Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
The Day of the Lord brings full Salvation to Israel and the Destruction of his Enemies
1 For behold, in those days,1 and at that time
When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem;
2 That I will gather all the nations,
And will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat;
And there will I deal with (or judge) them,2 for my people, and my heritage,3 Israel.
Because they scattered them among the nations,4
And divided my land.
3 And they cast lots for my people,
They bartered a boy for a harlot,
And sold a maiden for wine,5 and drank it.
4 And, also, what have ye to do with me, Tyre and Sidon,
And all the borders6 of Philistia?
Would you retaliate7 upon me,
Or render me a recompense?
Soon and swiftly8 will I bring your recompense on your own head.
5 Because ye have taken away my silver and my gold,
And have brought into your temples my goodly desirable things,9
6 And ye have sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the sons of Javan,
That ye might remove them far away from their border.
7 Behold, I will raise10 them up out of the place where ye have sold them,
And will return your retaliation on your own head.
8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hands of the sons of Judah,
And they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a distant nation,
For Jehovah hath spoken it.
9 Proclaim this among the nations,
Declare (sanctify) a war,
Arouse the mighty ones,
Let all the men of war draw near, come up.
10 Beat your mattocks11 into swords,
And your pruning-hooks into spears,
Let the weak say, I am strong.
11 Hasten12 and come,
All ye nations round about, and assemble yourselves;
Then Jehovah shall bring down13 thy mighty ones.
12 Let the nations arise and come up
To the valley of Jehoshaphat,
For there will I sit to judge all the nations round about.
13 Put m the sickle,14
For the harvest is ripe;
For the wine-press is full,
The vats overflow,
For their wickedness is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision,
For the day of Jehovah is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon are darkened,
And the stars withdraw their shining,
16 And15 Jehovah will thunder out of Zion,
And from Jerusalem he will give forth his voice,
So that the heavens and the earth shall shake;
But Jehovah will be a refuge for his people,
And a stronghold for the sons of Israel.
17 And ye shall know that I Jehovah am your God,
Dwelling in Zion my holy mountain;
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
And strangers shall no more pass through her.
18 And it shall come to pass that in that day the mountains shall drop down with new wine,
And the hills shall flow with milk,
And all the river beds of Judah shall be full of water,
And a fountain shall flow forth from the house of Jehovah,
And shall water the valley of Shittim.
19 Egypt shall be a desolation,
And Edom shall be a desolate wilderness,
For their violence against Judah’s sons;
Because they shed blood in their land.
20 But Judah shall dwell16 forever,
And Jerusalem from generation to generation;
21 And I will avenge their blood, which I have not avenged,
And Jehovah will dwell in Zion.
Joel 3:1–3. For behold in those days, etc. The כִּי in Joel 3:1 gives the reason for the thought that deliverance can be found only in Zion, in the day of the Lord, for then shall all heathen nations be judged. In those days, i. e., the days that shall come, the “afterward” of the previous chapter. The signs of the event belong essentially to the event itself; but the time is more exactly determined by the statement “when I shall bring again,” etc. This distinctly shows that the object of the day of the Lord is, the deliverance of the people of God. The judgment of the heathen world is simply a means to that end. Bring back the captivity, or to return the captivity, means to make an end of it. This phrase, from the use here made of it to designate the epoch of judgment as a terminus technicus for a restitutio in integrum promised to God’s people, may have been borrowed from some more ancient prophecy. The condition out of which the captivity is brought appears from the close of Joel 3:2. But the conclusion of the chapter shows, that the captivity is not simply to end, but that its termination involves a positively new and higher order of things. Judah and Jerusalem,i. e., Judah generally, Jerusalem specially.
Joel 3:2. All nations. In the first instance, of course, all those that have offended against Israel; yet these are representatives of the heathen world in general, whose position towards God’s people is essentially the same. The valley of Jehoshaphat. According to 2 Chron. 20, Jehoshaphat by the miraculous help of the Lord gained a great victory over a Gentile army, in a valley, which subsequently for this reason took the name of that king. Does the prophet here mean that valley? Keil and many others say, no. They insist that the valley of the prophet is an imaginary one, in or near Jerusalem, and is called the valley of Jehoshaphat = “Jehovah judges,” because of its being the place of judgment. The valley certainly stands in close relation to Jerusalem, for in Joel 3:16 it is said that Jehovah, who there judges, shall utter his voice from Zion and Jerusalem. But in this case there is no need of applying a merely geographical measure. Jehovah may judge in a valley far distant from Jerusalem, and yet have his dwelling in Israel, in Zion, and Jerusalem. (See 2 Chron. 20:15–17, where the Lord, while contending for Israel is, at the same time, regarded as being in his sanctuary in Jerusalem.) If the phrase is to be taken in a symbolic sense, it might be asked, why Joel should have fixed upon a “valley” as the place of judgment, and should have given it the name of a well-known king? He was undoubtedly thinking of the great event under Jehoshaphat. The name of this monarch was significant, and he calls the place “valley of Jehoshaphat,” because he was reminded of that fortunate king who was victorious over Israel’s enemies, and because of the peculiar significance of the name Jehoshaphat = Jehovah judges. By way of anticipation he tells what they have to expect, who are gathered there. To the question, does he mean that well-known valley then, we answer, yes, and no. Yes, because he evidently had in view the spot on which Jeshoshaphat won his victory. No, because he as evidently goes on to describe a more than common battle fought on a spot which could be identified on no map. The multitudes gathered there are too vast to be assembled in any ordinary valley. In painting this prophetic vision there can be no doubt that Joel had in his mind the historical narrative in 2 Chron. 20. Deal with. E. V. Plead with, i. e. to charge with crime, with the design of punishing it. Taking the word in its full sense of arguing a cause, it implies that the nations argue their own cause, and attempt to vindicate themselves, though, of course they could have no ground to stand upon, since Jehovah is alone and always in the right. My people, my heritage. Therefore what the nations did to Israel must be criminal. They have scattered. The prophet here has in mind what he afterwards more fully describes.
Joel 3:3. They not only scattered God’s people, but treated them with the greatest contempt. This, however, is only mentioned as pars pro toto. At least in Joel 3:19 the prophet looks beyond what was immediately before him, and names oppressions which Israel had long before experienced, so that it is evident that he is thinking of the heathen world in general, and of its hostility to God’s people. A special reference to the future Exile is not to be assumed, as this does not yet come into the prophet’s horizon.
