And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
2:15-27 The priests and rulers are to appoint a solemn fast. The sinner's supplication is, Spare us, good Lord. God is ready to succour his people; and he waits to be gracious. They prayed that God would spare them, and he answered them. His promises are real answers to the prayers of faith; with him saying and doing are not two things. Some understand these promises figuratively, as pointing to gospel grace, and as fulfilled in the abundant comforts treasured up for believers in the covenant of grace.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten - The order in which these destroyers are named not being the same as before, it is plain that the stress is not on the order, but on the successiveness of the inroads, scourge after scourge. It is plain too that they did not come in the same year, or two years, but year after year, for he says, not "year," but in the plural, "years." The locusts, although not the whole plague, intended, are not excluded. : "As the power of God was shewn in the plagues of Egypt by small animals, such as the cyniphes, gnats so small as scarce to be seen, so also now," in creatures so small "is shown the power of God and weakness of man. If a creature so small is stronger than man, "why are earth and ashes proud?" The locusts, small as they are, are in God's hands "a great army," (and from this place probably, Muhammed taught his followers so to call them) and mighty empires are but "the forces of God and messengers of His Providence for the punishing of" His people "by them," "the rod of His Anger;" and when they have done their commission and are cast away by Him, they are as the vilest worms.
: "Since then after repentance God promises such richness, what will Novatus say, who denies repentance or that sinners can be reformed into their former state, if they but do works meet for repentance? For God in such wise receives penitents, as to call them His people, and to say, that they "shall never be confounded," and to promise, that He will dwell in the midst of them, and that they shall have no other God, but shall, with their whole mind, trust in Him who abides in them forever."
Through repentance all which had been lost by sin, is restored. In itself deadly sin is an irreparable evil. It deprives the soul of grace, of its hope of glory; it forfeits heaven, it merits hell. God, through Christ, restores the sinner, blots out sin, and does away with its eternal consequences. He replaces the sinner where he was before he fell. So God says by Ezekiel; "If the wicked will turn from all the sins which he hath committed and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die; all his transgressions that he hath committed shall not be mentioned unto him" Ezekiel 18:21-22; and, "as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness" Ezekiel 33:12. God forgives that wickedness, as though it had never been. If it had never been, man would have all the grace, which he had before his fall.
So then also, after he has been forgiven, none of his former grace, no store of future glory, will be taken from him. The time which the sinner lost, in which he might have gained increase of grace and glory, is lost forever. But all which he had gained before, returns. All his lost love returns through penitence; all his past attainments, which were before accepted by God, are accepted still for the same glory. "Former works which were deadened by sins following, revive through repentance" . The penitent begins anew God's service, but he is not at the beginning of that service, nor of his preparation for life eternal. If the grace which he had before, and the glory corresponding to that grace, and to his former attainments through that grace, were lost to him, then, although eternally blessed, he would be punished eternally for forgiven sin, which, God has promised, should "not be remembered."
God has also promised to reward all which is "done in the body 2 Corinthians 5:10. What is evil, is effaced by the Blood of Jesus. What, through His Grace, was good, and done for love of Himself, He rewards, whether it was before anyone fell, or after his restoration. Else He would not, as He says He will, reward all. And who would not believe, that, after David's great fall and great repentance, God still rewarded all that great early simple faith and patience, which He gave him? Whence writers of old say , "It is pious to believe that the recovered grace of God which destroys a man's former evils, also reintegrates his good, and that God, when He hath destroyed in a man what is not His, loves the good which He implanted even in the sinner." : "God is pleased alike with the virtue of the just, and the meet repentance of sinners, which restored to their former estate David and Peter." "Penitence is an excellent thing which recalleth to perfection every defect." : "God letteth His sun arise on sinners, nor doth He less than before, give them, most large gifts of life and salvation."
