Harry Whittaker

Joel 2

2:1,2 "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations."

There is a temptation to associate this trumpet blast with the summons in 1:14 and 2:12 to a Day of Atonement observance. But the context here suggests rather a call to military alertness (Num. 10:9). It is a crisis such as the Land has never known: "an alarm in my holy mountain", to sound throughout the city.

It is the unique "day of the Lord", a unique concentration of calamity and judgment; and it is "nigh at hand". Such a warning would impart an element of absurdity to the message if its relevance was only to the Last Day, more than 2500 years after Joel’s own time. A proximate reference is demanded; and the appropriateness of the prophecy to the Assyrian invasion has already been intimated.

But how necessary it is to note also that the LXX phrase is identical with the Greek of James 5:8: "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." "Darkness... gloominess...clouds...thick darkness..." presents an oppressive picture to the mind, and also a problem: Should these words be read figuratively or literally? Always, where possible, the interpreter should incline to the literal. And it is a striking fact that with Egypt’s Passover plague of darkness (just before deliverance; Ex. 10:22,23) and the day of Christ’s crucifixion (Mt. 27:45) as prototypes, the repetition in Last Day prophecies should prepare the mind for an experience of this sort, not necessarily world-wide, but certainly in Israel, the Land which this prophecy is specially about ("Gospels", HAW, p.780).

"As the morning spread upon the mountains" provides a simile not readily comprehended. But if the prefix k- is read as an elision for ki- (when), there is reinforcement for the frightening horror of the picture: at the very time when the brightness of the sun should be bursting forth over the summit of the Mount of Olives, a deep impenetrable darkness rolls in instead. Such passages as Mal.4; Zech. 14:6,7 should take the mind of the reader further to the idea of a dramatic display of divine displeasure—against whom?

"A great people and a strong". Here at any rate is no figure of speech. In the light of Ex. 10:14, the phrase that follows rules out reference to an invasion of literal locusts.

2:3 "A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them."

Fire and flame fill the landscape again (1:19,20). A fertility comparable to Eden, the bequest of the prosperity years of king Uzziah (2 Chr. 26:10), is transformed to a sickening apparently irremediable desolation, as happened in the time of Abraham when that Garden of Eden was also the moral cess-pit of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 13:10); and did not Jesus say: "As it was in the days of shall it be"? However, there is comfort in other prophetic promises that this blitz is not past remedy: Is. 11:8,9, and especially Ez. 36:35 which certainly describes a divine rescue operation after a gloating conquest by Arabs (v.4,5: Idumea).

The implacable destruction will be specially directed against the Israeli inhabitants: "Yea, and no man (Heb. masculine) shall escape them."

2:4,5,7-9 "The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:

Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.

They shall run to and fro in the city, they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief."

The vividness of this description has few equals in the Old Testament. And without it, where would Revelation 9 be? But there can be no manner of doubt that, in the primary meaning, it is the invading army of Assyrians, which is meant. The parallel passages in Is. 33:3 and Nahum 3:15,17, this last passage especially, describes the futility of Assyria’s "locust" army to save their splendid Nineveh from destruction by Babylon’s Nabopolassar.

The language, too, has such a military flavour—chariots, horses, fire, discipline, a strong people, mighty men. And from the point of view of helpless Judah, the phrasing is not a whit too strong, especially when the frightening details in the British Museum of the Assyrian assault on Lachish are contemplated.

But what of the Last Days? A couple of generations ago it was confidently believed that these words must depict immortalised saints going forth against Messiah’s enemies. Attractive—indeed, fascinating—as this might be, the context is all against it. See also note on v. 11. These invincible warriors are the enemies of Israel in that nation’s last and worst travail. This is a desolating ocean tide—the last of three horrific overturnings—which will appear to make Israel’s continuance a sheer impossibility. "Our bones are dried; our hope (the hope of Israel) is lost." What does the future hold?

2:6 "Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness."

How well these words describe a nation reduced to utter hopelessness, as of course it is God’s intention that they shall be, so that with every vestige of their incomparable self-reliance gone they will be driven to respond to the prophet’s appeal for repentance: "Therefore..." (v.12).

2:10 "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:"

All this is essentially figurative. See "Bible Studies", HAW, ch. 6.01, on this. It is the total eclipse of Israel. The word for "shining" is especially appropriate to the symbolism here, for in virtually all its occurrences nogah carries an allusion to the glory of God. Even in its 20th century godlessness, Zionism has been a wonderful witness to God at work. Yet even here, there may be a certain element of literalness. If the suggestion regarding darkness (v.2, note) can stand, it should perhaps be linked with this prophecy of gloom.

