JOEL WITH COMMENTARY
 

  This commentary on  Joel is unique. It came from learning to understand  The Book of Job.
       No where else will you find these explanations of Joel.
This page is part of  biblesecrets.org  a site explaining The Book of Job
     which explains how the Book of Job is an allegory for Christ while he was on the cross.  

  Each chapter of commentary is followed by the same chapter without any commentary
  to show the Intelligent Design or Divine Design in the flow of the lines.
 
For an explanation of the flow or patterns in the lines, go to patterns.
Reformatting and commentary is done by Keith Hepworth
Copyright 2000  DSOTO--

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOEL

Joel's prophecies concern the Jews. Some might laugh at such a simple statement since Joel is found in the Old Testament, but Zola Levitt reports that at a lecture of his on the Old Testament a listener interrupted him and said, "Enough about the Jews, lets get back to the Bible." It seems that for some we can never be too simple. Things do get somewhat confusing, though, when the meanings of secular Israel, spiritual Israel, the Jews, and the lost tribes sometimes mean the same things and sometimes entirely different things. Today, when we speak of the Jews we can mean secular Israel and/or spiritual Israel. This prophecy is primarily about spiritual Israel, but because that includes the Jews too, it includes secular Israel as well. This prophecy is about their past (chapt. one), and their future (chapt. 2-3.) in these last days. When the Jews come to understand the metaphors and other symbolisms of this prophecy, they will be very near to its glorious fulfillment, even to be worthy of the presence of Jehovah (a City Celestial: 3:17,21). Previous commentaries on the book of Joel have mostly considered only the historical meanings, trying to discover such things as which years Israel had plagues of locusts as Joel describes. They argue about what is literal and what is allegorical without understanding enough to make any difference either way. They miss the main point that chapter one is a metaphorical review of the past, which serves as a type or shadow of Israel's future (chapters two and three). Chapters two and three describes the incoming army in terms of an army of locusts the same as chapter one did, but only in their numbers, in their being united in purpose, and in their diligent efforts to accomplish their goals, not in another total destruction. This "new" army is God's army and is bringing about changes that cause Israel to return to Jehovah in righteousness. Chapter two is all about gladness, repentance, restoration, and deliverance, not more punishment and death, not more of His face being turned away. They are asked to respond with repentance to the great light spreading over all the land. Part of that great light will surely be an understanding of the book of Joel.

This prophecy begins by describing how Israel (the vine) was destroyed by wave after wave of enemies, analogous to how hordes of locusts, one after another, could destroy the "branches of the vine." Their destruction (chapt. one) began when they forsook Jehovah and took up with false gods. It continues up to the present time. He then goes on to make the comparison of this army of locusts with another "army" that is to come-"In that day of the Lord" (2:1,11,21,31). This time it will be an army representing Him. His army (2:11) is also described like one would describe a swarm of locusts, but their power will result in Israel coming to a knowledge of Him (2:27). They come much like the enemies did before, in multitudes, but this time they only destroy the wicked; and not by death and slavery but through their sharing of the gospel truths. They are missionaries bringing the truth about Jesus Christ and His saving gospel. His swarming army will destroy the wicked by conversion to the truth. It is this second swarming army and the pivotal changes they bring to Israel, in God's behalf, that is Joel's main subject. These two similar but very different "invasions" were also foretold by Isaiah in his prophecies. He uses the imagery of great floods to represent the armies, instead of swarms of locusts. When you think about it, the two analogies are very similar. An army coming in like a flood is not very different from an army coming in like a horde of locusts. My explanation of Isaiah's floods can be found in  the introduction to Job or the Introduction to Isaiah on this web site

 

The Book of Joel

Chapters

  JOEL 1   JOEL 2   JOEL 3

1  The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.

This line tells that this prophecy is the words of the LORD, meaning Jehovah, as they were given to Joel

2  Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land.
   Hath this ever been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?

The Lord asks this as if it is meant to be a riddle, and the answer is, yes, because the last destruction is going to be a lot like the ones that went before, except for death and slavery, as we shall see on "the day of the Lord." This also suggests that the very wise, old men should recognize what is going to happen. Because this last "destruction" has yet to happen, this prophecy of Joel's could have been written today, as opposed to over 2000 years ago, without changing a word.

