WHEN I RESTORE THE FORTUNES: Or, better, "when I bring
again [ie bring back from] captivity" (AV). The translation of the AV is
supported by the ancient versions (LXX, Syr) and by such texts as Deu 30:3; Jer
29:14; 30:3; 33:7,11,26 mg; Zep 3:20; Amo 9:14.
THE VALLEY OF JEHOSHAPHAT: In the context, a place --
near Jerusalem -- where God enters into judgment with the nations, not
necessarily a known valley, as the wordplay makes clear (ie, "The valley of
judgment", "I will judge": cf v 12). Joel subsequently called it "the valley of
decision" (v 14).
ALL NATIONS: Cp Zep 3:8; Zec 12:2,3; 14:2. Some of the
nations, which joined Assyria in the onslaught on Judah, are named: Tyre and
Zidon, Edom and Egypt (Joel 3:4,19). The last of these was an enemy of Assyria,
but that did not stop a massive Egyptian army from ravaging southern Judah
before meeting with defeat at El-tekeh. Others in the confederacy against Judah
are identified in the "Gentile" section of Isaiah (Isa 13-23).
THERE I WILL ENTER INTO JUDGMENT: Much better than the
AV: "there I will PLEAD". This "pleading" is of the very sternest
THEY CAST LOTS FOR MY PEOPLE AND TRADED BOYS FOR
PROSTITUTES; THEY SOLD GIRLS FOR WINE THAT THEY MIGHT DRINK: Jerusalem will
be captured, and half its population (the Jewish half, of course) will be hauled
away to endure every horror of captivity that Arab cruelty can devise (Zec 14:2;
cp Nah 3:10). There will be competition for possession of slaves (the Arab races
have maintained slavery long after the rest of the world has given it up). The
prostitute and the saloon keeper and the drug dealer will take their fees in
this new currency of slaves.
Vv 4-8: "And those miscreant neighbours of Israel [Tyre,
Sidon, Philistia, Egypt, Edom...], who had thrown in their lot with the
Assyrians, as a means of saving their own skins, took a special pleasure in
rounding up captives (besides the two hundred thousand whom Sennacherib's men
had marched off to Nineveh and Babylon; Taylor Prism) in order to sell them off
to slave-dealers and those who specialised in catering for the lustful appetites
of the legionaries" (WJoel).
PHILISTIA: See Lesson, Philistia in prophecy.
FOR YOU TOOK MY SILVER AND MY GOLD AND CARRIED OFF MY
FINEST TREASURES TO YOUR TEMPLES: "It goes without saying that there will be
a ruthless plundering of every Israeli resource worth plundering. In the
prophet's own day the personal pronouns used here had special force -- there
being a literal temple to plunder. The sanctuary in Jerusalem was stripped of
its finest treasures in a desperate but futile attempt to buy off the invader
(2Ki 18:16). And, whilst there is no holy building in Jerusalem today dedicated
as it should be to the glory of Yahweh, it may be taken as certain that the
magnificent Muslim mosque on Mount Zion ('temples' being taken as an intensive
plural) will be jubilantly adorned with all the finest trophies captured from
the Israelis" (WJoel).
THE GREEKS: With whom the city of Tyre traded (Eze
I WILL SET YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS TO THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH,
AND THEY WILL SELL THEM TO THE SABEANS, A NATION FAR AWAY: "This v 8 is
difficult, for its picture of a restored Judah turning itself into a nation of
slave-traders at the behest of Jehovah is unseemly. But ought not this to be
seen as the Almighty's salvation to the mixed population problem in Israel?