[PUSEY: Joel 3:1. For, behold. The prophet by the for shows that he is about to explain in detail what he had before spoken of in sum. By the word behold, he stirs up our minds for something great, which he is to set before our eyes, and which we should not be prepared to expect or believe.
Joel 3:2. Valley of Jehoshaphat. It may be that the imagery is furnished by that great deliverance which God gave to Jehoshaphat when Ammon, and Moab, and Edom came against him, and Jehoshaphat appealed to God, and God turned their swords every one against the other. And they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah (blessing); for there they blessed the Lord.2 Chron. 20:21. That valley, however, is nowhere called the valley of Jehoshaphat. It continued, says the sacred writer, to be called the valley of Berachah unto this day. And it is so called still. Southwest of Bethlehem and east of Tekoa are still three or four acres of ruin (Robinson, Pal., 3:275), bearing the name of Boreikut (Seetzen’s Map; Ritter, Erdk., 15:635; Wolcott, Excurs. to Hebron, p. 43). The only valley called the valley of Jehoshaphat is the valley of Kedron, encircling Jerusalem on the east. The valley was the common burial-place for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Williams, H. C., 2:523; Thomson, Land and Book, 2:481.
Joel 3:3. Cast lots. They treated God’s people as of no account and delighted in showing their contempt towards them. They chose no one above another as though all alike were worthless. A girl they sold for an evening’s revelry, and a boy they exchanged for night’s debauch.
Wünsche: Joel 3:3. According to the then prevalent custom, the prisoners of war were sold a slaves. My people. We are to understand by this, not the people as a whole, but only the portion taken captive. But the mistreatment of this part of the covenant people, in the view of the O. T prophets, was a mistreatment of the whole body.—F.]
Joel 3:4–8. And also what have ye, etc. After speaking of the crimes of the heathen in general against Israel, the prophet turns to the neighboring nations. Tyre, Sidon, and the borders of Philistia, i. e., the five small Philistine principalities. He, suddenly, as it were, remembers those who had committed such crimes against Israel as those already mentioned. The question, in fact, especially concerns them. With the genus comes the species which is included in it. In a lively description, we find ourselves in the midst of the nations (comp. Joel 3:11) with whom the process of pleading by Jehovah is carried on. For afterwards there is no more pleading, but a decision. They are represented as claiming to be right; but any presumptive claim of theirs to do what they had done is denied, in the first instance, by the general question, “what have ye to do with me?” a question more fully answered afterwards. Their right to inflict injury upon Israel, or to retaliate for injuries inflicted upon themselves, is denied. They are the persons on whom the retaliation shall come, and that swiftly. Joel 3:5, 6 prove the righteousness of the retribution, by a reference to the crimes committed, while Joel 3:7, 8 declare the certainty of it. Joel 3:5 alludes, without doubt, to the pillaging of Judah and Jerusalem by the Philistines and Arabians under Joram. 2 Chron. 21:17. They then carried off the treasures of the temple and the palaces of the city, the latter being designated as “Mine,” because they belonged to those who were among God’s people. The Philistines were the immediate perpetrators of the robbery, but the Phœnicians, the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, were also involved in the guilt of it, for they bought the captives and sold them to the sons of Javan, or the Greeks of Asia Minor. In Joel 3:7, 8, there is a promise that these enslaved captives shall be brought home again, and that, in retaliation, the same thing shall be done to these enemies of Israel, which they have done to Israel. Jehovah will sell them into the hands of the children of Judah, who will again sell them to the Sabæans in Arabia Felix. This prophecy was fulfilled by Alexander the Great and his successors, under whom many Jewish captives were liberated and restored to their own land, while various parts of Philistia and Phœnicia were brought under Jewish rule.
[Pusey: Joel 3:4. What have, ye to do with me. These words declare that those nations had no part in God. He accounts them as aliens. But the words convey besides, that they would, unprovoked, have to do with God, harassing his people without cause.
Joel 3:5. My silver. Not the silver and gold of the temple, as some have thought. At least, up to the Prophet’s time they had not done this. God calls the silver and the gold, which He through his providence had bestowed on Judah, my silver and my gold.
Joel 3:6. And ye have sold, etc. This sin of the Tyrians was probably old and inveterate. As they were the great carriers of the world’s traffic, so they were slave-dealers, and in the earliest times, men-stealers. The Greek ante-historic tradition exhibits them as trading and selling women from both Greece and Egypt. As their trade became more fixed, they themselves stole no more, but like Christian nations, sold those whom others stole or made captive. Even from the times of the Judges, Israel was exposed in part to the violence and fraud of Tyre and Sidon. Sisera’s army came, from their territory, and Deborah speaks of “a damsel or two” as the expected prey of each man in his host. In Joel, the Philistines and Tyrians appear as combined in the traffic. In Amos, the Philistines are the robbers of men, the Phœnicians are the receivers and the sellers. Probably such acts were expressly prohibited by the “brotherly covenant,” or treaty between Solomon and Hiram, king of Tyre. For Amos says that Tyre forgot that treaty, when she sold wholesale the captive Israelites whom the Philistines had carried off. The temptation to Tyrian covetousness was aggravated by the ease with which they could possess themselves of the Jews, the facility of transport, and, as it seems, their value. The wholesale price at which Nicanor set the Jews his expected prisoners, and at which he hoped to sell 180,000, shows the extent of the traffic; and their relative value, £2 14s. 9d., as the average price of each of ninety slaves in Judæa, implies a retail price at the place of sale above the then ordinary price of man.
Joel 3:8. I will sell your sons—the Sabæans. Tyre was taken by Alexander, who sold 13,000 of the inhabitants into slavery. Sidon was taken by Artaxerxes Ochus, and it is said above 40,000 perished. The Sabæans are probably mentioned as being the remotest nation in the opposite direction, a nation, probably, the partner of Tyre’s traffic in men as well as in their other merchandise, and who would as soon trade in Tyrians, as with Tyrians. They were, like the Phœnicians, a wealthy merchant people, and, of old, united with them in the trade of the world, the Sabæans sending forth their fleets across the Indian Ocean, as the Tyrians along the Mediterranean Sea. Three fathers of distinct races bore the name of Sheba, one a descendant of Ham, the other two descended from Shem. The Shemite Sabæans were, some descendants from Sheba the tenth son of Joktan; the others from Sheba, son of Abraham and Keturah. The Sheba of the prophet appears to have been the wealthy Sheba (descended from Joktan) near the Red Sea. They too had distant colonies whither the Tyrians could be transported, as far from Phoenicia as the shores of the Ægean are from Palestine.
