Joel says the Day of the LORD is at hand. Joel calls them to repent. The LORD God will forgive and restore them; renew and deliver them.
VERSE 1. Blow the shofar in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD comes, for it is close at hand:
Blow the shofar. The shofar was a ram’s horn. It was blown by a watchman to alert the people of great danger. Some translations say “Sound the trumpet.”
the day of the LORD comes. The day of the LORD is at hand:
Mark 1:15. The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe! (NIV translation)
VERSE 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.
A day of darkness and gloominess. in the previous chapter, Joel described the plague of locusts. Now there is intense darkness.
VERSE 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.
A fire devours before them. The invaders are like the plague of locusts. They are innumerable. And like a fire, they will consume everything in their path.
VERSE 4. Their appearance is as the appearance of horses, and they run as horsemen.
VERSE 5. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of the mountains, they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array.
anguish. The Hebrew word is “khul.” It refers to writhing, as when a person is completely overcome by pain.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 8. Neither does one jostle another; they march everyone in his path, and they burst through the defenses, and don’t break ranks.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 10. The earth quakes before them. The heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.
The earth quakes before them. The army’s approach is accompanied by planet-wide disorder.
VERSE 11. The LORD thunders his voice before his army; for his forces are very great; for he is strong who obeys his command; for the day of the LORD is great and very awesome, and who can endure it?
VERSE 12. “Yet even now,” says the LORD, “turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.”
turn to me. Before this unstoppable army, their only hope was to turn immediately to the LORD God in repentance. But what does that mean? Joel maps it out in the verses that follow. Overview:
- Personal repentance: verses 13 to 14
- National repentance: verses 15 to 17
VERSE 13. Tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the LORD, your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and relents from sending calamity.
NAB translation. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God, For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment.
Tear your heart. Their repentance was to be personal.
turn to the LORD, your God. Repentance means turning back to the LORD God.
VERSE 14. Who knows? He may turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meal offering and a drink offering to the LORD, your God.
VERSE 15. Blow the shofar in Zion! Sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly.
VERSE 16. Gather the people. Sanctify the assembly. Assemble the elders. Gather the children, and those who nurse from breasts. Let the bridegroom go out of his room, and the bride out of her room.
Sanctify the assembly. The entire community of believers was to gather.
VERSE 17. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, “Spare your people, LORD, 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?’ ”
the LORD was jealous for his land. The LORD God is passionately loyal toward his own people.
VERSE 19. The LORD 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.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 21. Land, don’t be afraid. Be glad and rejoice, for the LORD has done great things.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 23. “Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD, your God; for he gives you the early rain in just measure, and he causes the rain to come down for you, the early rain and the latter rain, as before.
the early rain. Some translations say “The teacher of justice.”
VERSE 24. The threshing floors will be full of wheat, and the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
VERSE 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.
NASB translation. Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you.
NAB translation. I will repay you double what the swarming locust has eaten, The hopper, the consuming locust, and the cutter, my great army I sent against you.
I will make up to you for the years. Some people have languished in years of suffering and misery. It is as if whole years were stolen from them. Perhaps they were the subject of abuse or neglect. However, the lORD God can easily compensate his people for the years which were stolen from them.
VERSE 26. You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied, and will praise the name of the LORD, your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people will never again be disappointed.
NIV translation. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.
You will have plenty to eat. For those who suffered hunger, the LORD God can turn things around. Their time of hunger comes to a close.
until you are full. The days ahead will be days of great abundance. It is not a time of just barely having needs met.
never again will my people be shamed. Previously, the LORD God’s people had been shamed by abusive treatment. However, that era is over. Now there will be no more shame. There will be no more shameful treatment.
VERSE 27. You will know that I am among Israel, and that I am the LORD, your God, and there is no one else; and my people will never again be disappointed.
VERSE 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.
I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. There is one Spirit? The same Holy Spirit acted during the Old Testament as during the New.
Acts 2:17. ‘It will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams.
NIV translation. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
both men and women. Many Christian movements claim to see men and women as equals. However, at their church services, woman are required to sit around and be submissive to men. Such practices are antithetical to the biblical worldview. Both men and women are equally deluged with the Holy Spirit. Unlike many Christians, the LORD God has no gender bias.
Acts 2:18. Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy.
Acts 2:19. I will show wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and billows of smoke.
VERSE 31. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
Acts 2:20. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
VERSE 32. It will happen that whoever will call on the LORD’s name shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the remnant, those whom the LORD calls.
Acts 2:21. It will be that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.