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Bible Commentaries
Joel 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-10



Verses 1-10:

Invasion From the North or Coronet Preparation For


Verse 1 calls for the blowing of a trumpet by the priest, the sound of a battle-call in Zion, Jerusalem, the city of God. It was his duty, Numbers 10:8. The people are still called to tremble, to sorrowful, genuine repentance, asserting that "the Day of the Lord (Jehovah) cometh," of a certainty, for it is (exists) nigh at hand. The first prophetic allusion is to the Assyrian invasion and captivity, yet the more spiritual application is to that future day or final preparation of the coming of the Lord, v. 1-11, 28-32; Joel 3:9-21. When warned, men become responsible, Ezekiel 33:7-11.

Verse 2 describes that coming day of Israel’s last judgment as one of darkness and gloominess with clouds of thick darkness, like the swarms and plagues of locusts that often obscured the sun, as described Exodus 10:14-15; Exodus 10:21-23; Isaiah 8:22. It certifies that there is yet to come a time of intense calamity, Isaiah 8:22. A great and strong people shall assault them, bringing Divine judgment, 2 Kings 18:5; 2 Kings 23:5.

Verse 3 describes how a consuming, purging fire is before them, and an undying flame continually burns behind them, to remove all evidence of fruitful Eden from among them in all Judaea. It is further asserted "nothing shall escape them," the ravages of the Assyrian enemy. What the locusts, drought, and fire had not destroyed, seized or crippled, of food, man and beast, the Assyrians would seize to use or destroy according to their heathen will, 1 Chronicles 19:10; Isaiah 10:17; Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 36:35.

Verse 4 describes the swarming enemies of Judah. They shall be, in appearance, like horses geared for battle, with battle gear on their bodies, Job 39:20; Revelation 9:7. And they shall run like horsemen, very swiftly, on nimble feet. These seem to be figurative, not literal locusts, as in Revelation 9:11, with a king over them.

Verse 5 further describes their movement to be as that of leaping chariots or high bouncing chariots on rough mountains. And their sound shall also be similar to the crackle of fire and roaring of waves of fire-flames that devour the stubble. It is the sound of strong people, arrayed in battle gear, moving in for total conquest of the land. The idea is that as swarms of noisy locusts devour the mountain vegetation, then swoop down into the lower plains, so shall these armies come upon Judah.

Verse 6 prophecies that before the face of the enemy invaders the people of Judah shall be much pained, caused to suffer very much. Their faces shall gather blackness from the dusty drought blowing up from the scorching earth even up to the tops of the mountains of Judah, Isaiah 13:8; Nahum 2:10; Jeremiah 30:6.

Verse 7 relates that "they shall run like mighty men," sturdy, well-trained, hardened soldiers. They are to climb the city walls in Jerusalem, like men of war, not by-pass or skirt the city. This invading throng, like a mighty army of locusts, will not break their ranks for anything. When their eye and heart are set on a certain goal they will neither turn aside nor turn back, but go doggedly on. They are conquerors and swift as God’s instruments of judgment on an idolatrous people, Proverbs 30:27.

Verse 8 explains the degree of rigid discipline each enemy warrior has achieved. One shall not thrust another fellow-soldier with sword or spear by day or by night. Each marches in "his own path," his appointed way, doing his own job. So skilled are these

warriors that if they fall on the sword they will not be wounded, because by reflex they had been trained to turn the cutting edge from themselves, even in a sudden fall. For any Israelite in Judah to oppose such a warrior would seem to be suicidal; only later will Israel’s enemy be broken, Daniel 11:22.

Verse 9 prophecies how these agile, fleet footed, trained warriors, upon their invasion, will run to and fro, darting from building to building, running upon the city wall, climb to the top of the houses, enter them like thieves, through the windows. Like the invasion of plagues of insects, among beasts and upon men, this Assyrian army is to come upon Judah, bent on her destruction, and void of fear. To resist her was vain, Exodus 10:6; Like a thief this army should come, unexpectedly, Jeremiah 9:21. Even so shall the coming of the Lord be, Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:39-40; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15.