3  Tell ye your children of it, and your children their children,
   And their children yet even another generation.

Knowledge of the coming event is to be told and retold because it is faith building and gives them hope. The repeating nature of this coming event is revealed by types in the scriptures, and the news of it should be spread with great joy for all of Israel. This opening call to hear applies to Joel's overall message, not just the next few lines which is the pattern or prototype of the coming event. What has happened before is going to happen again, but in this case not exactly the same.

4  That which the palmerworm hath left, hath the locust eaten;
   And that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten;
   And that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.

This image of destruction by wave after wave of locusts describes how Israel was destroyed anciently. The image is well chosen since Israel was referred to as a vine so many times in the Old Testament. In this image nothing is left of the vine except for the root, which would be the "remnant" of Israel. Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Egypt and Rome have all taken their toll on Israel. Everything is destroyed, reminiscent of Israel's final destruction by Rome. all because of their turning away from the truth of God.

5  Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; howl, all ye drinkers of wine,
   Because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.

Wine is used often in the Old Testament to represent truth and wisdom from God. It is generally used to indicate even a higher level of truth than pure water from heaven, which is also truth (Jesus said I am the pure water). Israel had previously been drinkers of wine (truth) when they had living prophets among them, but they perverted those truths and killed the prophets and become drunken, i.e. stumbling and staggering in ignorance of the truth), when Jehovah hid his face from them. Jehovah calls them to awake and howl, because further light and truth will be denied to them for a long time.

6  For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number,
   Whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.

This most likely describes the last nation to sack Israel, Jerusalem in particular. The enemy is not only numberless but extremely powerful to destroy, like a powerful lion breaking the bones of its kill in its great grinding teeth, meaning the Romans.

7  He hath laid my vine waste, and hath barked my fig tree;
   He hath made it clean bare, and cast it away;
   The branches thereof are made white.

The Old Testament uses the symbols of vines and trees to represent Israel both collectively and individually. Here He means Israel, nationally, which has been destroyed and cast away. Its citizens are sent into slavery and death.

8  Lament like a young women,
   Girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

God commands them to cry and lament deeply, even as deeply as a young woman would when grieving for a dead husband. If you have ever attended the funeral of a young person you will know how deeply the grieving can become. It is especially true for a young woman grieving for her husband. The King James translation reads, "Lament like a virgin." but in this case it is not really appropriate with the meaning we give the word "virgin" today. Virgins don't have husbands to grieve over. The Hebrew word translates most often to "young women," usually meaning a very young woman before marriage. Most likely God has used this image of a marriage relationship in this verse to remind Israel, the bride, of their relationship to Jehovah, the Bridegroom.

9  The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD,
   And the priests, the LORD's ministers, mourn.

These two lines truly indicate the severity of the situation. These offerings were always made no matter what. Josephus reports (de bell, Jud. vi. 2, 1) that in the last siege of Jerusalem by the Romans these sacrifices were stopped only when there was no way to continue because of the lack of sacrifices. The priests mourn because the stopping of these sacrifices means Jehovah has abandoned Israel.

10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth;
   For the corn is wasted;
   The new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.

The "field" means the earth, which is the pastures where the sheep of the Shepherd feed on His word. But it is now wasted and mourneth because it isn't fulfilling God's purposes. The corn or grain, symbolizing God's bread, is going to waste because no one is learning and improving themselves in a spiritual manner. Again the new wine refers to new truth and knowledge that would normally be revealed by the prophets. The oil languisheth means the same thing as it also represent truth and has dried up too.

11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers,
   For the wheat and for the barley, because the harvest of the field is perished.

The "husbandmen" and "vine dressers" are the spiritual leaders of Israel (the vine). They have failed in their callings to supply Israel with prophecy from God, which is symbolized by wheat and barley (bread), the kind of bread Jesus said He was.

12 The vine is dried up, the fig tree languisheth, the pomegranate and palm trees also;
   And the apple tree, even all the trees of the field are withered,
   Because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

Israel is dried up, as well as her "great trees"--people that bear good fruit. All the trees (the people) have withered spiritually, and have been hewn down (Cp. Isa. 10:33; Matt. 3:10).

13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests.
   Howl, ye ministers of the altar.
   Come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God;
   For the meat offering, and also the drink offering,
   Is withholden from the house of God.