Wünsche: Tyre, lit,, Rock. Though Tyre was historically a younger city than Sidon, from its rapid growth and great importance as a commercial centre, it is usually mentioned first when the two cities are named together. There were two Tyres, namely, the Old, built on the main land, and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar after a siege of thirteen years, and the New, built on a rocky island about a mile from the shore. Sidon comes from עוּד, to fish. Its founders were probably fishermen.—Desirable things—Your temples. If by the first phrase the prophet means the rich adornments of God’s temple, and by the latter the heathen temples, the crime here charged is the double one of spoliation and profanation.—Javan. Credner regards this as the name of a city in Arabia Felix. Hitzig places it in Jemen, and thinks it to be the same as the one mentioned Ezek. 27:19. Schröder takes the word in the sense of distant; unknown nations. But it is undoubtedly the name of the Greeks of Asia Minor.—F.]
Joel 3:9, 10. Proclaim this. The prophet has already spoken of the gathering of the nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat, where Jehovah will plead with them. We have heard the accusation and the sentence; and now comes the swift execution of it. Proclaim this. What? If it be Prepare (sanctify) war, and this is to be proclaimed to the heathen, those charged to bear the message should be the heralds of the heathen. But the contents of the message show that it is directed not to the heathen but to Israel. No one shall remain behind, nor feel himself weak, nor withdraw from the holy contest, which is to bring “decision.” It must be considered, then, as a summons to Israel. The battle described is no common one. It is a battle, in which Jehovah Himself shall be present as a judge deciding the fate of the heathen, and helping Israel to win a glorious victory over them. The summoner is Jehovah Himself, or the prophet speaking in his name, who, in his vivid description of the contest, feels himself to be present at it. Proclaim this must, then refer to what was said before, namely: that Jehovah will recompense the heathen for their crimes against Israel, and that Israel shall be fully avenged. For the counterpart of the proposed change of the implements of peace into the instruments of war, see Is. 2:4; Mic. 4:3.
[Wünsche: Proclaim, lit., sanctify. The use of this word shows that this great and decisive war is a holy and a righteous one. Credner, Hitzig, Keil, and others regard this as addressed not to the Jews, but to the heathen nations, i. e., to their heralds who are, at the bidding of Jehovah, to summon these nations to a war against Israel. But on this supposition the use of the word “sanctify” is inexplicable.—F.]
Joel 3:11–16. Hasten and come. Now the nations are summoned to collect speedily, as if they were about to accomplish something against Israel, while really they are rushing to their own destruction. Round about. The reference is not to the immediate neighbors of Israel, but the expression is used because God’s people is regarded as holding a central position among the nations. The prophet, however, cannot think of the assemblage of the nations without offering a prayer to Jehovah that He would cause his mighty ones to come down, where the gathering occurs, in the valley of Jehoshaphat. Thy mighty ones. According to Keil they are the angels as heavenly hosts. But if in Joel 3:9 they are men (Keil refers that version to the heathen), they must also be men here. The idea of the angels coming from heaven to help is not Joel’s. It is Israel who fights, under the command of Jehovah (comp. Judges 5:13). Thy affords no proof against this exposition, since Israel is God’s people, and Israel’s mighty ones are God’s.
Joel 3:12. Here Jehovah himself speaks, and the whole verses may, therefore, be regarded as a kind of answer to the prophet’s prayer. Jehovah summons the nations to awake and to come up (עַלָה here means to ascend) to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For though the gathering place is a valley, and Israel’s mighty ones go down into it from Zion, yet the heathen come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, because, being near to Jerusalem, it is on a higher elevation than the territories (e. g., Philistia) of the neighboring nations. The reason why they are to come up to this valley is found in the meaning of the name Jehoshaphat = “Jehovah sits there to judge.” He does not engage directly in the contest; He does not lead the army, but He sits on a throne to judge,—to pronounce the sentence, and to execute it by means of his mighty ones. At the same time he renders essential aid by those terrible phenomena of nature spoken of (Joel 3:15, 16), which mark the contest as “the day of the Lord,” the result of which is the utter destruction of these enemies. How Jehovah will execute the sentence pronounced by Him as Judge, is explained in Joel 3:13, for the exhortation here addressed to the “mighty ones,” while the two armies front each other in battle array, is given by Jehovah. This is evident from the fact that the battle is to be the execution of a deserved sentence. Hence the attack and the fight are no more spoken of, but the result simply, represented by the figure of cutting down ripe corn. Of a threshing and winnowing of the corn thus cut down, as Keil suggests, there is no hint; for with these enemies of Jehovah there could be no separating the wheat and the chaff. The only point in the figure on which attention is fixed, is the “cutting down” what had been before standing. Then comes a new and stronger simile to represent the destruction of these enemies. They shall not only be “cut off,” but “crushed,” or trodden like grapes in the winepress. The overflowing “fullness of the vats” is significant (Keil denies it). It represents the general blood-shedding which shall be proportioned to the “greatness of their wickedness.” The execution itself is not formally described, but it is plainly enough indicated in Joel 3:14. Multitudes, or as some render it “tumult.” The “mighty ones” are now to engage in their bloody work, amid the uproar of battle. The noise expressed or implied is not, as Keil supposes, that of nations rushing together, for they are already assembled, and now, the moment is one of judgment, or “decision.” The valley is the valley of Jehoshaphat, the “valley of decision,” the phrase being immediately followed by the words “for the day of the Lord is come.” This shows that what had been commanded (Joel 3:13) is now being accomplished, and that the contest involves the judgment and destruction of these enemies. This catastrophe is the “day of the Lord,” which is attended by those awful phenomena described (Joel 3:15, 16), by which Jehovah displays his omnipotence, and really determines the issue of the battle. The “darkness,” before noticed as a presage of “the day,” now introduces it. “Thunder” = an immediate display of God’s power. “Giving forth his voice,” lit., “roaring,” i. e., of the lion in pursuit of prey, denotes God’s design to punish and destroy. Of course Joel has in his mind not an ordinary thunder-storm, but a far more terrible one. Israel had been previously threatened with a day of punishment marked by similar presages, in connection with the visitation of locusts, but it had passed away. Now, however, the storm overtakes and destroys the heathen, while Israel is not only protected by Jehovah from the judgments that overwhelm the enemies of God, but is introduced into new and far higher privileges than ever before were possessed.
