Daily Devotions

You old men — tell your children’s children!

Joel 1:3

‘Hear this, you old men, and give ear!… Has this been…even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation!’ Joel 1:2-3.

The Prophet describes a terrible plague of locusts, accompanied by a strong drought. By both the one and the other, a complete destruction had already been inflicted on the rural areas. Joel applies this plague as a presage of the Day of the Lord — and calls upon the people to repent!.

The word zeqeeniym in Joel 1:2, seems to mean ‘old men’ in contrast to the ‘children’ and grandchildren and great-grandchildren in 1:3. The same word in 1:14 and 2:16 seems to corroborate this. Indeed, the thought in 1:2-3 runs from ‘your fathers’ through ‘you old men’ to ‘your children’ and ‘their children’ and even to ‘another generation.’

Calvin comments: “‘Hear, you old men!’ — he says. He expressly addresses the old — because experience teaches men much. And the old, when they see anything new or unusual, must know that it is not according to the ordinary course of things. He who has past his fiftieth or sixtieth years and sees something new happening which he had never thought of, doubtless acknowledges it as the unusual work of God.

“This is the reason why the Prophet here directs his discourse to the old. As though he said: ‘I will not terrify you about nothing.

“‘But let the old hear, who have been accustomed for many years to many revolutions! Let them now answer me, whether in their life — which has been an age on the Earth — they have seen any such thing!’….

“He then adds: ‘Tell it to your children; your children to their children; their children to the next generation!’ In this verse, the Prophet shows that the matter deserved to be remembered and was not to be despised by posterity even for many generations….

“‘Oliyh means no other thing than ‘tell or declare this thing to your children!’ And further, ‘your children to their children!’….

“The Prophet here shows that such was the judgment of God of which he speaks — that it ought not to have been overlooked. No, not even by posterity!

” ‘Let your children,’ he says, ‘declare it’ to those after them — and their children to the fourth generation! It was always to be remembered.”

You old men — tell your children’s children! Have you yet told your grandchildren?