There is room also for the earthquake mentioned here to be both literal and figurative. (cp. Mt. 27:51). In other places earthquake is a token of (a) the wrath of God; e.g. Ps. 18:7. (b) the end of a worthless dispensation; e.g. Heb. 12:27. Both ideas are appropriate to the situation described here. The modern state of Israel, reared entirely on human effort and cleverness and with scarcely a vestige of faith in Jehovah (Dt. 32:20) must be destroyed. For Israel was chosen to glorify God by their faith in Him and to be a missionary nation to all the Gentiles (Ex. 19:6); and modern Israel is the quintessence of the very opposite of these. So Jehovah does well to be angry.

Yet, has God cast away His people whom He foreknew? God forbid. So Joel goes on to show how a new dispensation will be inaugurated with repentance in Israel.

2:11 "And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?"

The wording tempts the reader to see here a prophecy of Messiah leading an army either of angels or of glorified saints into battle against the enemies of His people.

But how can this be reconciled with the immediate context or the theme of these two chapters? But there is also the idiomatic usage (Is. 8:7; 10:5,6; Mt. 22:7) by which the armies of the nations are spoken of as the hosts of the Lord when they are sent into action on His behalf. Verse 25 is quite decisive on this point. The words there could hardly be more explicit. This view harmonizes perfectly with the rest of this part of the prophecy. In this century the Almighty has worked hard to turn His wayward people into right ways; yet even the supreme effort of a Hitler holocaust is rationalised by them so that they are utterly incapable of hearing God uttering His voice before His army of invincible Germans, and, more recently, among oil-rich hate-filled Arabs intent on slaying their brother Jacob. The Assyrians were a worthy prototype of all this.

When it comes, startling the world and most of all a heedless New Israel, it will be a "day of the Lord, great and very terrible", such as has never been known (v.2). What an impression this grim picture was to make on later prophets (Malachi quotes this verse 4:5; 3:2; and also the Lord Jesus in his Apocalypse (6:17).

And who will be able to stand? Only those who heed the appeal of the next verse.

2:12-14 "Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?"

Here, with a far more emphatic introduction than comes through in the AV translation, is the only solution to Israel’s woes and troubles: Repentance! It is doubtful whether any exhortation to a new life is to be found in the Bible to compare with this sustained and detailed pleading. But for long long centuries God’s people have been impervious to these appeals of heaven. Yet repentance—note the pile up of phrases—is the only thing that can save Israel from the unparalleled disaster which today appears threateningly on the horizon.

It is an aspect of the teaching of God’s Word concerning Israel, which the New Israel just as stubbornly refuses to recognize, that except there be repentance first even the omnipotence of an Almighty God cannot save the people of His choice. It is not possible to print out in full the entire list of Scriptures about this. Instead, the bald references are given. If any reader doubts the Bible’s intensity of emphasis is really as strong as all that, let him work his way patiently through the subjoined catalogue. He will then ask himself, and his fellows, in amazement why such a vital theme has gone so much ignored for so long a time. Is it because earlier teachers left it alone, and if they didn’t see it, it can’t have been there? Or is it because even for those who are spiritually streets ahead of natural Israel repentance is an unpopular topic?

Zech. 12:10-14
Isa. 17:6-8; 19:20
Ez. 36:24-28; 37:23
Ps. 81:13,14
Rom. 11:15,26
Jer. 3:14-18; 29:12-14
Isa. 59:20
Dt. 4:27-31
Mt. 23:39
Amos 5:15
Lev. 26:40ff
1 Kgs. 8:47-49
Dt. 30: 1-3
Gen. 18:19
Zech. 6:15; 13:9
Ez. 20:42-44; 37:11 (Heb.)
Jer. 4:1,2 RVm
Zeph. 2:1-3
Acts 3:19,20

In the face of this sustained remonstration, is it possible to believe that the Second Coming of the Lord will/can take place except the people of God demand it by their holy way of life and godliness? (2 Pet. 3:11,12).