[Wünsche: Joel 3:12. Sit to judge. This posture of the judge was common to the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. In Latin, sedere is often used in the sense of judicare (Liv. 3:46); so in Greek καθίζειν. The decision of a judge made by him standing, was generally deemed to have no legal force. All nations. The “all” is limited by “round about.” Hengstenberg, Keil, and others understand by it all the nations who have become in any way related to the kingdom of God, i. e., all the nations of the earth, as before the final judgment, the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world. Credner supposes that the meaning of the double image used in Joel 3:13 is, that as songs of gladness, dancing, and other signs of joy mark the harvest and vintage, so the Jews will find the highest enjoyment in the day of judgment of their enemies. But there is no ground for supposing that the covenant people will have any such feelings.
Pusey: Joel 3:13. In itself, the harvest as well as the vintage, might describe the end of this world as to both the good and the bad, in that the wheat is severed from the chaff and the tares, and the treading of the wine-press separates the wine which is stored up from the husks which are cast away. Yet nothing is said here of storing up aught, either the wheat or the wine, but only of the ripeness of the harvest, and that the vats overflow because their wickedness is great. The harvest is sometimes, though more rarely, used for destruction; the treading of the wine-press is always used as an image of God’s anger; the vintage, of destruction. It seems probable then, that the ripeness of the harvest and the fullness of the vats are alike used of the ripeness for destruction.
Joel 3:14. The prophet continues, as in amazement at the great throng assembling upon one another, multitudes, multitudes, as though, whichever way he looked, there were yet more of these tumultuous masses. It was one living, surging, boiling sea; throngs upon throngs, mere throngs. The word rendered multitudes suggests, besides, the thought of the hum and din of these masses, thronging, onward blindly, to their own destruction.—F.]
Joel 3:17–21. And ye shall know. Jehovah, by his judgment of Israel’s enemies, proves Himself to be Israel’s God; and from Zion, his dwelling place, all strangers and unclean ones are banished. This is the immediate gain to Israel, but other benefits are consequent upon it (comp. Rev. 21:27). A time of extraordinary prosperity follows.
Joel 3:18. Wine and milk flow in richest abundance. The mountains and the hills, i. e., the naturally sterile districts, become very fruitful, and as this result depends on the supply of water, the brooks shall not become dry. Vale of Shittim, or Valley of Acacias, now quite dry,—for in such a soil the acacia grows,—shall be watered by a fountain flowing from the house of the Lord, and shall become fruitful. This description, of course, is not to be taken in its merely literal sense. As the blessedness originates with Jehovah, the fertilizing stream is represented as coming from the Temple, the dwelling-place of God. What a contrast between the state of things here depicted, and the condition of the land after its devastation by the locusts!
Joel 3:19. To render Israel’s blessed condition the more conspicuous, the picture of the desolated heathendom is placed beside it. Egypt and Edom are specially mentioned on account of their violence against Judah’s sons, namely, shedding their blood. It is uncertain, what precise instances of this are referred to. Egypt’s sins were probably those of the olden time (Ex. 5:16). For that of Edom, see Amos 1:11; Ob. 10. They, however, like the Phœnicians and Philistines in another place, are here taken as representatives of the enemies of Israel. (Comp. in ref. to Edom Is. 34:13; Jer. 49:7; Ezek. 3:5.)
Joel 3:20. Wholly different shall be the condition of Israel. Judah and Jerusalem shall dwell forever, i. e., they shall be inhabited.
Joel 3:21. While Israel is thus blessed, it will be proved that the wrong committed against him has been fully avenged, or as some take the word, annulled, i. e., by having been punished; and the all-embracing assurance is repeated, Jehovah shall dwell in Zion.
[Pusey : Joel 3:18. A fountain shall come forth out of the house of the Lord. The existence of a large supply of water under the Temple is beyond all question. While the Temple was still standing, mention is made of an ever-flowing fountain under it, as well as pools and cisterns for preserving rain-water. One well acquainted with the localities says, “The pavements had slopes for the sake of a flush of water in order to cleanse away the blood from the victims. For on festival occasions many thousands of animals were slain. But of water there was an unfailing supply, a copious and natural fountain within gushing over; and there being moreover wonderful underground receptacles, in the substructure of the temple, and each of these having numerous pipes, the several streams inter-communicating.” The same writer relates that, more than half a mile from the city, he was told to stoop down, and heard the sound of gushing waters underground. The natural fountain, then, beneath the Temple, was doubtless augmented by waters brought from a distance, as required by the “diverse washings” of the priests, and to carry off the blood of the victims. Whence-soever this water was supplied, it furnished Jerusalem with an abundant supply of water. The superfluous water was carried off underground to what is now “the fountain of the Virgin,” and thence again to the “pool of Siloam.” Thence it carried fertility to the gardens of Siloam. The blood of the victims flowed into the same brook, Kedron, and was a known source of fertility. That little oasis of verdure was a fit emblem of the Jewish people, itself bedewed by the stream which issued from the temple of God. But it made no sensible impression out of or beyond itself. Hereafter the stream, whose streamlets “made glad the city of God,” should make the wildest, driest spots of our humanity “like the garden of the Lord.” Valley of Shittim, or acacia-trees, is a dry valley, for in such the eastern acacia or sandal-wood grows. This wood is very strong and of incredible lightness and beauty. of it the ark of God was made.