See verse nine for clarification.

14 Sanctify ye a fast, and call a solemn assembly;
   Gather ye the elders and all the inhabitants of the land;
   Into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD.

Jehovah advises them to fast and pray to stop the destruction from coming. He is commanding them to do what they cannot do because they have become so corrupt in the ways of Lord. In retrospect, this is what they should have done long before it became too late.

15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand;
   As a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

This day that is to come is their final destruction anciently. The Lord brought it upon them because they had forsaken him and chased after false gods. The "vine" will be stripped clean by the locusts; Israel will be no more.

16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes,
   Yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?

This is why Israel was destroyed. Others translate "meat" as "meal," meaning "food" or "bread." This bread is the same as truth or light and knowledge, which they have been without for a long time. The second line adds to the meaning of the first one because when they have light and knowledge joy and gladness follow.

17 The seed is rotten under clods, the garners are laid desolate;
   The barns are broken down, and all the corn is become withered.

This verse continues the image of verse 16, expressing the dismal condition of Israel in the eyes of God because they are without hope of ever doing any good having thrown away the good. They can not grow spiritually, and what they had has withered. The barns are broken down from neglect since nothing (no people) is being harvested and there is no need for the barn to store the "harvest."

18 How the beasts groan!
   The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture;
   yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.

This verse continues the image of verses 16 and 17. The beasts and cattle are the people of the house of Israel. They groan because they have no truth to "eat"--metaphorically that is. The flocks of sheep are, of course, the flocks of the Good Shepherd.

19 O LORD, unto thee I cry, for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
   And the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.

The flame and fire of this verse represents the arid and dry conditions of Israel because of the lack of water; i.e., the true and living water-meaning truth and knowledge as above. The same lack of spiritual knowledge (water) has destroyed the trees, meaning the people.

20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee,
   For the rivers of waters are dried up,
   And the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

This verse, still in metaphors, repeats the same ideas of the previous verses and finishes the description of how things were anciently. The beasts are the people of the earth. "Rivers of waters" refers to rivers of knowledge from God. They are no more because of their sins. "Fire" here equates to heat, which has dried up the pastures (lacking for "water") until there is no "bread."

Joel 1 without commentary

1  The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
2  Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land.
   Hath this ever been in your days, or even in the days of your father's days?
3  Tell ye your children of it, and your children their children,
   And their children yet even another generation,
4  That which the palmerworm left, hath the locust eaten;
   And that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten;
   And that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.
5  Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; howl, all ye drinkers of wine,
   Because the new wine is cut off from your mouth.
6  For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number,
   Whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
7  He hath laid my vine waste, and hath barked my fig tree;
   He hath made it clean bare, and cast it away;
   The branches thereof are made white.
8  Lament like a young women, girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
9  The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD,
   And the priests, the LORD's ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth;
   For the corn is wasted;
   The new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers,
   For the wheat and for the barley, because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, the fig tree languisheth, the pomegranate and palm trees also;
   And the apple tree, even all the trees of the field are withered,
   Because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests.
   Howl, ye ministers of the altar.
   Come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God;
   For the meat offering, and also the drink offering,
   Is withholden from the house of God.
14 Sanctify ye a fast, and call a solemn assembly;
   Gather ye the elders and all the inhabitants of the land;
   Into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD.
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand;
   As a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes,
   Yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under clods, the garners are laid desolate;
   The barns are broken down, and all the corn is become withered.
18 How the beasts groan! the cattle are perplexed,
   Because they have no pasture;
   yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 O LORD, unto thee I cry, for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
   And the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee,
   For the rivers of waters are dried up,
   And the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

 

JOEL 2

1  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.
   It is nigh at hand.

Blowing a trumpet was used primarily to get their attention, meaning, Stop and listen; this is an important announcement of a great event. It is a day of great change, and it is from the Lord, as verified by the trembling they are to do before Him, as they did at Mount Sinai when He spoke and shook the mountain.

2  In a day of darkness and gloominess,
   In a day of dark clouds and of thick darkness,
   They come, as a morning spreads 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.