Verse 10 explains that the earth (nature) heaven and earth, shall feel the presence of this mighty, slaughtering army of Assyria. As an expression of Divine judgment over the people and land, Matthew 24:29, this army is an instrument of long delayed vengence upon the Lord’s rebellious, idolatrous land, Revelation 18:8. Though this was historically fulfilled in the Assyrian invasion of Judah and Israel it has a certain prophetic element as yet to be fulfilled in Daniel’s 70th week of God’s regathering and judging Israel in her own land, as the time of Armageddon approaches, at the end of the Gentile Dispensation and the church age, Revelation 16:14; The end of the Day of the Lord, the battle of Armageddon, and of the 70th week of Israel’s final national judgment is described, Revelation 19:11-18.

Verse 11

The Lord’s Army At Armageddon

Verse 11:

Verse 11 prophesies of the hour when Almighty God shall call His army in full battle array, for the final taps, at Armageddon, v. 20; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:11-18; Revelation 18:8; Joel 3:9-16; Jeremiah 25:30; Amos 1:2. The Day of the Lord is very great and terrible, and there is none who is able to abide it, in rebellion, is there? Jeremiah 30:7; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:15. It is declared to be "the time of Jacob’s trouble."

Verses 12-17

Verse 12-17:

Verse 12 contains Joel’s "word of the Lord," to the people of Judah. He calls upon them to turn to the Lord:

1) With "all your heart," a sincere, honest, undivided heart.

2) "And with fasting," not feasting, but foregoing even the eating of food until the heart was right with God.

3) "And with weeping," soft tears of regret for wrong.

4) "And with mourning," a beating on the breast with emotional resolve to turn to Jesus Christ for pardon and for forgiveness, as the Publican, Luke 18:13; Luke 23:48.

These four things are elements of genuine, earnest, sincere repentance, Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5; 2 Corinthians 7:10; See also Jeremiah 4:1; Hosea 12:6; Hosea 14:1.

Verse 13 admonishes them to rend or tear their hearts, not their garments, which they did for outward show or demonstration, Genesis 37:29; Joshua 7:6; Job 1:20. External repentance, a sorrow for getting caught in sin alone, is not genuine repentance, nor will it avail anything unless it is Godly repentance, involving an inner sorrow for the offense against God, and a resolve to turn from it and seek pardon of the wrong from God, who can and will forgive all who genuinely repent, Psalms 51:19; Ezekiel 36:26; 1 John 1:9. God will "turn from" or repent of the evil (evil judgment) already pronounced against sinners when they repent, Exodus 34:6; Zechariah 8:14.

Verse 14 asks who can tell whether at your repentance God may not turn away from the fierce judgment He has announced against you and restore enough blessings to the land for you to have plenty to eat and to restore the order of temple worship under the ministry of the priesthood? Zechariah 8:14. For "Salvation is of the Lord," Jonah 3:9;1 John 1:8-9; 1 John 2:1-2.

Verse 15 directs the blowing of the trumpets in Zion, by the priest, as provided by the Law, Numbers 10:3; Numbers 10:8. Such was done to convene all Israelites in the city of Jerusalem for a special message. This message was that the priests were to:

1) Sanctify a fast, and 2) Call a solemn assembly to inform the people more clearly of the seriousness of their rebellion against and disregard for His holy law which they had so gravely broken. Hezekiah called Judah and Israel to a similar time of sanctification, before the invasion of Sennacherib, 2 Chronicles 30:6; 2 Chronicles 30:8-9.

Verse 16 continues the charge to gather or assemble the people, the masses of Zion or Jerusalem, for a commitment to sanctification. None was exempt from the call or demand of sanctification if judgment was to be averted or longer deferred. The elders, the children, even those sucking the breast, the bride and the bridegroom, were called from their chambers of privacy and seclusion for personal sanctification or cleansing, through a time of mourning and genuine repentance, as provided by the law, Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:22; 2 Chronicles 20:13.

Verse 17 describes how the priests are to lead the service of public repentance and sanctification, by taking their position between the porch and the altar, saying, crying aloud, "Spare thy people O Lord, and give not thy people to reproach (as an object of reproach) that the heathen or nation should rule over them. Should they, the heathen, say among the people (of Israel and Judah), where is their God?" The priests are to appeal to God, saying, "you will not let your people be derided and mocked among the heathen, will you?" is the idea, 1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chronicles 8:12; Ezekiel 8:16; Matthew 23:35.