Joel 3:19. Egypt a desolation. Brief as Joel’s words are, they express an abiding condition of Egypt. They are expanded by Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah. But the three words of Joel are more comprehensive than any prophecy, except those of Ezekiel. They foretell that abiding condition, not only by the force of the words, but by the contrast with an abiding condition of bliss. The words say, not only that it shall “be desolated” as by a passing scourge, but it “shall pass over into that state;” it shall become what it had not been, and this, in contrast with the abiding condition of God’s people. Yet when Joel threatened Egypt, there were no human symptoms of decay; the instruments of its successive overthrows were as yet wild hordes, or had not the beginnings of being. Egypt would not become barren except by miracle. Even now it recovers whenever water is applied. Nothing could desolate Egypt except man’s abiding negligence or oppression. No passing storm could annihilate a fertility which poured in upon it in ever-renewing richness. Egypt is alike prolific in its people, and in the productions of the earth. Yet with these powers implanted in nature unimpaired, the population is diminished, the land half desert. Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, and Turks, have tried their hands on Egypt. Strange that selfishness or powerlessness for good should have rested upon all; strange that no one should have developed its inherent powers. One long prosperity, and one long adversity. One scarcely broken day, and one troubled night. And that doom foretold in the mid-day of its prosperity by these three words, Egypt shall be a desolation—Edom a desolate wilderness. Its ancient capital, and its rock-dwellings long unknown, have been within the last forty years, again revealed to us. The land is almost the more hopelessly desolate, because it was once artificially cultivated. Edom was the centre of the intercourse of nations. The hill-sides, and mountains, once covered with earth and clothed with vineyards, are now bare rocks. Yet the traces of former fertility are innumerable: every spot capable of sustaining vegetable life was carefully watered and cultivated. The ancient inhabitants seem to have left no accessible place untouched. They have exhibited equal art and industry in eliciting from the grand walls of their marvelous capital, whatever the combination of climate, irrigation, and botanical skill could foster in the scanty soil afforded them. The desolation began soon after the captivity of Judah, and Edom’s malicious joy in it. In Joel’s time, not the slightest shadow was cast on her future. No human eye could tell that she would be finally desolate. But God said by Joel, “Edom shall be a desolate wilderness,” and so it is!
Joel 3:21. I will cleanse her blood. The word rendered cleansed, is not used for natural cleansing, nor is the image taken from the cleansing of the body. The word signifies only to pronounce innocent, or to free from guilt. Nor is blood used of sinfulness generally, but only of the actual guilt of shedding blood. The whole then cannot be an image taken from the cleansing of physical defilement, like the words of Ezek. 16:9, “then washed I thee with water,” etc. Nor, again, can it mean the forgiveness of sins generally, but only the pronouncing innocent the blood which had been shed. This the only meaning of the words, falls in with the mention of innocent blood, for shedding which, Egypt and Edom had been condemned. In punishing the shedding of it, God declared the blood innocent, whose shedding He punished.—F.]
1. Three topics are discussed in this chapter: the enmity of the “nations” against Israel; the punishment of the nations; and the new happiness of Israel.
(1.) The enmity of the nations against Israel. How does the prophet regard this? Is the hostility only accidental, exhibiting itself simply in some particular acts? Or has it a deeper ground, namely, in the antagonism of the nations as heathen against Israel as God’s people, or the antagonism between idolatry and the worship of the true God? The mere words of the prophet would not lead us to suppose that he regarded it in the latter light. He speaks only of acts of pillage, carrying away captives, shedding of blood. Nor must we interpret Joel 3:5 as if the acts described were directed against the Temple as such; nor are they the necessary and exclusive offspring of heathenism. But we may and must say that these acts of injury appeared to be the outgrowth of the religious antagonism between the Gentiles and Israel. The people of Israel were God’s people, and enmity against the former was in fact enmity against God’s people, and God himself. That the prophet so regards it, Joel 3:4, 5 plainly show. This hostility of the Gentiles or nations, though in one sense accidental, really reflects an inward and profound hatred. Hence the general expression, “all ye heathen, or Gentile,” although, in point of fact, Israel had been injured only by some of them. Thus Israel stands on one side, and all the heathen or Gentiles on the other, in the attitude of antagonists. What one of the latter does, they may be all expected to do, and so may be held responsible for it, inasmuch as they constitute one whole. Therefore, if Israel is to be helped, the judgment must fall on the whole heathen world. Finally, the prophet nowhere intimates that the Gentiles should be employed as God’s instruments in punishing Israel for his guilt. The Gentiles alone appear as the guilty ones.
(2.) The punishment of the nations was a certain and necessary result of Israel’s position as God’s people. They had scattered them; they had parted their land; they had taken their silver and gold; in a word, they had thus taken God’s property, and He could not allow this to go unpunished. He must stand up for his people and destroy their enemies. Though Israel is the agent in inflicting, yet the punishment comes really from the divine hand. Jehovah assembles the nations, and, in the contest between them and his people, gives, by his immediate help, the victory to the latter. This punishment involves the destruction of these enemies. The menaces relating to this point may seem unduly severe; but it is to be observed that the guilt of these nations is very aggravated, going far beyond the ordinary measure of enmity and crime, and therefore, according to the jus talionis, the retribution should be proportionate. Credner’s idea that Joel here abandons himself to the feelings of unbridled revenge, is wholly groundless. Meier justly remarks against this notion, that no prophet ever describes these bloody conflicts as simply growing out of human revenge; they ever regard them as signs of that Higher Power which strikes with destruction everything ungodly. And while the later prophets do not speak of bloody phenomena such as are here described, they yet plainly intimate, that before the consummation of the Messianic age, a catastrophe involving such scenes must come, as a transition epoch, in which everything unholy, as well in Israel as in the heathen world, will be destroyed. The grand object on which all depends, and which faith accepts as certain, is the complete subjugation of God’s enemies, and the complete triumph of his people. The pencil that paints this picture is, indeed, dipped in strong colors, corresponding to the energy of the divine powers which shall realize it. The idea set forth is the essential thing; the expression of it is, of course, modified by the prophet’s historical relations, and the character of the times in which he lived.
(3.) Israel’s new felicity. Amid the extraordinary manifestations of divine wrath connected with the destruction of the wicked, Israel is protected and realizes anew that Jehovah is his God. His land shall no more be seized by a stranger, and its remarkable fertility will be a proof that Jehovah is dwelling in the midst of it. The latter is the main thing in the promise, the productiveness of the land being simply an evidence of it. Of this the fountain issuing forth from the house of the Lord is a symbol and a pledge. Here the promise goes beyond what is merely physically possible, as do also some features of the judgment of the heathen; from which it is plain that the prophet’s mind was fixed, not so much on the literal fulfillment of the prediction, as upon the general truth, that Jehovah will, in a manner eminent and unequivocal, own Israel as his people, by bestowing on him the richest blessings.