Wealth appropriated from oil-rich Arabs will easily pay for the transplanting of
800,000 hate-filled sons of Esau back into the land that God assigned to Esau
(Gen 36:6,8). It was this very solution, which was advocated by Professor
Brodetsky (Leeds University) in 1929. The cost, then: £11m"
PREPARE: Heb "qadash" = sanctify, or make holy. Thus a
"holy war", or "jihad": in Muslim holy writings, an armed struggle against
"infidels" (ie anyone who does not believe in Allah and in Mohammed as his
prophet). According to the Koran, anyone who dies in a "jihad" goes directly to
"Paradise"; it is an irrevocable duty. Notice the nations listed in Joel 3: Tyre
and Sidon, Philistia, Egypt, and Edom. Sennacherib regarded this particular
campaign as a war between Ashur, the god of Nineveh, and Jehovah. Cp also Joel
2:17: "Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?' "
BEAT YOUR PLOWSHARES INTO SWORDS AND YOUR PRUNING HOOKS
INTO SPEARS: There is an obvious connection between the exhortation to the
enemy to "beat plowshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears" and its
converse in Isaiah's prophecy of the Messianic kingdom (Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3). First
the enemy appropriates resources that much more legitimately should have gone to
feed and care for the poor, and misuses them in a "holy war" against the
infidels. But thereafter, and in the aftermath of Messiah's victories, all such
resources will be returned to their rightful uses, in a kingdom of peace and
righteousness and prosperity.
LET THE WEAKLING SAY, "I AM STRONG!": An easy
connection with Muslim terrorists and warriors: (1) a very few terrorists --
with modern technology -- may wreak the most enormous and hideous damage upon
their enemies; and (2) even the weakest soldiers will profess they are strong,
and rush headlong into battle, if they believe that death means for them an
immediate reward in "heaven"!
NATIONS FROM EVERY SIDE: See Lesson, Nations "round about".
THERE WILL I SIT TO JUDGE: A play on the word for
"judge" -- "shaphat"!
ALL THE NATIONS: See Joel 3:2n.
// Rev 14:15-18; Isa 63:1-6.
THE VALLEY OF DECISION: "A dramatic declaration of a
"day of decision" -- and the primary meaning of this word is '"threshing" (see
Isa 28:22,27; 41:15; Mic 4:13 would seem to be a very close parallel)"
// Joel 2:10,31; Mat 24:29; Luk 21:25,26; Rev
THE LORD WILL ROAR FROM ZION AND THUNDER FROM
JERUSALEM: "Here comes the only reference in Joel to the Messiah, and that
in an indirect fashion, for how will God ROAR out of Zion except through the
LION of Judah (Rev 5:5; cp Gen 49:9)? This will be Messiah's first manifestation
when the Glory of the Lord is seen returning to Jerusalem from the mount of
Olives, where he ascended to heaven (Eze 43:1,2).
Joel borrows this highly dramatic declaration from Amos 1:2,
the introduction to the peremptory sequence of judgments which fill Amos 1; 2
there. But it would be a serious error to attempt to see those ten edicts of
punishment as a chronological sequence, for certainly the last two come first,
and the others enumerate the 'all nations' of Joel 3:2" (WJoel).
THE EARTH AND THE SKY WILL TREMBLE: See Lesson,
Earthquakes accompany awesome manifestations of God: Exo
19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4; Isa 2:10-22; Jer 4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16;
Amo 9:1,5; Zec 14:4; Rev 6:12; 11:19; 16:18.
"An earthquake has one of two associations: (a) the wrath of
God (as in Psa 18:7); (b) the removing of an old disreputable system (Heb
12:26,27). Generations later, Haggai picked up Joel's language 'Yet once (ie,
uniquely)... I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry
land. And I will shake all nations (Joel 3:2) and the desire of all nations
(this implies a gospel preached to the Gentiles) shall come' (Hag 2:6,7). It is
fairly evident that the use of those words in Heb 10:37; 12:26,27 provides
another example of the 1st century church's expectation of an early coming of
the Messiah. The 'shaking' certainly happened in AD 70 with its shattering of
the Mosaic system -- but no Messianic kingdom. Here is another passage needing
to be explained (and not juggled with). Revelation 16:18 appears to fall into
the same category.
"It will be at a time when there seems to be nothing left to
salvage from the wreck of the state of Israel (as happened in AD 70), that God's
rescue operation will startle the world. 'The Lord (note the Covenant Name here)
will be the hope of his people.' When Paul declared with such emphatic witness:
'For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain' he was looking back to the
great Promise made to Jacob of a multitudinous seed bringing blessing on all
nations (Gen 28:13,14). How fitting it will be that at the very time when the
national flame appears to be on the verge of extinction, Messiah should be
manifest, imparting a new and quite unquenchable vigour to the Hope which Israel
itself has not believed for centuries" (WJoel).
