« AnteriorContinuar »
that the Chaldeans and Assyrians are the symbolical locust-army. Mr. Mede adopts the opinion of Jerome *. Abarbanel conjectures, that not only the Chaldeans, who carried away the ten tribes, are meant; but likewise the Babylonians, who destroyed the first temple, and the Romans, who destroyed the second f. Kimchi observes, that some of the Rabbies expound the verse, in which the destruction of the locust-army is foretold, as relating to the days of the Messiah: and he thinks, that the Chaldee Paraphrast interprets the locusts to mean princes, and people, and kingdoms, because he apprehended that these things were to come to pass in the days of the Messiah I. The last of these opinions, provided we understand the days of the second advent, is, I believe, the true one. As for the others, I cannot discover, that any one of them at all ac,
They have been uniformly subsisted at the expence of the wretched inhabitants. And I doubt not, whenever their appointed time for invading Palestine shall arrive, that the same deeds of havoc and barbarity will be there also re-acted. Could the poet, who wished to describe the universal conduct of the French, have pitched upon more apposite images to symbolize those barbarians, than locusts, caterpillers, canker-worms, and palmer-worms? See my, Dissert, on the 1260 years. Vol. ii. p. 331. (2d edit. p. 367.)
; * Comment. Apoc. p. 467. + Boch. Hieroz. P. i. L. iv. C. 5. p. 480.
| The reader will find all these authors cited by Chandler himself, except Mede and Abarbanel, to whom I have therefore given reforences.
cords with the prophecy, excepting perhaps that which applies it to the invasion and destruction of Sennacherib. It is to be observed, that Joel does not merely foretell an invasion, but likewise the destruction of the invaders; and that too in a region which he very particularly specifies, the land of Palestine between the eastern sea and the western sea. Now the Chaldèans, who carried away the ten tribes, were successful in their enterprize, instead of experiencing a total overthrow. So likewise were the. Babylonians, who destroyed: the first temple. And so were the Romans, who destroyed the second. None of these perished in Palestine between the two seas : how is it possible then that they can be meant by the locust-army? Sennacherib undoubtedly did fail in his expedition, and his army was miraculously destroyed near Libnah * which is situated between the two seas : I am willing moreover to allow, that his overthrow may be considered as the type of the yet future overthrow of Antichrist in the same bismarine rea gión, though not precisely in the same place: but I think it sufficiently evident, that the prophecy can only have received a sort of inchoate accomplishment in that event, even granting that it at all relates to it, which is by no means clearly certain. Joel himself fixes the accomplishment of the whole of his prophecy to a certain era, which he
* Kings xix. 8.
calls the great day of the Lord. All things contained in it are to come to pass either immediately before this great day, or in this great day. He beholds the approach of the locust-army; and exclaims, Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand *. He sees them commence their wild career of havock, and occasion tremendous revolutions in the political heavens; and again exclaims, The day of the Lord is great and very terrible t. He briefly touches upon their destruction between the two seas, and predicts the subsequent happy state of Israel both in temporals and spirituals; and declares, that those revolutions shall take place before the great and terrible day of the Lord come I. Lastly, when calling together the multitudes of the nations to the valley of judgment he declares that the day of the Lord in that valley is near; and that it shall be marked, not only by another and most awful revolution, a revolution about to be experienced in their turn by the causers of revolutions, but likewise by the roaring of the Lord out of Zion, by his dwelling in his holy mountain, by his suffering hostile strangers no more to pass through Jerusalem, and by his conferring upon his people every kind of blessing §. It is evident therefore, that the great day of the Lord must, as it is used by Joel, mean the period in which the locust-army should be destroyed, and the nations be cut off in the valley of concision : and it is further evident from Joel's (as it were). anxious repetition of the phrase, that, since the locust-army and the army of the nations are both to be overthrown in the same great day, they must consist of the very same persons; in other words, that the last chapter of Joel contains
* Joel i. 15.
+ Joel ii, 13 1 Joel ji. 10, 20, 23, 28, 31. $ Joel üi, 14.-21.
only an enlarged description of the already men· tioned overthrow of the locust-army between the
two seas. It moreover appears, that the great day of the Lord comprehends not only the destruction of the nations, but likewise the grant of much temporal and spiritual happiness to the Jews. • What period then are we to understand by this great day ? Chandler most arbitrarily denies, that the prophet uses the term throughout his prediction in the same sense; a denial, to which, according to his scheme, he was necessarily led by St. Peter's application of a part of the prophecy to the day of Pentecost *. Accordingly he tells us, that the great day of the Lord, with which the locusts are connected, means nothing more than the time of calamity and distress which their ravages occasioned; and therefore a day, supposing the locusts to be natural ones, long since past :
* Acts ii. 16rom 21.
but that the great day of the Lord connected with the effusion of the Spirit, means the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. In both cases I believe him to be mistaken, at least so far mistaken as he confines the great day in the second case to the sacking of Jerusalem. Let the expression mean what it may, it is only reasonable to suppose, that Joel, who four times uses it in the course of a very short prediction, uses it always in the same sense. And, if this be allowed, it will at least follow that the destruction of the locusts cannot have taken place during the existence of Judea as a kingdom. Maimonides is probably right in thinking, that the expression in the abstract denotes any day in which God sends a singular or extraordinary punishment *: but I am persuaded that it peculiarly means the two times of the first and second advent of the Messiah ; insomuch that I am almost inclined to believe, that, whenever it is applied to other events, it is only applied to them as being typical of those two great times. Malachi uses it to describe the first advent t: and Joel, properly to describe the second advent. The one advent however is a figure of the other; and they are both equally denominated the great day of the. Lord. Hence St. Peter applies to the first a pro
* Mor. Nev. L. ii. C. 29. cited by Chandler, + Mal. iv. 5.