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Joel 1:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Lament like a virgin - for the husband of her youth - Virgin is a very improper version here. The original is בתולה bethulah, which signifies a young woman or bride not a virgin, the proper Hebrew for which is עלמה almah . See the notes on Isaiah 7:14; (note), and Matthew 1:23; (note).

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Lament like a virgin - The prophet addresses the congregation of Israel, as one espoused to God; “‹Lament thou,‘ daughter of Zion,” or the like. He bids her lament, with the bitterest of sorrows, as one who, in her virgin years, was just knit into one with the husband of her youth, and then at once was, by God‘s judgment, on the very day of her espousal, ere yet she ceased to be a virgin, parted by death. The mourning which God commands is not one of conventional or becoming mourning, but that of one who has put away all joy from her, and takes the rough garment of penitence, girding the haircloth upon her, enveloping and embracing, and therewith, wearing the whole frame. The haircloth was a coarse, rough, formless, garment, girt close round the waist, afflictive to the flesh, while it expressed the sorrow of the soul. God regarded as a virgin, the people which He had made holy to Himself Jeremiah 2:2.

He so regards the soul which He has regenerated and sanctified. The people, by their idolatry, lost Him who was a Husband to them; the soul, by inordinate affections, is parted from its God.: “God Almighty was the Husband of the synagogue, having espoused it to Himself in the patriarchs and at the giving of the law. So long as she did not, through idolatry and other heavy sins, depart from God, she was a spouse in the integrity of mind, in knowledge, in love and worship of the true God.”: “The Church is a Virgin; Christ her Husband. By prevailing sins, the order, condition, splendor, worship of the Church, are, through negligence, concupiscence, avarice, irreverence, worsened, deformed, obscured.” “The soul is a virgin by its creation in nature; a virgin by privilege of grace; a virgin also by hope of glory. Inordinate desire maketh the soul a harlot; manly penitence restoreth to her chastity; wise innocence, virginity. For the soul recovereth a sort of chastity, when through thirst for righteousness, she undertakes the pain and fear of penitence; still she is not as yet raised to the eminence of innocence. - In the first state she is exposed to concupiscence; in the second, she doth works of repentance; in the third, bewailing her Husband, she is filled with the longing for righteousness; in the fourth, she is gladdened by virgin embraces and the kiss of Wisdom. For Christ is the Husband of her youth, the Betrother of her virginity. But since she parted from Him to evil concupiscence, she is monished to return to Him by sorrow and the works and garb of repentance.”: “So should every Christian weep who has lost Baptismal grace, or has fallen back after repentance, and, deprived of the pure embrace of the heavenly Bridegroom, embraced instead these earthly things which are as dunghills Lamentations 4:5, having been brought up in scarlet, and being in honor, had no understanding Psalm 49:12, Psalm 49:20. Whence it is written, “let tears run down like a river day and night; give thyself no rest” Lamentations 2:18. Such was he who said; rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law” Psalm 119:136.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
All who labour only for the meat that perishes, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of their labour. Those that place their happiness in the delights of sense, when deprived of them, or disturbed in the enjoyment, lose their joy; whereas spiritual joy then flourishes more than ever. See what perishing, uncertain things our creature-comforts are. See how we need to live in continual dependence upon God and his providence. See what ruinous work sin makes. As far as poverty occasions the decay of piety, and starves the cause of religion among a people, it is a very sore judgment. But how blessed are the awakening judgments of God, in rousing his people and calling home the heart to Christ, and his salvation!
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