on Joel 3 :6
Sold unto the Grecians - These were the descendants of Javan, Genesis 10:2-5. And with them the Tyrians trafficked, Ezekiel 27:19.
That ye might remove them far from their border - Intending to send them as far off as possible, that it might be impossible for them to get back to reclaim the land of which you had dispossessed them.
on Joel 3 :6
The children also - Literally, "And the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem have ye sold to the sons of the Greeks." This sin of the Tyrians was probably old and inveterate. The Tyrians, as they were the great carriers of the world's traffic, so they were slave-dealers, and, in the earliest times, men-stealers. The Greek ante-historic tradition exhibits them, as trading and selling women, from both Greece and Egypt . As their trade became more fixed, they themselves stole no more, but, like Christian nations, sold those whom others stole or made captive. Ezekiel speaks of their trade in "the souls of men" Ezekiel 27:13 with "Greece" on the one side, and "Tubal and Mesech" near the Black Sea on the other. The beautiful youth of Greece of both sexes were sold even into Persia .
In regard to the Moschi and Tibareni, it remains uncertain, whether they sold those whom they took in war (and, like the tribes of Africa in modern times, warred the more, because they had a market for their prisoners,) or whether, like the modern Cireassians, they sold their daughters. Ezekiel however, says "men," so that he cannot mean, exclusively, women. From the times of the Judges, Israel was exposed in part both to the violence and fraud of Tyre and Sidon. The tribe of Asher seems to have lived in the open country among fortified towns of the Zidonians. For whereas of Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zabulon, it is said that the old inhabitants of the land dwelt among them Judges 1:21, Judges 1:27, Judges 1:29-30, of Asher it is said, that they "dwelt among the Canaanites," the "inhabitants of the land" Judges 1:31-32, as though these were the more numerous. And not only so, but since they did "not drive out the inhabitants" of seven cities, "Accho, Zidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphek, Rehob," they must have been liable to incursions from them.
The Zidonians were among those who "oppressed Israel" (Judges 5:30; see Judges 4:3, Judges 4:7, Judges 4:13, Judges 4:15-16). Sisera's army came from their territory, (for Jabin was king of Hazor,) and Deborah speaks of "a damsel or two," as the expected prey of each man in the whole multitude of his host. An old proverb, mentioned 427 b.c., implies that the Phoenicians sent circumcised slaves into the fields to reap their harvest . But there were no other circumcised there besides Israel.
But the Phoenician slave-trade was also probably, even in the time of the Judges, exercised against Israel. In Joel and Amos, the Philistines and Tyrians appear as combined in the traffic. In Amos, the Philistines are the robbers of men; the Phoenicians are the receivers and the sellers Amos 1:6, Amos 1:9. Pagan nations retain for centuries the same inherited character, the same natural nobleness, or, still more, the same natural vices. The Phoenicians, at the date of the Judges, are known as dishonest traders, and that, in slaves. The Philistines were then also inveterate oppressors. On one occasion "the captivity of the land" coincided with the great victory of the Philistines, when Eli died and the ark of God was taken. For these two dates are given in the same place as the close of the idolatry of Micah's graven image. It endured "unto the captivity of the land" Judges 18:30-31 and, "and all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh," from where the ark was removed, never to return, in that battle when it was taken.
But "the captivity of the land" is not merely a subdual, whereby the inhabitants would remain tributary or even enslaved, yet still remain. A captivity implies a removal of the inhabitants; and such a removal could not have been the direct act of the Philistines. For dwelling themselves in the land only, they had no means of removing the inhabitants from it, except by selling them; and the only nation, who could export them in such numbers as would be expressed by the words "a captivity of the land," were the Zidonians. Probably such acts were expressly prohibited "by the brotherly covenant" (see the note at Amos 1:9) or treaty between Solomon and Hiram King of Tyre. For Amos says that Tyre forgot that treaty, when she sold wholesale the captive Israelites whom the Philistines had carried off. Soon after Joel, Obadiah speaks of a captivity at "Sepharad," or "Sardis" (see the note at Obadiah 1:20), the capital of the Lydian empire.