The character of the repentance called for by the prophet Joel is spelled out very precisely, both as to disposition and the practical godliness summed up in the religious routine appropriate to his own day: "meal offering and drink offering unto the Lord." In practice, in this 20th century, what sort of repentance does Jehovah demand from His Israelis? One thing, for certain: an avowal of faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Let a Jew of today make that initial big step, and Messiah Jesus will see to the rest in due course. The guarantee for this, says Joel, is the character of the God of Israel which he quotes with gusto from Jehovah’s own declaration to Moses: "gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness" (Ex. 34:6). This character of God had been exhibited in His longsuffering extended to brutal grasping Assyrians in the days of Jonah (3: 5-10; 4:11); and, thanks to the godly zeal of Hezekiah, was exhibited by the chosen people, undeserving, in Joel’s own day (see, by all means, 2 Chron. 30:6-9).

Regarding the several thousand Messianic Jews now dotted around the Land of Israel in small unimpressive groups, it has to be confessed that many—most—are but inadequately informed as to Bible Truth about Jesus. Nevertheless it may be confidently assumed that One who is still "gracious and merciful" will not look severely on a Jew, who after two thousand stony-hearted years, brings himself to swim against his own people’s strong tide of prejudice openly declaring that "Jesus is Lord", to the glory of God the Father.

Happily, neither Joel nor any other inspired writer goes so far as to assert that Messiah will come to the rescue of his nation only when all Israel is repentant. If Jehovah treasured seven thousand in the days of Elijah, is He not likely to be content with even fewer in the 3~/: year ministry of Elijah’s great successor (Mal. 4:6)?

2:15-17 "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

The summons to war (v.1) is now repeated as a call to observe with a new unparalleled sincerity the Day of Atonement that has hitherto left Israel’s sins unforgiven. Phrase after phrase is significant:

Also, "Leave a blessing behind him" (v. 14) can hardly mean other than Num. 6:23ff. The Glory of the Lord has shone forth and then withdrawn, leaving behind him a high priest emerging from the sanctuary to convey to his people an assurance of sins forgiven and of heavenly protection.

The point, already made, needs to be repeated that in a Last Day application of these words literality is not to be looked for. It is the expression of the essential idea behind the Old Testament practice, which God looks for in His ancient people. If the r world has to wait for a new temple in Jerusalem with a renewal of Levitical sacrifices and—most important of all—a nation giving itself in wholehearted repentance, then it will wait for ever. Israel will be finally and permanently destroyed long before the first sign of such development. Even to expect a surge of repentance sweeping through the whole of Jewry before Messiah’s coming is in itself cloud cuckoo land -- apart from the powerful influences of an irresistible Arab invasion of Israel and the advent of an Elijah prophet as imperative as John the Baptist. And even then, as in ancient days, the loving kindness of a God who fulfils His Promises will surely be moved to action by the prayers of seven thousand who have kept themselves from the nation’s apostasy. Is it possible to believe that when this faithful remnant and the New Israel worldwide plead (as never before!): "Spare thy people, O Lord", that the heavens will be as brass?

That Holy Land, soon to be overrun and despoiled, cannot be relinquished in that pathetic condition in the hands of any enemy. The gloating of the victors: "Even the ancient high places are ours in possession" (Ez. 35:12; 36:2) cannot endure for long. The Land is God’s heritage (v.17), the inheritance long ago designed for Abraham and his seed. And when the campaign becomes a triumphant religious campaign—Allah versus Israel’s Jehovah—and there is gloating mockery of an Israel trodden into the dust: "Where is their God?" (precisely as Rabshakeh jeered in Joel’s own day), then will it be possible for God to hold His peace any longer? Especially when there is the pleading added of one greater even than Moses (Ex. 32:11,12) or Hezekiah (2 Chr. 30:20; Isa. 37:1).

2:18-20 "Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.

Yes, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith; and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shad come up, and his ill savour shad come up, because he hath done great things."

Here are the promised fruits of repentance. The language (v.19) is that of a Year of Jubilee, such as was promised to Hezekiah (Is. 37:30,31)—the windows of heaven opened in blessing and fruitfulness, transforming the dereliction of a ravaged land into an incredible fertility.

And the further explicit promise that "I will no more make you a reproach among the Gentiles" seems to anticipate the rich assurance of Ezekiel 36: 12- 15 ("no more" 6 times repeated: Hebrew).

The "northern army" is definitely not a swarm of locusts (when did locusts ever invade Israel from the north?), probably not a horde of Russians (for in Ezekiel 38 the devastation so vividly described in this chapter is not tolerated), but more likely a strongly-militarised Syria (or Iraq) moving at the behest of a second Saladin ("the sender forth of judgment") cp. 3:9mg, 14mg).

