Who knoweth [if] he will return and repent
Which some understand of man, and of his returning and repentance; either thus whosoever he be that knows the ways of repentance, he will return, and God will repent of this evil: which sense is mentioned by Kimchi and Ben Melech: or he that knoweth that iniquity is on him will return and repent; so Jarchi, with which agrees the Targum,
``he that knows that sins are in him will return from them, and he shall obtain mercy; and whoever repents, his sins shall be forgiven him;''but rather they are to be understood of God, as some in Kimchi, and paraphrase it, who knows? perhaps God may return; and this is the sense of Aben Ezra, and seems to be most correct; and to be interpreted, either as carrying some doubt in it; not as if it was questionable whether God will give pardon to repenting sinners, but whether he will at once remove the present affliction and chastisement; which may be thus expressed to check the presumption and awaken the security of the people, and rouse them from their sluggishness and stupidity: or rather as expressive of hope that God would return and change the dispensation of his providence, and repent of the evil he had threatened, or brought upon them; which might be justly grounded upon the character before given of him, and that from the revelation of himself, and the proclamation of his own perfections; see ( Jonah 3:9 ) ; and leave a blessing behind him;
meaning not behind God himself, as if he was departed, or about to depart, for which there was no great concern, provided he left a temporal blessing with them; but behind the army of the locust, after that had made all the devastation it did: or rather "cause to leave"; stop the locust in its progress, and not suffer it to make a total desolation, but cause it to leave some of the fruits of the earth behind it. So Aben Ezra gives the sense of the words,
``perhaps God will return, and cause the locust to leave a blessing;''and to the same purpose Jarchi, of which they make a meat offering and a drink offering, as follows: [even] a meat offering and a drink offering to the Lord your God;
at least leave so much of the wheat, that a meat offering might be made of it; and so many of the vines, as that so much wine might be produced by them as would furnish out a drink offering to be offered to the Lord, agreeably to the laws given about these; for which the greatest concern is expressed, this being cut off and withheld from the house of the Lord, by reason of the present scarcity, ( Joel 1:9 Joel 1:13 ) ; which shows a truly pious and religious mind, having more at heart the worship of God than themselves and families.