Whence, since the cankerworm, etc. are images of spiritual enemies, this place has been paraphrased ; "I will not allow the richness of spiritual things to perish which ye lost through the passions of the mind." Nay, since none can recover without the grace of God and using that grace, the penitent, who really rises again by the grace of God, rises with larger grace than before, since he has both the former grace, and; in addition, this new grace, whereby he rises.
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,.... Or "I will recompense to you the years" (m); give you fruitful ones, as a full compensation for those in which the locust ate up the fruits of the earth for some years running:
the canker worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer worm; of which see Joel 1:4;
my great army which I sent among you; as in Joel 2:11; the Targum of the whole is,
"and I will recompense unto you good years, in the room of the years in which the people, nations, and tongues, the governors and kingdoms of vengeance, spoiled you, my great army which I sent among you;''
and Kimchi observes, that the sense of the Targumist is, that this verse is a prophecy of the days of the Messiah; as no doubt it is, in which the Lord has done for his people, as Moses prayed he would, "make them glad according to the days wherein he afflicted them, and the years wherein they had seen evil", Psalm 90:15; the times of the Messiah, in which so many good things come to the people of God, are a sufficient recompence for what they endured in times past. Of the Mahometan notion of locusts being the army of God; see Gill on Joel 2:11.
(m) "et rependam vobis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vatablus, Tarnovius; "compensabo", Grotius, Cocceius. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
In the next strophe (Hosea 7:8-16
) the prophecy passes from the internal corruption of the kingdom of the ten tribes to its worthless foreign policy, and the injurious attitude which it had assumed towards the heathen nations, and unfolds the disastrous consequences of such connections. Hosea 7:8
. "Ephraim, it mixes itself among the nations; Ephraim has become a cake not turned. Hosea 7:9
. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not; grey hair is also sprinkled upon him, and he knoweth it not." יתבּולל, from בּלל, to mix or commingle, is not a future in the sense of "it will be dispersed among the Gentiles;" for, according to the context, the reference is not to the punishment of the dispersion of Israel among the nations, but to the state in which Israel then was. The Lord had separated Israel from the nations, that it might be holy to Him (Leviticus 20:24
, Leviticus 20:26
). As Balaam said of it, it was to be a people dwelling alone (Numbers 23:9
). But in opposition to this object of its divine calling, the ten tribes had mingled with the nations, i.e., with the heathen, learned their works, and served their idols (cf. Psalm 106:35-36
). The mingling with the nations consisted in the adoption of heathen ways, not in the penetration of the heathen into Israelitish possessions (Hitzig), nor merely in the alliances which it formed with heathen nations. For these were simply the consequence of inward apostasy from its God, of that inward mixing with the nature of heathenism which had already taken place. Israel had thereby become a cake not turned. עגּה, a cake baked upon hot ashes or red-hot stones, which, if it be not turned, is burned at the bottom, and not baked at all above. The meaning of this figure is explained by Hosea 7:9
. As the fire will burn an ash-cake when it is left unturned, so have foreigners consumed the strength of Israel, partly by devastating wars, and partly by the heathenish nature which has penetrated into Israel in their train. "Greyness is also sprinkled upon it;" i.e., the body politic, represented as one person, is already covered with traces of hoary old age, and is ripening for destruction. The object to לא ידע may easily be supplied from the previous clauses, namely, that strangers devour its strength, and it is growing old. The rendering non sapit is precluded by the emphatic והוּא, and he knoweth it not, i.e., does not perceive the decay of his strength.
25. locust … cankerworm … caterpiller … palmer worm—the reverse order from Joe 1:4, where (see on Joe 1:4) God will restore not only what has been lost by the full-grown consuming locust, but also what has been lost by the less destructive licking locust, and swarming locust, and gnawing locust.
I will restore - the years - It has already been remarked that the locusts not only destroyed the produce of that year, but so completely ate up all buds, and barked the trees, that they did not recover for some years. Here God promises that he would either prevent or remedy that evil; for he would restore the years that the locusts, cankerworm, caterpillar, and palmerworm had eaten.
2:25 Restore - Make up to you.