This day of the Lord will come in a day of spiritual darkness in Israel; but what is coming is like a glorious sunrise, spreading over the mountains. All this light will come from a great and strong people, spiritually. They will be spiritually stronger than any before them or after them. They will send an army of missionaries with the truth about Jesus Christ.

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.

The fire of the Holy Ghost devoureth before them in the sense of preparing the way for the missionaries. After the missionaries a flame burneth in their hearts--a flame of enthusiasm, a flame of conviction, even the flame of the Holy Ghost. They will have received their baptism by fire. To the missionaries, the land is a garden, ripe and ready to be harvested. The "field is white ready to harvest." Thrust in your sickle. Behind them they will leave no one that is not converted. In that sense, it will be desolate of the wicked.

4  The appearance of them,
   Is as the appearance of horses;
   And as horsemen, so shall they run upon you.

Some think this refers to the locusts head, being similar to that of a horse. Maybe so, but I think it refers more to the fact that horsemen, especially in chariots, work with a team of horses, or in other words they come in pairs, two by two, without hesitation--with great strength and confidence. The scriptures often use horses to represent great power and strength.

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

They are to come in to Israel with a commotion, not slowly in secret or ashamedly. Everyone will be aware of this change that comes, especially since they have been prepared for it.

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

Indeed, the Jews will be pained because they will learn that their Messiah came long ago and they missed Him--not to mention that they crucified Him. "Blackness" here means sadness. How sad that day will be when they learn the truth for themselves.

7  They shall run like mighty men, and they shall climb the wall like men of war;
   And they shall march every one in his way; they shall not break their ranks.
8  Neither shall one jostle another; they shall walk every one in his path.
   And should they fall upon a sword, they shall not be wounded.
9  They shall run to and fro through 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.

They, the missionaries, will be unified in purpose with none turning away from what they know. No other opinions or philosophies will be a problem for them, or cause any hurt. They will be steadfast in their testimonies. To the Jews, the missionaries will seem to be like locusts, everywhere. They will not be able to escape the truth no matter how much they try. The "assault" of the missionaries with the truth will be relentless, seeming to come from every side.

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

Figuratively, the great truths that are brought will cause great upsets upon the traditions of the Jews, comparable to earthquakes. Literally, the very presence of God will be with the missionaries, causing quakes and trembling in the people. This is quite ordinary when He is present, e.g., at Sinai. The heavenly bodies will be dark in comparison to His great light. Everything being relative, the light that will "spread across the mountains" will be so exceeding bright that it will out shine all other sources of light and make them seem dark in comparison (another hyperbolic statement).

11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army.
   His camp is very great;
   For he is strong that executeth his word.
   The day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

It is the army of the Lord, bringing His Word; not Him personally, but in effect it makes no difference as explained in this verse: "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same (D&C; 1:38).

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even unto me with all of your heart,
   And with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning;

The missionaries message is to repent and turn to the Lord in humility of heart. That has always been the message of the Lord, from His servants or from Him.

13 And rend your heart, and not your garments,
   And repent and turn unto the LORD your God;
   For he is gracious and merciful, and slow to anger,
   And of great kindness, and he will turn away the evil from you.

He is saying to forget the outward signs that you have offered in the past, that they are not acceptable. He expects true repentance expressed from the heart. Turn to Him who defines LOVE; His arms are open and always have been to those who would hear. Their punishment is over.

14 Therefore repent, and Who knoweth but he may return and relent, and leave a blessing behind him,
   That you may leave a a meat offering, and a drink offering, unto the LORD your God?

Who knoweth, meaning perhaps in His great Love and forgiveness He will have left a blessing for them that will be worthy of an offering unto Jehovah. Another riddle? Maybe what was left behind is found in the Old Testament, books such as Job, Jonah, Joel, Isaiah, etc., which they haven't understood. They have been blind and deaf.

15 Blow a trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast and call an assembly.
16 Gather the people, and sanctify the congregation;
   Assemble the elders, and the children,
   And those that suck breasts.
   Let the bridegroom,
   Go forth of his chamber,
   And the bride out of her closet.

Sound the horn and proclaim the good news. Make all worthy for a great occasion. It is time for the Bridegroom to return for His Bride. For a long time He has hidden His face, and she (Israel) has been confined. All that is over now and the Bridegroom returns to claim His Bride.