The Tyrian merchants were "the" connecting link between Palestine and the coasts of Asia Minor. The Israelites must have been sold there as slaves, and that by the Phoenicians. In yet later times the Tyrian merchants followed, like vultures, on the rear of armies to make a prey of the living, as the vultures of the dead. They hung on the march of Alexander as far as India . In the wars of the Maccabees, at Nicanor's proclamation, a thousand (2 Macc. 8:34) merchants gathered to the camp of Gorgias "with silver and gold, very much, to buy the children of Israel as slaves" (1 Macc. 3:41), and with chains , wherewith to secure them. They assembled in the rear of the Roman armies , "seeking wealth amid the clash of arms, and slaughter, and fleeing poverty through peril." Reckless of human life, the slave-merchants commonly, in their wholesale purchase of captives, abandoned the children as difficult of transport, whence the Spartan king was praised for providing for them .
The temptation to Tyrian covetousness was aggravated by the ease with which they could possess themselves of the Jews, the facility of transport, and, as it seems, their value. It is mentioned as the inducement to slave-piracy among the Cilicians. "The export of the slaves especially invited to misdeeds, being most gainful, for they were easily taken, and the market was not so very far off and was most wealthy .
The Jewish slaves appear also to have been valued, until those times after the taking of Jerusalem, when they had become demoralized, and there was a plethora of them, as God had predicted . The post occupied by the "little maid" who "waited on Naaman's wife" 2 Kings 5:2, was that of a favorite slave, as Greek tradition represented Grecian maidens to have been an object of coveting to the wife of the Persian Monarch . The "damsel or two" for the wives of each man in Jabin's host appear as a valuable part of the spoil. The wholesale price at which Nicanor set the Jews his expected prisoners, and at which he hoped to sell some 180,000 , shows the extent of the then traffic and their relative value. 2 British pounds. 14 shillings, 9d. as the average price of each of 90 slaves in Judea, implies a retail-price at the place of sale, above the then ordinary price of man.
This wholesale price for what was expected to be a mixed multitude of nearly 200,000, (for "Nicanor undertook to make so much money of the captive Jews as should defray the tribute of 2000 talents which the king was to pay to the Romans" (2 Macc. 8:10)), was nearly 5 times as much as that at which Carthaginian soldiers were sold at the close of the first Punic war . It was two-thirds of the retail price of a good slave at Athens , or of that at which, about 340 b.c., the law of Greece prescribed that captives should be redeemed ; or of that, (which was nearly the same) at which the Mosaic law commanded compensation to be made for a slave accidentally killed Exodus 21:30. The facility of transport increased the value. For, although Pontus supplied both the best and the most of the Roman slaves , yet in the war with Mithridates, amid a great abundance of all things, slaves were sold at 3 shillings 3d. .
The special favors also shown to the Jewish captives at Rome and Alexandria show the estimation in which they were held. At Rome, in the reign of Augustus , "the large section of Rome beyond the Tiber was possessed and inhabited by Jews, most of them Roman citizens, having been brought as captives into Italy and made freedmen by their owners." On whatever ground Ptolemy Philadelphus redeemed 100,000 Jews whom his father had taken and sold , the fact can hardly be without foundation, or his enrolling them in his armies, or his employing them in public offices or about his own person.
Joel 54ed before the historic times of Greece. But there are early traces of slavetrade carried on by Greeks . According to Theopompus, the Chians, first among the Greeks, acquired barbarian slaves in the way of trade . The Ionian migration had tilled the islands and part of the coasts of Asia Minor with Greek traders about two centuries before Joel, 1069 b.c. . Greeks inhabited both the coasts and islands between Tyre and Sardis, where we know them to have been carried. Cyprus and Crete, both inhabited by Greeks and both in near contact with Phoenicia, were close at hand.
The demand for slaves must have been enormous. For wives were but seldom allowed them; and Athens, Aegina, Corinth alone had in the days of their prosperity 1,330,000 slaves . At the great slave-mart at Delos, 10,000 were brought, sold, removed in a single day .
That ye might remove them far from their border - The Philistines hoped thus to weaken the Jews, by selling their fighting men afar, from where they could no more return. There was doubtless also in this removal an anti-religious malice, in that the Jews clung to their land, as ""the Lord's land," the land given by Him to their fathers; so that they, at once, weakened their rivals, aggravated and enjoyed their distress, and seemed again to triumph over God. Tyre and Sidon took no active share in making the Jews prisoners, yet, partaking in the profit and aiding in the disposal of the captives, they became, according to that true proverb "the receiver is as bad as the thief," equally guilty of the sin, in the sight of God.
on Joel 3 :6
3:6 Remove them - That there might be no hope of their return to their country.