2. If now we inquire into the fulfillment of this prophecy, objectively considered, we shall quickly discover, that things took at first quite a different shape from that which Joel seems to have supposed they would. He sees in the heathen only the enemies of God’s people who are to be punished, and he announces their certain punishment on account of their many acts of violence against Israel. The later prophets, on the other hand, charge God’s own people with their sins, and predict judgments, which God will employ the heathen as his instruments to inflict, and which, we know, in later times they did. But there is no evidence, i. e., from his prophecy, that Joel was acquainted with this fact of the future. It is wholly unwarrantable to interpret his words (Joel 3:1), as if he had foreseen and foretold what later prophets announced, namely, the Exile, and the dispersion by the Romans, without giving the reason for either of these events. He does not think it possible—so far as his prophecy shows—that a divine judgment should be inflicted upon Israel. Both the internal (i. e., the guiltiness of Israel and Judah) and the external antecedent conditions of such a judgment are wanting. He knows nothing of those secular powers which brought on the exile, or at least, he does not know them as powers with whom Israel is to come into conflict. It is a false view of the nature of prophecy to suppose that events of the most distant future were revealed with equal clearness to the prophets whose experience, in a sort of intermediate way, corresponded with, or contradicted that future. According to the later prophets the glorious state of Israel is reached, after his having passed through an intermediate condition of humiliation. Joel knows nothing of such an intermediate condition. He represents the felicity of Israel as resulting not simply from the truthfulness of God, who will not utterly abandon even his unfaithful people, while He punishes them, but as a thing which they might at any time secure by penitential confession of sins, and calling upon the Lord. But there is an essential harmony between Joel and the later prophets. How then were their predictions fulfilled? The menaces against the heathen nations mentioned have been remarkably accomplished by actual historical events, particularly by Alexander the Great and his successors. But we must look for a larger and fuller accomplishment of the prophecies of Joel. It is evident that he had in his mind a grand consummation, since he connects it with the general outpouring of the Spirit and the announcement of the day of the Lord. He sees the heathen world utterly overwhelmed, while Israel enters into and holds the position of God’s people. The period of conflict is passed, and that of victory and peace has come.
Now as regards the fulfillment of these prophecies, we might repeat the remarks already made respecting the later ones of Hosea. For Israel as a nation that glorious time had not yet come; nor was there any ground for the immediate expectation of it. The tenor of the prophecy would seem to indicate that it applied exclusively to Israel, because in Joel’s time, Israel alone was God’s people. But this view, which makes God’s people and Israel as a nation identical, though sanctioned in a certain sense by the Old Covenant, has been clearly set aside by the New Covenant. While then the Jewish nation, as such, has no ground for expecting, as the Chiliasts maintain, this promised felicity, it is nevertheless certain that the promise is valid for the people of God as typified by Israel. Its fulfillment is to be looked for in a far different and more glorious way than the prophet, from his stand-point, anticipated. [Whether the so-called Chiliastic theory of the future of the Jews be true or not, there is no necessary antagonism between it and the admission, under the New Covenant, of the Gentiles to the spiritual privileges of God’s people. The Jews still exist as a distinct people. And Paul certainly seems to intimate (Rom. 11:25) that there is yet a glorious future for Israel, which shall be realized when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”—F.] The new Israel lives in the hope of a general outpouring of the Spirit, which was begun at Pentecost, and has been continued ever since,—of a final, complete deliverance, and a glorious victory over all its enemies; in a word, of a felicity and salvation which shall be a proof of God’s immediate presence in the midst of it. Whether Joel foresaw all this, i. e., understood the full meaning of his own prediction, may be doubted; but, in the sense already explained, we can appropriate it to ourselves, as Keil remarks: “The people and heritage of the Lord is not only the Old Testament Israel as such, but the Church of God, embracing those who lived under the New as well as the Old Covenant. On it his Spirit is poured out. Jehovah’s judgment of the nations for injuries done to his people is not simply the judgment of such of them, e. g., the Romans and others, that have maltreated the Jews, but the final, general judgment of all nations, of all the enemies of the Church of God. It is this fundamental truth, this glorious hope made sure by almost the oldest of the prophets, which the people of God, from the beginning, have lifted up as a standard. And hence we see in all the victories which God has granted to his people, and in all the judgments inflicted upon the heathen neighbors and enemies of Israel, a fulfillment of this promise, which again finds, as by a thousandfold refraction, a still more particular fulfillment in all the special deliverances of his children, and in all their experiences of his protection. So Luther is not wrong in regarding the rich blessings promised to Judah as identical with those revealed in the Gospel, and through it bestowed upon the Christian Church. As God’s heritage, Zion experienced from the first, and continues to experience, the blessed presence and the grace of God. Still, the final, and complete fulfillment will only come with the consummation of the kingdom of the Parousia, or Second Advent of the Lord.
Joel 3:1. When I shall bring again. God hath set bounds to everything, especially to the sufferings of his people. He determines their beginning, and how long they shall endure. Rejoice, ye faithful, the Lord shall bring again your captivity. He will deliver you from all evil, and help you to reach his heavenly kingdom.
[HENRY: Though the bondage of God’s people may he grievous and very long, yet it shall not be everlasting. There is a day, there is a time, fixed for the bringing again of the captivity of God’s children, for the redeeming them from the power of the grave.—F.]
Joel 3:2. I will gather all nations. Though wicked men say that the Lord does not see them, they shall learn by experience that He does, in the time when He shall judge them. Ye proud Gentiles, who cease not to afflict the little flock of the faithful, know that a day of judgment is coming, when the Lord will avenge the blood of his servants.—Whom they have scattered. Those who are unjustly exiled should leave vengeance in the hands of God the righteous judge. Mark that all divine punishment, and even the final judgment of the wicked is for the sake of the godly. Behold how God takes care of his people! Therefore, be of good courage ! Dost thou belong to God’s people? Then He will take care of thee, though He may seem to delay doing so. God’s honor will not permit his people to perish, and their enemies to triumph, for their enemies are his enemies.
[PUSEY: Will plead with them. God maketh Himself in such wise a party, as not to condemn those unconvicted, yet the pleading has a separate awfulness of its own. God impleads, so as to allow Himself to be impleaded and answered; but there is no answer. He will set forth what He had done, and how we have requited Him. And we are without excuse. Our memories witness against us; our knowledge acknowledges his justice; our conscience convicts us; all unite in pronouncing ourselves ungrateful, and God holy and just. For a sinner to see himself is to condemn himself, and in the day of judgment God will bring before each sinner his whole self.—F.]
Joel 3:3–5. They have cast lots. In a time of war terrible crimes are very common, but in due season God will punish them.—What have ye to do with me. The true Church is the heavenly Father’s daughter, and Christ’s beloved spouse. Therefore he who persecutes it, is persecuting God and Christ. How great the foolishness of sinners who want to plead with and defy God! O, how certainly will their defiance of Him be visited on their own head. Therefore be humble, and confess thy misdeeds, if thou wouldst escape divine punishment.
