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Joel 2:20

Joel 2:20

But I will remove far off from you the northern [army]
The army of the locusts, which came from the northern corner, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; and is the first sense Jarchi makes mention of; though he says their Rabbins F2 interpret it of the evil imagination hid in the heart of men; and the two seas, later mentioned, of the two temples, first and second, destroyed by it; so, Kimchi says, they explain this verse of the days of the Messiah, and observes, the same sense they give; but Jarchi mentions another, according to which a people coming from the north are designed, even the kings of Assyria; and with this agrees the Targum, which paraphrases it,

``and the people which come from the north I will remove far off from you;''
and indeed locusts do not usually come from the north, but from the south, or from the east; it was an east wind that brought the locusts into Egypt, ( Exodus 10:13 ) ; though the word "northern" may be used of the locusts in the emblem, because the Assyrians or Chaldeans came from the north to Judea: and will drive him into a land barren and desolate:
where there are no green grass, herbs, plants, and trees, to live upon, and so must starve and die: with his face towards the east sea;
the front of this northern army was towards the east sea, into which it was drove and fell; that is, the sea of Chinnereth, or Gennesareth, the same with the lake of Tiberias, often mentioned in the New Testament; or the Salt sea, the same with the lake Asphaltites, or Dead sea, which was where Sodom and Gomorrah formerly stood, as is usually said; and both these were to the east of the land of Israel, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; and so either of them might be called the "eastern sea": and his hinder part towards the utmost sea;
the rear of this army was towards the utmost sea, or hinder sea, as it is called in ( Zechariah 14:8 ) ; the western sea, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it, the same with the Mediterranean sea, which lay to the west of the land of Israel; so the Egyptian locusts were cast into the Red sea, ( Exodus 10:19 ) ; and Pliny
FOOTNOTES:

F3 observes, that they are sometimes taken away with a wind, and fall into seas and lakes, and adds, perhaps this comes by chance; but what is here related came not by chance, but by the will and providence of God: and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up:
that is, the stink and ill savour of the locusts shall come, up out of the seas and lakes into which they fell, and where they died and putrefied; or, being cast up from thence upon the shares, gave a most noisome stench; so Jerom on the place says,
``in our times we have seen swarms of locusts cover the land of Judea, which upon the wind rising have been driven into the first and last seas; that is, into the Dead and Mediterranean seas; and when the shores of both seas have been filled with heaps of dead locusts, which the waters have thrown up, their rottenness and stench have been so very noxious as to corrupt the air, and produce a pestilence among men and beasts;''
or this may be understood of the fall and ruin of the enemies of the Jews, signified by these locusts; and some apply it to Sennacherib's army smote by the angel, when there fell in one night a hundred and fourscore and five thousand of them in the land of Israel, and lay unburied, ( 2 Kings 19:35 ) ; Theodoret interprets the seas of armies; the first sea of the army of the Babylonians, by which Nineveh the royal seat of the Assyrians was destroyed; and the other sea of the army of the Persians, who, under Cyrus, took Babylon, the metropolis of the Chaldean empire: because he hath done great things;
evil things, as the Targum; either the locust, which had done much mischief to the fruits of the earth; or the enemy, signified by it, who had behaved proudly, and done much hurt to the inhabitants of Judea: or, "though he hath done great things" {d}, as some render it, yet all this shall come to him. Some interpret it of God, "for he (God) hath done", or "will do, great things" F5; in the removing of the locusts, or in the destruction of those enemies they represented, as is expressly said of him in ( Joel 2:21 ) .
F2 Vid. T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1.
F3 Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29.
F4 (twvel lydgh yk) "quamvis magna gesserit", Gataker.
F5 "Quia magnifica Jehovah agit", Junius & Tremellius; "aget", Piscator, Liveleus, Castalio.
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