17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
   Between the porch and altar, saying, Spare thy people, O LORD,
   And give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them.
   Where they could say among the people, Where is their God?

The past treatment of the Jews by the Lord will now change, and even outsiders will know that their God has returned.

18 Then will the LORD be jealous, and pity his people.
19 Yea, 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 Gentile nations.

This reflects the idea that their punishment is over and everything is about to be different for them. Their will be a bounteous harvest of "bread" and "wine" to satisfy a spiritually starved people? Corn (grain), wine, and oil are metaphors for truth and knowledge. It means the truth about Him and His salvation will be given to them, and their chastisement by the Gentle nations will be over.

20 And I will remove far off from you the northern one (Hebrew translation).
   And will send him into a land barren and desolate,
   With his face toward the east sea,
   And his hinder part toward the utmost sea.
   And his ill savor shall come up because he hath done great things.

In contrast to verse 19, He goes on to say that he will remove from them the northern ones (outsiders) that He had brought upon them of old, that brought falsehoods and false gods, that have kept them "bound" for so long. He will send the northern ones back to their home, where it is barren and desolate spiritually, which is their spiritual condition.

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

Does the Lord issue prophecies to animals, as this suggests? Of course not. The "breasts of the field" refers to the people, who have acted like beasts spiritually, instead of like men. Their "pastures" refers to the gospel, meaning His truth and knowledge, which will bring about spiritual growth in them; then, the tree will bear "fruit," the fig tree and the vine will again make spiritual progress. Maybe these are mixed metaphors since trees, vines and figs can't feed on pastures, but that is what is happening here, metaphorically.

23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God;
   For he hath given unto you the former rain moderately,
   And now he will cause to come down the rain:
   The former rain and the latter rain.
24 And all the floors shall be full of wheat,
   And the vats shall overflow with their wine and oil.

These expressions, of former rain and latter rain, meant the spring rains and the summer rains in the Bible language of old, but here He is expressing the very same thing as before, i.e., many great truths. He is going to send a great abundance of knowledge and truth as before. Verse 24 is a synonymous parallelism, meaning the same thing.

25 And I will restore unto you the years that the locust hath eaten,
   The cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm;
   By the power of my great army which I sent among you.

This verse confirms the interpretations just given because it says they will be restored to the relationship they had with Jehovah before the loss of truth and knowledge, followed by the many destructions. This restoration will be accomplished "by the power of the great army" of missionaries.

26 And ye shall eat bread in plenty, and be satisfied,
   And my people shall never be ashamed.

This verse repeats the idea that they will have truth and knowledge abundantly, "bread" from heaven, and they shall never be ashamed again.

27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
   And my people shall never be ashamed.

All the truth and knowledge will result in the Jews knowing who their God really is. These lines infer that they have not known their god of old, even Jehovah; but they will again in these last days. It is part of their restoration.

28 And it shall come to pass afterward,
   Your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.
29 And also upon the servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

As a result of the people having regaining knowledge of their God, all the blessings Israel enjoyed long ago will return to them. Take note of the verb "pour." It is used as if His spirit were water, or wine, or oil, the same as truth and knowledge.

30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon shall be turned into blood,
   Before the great and terrible day of the LORD shall come.

These natural wonders are reminiscent of the signs that Israel beheld when they were freed from Egypt by Moses. Now they are being freed from spiritual Egypt, meaning the wicked world, and one can't help wondering if these phenomenon won't actually happen to herald the event.

32 And it shall come to pass,
   In the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Thi verse repeats what has been said all along, that there is now deliverance for the Jews, for the remnant that was left from olden times.