Verses 18-27

The Lord’s Response To Their Repentance

Verses 18-27:

Verse 18 affirms that at the time Judah and Israel shall bow in repentance, in the above described manner, the Lord (Jehovah) will be stirred to jealously for His land and to pity His people. He will no longer threaten and punish, but love and rescue them, Isaiah 65:24.

Verse 19 prophesies of God’s further response to His repentant people, in which He pledges that He will send them three necessities of life: corn, wine, and oil, with which their needs would be met and they would be satisfied, as in the case of Sennacherib, 2 Kings 19:20-21. He further pledged that thereafter He would no more make them to be an object of reproach or derision, scattered among the heathen, or nations as they have been since they rejected Jesus Christ as their savior or Messiah, John 1:11-12; Luke 21:20-24.

Verse 20 describes Israel’s condition when she shall have repented and God sends His Son, as King of kings and Lord of lords, to drive out and put down all heathen armed powers from the north and from the east and the west and the south, as in former days, Jeremiah 1:14-15; Zephaniah 2:13. It shall be consummated with the battle of Armageddon, v. 11; Joel 3:9; Joel 3:16; Joel 3:20; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:11-18. Renewed fertility shall then come to the land of Palestine, and great things are to be restored there, in a future golden era, Psalms 126:2-3.

Verse 21 calls upon Judah to "fear not" on account of the judgments, as formerly called upon to do in chapter one. They are now to rejoice at the destruction of the hosts of Israel’s enemies that the Lord shall destroy before them, and restore their land from the barrenness caused by the locusts, drought, and fire, and from all that they had typified, that should and had befallen Judah and Israel at this time, Psalms 126:2-3.

Verse 22 contains a direct appeal of God to His beasts of the field to "fear not," or languish no more, for they shall be no more in want. Verdent fields and springs of water are Divinely promised in fields and wildernesses. The vineyard and fig tree shall bear their fruit in repeated, continual abundance again, Zechariah 8:12.

Verse 23 prophesies of moderate former rains, general showers, not enough to destroy, but sufficient to give depth of moisture in fields and pastures, Isaiah 61:10; Habakkuk 3:18. Then the latter rains, to mature the fruits and grains, are also promised in the first month, the very time of their need, without delay. The mourning, because of the locusts, drought, and the barren desolation of the land were to depart at the restoration of their favor with God, Zechariah 8:12; Deuteronomy 11:14; Proverbs 16:15. Because of all this the children of Zion, lovers of God, in Jerusalem, where true worship had been offered, were to be glad and rejoice in the prosperity that came after they had turned back to their God.

Verse 24 enlarges the promise so that their threshing floors would be deeply covered with grain at threshing time and their presses (fats) would overflow with the juice of grapes (wine) and oil from the olive trees for drink, health, joy and healing of their wounds and sorrows, Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33.

Verse 25 continues, "I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten," including the damage done by the cankerworm, caterpillar, and palmer worm, the great army that God asserted, "I sent (commissioned) among you," to bring you to repentance for your rebellion against my laws, Joel 1:4; Joel 1:13-14. After David’s confession of personal sins, his suffering, sorrow, and conscious guilt ceased and He had restored joys of salvation and usefulness to God. This is a Divine lesson to be considered by all, Psalms 51:4-14.

Verse 26 promises plenty of food and certain satisfaction to a returning penitent people. This includes spiritual feasting, not merely physical plenty, as so often promised from God; It is written, "the meek shall eat and be satisfied," Psalms 22:26; Romans 9:33. They shall also "praise the Lord," express gratitude for His blessings, deliverance, and provisions for them, Psalms 107:2; Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:33.

Verse 27 declares that they shall "know," recognize, or comprehend that He is in the midst of them, Ezekiel 37:26-28. Even so Jesus has promised His continuous presence with and in His church as her people walk and work in obedience to Him, Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20; John 14:16-17; Revelation 1:12-18. Loss of fellowship in spiritual matters is greater than loss of a companion or a parent in divorce matters in the home. And restoration from a breach of Divine favor is sweeter than that of a broken family tie. They shall rejoice, be delivered from national exile forever. What a joy! 1 John 1:9. Their dishonor is gone forever!

