Joel chapter 3

The LORD God will judge the nations. He will ultimately restore Zion.





VERSE 1. “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,

when I restore. The question is not “If.” Rather, the question is “When?”


VERSE 2. I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will execute judgment on them there for my people, and for my heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations. They have divided my land,

Jehoshaphat. The meaning of the word is “the Lord judges.”


VERSE 3. and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a prostitute, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.

given a boy for a prostitute. They had such little respect for human life that they sold children into sex slavery and sold a girl for wine.

That was back in those ancient days. And it happened in recent centuries, when devout Christian believers bought and sold slaves.


VERSE 4. “Yes, and what are you to me, Tyre, and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Will you repay me? And if you repay me, I will swiftly and speedily return your repayment on your own head.

to me. The LORD God is identifying with his people.

Tyre … Sidon … Philistia. These three groups profited economically from the demise of Judah.


VERSE 5. Because you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my finest treasures into your temples,

you have. Their first crime was robbery.


VERSE 6. and have sold the children of Judah and the children of Jerusalem to the sons of the Greeks, that you may remove them far from their border.

sold the children. Their second crime was slavery. Child slavery.


VERSE 7. Behold, I will stir them up out of the place where you have sold them, and will return your repayment on your own head;


VERSE 8. and I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hands of the children of Judah, and they will sell them to the men of Sheba, to a faraway nation, for the LORD has spoken it.”


VERSE 9. Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Stir up the mighty men. Let all the warriors draw near. Let them come up.

Proclaim this among the nations. Unidentified messengers are instructed to propagate this message to the world.


VERSE 10. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’

HCSB translation. Beat your plows into swords and your pruning knives into spears. Let even the weakling say, “I am a warrior.”

Beat your plows into swords. There is a time when God’s people must rise up. In those ancient days they rose up to take possession of their ancestral homeland. In our day, we rise up to speak convincingly of Jesus Christ with people.

Hammering plowshare into swords is the reverse of Isaiah 2:4:

Isaiah 2:4. He will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Let even the weakling say, “I am a warrior.” In those ancient days, not everybody felt sufficient to the task. However, they were to speak winsomely of their own capabilities and then go do the task. In our day, many believers feel insufficient to the task of evangelism and discipleship. However, if we speak winsomely of our own capabilities, then we can simply go do the task.

Our reality is greatly influenced by what we say. One person says, “I’m a looser! I can’t do anything right.” Then they go forth and prove themselves right. Another says, “I’m a winner,” even if she feels like a looser. Then she goes out and starts behaving like a winner.


VERSE 11. Hurry and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves together.” Cause your mighty ones to come down there, LORD.


VERSE 12. “Let the nations arouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.


VERSE 13. Put in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full, the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.”

sickle. This are associated with the Final Judgment:

Joel 3:13. Put in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full, the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.

Mark 4:29. But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

Revelation 14:14. I looked, and saw a white cloud, and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.


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

Multitudes, multitudes. An innumerable multitude will be assembled in the valley.


VERSE 15. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.


VERSE 16. The LORD will roar from Zion, and thunder from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth will shake; but the LORD will be a refuge to his people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel.

the LORD will be a refuge to his people. He is our stronghold. Much of life can make us depressed. But with the LORD God as our stronghold, we can face life with hope.




VERSE 17. “So you will know that I am the LORD, your God, dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain. Then Jerusalem will be holy, and no strangers will pass through her any more.

So you will know. After this awesome display of divine power, Israel will know the LORD God truly dwells among them.


VERSE 18. It will happen in that day, that the mountains will drop down sweet wine, the hills will flow with milk, all the brooks of Judah will flow with waters, and a fountain will flow out from the LORD’s house, and will water the valley of Shittim.

mountains will drop down sweet wine. The land will be a virtual paradise.

a fountain will flow out from the LORD’s house. This river will be a perpetual reminder that the LORD God is the source of their life.

This river is mentioned by three prophets:

Ezekiel 47:1. He brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, waters flowed out from under the threshold of the temple eastward, for the front of the temple faced toward the east. The waters came down from underneath, from the right side of the temple, on the south of the altar.

Joel 3:18. It will happen in that day, that the mountains will drop down sweet wine, the hills will flow with milk, all the brooks of Judah will flow with waters, and a fountain will flow out from the LORD’s house, and will water the valley of Shittim.

Zechariah 14:8. It will happen in that day that living waters will go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea. It will be so in summer and in winter.


VERSE 19. Egypt will be a desolation, and Edom will be a desolate wilderness, for the violence done to the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.


VERSE 20. But Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.


VERSE 21. I will cleanse their blood, that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwells in Zion.”


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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.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.