Joel 2 without commentary

1  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.
   It is nigh at hand.
2  In a day of darkness and gloominess,
   In a day of dark clouds and of thick darkness,
   They come, as a morning spreads 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.
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.
4  The appearance of them,
   Is as the appearance of horses;
   And as horsemen, so shall they run upon you.
5  Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap;
   Like the noise of a flame that devoureth stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
6  Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
7  They shall run like mighty men, and they shall climb the wall like men of war;
   And they shall march every one in his way; they shall not break their ranks.
8  Neither shall one jostle another; they shall walk every one in his path.
   And should they fall upon a sword, they shall not be wounded.
9  They shall run to and fro through 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.
10 The earth shall quake before them, and the heavens shall tremble.
   The sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army.
   His camp is very great;
   For he is strong that executeth his word.
   The day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even unto me with all of your heart,
   And with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning;
13 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 renouncing of your punishment.
14 Who knoweth but he may return and relent, and leave a blessing behind him,
   For a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
15 Blow a trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast and call an assembly.
16 Gather the people, and sanctify the congregation;
   Assemble the elders, and the children,
   And those that suck breasts.
   Let the bridegroom,
   Go forth of his chamber,
   And the bride out of her closet.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
   Between the porch and altar, saying, Spare thy people, O LORD,
   And give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them.
   Where they could say among the people, Where is their God?
18 Then will the LORD be jealous, and pity his people.
19 Yea, 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 Gentile nations.
20 And I will remove far off from you the northern one.
   And will send him into a land barren and desolate,
   With his face toward the east sea,
   And his hinder part toward the utmost sea.
   And his ill savor shall come up because he hath done great things.
21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the LORD will do many great things.
22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness do spring forth;
   For the tree beareth her fruit; the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God;
   For he hath given unto you the former rain moderately,
   And now he will cause to come down the rain:
   The former rain and the latter rain.
24 And all the floors shall be full of wheat,
   And the vats shall overflow with their wine and oil.
25 And I will restore unto you the years that the locust hath eaten,
   The cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm;
   By the power of my great army which I sent among you.
26 And ye shall eat bread in plenty, and be satisfied,
   And my people shall never be ashamed.
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
   And my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward,
   Your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.
29 And also upon the servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon shall be turned into blood,
   Before the great and terrible day of the LORD shall come.
32 And it shall come to pass,
   In the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Joel 3

1  For, behold, in those days, and in that time,
   When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

In these last days, OUR TIME, Judah will become the "captives of Jehovah," not captives of the wicked world.

2  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat,
   And will plead with them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel,
   Whom they scattered among the Nations, and parted my land.

Missionaries from many, or "all nations," will be come to the valley of Jehoshaphat, which is the valley of decision, where they will work to convert the Jews. Jehoshaphat means "Jehovah judges," and He has made the judgment that it is time to bring the Jews back to Him. The outsiders that came in and destroyed and scattered the Jews will now be instrumental in gathering them.

3  And they have cast lots over my people;
   And have given a boy for an harlot,
   And sold a girl for wine,
   That they might drink.

These same nations, Gentiles, that divided and sold the Jews, that are now God's instruments in gathering them, were the ones that gave the boy for an harlot and sold the girl for wine. The boy and the girl both represent Israel or the Jews. (See Hosea 11:1; also Lamentations where Jerusalem or Israel is referred to as a daughter, chapt. 1 &2, and as a man, chapt. 3, especially 3:27. Also see Isa. 66:7-9: ) The harlot was the false gods of the world that they brought in. That they might have wine or drink, refers to the fact that scattering Israel scattered some of God's truths all over the world, or seeded it to prepare it to hear the full gospel later.

4  Yea, and what is this ye do with me,
   O Tyre, and Sidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?
   Do ye render unto me a recompense? or do ye do something for my benefit?
   If ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily,  I will return your recompense upon your head;

Tyre and Sidon represent any and all of the "northern" nations, or outsiders, that have historically been hostile to Israel, even those that have been used by the Lord to punish Israel. Now, under these new circumstances the Lord asks them, "What would ye with me?" (translation according to Kiel and Delitzsch), or in a manner of speaking, "What are you going to do now, continue to fight against Israel, or change your ways and unite with Israel, which now has my full support." If they will recompense the Lord with goodness for the goodness which they see has been extended toward the Jews, then he will do the same for them. But if they continue to fight against Israel then He will repay them in the same manner they treated Israel, which is spelled out next.

5  Because ye have taken my silver and gold, carried into your temples my goodly things.
6  The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians,
   That ye might remove them far from their border.
7  Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them,
   And will return your recompense upon your own head.
8  And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah,
   And they shall sell them to the Sabeans: to a people far off; for the LORD hath spoken it.

Although these verses can be seen as negative and threatening they can also be understood positively, which would mean they and their posterity will become part of Israel if they don't fight the Lord.

9  Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles: Prepare war, wake up the mighty men;
   Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears;
   Let the weak say, I am strong.

