Joel 3

New International Version

[Hebrew text begins with, “For behold…”] “In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes [literally “return the returnings”] of Judah and Jerusalem,

3:2 I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat
[Yah (Yahweh) + šāpat (to judge) = the valley where the Lord judges; from the fourth century AD this valley has been identified with he valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives (the Kidron)]. There I will put them [the nations] on trial [based on God’s promise to Abraham in Gen. 12:3] for what they did to my inheritance [this is the reason for judgment], my people Israel [the kingdoms of Israel and Judah], because [notice three charges against the nations] [1] they scattered my people among the nations [this was done during the Assyrian Captivity and exile of 721 and the Babylonian Captivity and Exile of 597, 587, 582 BC] [2] and divided up my [the land belonged to God and not Israel, therefore those who took the land stole it from God] land.

3:3 [3] [slave trading…] They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes [possibly for the price of an hour with a prostitute]; they sold girls for wine to drink [for the price of a drink].

3:4 “Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon [located north of Israel] and all you regions of Philistia [located along the coastal plain]? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.

3:5 For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples.

3:6 You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks [this happened from 5th century BC on], that you might send them far from their homeland.

3:7 “See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done [evil often returns on the perpetrators of evil, a just punishment].

3:8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” The LORD has spoken.

3:9 Proclaim this among the nations [the evil nations are summoned to do battle with God]: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near [in battle readiness] and attack.

3:10 [farmers are also summoned to battle; contrast Isa. 2:4 and Mic. 4:3] Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears [every available weapon would be needed for battle]. Let the weakling [even the weak and those who are unfit are summoned to battle] say, “I am strong!”

3:11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors [angelic beings; cf. Zech. 14:5; Ps. 103;20], LORD!

3:12 “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat [Yah (Yahweh) + šāpat (to judge) = the valley where the Lord judges or the Valley of Judicial Decision], for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

3:13 Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness [the nations are ripe for judgment]!”

3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

3:15 The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

3:16 The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

3:17 “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.

3:18 [note the glorious future that awaits the people of God…] “In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water [wine, milk, water = a depiction of salvation; cf. Isa. 55:12-3]. A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias [aka the Valley of Shittim, a place where acacias grew in abundance in biblical times].

3:19 But Egypt [in spite of the Nile River] will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah [during the fall and exile to Babylon in 587 BC], in whose land they shed innocent blood.

3:20 Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. 

3:21 Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged? No, I will not.” The LORD dwells in Zion!

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