The two seas in this prophecy can hardly be other than the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean (Rev. 16:3?)

2:21,22 "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength."

What splendid imperatives! "Fear not...Be not afraid"...and (in v.23) "Be glad. " They are made all the more heart-warming by the designed contrast with the preceding pictures of brutal invasion and the ruthless resolve to reduce a Land flowing with milk and honey to the barrenness of a wilderness. The campaign of destruction may succeed, but the rapidity of its recovery will be even more marvellous. Just as, in Hezekiah’s time, the utter desolation of the Land by the Assyrians was followed in a year, two years, by unexampled fruitfulness and plenty, so also in Jacob’s last unendurable "time of trouble" when all seems lost, "the Lord will do great things." So speedily will the Land recover under its Messiah as to guarantee the aggressive covetousness of a vodka-soaked empire builder (Ez. 38). Even then, "be not afraid," O Israel!

2:23 "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month."

This exhortation and promise are directed to "the children of Zion," those in the nation who already have their highest aspirations centred in God and His holy temple. It is these who will "rejoice in the Lord" and in His gracious blessings, especially the good rain which, coming in abundance at the right time, guarantees rich growth and fecundity, so that the farmer has little to do but rub his hands with deep satisfaction over a crop that cannot fail.

In a good season the climate of Israel is blessed with two periods of abundant rain —the early rains in October, the time of the sowing of barley and wheat, and the latter rains not long before Passover, filling out the ripening ears of corn. Israel, saved from its enemies, will have these blessings as never before.

But neatly the prophet turns his phrase so that the Hebrew text may read not only as "the autumn rains in (the time of) righteousness" (i.e. in the month of the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles), but also—quite differently—"a teacher of righteousness" (as AVm). The reference to Messiah is not to be missed. He comes first as a prophet of the Lord, calling the nation to godliness (the birth of Jesus was at Tabernacles), he comes again with national salvation at Passover "in the first month". (On this latter detail, see "Passover" HAW, ch.14).

2:24-27 "And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.

And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed."

The prophets have some stirring pictures of the Messianic age, contrasting it with the shame and degradation which God’s people have endured and have yet to endure; but is there any paragraph of that kind which excels in its moving quality Joel’s rich promise here?

Phrase after phrase depicts the unequalled blessedness of this Land, which is God’s heritage. It is the language of Jubilee still—breathtaking fruitfulness and plenty and all of it called forth not by the dedicated effort and agricultural skill of Zionists sweating away to fulfil a political ideal, but by the gracious word of a Creator God who in the beginning said: "Let this be" and it was.

The inroads of a locust horde of Arabs, who will one day take a schoolboy hooligan delight in destruction not for its own sake but because it is Jewish, will be ended, never to be renewed. Such judgments of Jehovah will never be necessary again, for now at least what the people promised to be, when gathered in the presence of the Glory of the Lord, they will really fulfil. They will "praise the Name of the Lord", the graciousness of His loving kindness to them, His bounteous provision, and the incredible marvel of the fulfilment of all His Promises at the very time when the Hope of Israel seemed to have become the drivelling of a lunatic.

With the most emphatic repetition possible, Joel assures these "children in whom (now) there is no faith" that they, God’s people, "shall never be ashamed."

2:28,29 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit."

Here the word "afterward" seems to require a fulfilment of this gracious promise only when there is a restored paradise in the Holy Land. But this can hardly be insisted on because of the non-sequential way in which Joel writes (note, for example, how ch.3 takes the reader back to the time of invasion and then adds snapshots of the Messianic Kingdom and of Gentile judgment).

One thing, however, seems plain and clear: that this gracious outpouring of Holy Spirit inspiration will take place amongst the people of Israel, and not in far-flung countries of the Gentiles, as modern pentecostals want to read it. The entire prophesy hitherto, and especially verse 32 (and Acts 2:16-18) make this conclusion inescapable.

Nor can a dialectic emphasis on "all flesh" impede this conclusion. Those who read this as meaning all nations have missed the point of the designed allusion, in contrast, to Exodus 30:22ff, which specifically required that the holy anointing oil was to be used only in the consecration of the high priest. Instead, in the happy days to come this high privilege will be extended to include the repentant people of Israel of all classes—old and young, of both sexes too.

It may be that this comprehensive language (v.28) supplies the clue to the meaning of Malachi’s prophecy that through the ministry of an Elijah prophet in the last days "the hearts of the fathers (will be turned) to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers" (4:6); for, earlier, Malachi has already twice quoted from Joel.

