on Joel 2 :6
All faces shall gather blackness - Universal mourning shall take place, because they know that such a plague is irresistible.
on Joel 2 :6
Before their face the people shall be much pained - The locust being such a scourge of God, good reason have men to be terrified at their approach; and those are most terrified who have most felt the affliction. In Abyssinia, some province of which was desolated every year, one relates , "When the locusts travel, the people know of it a day before, not because they see them, but they see the sun yellow and the ground yellow, through the shadow which they cast on it (their wings being yellow) and immediately the people become as dead, saying, 'we are lost, for the Ambadas (so they call them) are coming.' I will say what I have seen three times; the first was at Barva. During three years that we were in this land, we often heard them say, 'such a realm, such a land, is destroyed by locusts:' and when it was so, we saw this sign, the sun was yellow, and the shadow on the earth the same, and the whole people became as dead." "The Captain of the place called Coiberia came to me with men, Clerks, and Brothers (Monks) to ask me, for the love God, to help them, that they were all lost through the locusts." : "There were men, women, children, sitting among these locusts, the young brood, as stupefied. I said to them 'why do you stay there, dying? Why do you not kill these animals, and avenge you of the evil which their parents have done you? and at least when dead, they will do you no more evil.' They answered, that they had no courage to resist a plague which God gave them for their sins. We found the roads full of men, women, and children, (some of these on foot, some in arms) their bundles of clothes on their heads, removing to some land where they might find provisions. It was pitiful to see them."
Burkhardt relates of South Arabia , "The Bedouins who occupy the peninsula of Sinai are frequently driven to despair by the multitudes of locusts, which constitute a land-plague. They remain there generally for forty or fifty days, and then disappear for the rest of the year." Pliny describes their approach , "they overshadow the sun, the nations looking up with anxiety, lest they should cover their lands. For their strength suffices, and as if it were too little to have passed seas, they traverse immense tracts, and overspread them with a cloud, fatal to the harvest."
All faces shall gather blackness - Others, of high-authority, have rendered, shall "withdraw (their) beauty" . But the word signifies to collect together, in order that what is so collected should be present, not absent ; and so is very different from another saying, the stars shall withdraw their shining Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15. The "their" had also needed to be expressed.) He expresses how the faces contract a livid color from anxiety and fear, as Jeremiah says of the Nazarites, "Their visage is darker than blackness" (Lamentations 4:8, see Margin). : "The faces are clothed with lurid hue of coming death; hence they not only grow pale, but are blackened." A slight fear drives the fresh hue from the cheek: the livid hue comes only with the deepest terror. So Isaiah says; "they look amazed one to the other; faces of flame are their faces" Isaiah 13:8.
on Joel 2 :6
2:6 Blackness - Such as is the colour of dead men, or the dark paleness of men frightened into swoons.