THEN YOU WILL KNOW THAT I, THE LORD YOUR GOD, DWELL IN
ZION, MY HOLY HILL: "The primary intention behind this Messianic
intervention is not to rebuke the Gentiles or to castigate the pride of Israel's
enemies but to re-assert in plain and utterly undeniable fashion to His own
people that God is, and that He is the God of Israel. To be sure, the Gentiles
also -- and especially the Arab enemies (Psa 83:18; Eze 35:15; see contexts) --
will also be made to understand that Yahweh and not Allah is Lord of
"And of course He will dwell in Zion, His holy mountain. Where
else?" (WJoel). Cp 2Ch 6:6; 12:13; Psa 125:1; 132:13.
JERUSALEM WILL BE HOLY; NEVER AGAIN WILL FOREIGNERS INVADE
HER: "Jerusalem truly will become a holy city, not after the fashion of
Mecca, nor according to the pattern of the Wailing Wall (whilst the rest of the
city is given over to sight-seeing and profit-making), nor after the manner of
the first century, Jerusalem with its genius for making God angry. Instead, a
true holiness, far out-matching even the best days of David or Solomon or
Hezekiah. Today Jews have no rights in what was the temple area. Instead, the
'strangers' who at present forbid their entry and who defile that holy site with
their false religion shall 'pass through her no more' (cp Zech 14:20,21)"
(WJoel). Cp Eze 44:9.
"Such a land as the Holy Land needs only the blessing of the
clouds, and nothing can restrain its fertility. Not for nothing is it called 'a
land flowing with milk and honey' (grass and flowers!). So the promised Jubilee
would bring copious refreshing rains to beautify the Land and to gladden the
hearts of men and beasts alike" (WJoel).
(LD) An unimaginable prosperity of the Land, during the
Kingdom of God: Psa 72; Isa 35.
A FOUNTAIN WILL FLOW OUT OF THE LORD'S HOUSE: A
fountain of cleansing from sin and impurity (Zec 13:1).
EGYPT: Where Israeli captives and slaves are taken and
installed in labor camps. From their five cities in Egypt they will cry out,
speaking the language of Canaan (Isa 19:18-20). When these cry unto the Lord (a
phenomenon not known in modern Israel thus far), He will send them their
Messiah. The power of Egypt will be completely broken in the Kingdom: Zech
EDOM: Cp parallels, Isa 63:1-4; 34:6,8; Oba 1: 19,20;
Ezek 35; 36:1-5; Psa 83:1-8; Lam 4:21,22.
JUDAH WILL BE INHABITED FOREVER AND JERUSALEM THROUGH ALL
GENERATIONS: "Just as king Hezekiah provided an awe-inspiring type of the
Messiah, in suffering and in glory, so also the events of that era (Joel's own)
are to be read as a striking and unbelievably accurate foreshadowing of the Last
Days. At last a repentant and reformed Judah and Jerusalem will come into their
Cp Psa 89:34-37; Luke 1:33.
THEIR BLOODGUILT, WHICH I HAVE NOT PARDONED, I WILL
PARDON: It was they, in the first place, who declared; "Let his blood be on
us and on our children!" (Mat 27:25).
"And so a short but violent Arab oppression will seem to
declare to the world that the sins of Jewry are still held against them by their
God. But a sensational Messianic deliverance, following immediately on the
penitence of Jehovah's 'seven thousand' will be sufficient before God to bring
an end to the pogrom (Hebrew for 'corpse of the People') of many centuries. They
will suddenly find themselves declared blameless, and instead of guilt there
will be a clean sheet, a robe of righteousness and loving kindness; they will
then know themselves to be in truth 'beloved for their fathers' sakes'. And now,
after seemingly endless years of estrangement, 'Jehovah (the Covenant Name!)
dwelleth in Zion'. Ezekiel copied this matchless conclusion for his own unique
message: 'Jehovah Shammah: the Lord is gone thither'. [Eze 48:35]"
THE LORD DWELLS IN ZION: Yahweh's intention will thus
be fulfilled (Eze 43:1-7; Zech 14:4; Acts 1:8-11.