The mention of "servants and handmaids" should perhaps be taken to refer to the inclusion of Gentiles who have come to be willing servants of the God of Israel, and sharing the Hope of Israel; Is. 60:3ff; Zech. 8:23; Mt. 21:43; Gal. 3:29; Rev. 21:24. (This could hardly be true of pentecostals, for even the best-informed among them appear to be strangely inadequate in their grasp of Jehovah’s Israelitish purpose).

There is a remarkable similarity of idea in Isaiah 44:3, to Joel’s words here. Did Isaiah lean on Joel, or Joel expand what he found in Isaiah? The prophets of the Old Testament were great borrowers and collaborators. And similarly one is tempted to believe that Paul had his eye on Joel when he wrote Galatians 3:28.

There remains the double problem presented by Peter’s quotation of this Scripture in Acts 2:16-20: (a) Why did Peter turn "afterward" into "in the last days"? (b) Why did he apparently apply to his own time what palpably was written about the end time?

Presumably, it was the marked similarity of the Hebrew words for "afterward" and "the last (days)" which suggested Peter’s alteration in order to emphasize, from the context, that he was quoting a Last Day prophecy.

But Peter’s Pentecost speech was not "in the last days"! The fact must be faced that this is only one of more than a score of places where New Testament writers expressed a belief in an early Second Coming; they certainly thought that the Last Days were upon them. And they were inspired. And they were wrong! This jumbo size problem has been examined and explained in copious detail in "Revelation", HAW, p.259ff.

2:30,31 "And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."

There may be passages, which use language of this kind in a palpably figurative fashion (e.g. Jer. 31:35,36; Gen. 37:9,10); but somehow this seems different. In spite of the sensational character of the language it is by no means easy to read it figuratively. And the literal sense is frightening. It will be, in truth, a "great and terrible day of the Lord" (cp. Mal, 4:5).

"Pillars of smoke" is, literally, "palm trees of smoke." The phrase invites comparison with a nuclear mushroom cloud. And, elsewhere in Scripture, palm trees usually have association with Gentiles, by contrast with the fig or vine as symbols of Jewry ("Bible Studies", HAW, ch.6.03).

Yet elsewhere-dramatic language like this about sun, moon and stars clamours for a figurative interpretation with reference to Israel. (See on 2:2; and also "Bible Studies", HAW, ch.6.01).

So the student, faced with a challenging crux interpretum of this kind, may find that he has to learn to come down on both sides of the fence at once, that is, if he is an acrobat.

If Peter’s quotation of these words in Acts 2 is to be taken seriously with reference to the first century, a symbolic anticipation of the horrors of the Roman war (AD 67-70; 3 ½ years) fits the circumstances readily enough. But even at that time there were sensational appearances in and round Jerusalem providing fairly appropriate literal fulfilment also ("Gospels", HAW, p.603).

Is it possible, then, that a prophecy such as this is intended to have both double and dual fulfilment? The present commentator dares not offer a dogmatic answer.

2:32 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and m the remnant whom the Lord shall call."

In that "great and terrible day of the Lord" there is to be "escape" (Heb.) for those on whom the name of Jehovah is called. It is remarkable that this not uncommon Hebrew idiom (e.g., Gk. of Acts 22:16; Jas. 2:7; Rev. 14:1) is not preserved here in the Hebrew text. Yet the LXX text has it (Gk.MV) and also Acts 2:21. So it seems that "call the name of the Lord upon himself" is the idea here. Is this another of the not infrequent occasions when the New Testament improves on the Hebrew of the Old Testament Received Text? This idea of the Name of the Lord being named or called upon those who are part of His faithful remnant is a very lovely one.

For "deliverance" LXX has "them that are saved"—fully saved (with an emphatic prefix in the Greek verb). And, even more impressively LXX continues: "and the preachers of the gospel whom the Lord shall call (to Himself)".

There is also a significant phrase in the middle of this verse, which very easily goes overlooked: "as the Lord hath said". The implication is that the very idea expressed in this verse has already been made familiar to Joel either by an earlier revelation of which nothing is known, or—much more likely—through his acquaintance with some earlier prophecy; almost certainly the latter, in which case there is a choice between Obadiah 17 and Isaiah 37:32, both of which were roughly contemporary with Joel. It is another example of the prophets being glad to have reinforcement of their message from the writings of other inspired Scripture. (For outstanding material on this matter see "Of whom the world was not worthy", HAW, ch.44).

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