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Joel 1:8-9

A Call to Lament

1:8 Wail 1  like a young virgin 2  clothed in sackcloth,

lamenting the death of 3  her husband-to-be. 4 

1:9 No one brings grain offerings or drink offerings

to the temple 5  of the Lord anymore. 6 

So the priests, those who serve the Lord, are in mourning.

1 sn The verb is feminine singular, raising a question concerning its intended antecedent. A plural verb would be expected here, the idea being that all the inhabitants of the land should grieve. Perhaps Joel is thinking specifically of the city of Jerusalem, albeit in a representative sense. The choice of the feminine singular verb form has probably been influenced to some extent by the allusion to the young widow in the simile of v. 8.

2 tn Or “a young woman” (TEV, CEV). See the note on the phrase “husband-to-be” in the next line.

3 tn Heb “over the death of.” The term “lamenting” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation for smoothness.

4 sn Heb “the husband of her youth.” The woman described here may already be married, so the reference is to the death of a husband rather than a fiancé (a husband-to-be). Either way, the simile describes a painful and unexpected loss to which the national tragedy Joel is describing may be compared.

5 tn Heb “house.” So also in vv. 13, 14, 16.

6 tn Heb “grain offering and drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord,”

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