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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Joel 2

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


A Prophecy For Pentecost

-- Joel Two --

Joel two sounds almost like a restatement of Joel one with the Pentecost prophecies added. Joel said that the people must assemble and that an announcement should be made that the day of the Lord is at hand. He described that day as a dark day of destruction. The people were urged to turn to God and to cry in repentance unto the Lord. The day of the Lord would be a day of darkness like nothing ever seen before.

God would send the army of locusts and a human army also against the nation of Judah. It would be an army of Judgment. This army would be terrible, powerful and very destructive. The nation would be left in terror. The army would be skilled in warfare and much disciplined. They would overpower the land of Judah. This would be the Lord's army and no one could stand before them. ( Joe_2:11 )

Joel called upon the people to return to the Lord in true repentance. He understood that God is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and a God of great kindness." If the people would, in repentance, fast and pray, perhaps God would change His mind about the punishment He would send blessings and Judah would not be reproached before other nations. The Lord would respond to their repentance by showing pity for the land and for the people.

Joel also proclaimed the future day of the Lord. Then God's Spirit would be poured out on all flesh and Judah and all others could return to a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of sins and spiritual blessings would then be available to all that call upon the Lord in obedience.

Verses 1-11

The day of the Lord is great -- Joe_2:1-11 : The trumpet was blown to warn the nation of danger and invasion. The warning was sounded in order that the people could tremble and make matters right with God before the day of the Lord came. The Lord was sending the locusts and He was also sending the army of Babylon. It would be a dark and gloomy day of destruction for Judah. Nothing like this had ever been seen before nor will it ever be seen again.

Word pictures are often very vivid. God said before the invasion the land was like Eden, after the invasion it looked like a burned, desolate wilderness. Israel had been a great country; now they faced a complete overthrow. This overthrow was inflicted as punishment for evil. The locust plague would be horrible. God said they look like horses and appear like a charging cavalry. They roar across the mountains like noisy chariots. Behind this mighty army it looked as if a forest fire had consumed everything.

The very appearance of both the locust and the Babylonian army would be a frightening. Neither walls nor barricades could hindrance these invading armies. They would climb over the walls and in rank continue their destruction. This army is so very destructive because it is the Lord army that He is using to chastise His rebellious people. The destruction was everywhere and it was total or complete devastation, in the city and in their homes. In a figurative way the prophet said, “They make the earth tremble and the heavens shake; the sun and moon turn dark, and stars stop shining." The day of the Lord was so terrible that none could withstand it.

Verses 12-17

The Lord's Invitation to repent -- Joe_2:12-17 : At that moment it was not too late for the people to return to the Lord with all their heart and to cry in repentance to him. They were told to fast and pray. Joel said, "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 repenteth him of the evil." ( Joe_2:13 ) Their hope for enjoying God's blessings was for them to turn back to Him. If they would repent they could have sufficient grain and wine for offering sacrifices.

Joel again called on the people to sound the trumpet on Zion! They were to call a solemn assembly with fasting and prayer to show their sincerity to God. Everyone, adults, children, babies, and even newlyweds were to assemble before the Almighty. False worship to the sun god had taken place "be-tween the porch and the altar." ( Eze_8:16 ) Now the priests were commanded to cry out at that very place for truth. They were to ask God to save His people and help them to not be a laughing stock before the nations.

Verses 18-27

The Lord will bless His people -- Joe_2:18-27 : The People of Judah would spend seventy years in Babylonian captivity. Even while they were there the Lord was deeply concerned about the land and He had pity on His people. The Lord provided an opportunity for His people to return from captivity. He said, "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 heathen."

God would drive out the locusts and the army of Babylon. The Lord did great and marvelous things both in sending His armies and in removing them when the time was right. He told the land or literally the people of the land to rejoice because of the great things that God does. The animals would again be able to rejoice over the blessing that God sent to the land. There would be no more reason to fear. The people of Zion were to rejoice because God was to give the right seasons and proper rain to produce necessary crops. Grain will cover their threshing floors and wine and olive oil would overflow their containers. When the people returned from Babylonian captivity the effects of the locust and of the army of Babylon were all reversed. The Lord made up for their losses.

God said, "ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed." What happened to them would never again happen to them nationally. Having learned that the Lord is the one and only God Israel could now receive His blessings. He would stand by their side and not allow them to be put to shame.

Verses 28-32

Prophecy pointing to Pentecost -- Joe_2:28-32 : The last verses of Joel two are a very famous prophecy quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost on which the church was established. ( Act_2:17-21 ) These event transpired in the "the last days" of the Jewish dispensation. In the church age the Spirit of God would bring blessing upon all flesh, whether Jew or Gentile. The outpouring of the Spirit on that day would be accompanied by miracles upon all flesh. This was proof that the gospel was for all people, whether high or low, rich or poor.

Joel used several figurative expressions to describe the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He said there would be wonders in the sky above and on the earth below. There will be blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will turn dark, and the moon will be as blood before that great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Many unusual physical things did take place in connection with the crucifixion of Jesus. Also these expressions were common in the Old Testament when prophets were predicting the fall of nations. The fall of Babylon was pictured with the words, "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine." ( Isa_13:10 ) These words described to the Jewish mind in a very vivid way the ending of the Jewish system and the beginning of the Christian system.

Joel closed this section with the words, "whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered." Observe the statement "shall be saved" in Act_2:21 . "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Any that wish to enjoy the remission of past sins must call on the name of the Lord by obeying the gospel plan of salvation. In no other way is one promised pardon.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Joel 2". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/joel-2.html. 2014.
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