on Joel 2 :11
The Lord shall utter his voice - Such a mighty force seems as if summoned by the Almighty, and the noise they make in coming announces their approach, while yet afar off.
on Joel 2 :11
And the Lord shall utter His voice - The prophet had described at length the coming of God's judgments, as a mighty army. But lest amid the judgments, people should, (as they often do) forget the Judge, he represents God, as commanding this His army, gathering, ordering, marshalling, directing them, giving them the word, when and upon whom they should pour themselves. Their presence was a token of His. They should neither anticipate that command, nor linger. But as an army awaits the command to move, and then, the word being given, rolls on instantly, so God's judgments await the precise moment of His Will, and then fall. "The voice of the Lord" is elsewhere used for the thunder; because in it He seems to speak in majesty and terror to the guilty soul. But here the voice refers, not to us, but to the army, which He is imaged as marshalling; as Isaiah, referring perhaps to this place, says "The Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle" Isaiah 13:4.
God had spoken, and His people had not obeyed; now He speaks not to them anymore, but to their enemies. He calls the Medes and Persians, "My sanctified ones, My mighty ones" Isaiah 13:3, when they were to exercise His judgments on Babylon; and our Lord calls the Romans His armies. "He sent forth His armies and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city" Matthew 22:7. Then follow as threefold ground of terror. "For His camp is very great." All the instruments wherewith God punishes sin, are pictured as His one camp, each going, as He commands, "Who bringeth forth the host of heaven by number: He calleth them all by names, by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth" Isaiah 40:26. For he is "strong, that executeth His word," or, "for" it (His camp) is "strong, executing His word." Weak though His instruments be in themselves, they are mighty when they do His commands, for He empowers them, as Paul saith, "I can do all things through Christ instrengthening me" Philippians 4:13. "For the Day of the Lord is great," great, on account of the great things done in it. As those are called evil days, "an evil time," in which evil comes; as it is called "an acceptable time;" in which we may be accepted; so the Day of God's judgment is "great and very terrible," on account of the great and terrible acts of His justice done in it. who can abide it? The answer is implied in the question. "No one, unless God enable him."
This is the close of the threatened woe. The close, so much beyond any passing scourge of any created destroyer, locusts or armies, suggests the more what has been said already, that the prophet is speaking of the whole aggregate of God's judgments unto the Day of Judgment.
: "The Lord saith, that He will send an Angel with the sound of a trumpet, and the Apostle declares that the resurrection of the dead shall take place amid the sound of a trumpet. In the Revelation of John too, we read that the seven Angels received seven trumpets, and as they sounded in order, that was done which Scripture describes. The priests and teachers accordingly are here bidden to lift up their voice like a trumpet in Zion, that is, the Church, that so all the inhabitants of the earth may be troubled or confounded, and this confusion may draw them to Salvation. "By the Day of the Lord," understand the Day of judgment, or the day when each departeth out of the body. For what will be to all in the Day of judgment, this is fulfilled in each in the day of death. It is a "day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness," because everything will be full of punishment and torment.
The great and strong people of the angels will come, to render to each according to his works; and as the rising morn first seizes the mountains, so judgment shall begin with the great and mighty, so that "mighty men shall be mightily tormented" (Wisd. 6:6). "There hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it." For all evils, contained in ancient histories and which have happened to people, by inundation of the sea, or overflow of rivers, or by pestilence, disease, famines wild beasts, ravages of enemies, cannot be compared to the Day of judgment. "A fire devoureth, or consumeth before" this people, to consume in us "hay, wood, stubble." Whence it is said of God, "thy God is a consuming fire" Deuteronomy 4:24. And "after" him "a flame burneth," so as to leave nothing unpunished. whomsoever this people toucheth not, nor findeth in him what is to be burned, shall be likened to the garden of God, and the paradise of pleasure, i. e., of Eden. If it burn any, it will reduce this (as it were) wilderness to dust and ashes, nor can any escape its fury.
For they shall run to and fro to torture those over whom they shall receive power, like horsemen flying hither and thither. Their sound shall be terrible, as "chariots" hurrying along level places, and upon the tops of the mountains they shall leap," longing to torment all who are lofty and set on high in the Church. And since "before them there is a devouring fire," they will destroy everything, "as the fire devoureth the stubble." They shall come to punish, "as a strong people in battle array." Such will be the fear, of all, such the conscience of sinners, that none shall shine or have any brightness of joy, but his face shall be turned into darkness. They shall not turn aside, in fulfilling the office enjoined them, but each shall carry on the punishments on sinners entrusted to him. At the presence of that people, "the earth shall quake and the heavens tremble. For heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord shall endure forever." The sun and moon also shall not endure to see the punishments of the miserable, and shall remove and, for bright light, shall be shrouded in terrible darkness. "The stars also shall withdraw their shining," in that the holy also shall not without fear behold the presence of the Lord. Amid all this, "The Lord shall utter His voice" before His army. For as the Babylonians, in punishing Jerusalem, are called the army of God, so the evil angels (of whom it is written, "He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them" Psalm 78:49) are called the army of God and His camp, in that they do the Will of God."
The Day of the Lord, is great and terrible - Of which it is written, elsewhere, "to what end do ye desire the Day of the Lord? it is darkness and not light and very terrible" (from Amos 5:18), and few or none can abide it, but will furnish some ground of severity against himself.
on Joel 2 :11
2:11 Utter his voice - Summon them in and encourage them as a general doth his soldiers. His army - Of locusts and insects, and of Chaldeans signified by these.