[PUSEY: Will ye tender me a recompense. Men never want pleas for themselves. Men forget their own wrong-doings, and remember their sufferings. Men, when they submit not to God chastening them, hate Him.
HENRY: My silver. Those who take away the estates of good men for well-doing, will be found guilty of sacrilege; they take God’s silver and gold. It is no new thing for those who have been very civil to their neighbors, to find them very unkind and unneighborly, and for those who do no injuries to suffer many.—F.]
Joel 3:1–7. The raging of the nations and their rulers is an indication of that fleshly mind which is always opposed to the kingdom of God. So long as the hope of that kingdom was confined to Israel, the hatred of the heathen was spent on Israel. When that kingdom was taken from Israel, and given to the “little flock,” which “brought forth the fruit of it,” that hatred was simply transferred. The world ever has sought and still seeks to divide the heritage of the Lord, and to bring to shame those who trust in his word of promise. But when God regathers his scattered people Israel, and reestablishes down-trodden Jerusalem, He will also deliver the rest of his elect, and fully recompense them for the sufferings which the world has inflicted on them.
Joel 3:9. Prepare war. Peace must end when we are called on to combat the enemies of God. Then, all must take up arms. “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Through conflict to victory ! through war to peace!
Joel 3:10. [PUSEY: Ploughshares into swords. Peace within with God flows forth in peace with man. Where there is not rest in God, all is unrest. And so, all which was needful for life, the means of subsistence, care of health, were to be forgotten for war.—F.]
Joel 3:11, 12. Hasten and come. Behold how the Lord holds the godless persecutors of his Church in derision! Let them do what they like, his vengeance shall finally overtake them. If God be for us, who can be against us? The Lord sits as ruler, and is ever judging nations and individuals. No one can escape his judgment. He may long seem to be silent, but ever and anon He comes forth with his judgments now, the harbingers of the final and decisive one.
[HENRY: Thy mighty ones. When God’s cause is to be pleaded, either by the law or by the sword, He has those ready who will plead it effectually; witnesses ready to appear for Him in the court of judgment, soldiers ready to appear for Him in the field of battle.—F.]
Joel 3:13. For their wickedness is great. When the measure of men’s sins is full, then execution comes. The judgments of God are then no longer delayed.
Joel 3:14–16. The day of the Lord is near. Tremble ye godless, for the day is near when the Lord will judge you! Behold, the lion is already roaring out of Zion announcing your punishment. Should not that voice, which shall one day be heard by the whole earth, arouse you to repentance? To the wicked, God is a roaring lion, but to the godly a strong fortress.
As God always cared for and defended his peculiar people against the rage of their enemies, so Christ, now protects his peculiar people, Christians, against the violence of their foes. He may allow them, for a time, to be persecuted, to try and perfect their faith by “manifold temptations,” but, in the end, He will destroy their enemies. Examples of this have occurred in past ages; but a greater ruin awaits them. When the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, He will gather all his enemies into the valley of Jehoshaphat; He will bring them before his tribunal, and plead with them for his heritage and people, and will return upon their own heads all the evils they have inflicted upon the true Christendom.
[HENRY: The Lord shall roar. The judgment of the great day shall make the ears of those to tingle who continue the implacable enemies of God. As blessings out of Zion are the sweetest blessings, and enough to make heaven and earth sing, so terrors out of Zion are the sorest terrors, and enough to make heaven and earth shake.—The saints are the Israel of God; now in the great day (1) Their longings shall be satisfied. The Lord will be the Hope of his people. As He always was the Founder and Foundation of their hopes, so He will then be the Crown of their hopes. They shall arrive at the desired haven; shall put to shore after a stormy voyage; they shall go to be forever at home with God. (2) Their happiness shall be confirmed. God will be in that day the Strength of the children of Israel, enabling them to welcome that day, and to bear up under the weight of its glories and joys.—F.]
Joel 3:17. Ye shall know. So long as believers are here below, sighing under the burden of sin, and not seeing the means of deliverance, they are apt to think that God has abandoned them.
[HENRY: The knowledge which true believers have of God is (1) An appropriating knowledge; they know that He is the Lord their God, yet not theirs only, but theirs in common with the whole Church. (2) An experimental knowledge. They shall find Him their Hope and Strength, in the worst of times. Those know best the goodness of God, who have tasted and seen it.
PUSEY: God Himself joins on his own words to those of the prophet. Ye shall know by experience, by sight, face to face, what ye now believe, that I am the Lord your God. Your God, your own, as much as if possessed by none besides, filling all with gladness, yet fully possessed by each.—F.]
Joel 3:18. In that day. Glorious are the promises to the Church of the New Covenant, but they will be completely fulfilled only in a blessed eternity. In this world God feeds us, comforts us with his Word and sacraments, consoles us with manifold blessings in Christ, but in the future world, this grace will be far more superabundant.—By the mountains are meant the kingdoms of this world, which shall flow with the wine and milk of Christian doctrine, by which a rich measure of spiritual gifts shall be imparted to men. For the Gospel is very finely compared to wine as well as milk; to wine, since it is administered to the adult to gladden his heart, and confirm his faith, hope, and love; to milk, as it is also administered to children in Christ, who, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word. As wine comforts and strengthens man’s heart, so the Word of God preserves and increases faith, and imparts consolation under sufferings. The law does the opposite, holy and just though it be. It accuses them, and threatens death; it makes them faint-hearted and despondent. But the Gospel banishes fear, by revealing a Mediator, the Son of God, and filling the soul with an assurance of the mercy of God. By rivers flowing with, water, the prophet means the wonderful spread of the Gospel, and the rich fruit it will produce. As dry places are barren, and well watered ones fertile, so where the Gospel resounds, the richest and ripest fruits are produced. The Holy Spirit goes with it, imparting his own divine gifts.
[PUSEY: As the fountain gushes forth from the hill or mountain side in one ceaseless flow, day and night, streaming out from the recesses to which the waters are supplied by God from his treasure-house of the rain, so day by day, in sorrow or in joy, in prosperity or adversity, God pours out in the Church, and in the souls of his elect, the riches of his grace. The love of God shall stream through every heart; each shall be full according to its capacity, and none the less full, because a larger tide pours through others. All the powers, capacities, senses, speech of the saints who confess God shall flow with a perennial stream of joy, thanksgiving, and jubilee, as of all pleasure and bliss.—F]
Joel 3:19. Shed innocent blood. How highly does the Lord esteem the death, the blood of the faithful!