The Gentiles that are to prepare for war are the righteous Gentiles who have the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They are to come forth to convert the heathen, or non-believers. They are to have confidence in their mission because the Lord is to help them. This is a continuation of the war in heaven, deciding who will follow God.

11 Assemble yourselves,
   And come forth, all ye heathen,
   And gather yourselves round about thither;
   Cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

The heathen are to come forth to be taught. The Lord's mighty ones will do the teaching. They are also called His "terrible ones" as in the following verse: "And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven. And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen (D&C;.64:42,43).

12 Let the heathen be wakened,
   And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;
   For there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe, come, get you down;
   For the press is full, and the fats overflow;
   For their wickedness is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision;
   For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

Verse 12 begins with a plea for the heathen to listen. God will judge them by how much they hear and respond to the truth. There is to be a great harvesting of souls in the valley of decision, they are ripe for conversion.

15 The sun and the moon shall become darkened,
   And the stars shall withdraw their shining.
16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion,
   And utter his voice from Jerusalem,
   And the heavens and the earth shall shake;
   But the LORD will be the hope of his people, the strength of the children of Israel.

The great harvest will occur because of the great light that will be made available to them. It will make all else seem dark in comparison. The world is to be filled with the truth about Jesus Christ from new sources that will be unchallengeable.

17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain.
   Then shall Jerusalem be my holy city, and there shall no strangers pass through anymore.

It sounds like the beginning of a millennial reign without any opposition to Jesus Christ. All shall know. All shall convert.

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine;
   And the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah with waters;
   And a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LORD,
   And shall water the valley of Shittim.

With the knowledge we have gained about wine and water representing truth and knowledge, we can plainly tell these verses promise the abundant knowledge that will be given so that all will know and be converted.

19 Egypt shall be a desolation,
   And Edom a desolate wilderness,
   For their violence against the children of Judah;
   Because they have shed their innocent blood in their land.

Egypt and Edom represents the world, and they will be desolate in the sense of being without worldly sinners, that is people being seduced by Satan's falsehoods. Satan's darkness will be dispelled by the great light of truth for everyone.

20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed;
   For the LORD dwelleth in Zion.

Hosanna! The Lord is back in Zion, for the Jews. This use of Zion refers to the Zion where any and all of the pure in heart live. These lines signal Israel's complete return to the ways of Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Joel 3 without commentary

1  For, behold, in those days, and in that time,
   When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat,
   And will plead with them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel,
   Whom they scattered among the Nations, and parted my land.
3  And they have cast lots over my people;
   And have given a boy for an harlot,
   And sold a girl for wine,
   That they might drink.
4  Yea, and what is this ye do with me,
   O Tyre, and Sidon, and all the coasts of Palestine?
   Do ye render unto me a recompense? or do ye do something for my benefit?
   If ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily,  I will return your recompense upon your head;
5  Because ye have taken my silver and gold, carried into your temples my goodly things.
6  The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians,
   That ye might remove them far from their border.
7  Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them,
   And will return your recompense upon your own head.
8  And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah,
   And they shall sell them to the Sabeans: to a people far off; for the LORD hath spoken it.
9  Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles: Prepare war, wake up the mighty men;
   Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears;
   Let the weak say, I am strong.
11 Assemble yourselves,
   And come forth, all ye heathen,
   And gather yourselves round about thither;
   Cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
12 Let the heathen be wakened,
   And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;
   For there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe, come, get you down;
   For the press is full, and the fats overflow;
   For their wickedness is great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision;
   For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15 And the sun and the moon shall become darkened,
   And the stars shall withdraw their shining.
16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion,
   And utter his voice from Jerusalem,
   And the heavens and the earth shall shake;
   But the LORD will be the hope of his people, the strength of the children of Israel.
17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, in my holy mountain.
   Then shall Jerusalem be my holy city, and no strangers shall pass through her anymore.
18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine;
   And the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah with waters;
   And a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LORD,
   And shall water the valley of Shittim.
19 Egypt shall be a desolation,
   And Edom a desolate wilderness,
   For their violence against the children of Judah;
   Because they have shed their innocent blood in their land.
20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed;
   For the LORD dwelleth in Zion.

 

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