Joel - 2:1-32

The Coming Day of the Lord

      1 Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of Yahweh comes, for it is close at hand: 2 A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn spreading on the mountains, a great and strong people; there has never been the like, neither will there be any more after them, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devours before them, and behind them, a flame burns. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them, a desolate wilderness. Yes, and no one has escaped them. 4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses, and as horsemen, so do they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 At their presence the peoples are in anguish. All faces have grown pale. 7 They run like mighty men. They climb the wall like warriors. They each march in his line, and they don't swerve off course. 8 Neither does one jostle another; they march everyone in his path, and they burst through the defenses, and don't break ranks. 9 They rush on the city. They run on the wall. They climb up into the houses. They enter in at the windows like thieves. 10 The earth quakes before them. The heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 11 Yahweh thunders his voice before his army; for his forces are very great; for he is strong who obeys his command; for the day of Yahweh is great and very awesome, and who can endure it? 12 "Yet even now," says Yahweh, "turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning." 13 Tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn to Yahweh, your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meal offering and a drink offering to Yahweh, your God. 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly. 16 Gather the people. Sanctify the assembly. Assemble the elders. Gather the children, and those who nurse from breasts. Let the bridegroom go forth from his room, and the bride out of her room. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of Yahweh, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, "Spare your people, Yahweh, and don't give your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" 18 Then Yahweh was jealous for his land, And had pity on his people. 19 Yahweh answered his people, "Behold, I will send you grain, new wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied with them; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. 20 But I will remove the northern army far away from you, and will drive it into a barren and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its back into the western sea; and its stench will come up, and its bad smell will rise." Surely he has done great things. 21 Land, don't be afraid. Be glad and rejoice, for Yahweh has done great things. 22 Don't be afraid, you animals of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness spring up, for the tree bears its fruit. The fig tree and the vine yield their strength. 23 "Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh, your God; for he gives you the former rain in just measure, and he causes the rain to come down for you, the former rain and the latter rain, as before. 24 The threshing floors will be full of wheat, and the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. 25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the great locust, the grasshopper, and the caterpillar, my great army, which I sent among you. 26 You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied, and will praise the name of Yahweh, your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people will never again be disappointed. 27 You will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Yahweh, your God, and there is no one else; and my people will never again be disappointed. 28 "It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. 29 And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days, I will pour out my Spirit. 30 I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes. 32 It will happen that whoever will call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the remnant, those whom Yahweh calls.

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Joel 2.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

The prophet begins anew in this chapter, first delineating in greater detail the judgments of God; then calling to repentance. The image reaches its height in the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, itself an image only of worse judgments, first on the Jews by the Romans; then on particular Churches; then of the infliction through antichrist; lastly on the whole world. : "The prophet sets before them the greatness of the coming woe, of the approaching captivity, of the destruction imminent, in order to move the people to terror at the judgment of God, to compunction, to love of obedience. This he does from the manifoldness of the destruction, the quality of the enemy, the nature of the victory, the weight of the misery, the ease of the triumph, the eagerness for ill, the fear of the besieged princes, the sluggishness of the besieged people. He exhorts all in common to prostrate themselves at the feet of the divine judgment, if so be God would look down from His dwelling place, turn the storm into a calm, and at length out of the shipwreck of captivity bring them back to the haven of consolation." : "It is no mere prediction. Everything stands before them, as in actual experience, and before their eyes." Future things affect people less; so he makes them, as it were, present to their souls. : "He will not let them vacillate about repentance, but bids them, laying aside all listlessness, set themselves courageously to ward off the peril, by running to God, and effacing the charges against them from their old sins by everrenewed amendment."

The prophet sounds the alarm of a dreadful calamity, the description of which is most terribly worked up, Joel 2:1-11. Exhortation to repentance, fasting, and prayer, that the Divine judgments may be averted, Joel 2:12-17. God will in due time take vengeance on all the enemies of pure and undefiled religion, Joel 2:18-20. Great prosperity of the Jews subsequent to their return from the Babylonish captivity, Joel 2:21-27. Joel then makes an elegant transition to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, Joel 2:28-30; for so these verses are explained by one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. See Acts 2:16-21. Prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, which was shortly to follow the opening of the Gospel dispensation, Acts 2:31. Promises of safety to the faithful and penitent; promises afterwards remarkably fulfilled to the Christians in their escape to Pella from the desolating sword of the Roman army, Acts 2:32.

In this chapter a further account is given of the judgment of the locusts and caterpillars, or of those who are designed by them, Joel 2:1; the people of the Jews are called to repentance, humiliation, and fasting, urged from the grace and goodness of God, his jealousy and pity for his people, and the answer of prayer that might he expected from him upon this, even to the removal of the calamity, Joel 2:12; a prophecy of good things, both temporal and spiritual, in the times of the Messiah, is delivered out as matter and occasion of great joy, Joel 2:21; and another concerning the effusion of the Spirit, which was fulfilled an the day of Pentecost, Joel 2:28; and the chapter is concluded with the judgments and desolations that should come upon the land of Judea after this, for their rejection of Christ, though the remnant according to the election of grace should be delivered and saved from the general destruction, Joel 2:30.

(Joel 2:1-14) God's judgments.
(Joel 2:15-27) Exhortations to fasting and prayer; blessings promised.
(Joel 2:28-32) A promise of the Holy Spirit, and of future mercies.

Summons to Penitential Prayer for the Removal of the Judgment - Joel 2:1-17
This section does not contain a fresh or second address of the prophet, but simply forms the second part of his sermon of repentance, in which he repeats with still greater emphasis the command already hinted at in Joel 1:14-15, that there should be a meeting of the congregation for humiliation and prayer, and assigns the reason in a comprehensive picture of the approach of Jehovah's great and terrible judgment-day (Joel 2:1-11), coupled with the cheering assurance that the Lord will still take compassion upon His people, according to His great grace, if they will return to Him with all their heart (Joel 2:12-14); and then closes with another summons to the whole congregation to assemble for this purpose in the house of the Lord, and with instructions how the priests are to pray to the Lord (Joel 2:15-17).

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