[HENRY: The innocent blood of God’s people is very precious to Him, and not a drop shall be shed, but it shall be reckoned for.—F.]
Joel 3:20, 21. Judah shall dwell forever. The Church of the New Covenant is imperishable, for it shall be transplanted from time into eternity. Blessed Zion ! in which the Lord dwells with his Word, and the gifts of his Spirit, and which He quickens by his converting and sanctifying power. Let us make here for ourselves tabernacles, and serve this great King of hearts in the obedience of faith, so that we may at last be transferred to the heavenly Jerusalem. O, the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! Of the riches of grace, since God, in spite of the unbelief and disobedience of his people, has not forgotten them, nor abrogated his covenant. Of the wisdom, which turns so many hindrances into the means of helping forward his own purposes. Of the knowledge which has foreseen and with absolute certainty has predicted all these things. Learn from Israel, the courageous trust thou mayest have in the mercy of God, even though thou shouldst lie beneath his heavy hand, as long as Jerusalem has lain in her ruins. Learn that the wisdom of God can never fail, nor be at fault, and yield thyself in all circumstances to his wise guidance. When something happens to thee unexpectedly, and destroys some hope which you may have fondly cherished, call to mind and consider the truth, that “known unto God are all his works from the foundation of the world.”
[HENRY: It is promised that the Church shall be very happy. Three things are here promised it.
1. Purity. That is put last here as a reason for the rest (Joel 3:21). But we may consider it first as the ground and foundation of the rest. I will cleanse, etc.
2. Plenty (Joel 3:18). That is put first because it speaks the reverse of the judgment threatened in the foregoing chapters. The streams of this plenty overflow and enrich the land.
3. Perpetuity. This crowns all the rest. As one generation of professing Christians passes away, another shall come, in whom the throne of Christ shall endure forever.
ROBINSON: The last days are at hand, when the wicked shall be driven away in their wickedness, and a fiery deluge of wrath shall overwhelm the earth, but they who love the Lord shall be removed, as Lot, to a mountain of safety, and like Noah, be hidden in an ark of salvation, until the desolation and the tyranny be overpassed. Wherefore, dear Christian brethren, lift up your hearts, and long for his coming, for you shall be his in that day when He makes up his jewels.
Jesus, thy Church with longing eyes
For thy expected coming waits;
When will the promised light arise,
And glory gleam from Zion’s gates?
Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
To wait for the appointed hour;
And fit us by thy grace to share
The triumphs of thy conquering power.—F.]
PRAYER SUGGESTED BY THE WHOLE CHAPTER.—Great Saviour ! we thank Thee that Thou wilt one day judge the enemies of Thy Church, and wilt recompense their persecutions and abominations on their own heads. Grant that their further wicked designs may not injure Thy Zion. Arise and punish them; deliver Thy faithful ones, and be their refuge and fortress amid the judgments which shall overtake the world of the ungodly. Adorn Thy Zion with the rich gifts of Thy Spirit, that it may be holy before Thee, and ever overflow with spiritual blessings. Amen.
Joel 3:1.—Those days i. e., preëminently. In Heb. the personal and demonstrative pronouns sometimes take the article, thus rendering the expression all the stronger and more emphatic.
Joel 3:2.—וְנִשְׁפַּטִתִּי. For the construction see Josh. 4:2; 2 Chron. 22:8; Is. 3:14; Ezek. 38:22. In the latter place אֶת is used for עִם.
Joel 3:2.—וְנַחַלָתִי, my peculium. The word expresses more than עַמַי, my people. Israel is in apposition with both terms.
Joel 3:2.—The nations, i. e., the neighboring ones. See Joel 3:12.
Joel 3:3.—For wine. ב is here the ב of price, and according to the rule is placed after verbs of buying and selling.
Joel 3:4.—Borders, גְּלִילוֹת, lit., circles, referring to the five subdivisions of Philistia, namely, Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkalon, Gath, and Ekron.
Joel 3:4.—Would you retaliate. Wünsche renders the clause, “Wolht ihr ein Thun mir vergelten,” and adds that it is variously explained. The meaning depends on the sense attached to גָמַל. The ground sense of its radical syllable גַם is fullness, accumulation. The primary meaning of גָמַל is the same. It is used—(1) Intrans., to be full, or complete, specially of fruit, to be ripe. (2) Trans., to complete, to make full, i. e. : (a) To wean, or to take from milk (Gen. 21:8; 1 Sam 22:24; Is. 28:9. (b) To ripen with special reference to fruit. (c) To do something with the hands, i. e., to finish it. (d) To recompense what has been done by another, so that its end and aim is accomplished,—something done, in a moral sense, for which men are responsible. It is construed both with ל and על.
Joel 3:4.—Soon and swiftly. See Is. 5:26. Pocock takes both the words adverbially.
Joel 3:5.—Goodly desirable things. Newcome renders the phrase desirable and goodly. הַטֹובִים = not simply “good things,” but “good” in a pregnant sense, optima.
Joel 3:7.—I will raise. מִעִירָם. Hiph. of the intrans. עוּר, to be hot, hence to be watchful. One Kenn. MSS. has מֵעִידָם, I am calling, or will call them as witnesses.
Joel 3:10.—Mattocks. אִתֵּיכֶם. This was an instrument of husbandry having an edge that needed to be sharpened from time to time (1 Sam. 22:20). All the older versions render it “ploughshares,” which Tregelles favors.
Joel 3:11.—עוּשׁוּ, a ἄπαξ λεγ. perhaps used for חוּשׁ or אוּץ. The Sept. renders it συναθροίζεσθε. Vulg. erumpite; Gesen., Meier, and others, “hasten.” For the use of the וָ to show the close connection between the two imperatives, see Mic. 4:13. Kimchi, Ewald, Meier, and others take the following נִקְבָצוּ as an anom. Niphal imperative for הִקבֵצוּ.
Shall bring down, lit., “hath brought down.” What He will do is spoken of as done.
Joel 3:13.—מַגָּל, the sickle, from the root נָגַל; hence the dag fort.
Joel 3:16.—But Jehovah. ו is here clearly antithetic.
Joel 3:20.—תֵּשֵׁב is not to be understood in a passive sense, “habitari,” but actively, i.e. shall dwell in and possess the land.
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,