J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)
This prophecy is Israel, and thence the nation, but commencing "The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem"; and, at the close, the tabernacle of David is rebuilt, "that they may possess"; but Israel is the nation, see chapter 7:12. Joel is the Land, Zion, Jerusalem, and the day of the Lord. When it comes to facts, it is Judah and Jerusalem. The Spirit spoken of has connection with what goes on there, because deliverance is there for the Remnant. When different tongues were poured out in the audience of Hellenists of all neighbouring countries, Peter, the Apostle of Judaism, addresses 'men of Judea and inhabitants of Jerusalem.' I will add here Acts 2 is the exaltation of Christ, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and, consequently, call to personal repentance, for the principle was general. And so 'the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved' (tous sozomenous). Chapter 3 is to Israel - promises the return of Christ on their repentance - they are 'The children of the prophets.' 'The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob' is now the name he speaks in - He hath 'raised up His Son Jesus . . . whom ye denied.' To them first He was sent - rejected, but the opportunity of repentance now offered; but this in passing. Chapter 4 goes further and recognises Christ exalted - addressing the Lord God of heaven, earth and sea, and all in them, and rulers, kings against Jehovah, and against His anointed - fully developed in the latter day.
- 4. "Bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years." I am disposed to think that the direction as to tithes in Deuteronomy is wholly different from that in Leviticus 27 and Numbers 18. In that case they were given to the Levites wholly, and they gave a tenth to the priests. But in the direction in Deuteronomy, they take it up to where God's name is, to eat it there. The object is to centralise their faith in Jehovah, and that in connection with joy and grace. The same principle is strikingly shown in Deuteronomy 16 as Tithe-feasts. And, though a king is referred to, the desired idea is the people walking rightly under Jehovah, with a judge if needed, and a priest. With a view to this, they carried a tithe of their own part of the fruit, and ate it, inviting others - the Levite among them. It was a way of disposing of a part of their produce, in rejoicing, and showing grace before Jehovah. They paid their rent thus to Jehovah for their land, but in joy and gladness, in grace from Him, and with the poor, yet feeding their families with it. They feasted in grace around Jehovah.
206 The tithing of the third year (a special institution of Deuteronomy also, confirming this view of the one already spoken of) was, on the other hand, to be eaten in their own gates, and the poor and the Levite, etc., to be invited. This is only found in Deuteronomy 14 and 26, and in the chapter now before us. It was not the ecclesiastical obligation, but the walk of the people with Jehovah, in joy and grace. Jehovah then blessed them, giving them abundant increase. The same spirit is shown in the year of release; chapter 15 - not to grudge. Compare even what was given to the priests distinctly, in Deuteronomy 18:4; compare also chapter 26:10, 11.
But there is still a difficulty connected with it which tends to throw a doubt on the preceding. The firstling of the herd (Exodus 13) was consecrated and sacrificed. It is not among what is given to the priests in Deuteronomy 18. But, in Deuteronomy 15, they are sanctified to Jehovah, and they were to eat them before Jehovah in the place Jehovah should choose, year by year. Yet they were (Exodus 13:15) sacrificed; so in Deuteronomy 15:21. They must thus have been a peace-offering. The careful bringing up to the place the Lord should choose is very evident in Deuteronomy.