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Joel 1:8

8. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

8. Plange tanquam puella, accincta sacco, super marito adolescentiae suae.


The Prophet now addresses the whole land. Lament, he says; not in an ordinary way, but like a widow, whose husband is dead, whom she had married when young. The love, we know, of a young man towards a young woman, and so of a young woman towards a young man, is more tender than when a person in years marries an elderly woman. This is the reason that the Prophet here mentions the husband of her youth; he wished to set forth the heaviest lamentation, and hence he says “The Jews ought not surely to be otherwise affected by so many calamities, than a widow who has lost her husband while young, and not arrived at maturity, but in the flower of his age.” As then such widows feel bitterly their loss, so the Prophet has adduced their case.

The Hebrews often call a husband בעל bol, because he is the lord of his wife and has her under his protection. Literally it is, “For the lord of her youth;” and hence it is, that they also called their idols בעלים bolim, as though they were as we have often said in our comment on the Prophet Hosea, their patrons.

The sum of the whole is, That the Jews could not have continued in an unconcerned state, without being void of all reason and discernment; for they were forced, willing or unwilling, to feel a most grievous calamity. It is a monstrous thing, when a widow, losing her husband when yet young, refrains from mourning. Now then, since God had afflicted his land with so many evils, he wished to bring on them, as it were, the grief of widowhood. It follows —

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