when this has been consumed, then they attack the bark of trees. : "When they have devoured all other vegetables, they attack the trees, consuming first the leaves, then the bark." : "A day or two after one of these bodies were in motion, others were already hatched to glean after them, gnawing off the young branches and the very bark of such trees as had escaped before with the loss only of their fruit and foliage." : "They carried desolation wherever they passed. After having consumed herbage, fruit, leaves of trees, they attacked even their young shoots and their bark. Even the reeds, wherewith the huts were thatched, though quite dry, were not spared." : "Everything in the country was devoured; the bark of figs, pomegranates, and oranges, bitter hard and corrosive, escaped not their voracity." The effects of this wasting last on for many years .
He hath made it clean bare - o: "It is sufficient, if these terrible columns stop half an hour on a spot, for everything growing on it, vines, olive trees, and grain, to be entirely destroyed. After they have passed, nothing remains but the large branches, and the roots which, being under ground, have escaped their voracity." : "After eating up the corn, they fell upon the vines, the pulse, the willows and even the hemp, notwithstanding its great bitterness." : "They are particularly injurious to the palm trees; these they strip of every leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons with bare branches." : "The bushes were eaten quite bare, though the animals could not have been long on the spot. They sat by hundreds on a bush gnawing the rind and the woody fibres."
The branches thereof are made white - o: "The country did not seem to be burnt, but to be much covered with snow, through the whiteness of the trees and the dryness of the herbs. It pleased God that the fresh crops were already gathered in."
The "vine" is the well-known symbol of God's people Psalm 80:8, Psalm 80:14; Sol 2:13, Sol 2:15; Hosea 10:1; Isaiah 5:1-7; Isaiah 27:2; the fig too, by reason of its sweetness, is an emblem of His Church and of each soul in her, bringing forth the fruit of grace Hosea 9:10; Matthew 21:19; Luke 13:6-7. When then God says, "he hath laid My vine waste," He suggests to us, that He is not speaking chiefly of the visible tree, but of that which it represents. The locusts, accordingly, are not chiefly the insects, which bark the actual trees, but every enemy which wastes the heritage of God, which He calls by those names. His vineyard, the Jewish people, was outwardly and repeatedly desolated by the Chaldaens, Antiochus Epiphanes, and afterward by the Romans. The vineyard, which the Jews had, was, (as Jesus foretold,) let out to other farmers when they had killed Him; and, thenceforth, is the Christian Church, and, subordinately each soul in her. : "Pagan and heretical Emperors and heresiarchs wasted often the Church of Christ. antichrist shall waste it. They who have wasted her are countless. For the Psalmist says, "They who hate me without a cause are more than the hair's of my head" Psalm 69:4.
: "The nation which cometh up against the soul, are the princes of this world and of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, of whom the Apostle Peter saith, "Our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour" 1 Peter 5:8. If we give way to this nation, so that they should come up in us, immediately they will make our vineyard where we were accustomed to make "wine to gladden the heart of man" Psalm 104:15, a desert, and bark or break our fig tree, that we should no more have in us those most sweet gifts of the Holy Spirit. Nor is it enough for that nation to destroy the vineyard and break the fig tree, unless it also destroy whatever there is of life in it, so that, its whole freshness being consumed. the switches remain white and dead, and that be fulfilled in us, "If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" Luke 23:31. : "The Church, at least apart of it, is turned into a desert, deprived of spiritual goods, when the faithful are led, by consent to sin, to forsake God. "The fig tree is barked," when the soul which once abounded with sweetest goods and fruits of the Holy Spirit, hath those goods lessened or cut off. Such are they who, having "begun in the Spirit" Galatians 3:3, are perfected by the flesh."
" By spirits lying in wait, the vineyard of God is made a desert, when the soul, replenished with fruits, is wasted with longing for the praise of people. That "people barks" the "fig tree" of God, in that, carrying away the misguided soul to a thirst for applause, in proportion as it draws her on to ostentation, it strips her of the covering of humility. "Making it clean bare, it despoils it," in that, so long as it lies hidden in its goodness, it is, as it were, clothed with a covering of its own, which protects it. But when the mind longs that which it has done should be seen by others, it is as though "the fig tree despoiled" had lost the bark that covered it. And so, as it follows, "The branches thereof are made white;" in that his works, displayed to the eyes of people, have a bright show; a name for sanctity is gotten, when good actions are published. But as, upon the bark being removed, the branches of the fig tree wither, so observe that the deeds of the arrogant, paraded before human eyes, wither through the very act of socking to please. Therefore the mind which is betrayed through boastfulness is rightly called a fig tree barked, in that it is at once fair to the eye, as being seen, and within a little of withering, as being bared of the covering of the bark. Within, then, must our deeds be laid up, if we look to a reward of our deeds from Him who seeth within."
on Joel 1 :7