Verses 28-29

Promise Of The Spirit On All Flesh

Verses 28, 29:

Verse 28 describes the Holy Spirit empowering of the church for her testimony to all nations, of the Gentiles, which is declared to have occurred on the Great Pentecost, Acts 2:16-18. This was after Israel and Judah’s return from the Babylonian captivity. The Holy Spirit seems to have been poured out upon, anointing or sanctifying the Jews only in Old Testament times; but with the empowering of the church, called from among the Gentiles, by our Lord, and established during His personal ministry, it was to be empowered by the special empowering and dedication on the first Pentecost, after the resurrection of our Lord, to preach the gospel to all nations, and all creatures thereafter, beginning at Jerusalem; The spirit fell, or was poured out upon "all flesh," faces, people, when they were there in Jerusalem that Pentecost day, from three continents (Africa, Europe and Asia) and from 17 nations, Acts 2:1-21; Matthew 4:12-17; John 15:16; John 15:27; Acts 10:37; Acts 10:41; Acts 10:44; Acts 11:17; Acts 15:13-15; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:26-27; John 14:16-17; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8. The special beginning, among the Jews, who became members of the early church of our Lord is described Acts 9:10-19; Acts 10:3; Acts 10:9-17; Acts 16:9-10; Acts 21:8-13.

Verse 29 reveals that Almighty God would by the outpouring of the Spirit upon "all flesh", all races, and all nations, cleanse and elevate obedient believers, even lowly servants, freemen, 1 Corinthians 7:22, and despised handmaids, to positions of witnessing and service to Him. Such was recalled from the day of Pentecost forward, as certified Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-21; Acts ch. 10, 21:8, 9, etc.

Verses 30-32

Signs Immediately Preceding The Second Coming Of Christ And

The Day Of The Lord

Verses 30-32:

Verse 30 describes dark, devastating signs, heralding the Day of the Lord, the time of Jacob’s trouble, (70th week) of God’s judgment, final earthly judgment on Israel, regathered in her own land; Convulsions of nature shall erupt from the heavens and upon the earth, resulting in bloodshed, fire and smoke in a revulsive manner. To those prepared to meet the Lord, it will mean full and final redemption; but to the unbelieving, it will mean earthly horrors for all, and painful physical death for most of earth’s remaining people, Isaiah 13:9-11; Isaiah 24:21-22.

Verse 31 further describes the tragic earthly and heavenly changes that shall occur approaching that terrible final day, of the fall of all heathen nations, Isaiah 24:23; Ezekiel 32:10; Matthew 24:29-30; Acts 2:19-20. That day, yet to come, shall end the Gentile dispensation and the church age.

Verse 32 offers final hope and assurance of physical and spiritual deliverance for all who "call on the name of the Lord," Jehovah, even to the end. For all who truly call, in penitent trust, shall be saved, ransomed, liberated, or rescued from all danger then and thereafter, pending against them, body and soul, Acts 2:21; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13. Of this Psalms 145:18-19 pledges "the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him---He also will hear (heed) their cry, and will save them."

In Israel, those who are delivered in the end, shall be only a remnant, called also an hundred and forty and four thousand (144,000) Jewish saints. These have received the Messiah, during the first 42 months of the 70th week of Jacob’s trouble, while the evening and morning oblations or sacrifices have been restored, before the man of Sin, the antichrist, causes the restored ancient worship to cease, Daniel 9:25-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:4-12; Revelation 7:1-8; Revelation 12:6-17. After this, this remnant of Israel shall be shadowed and shielded by the Lord for a time, times, and half-time, or 42 months, 31/2 years, in the wilderness of the mountains south of the Dead Sea, thought to be the city of Petra today, Revelation 12:14. This full redemption for every believer, and the remnant of national Israel, is to be recognized, only when Jesus returns to Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Isaiah 1:9; Amos 5:15; Romans 11:5; Acts 1:10-11.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Joel 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/joel-2.html. 1985.
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