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Bible Commentaries
Joel 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1



Verse 1:

Verse 1 asserts, without apology, that God will once again bring to an end, this time, a final end, the captivity or bondage of both Judah and Jerusalem, after many days, Luke 21:24; Romans 11:26. See also Isaiah 11:10-12; Jeremiah 23:5-8; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Acts 15:15-17.

Verses 2-8

Judgment of Gentile Nations Ending Armageddon

Verses 2-8:

Verse 2 describes the drawing or gathering of all nations (armed forces of all Gentile nations) into the valley of Jehoshaphat, Zechariah 14:2-4. It is the valley just east of Jerusalem, or the Kedron. There He is to plead with them, or deal with them in judgment because of their persecution and enslavement of His people, Genesis 12:2-3; Ezekiel 38:22. And He shall judge them for parting, partitioning, or dividing of His land for their selfish greed.

Verse 3 lists a bill of indictments or lawless charges against these nations: They have "cast lots" for the Jewish people, buying and selling them as chattel in the market place, Obadiah 1:11; Nahum 3:10. They have given (exchanged) a boy (Jewish young man) for an harlot, a prostitute. In times of Gentile debauchery, the Gentiles have "given a girl," a Jewish girl, for a bottle of wine, for further debauching merriment, that they might wallow in drunkenness. This pictures the wretched treatment of the Israelites in slave­bondage to the Gentiles. A Jew boy was exchanged for an harlot and a Jew girl, considered of less value, was given away for raping and ravaging by other Gentiles for a drink of wine, Nahum 3:10.

Verse 4 begins a lament of offense against Tyre, Zidon, and all the Phoenecian coast of Palestine because of their sins against Him, Amos 1:6; Amos 1:9. To sin against Israel, God’s heritage, or against His church is tantamount to, or factually sinning against God, and may be expected to bring down His chastening or judgment upon the offenders. Genesis 12:2-3. Tyre, Zidon, and those mariners of the coastal area of Palestine, had done financial wrong against Israel for a long time, but not without a coming "pay-day," Ezekiel 25:15-17. Recompense or repayment was to come upon their own heads, Galatians 6:7-8.

Verse 5 further explained that this judgment shall fall because they have both plundered the temple of its silver and gold and stripped, robbed, the palaces and houses of the rich, and appropriated it to themselves, 2 Chronicles 21:16-17; 1 Kings 14:26; 1 Kings 15:18; 2 Kings 12:18; 2 Kings 14:14. They, as heathen Gentiles, often took the gold and silver as plunder from God’s temple and hung or displayed it with derision in their heathen temples; These riches really belonged to God, but they used them as if there were no living God to whom they should one day account, Hosea 2:8; Haggai 2:8; Daniel 5:1-4.

Verse 6 further charges these Gentile nations, gathered in battle array against God and Israel, in the valley of Jehoshaphat, v. 2, with slave-trading the children of Judah and Jerusalem, by selling them for deportation outside the borders of Palestine, so that they would never have an opportunity to redeem their lands. They became captive Jews, cut off from all hope of return, except by Divine intervention, 2 Kings 5:2; Ezekiel 27:13. Though it was prophesied that it should occur, it did not make the doers of the deed blameless, any more than Judas, the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, elders, and Jews of Israel were blameless for crucifying the Lord. See? Luke 21:24.

Verse 7 contains a direct promise from God to these assembled heathen Gentile nations, that He would rouse or regather all of His chosen people of natural Israel, and recompense upon them, the Gentiles, His judgment-wrath because of their persecution and ill treatment of His people while they had been among them, Matthew 25:32-46; Psalms 96:13.

Verse 8 threatens that He (Israel’s God) would sell their (the Gentiles) sons and daughters into the hands of Judah and that Judah would in turn sell them to the Sabaeans, a people far off or far away from the land of Judah, and Palestine, Job 1:15. This was in keeping with His covenant with Abraham and the fathers of faith in olden days. Men reap and nations reap as they sow, Galatians 6:7-8; Matthew 7:1-2. The Sabaeans were at the most extreme remote place in Arabia, Jeremiah 6:10.

Verses 9-16

The Day Of The Lord, A Retrospect

Verses 9-16:

Verse 9 calls upon the gathered Gentile nations to announce, proclaim, or herald a call for their people to arm to the hilt, prepare to give it their best, from their weakest to strongest men, to enter this Armageddon holocaust, Isaiah 2:10-22; Amos 5:18-20, v. 9-14 describes the Armageddon, while verse 15, 16 are parallel with Joel 2:30-32. After an interlude Joel 3:1-8, there is a resumption of the subject matter of Joel 2:9-32, all of which revolves around earth’s final great battle that shall witness the coming and conquering of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Revelation 19:11-16.

Verse 10 calls Gentile nations, with irony and seeming sarcasm, to "beat their plowshares into swords and their pruning hooks into spears," and cause their weak, anemic ones to say, "I am strong." Do your best at arousal and motivation, God says to the Gentile war-lords. This is the reverse of later times when the delivered Jews shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, under the golden millennial era of the reign of Jesus Christ over all the earth, Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3.

Verse 11 continues God’s Divine, direct address to the heathen to arouse or hasten themselves, become wide awake, hasten and march up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, the valley of the meeting of all nations, v. 2. Heathen wars began with religious ceremonies, Isaiah 8:9; Ezekiel 38:7; Jeremiah 6:4; 1 Samuel 7:8-9. But their gods could not help them because of their lifelessness, Psalms 115:5-9. The verse ends with a cry from Israel for Divine help in this battle, which was granted, Revelation 19:11-21.

Verse 12 calls once again upon the heathen or Gentiles to wake up and come up to the challenge in the valley of Jehoshaphat as in v. 2; 2 Chronicles 20:26. It is here that the blood of the battle-slain shall come up to the horses’ bridle, just outside Jerusalem. So gory shall be the end of it, Revelation 14:20; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 20:8. The heathen shall then rage and the people imagine a vain thing, Psalms 2:4; Psalms 110:5-6.

Verse 13 calls for a thrusting in of the sickle for a reap of the harvest of sin’s great judgment upon the heathen nations, for the press is described with overflowing juice and dregs of a bitter harvest of sin and wickedness, Revelation 14:15. The wicked are filling up the measure or container of their iniquity. It will hold no more, Genesis 15:16. It is sin’s last harvest time on earth, Isaiah 63:3; Lamentations 1:15.

Verse 14 describes immense multitudes gathered in the valley of decision, as the "Day of the Lord", earth’s last pre-millennial battle was at hand, with milling hordes of heathen gathered in battle array, soon to furnish their carcasses and stench, food for the devouring carrion birds of the air, Revelation 19:17-19; Revelation 19:21. It is to occur at the ancient hill and valley of Megiddo, west of the Jordan, in the plain of Jezreel, a destruction to be completed as the battle seems to move into Moab and Idumaea near 80 miles to the southeast, Zechariah 14:2; Isaiah 63:1-6.

Verse 15 describes again the dark day when the planets, sun, moon and stars, shall cease to give light, approaching the day of doom, as in Joel 2:20; Joel 2:31; Luke 21:25; Matthew 25:29. Beyond these statements of this dreadful hour, little or nothing seems to be revealed.

Verse 16 declares that the Lord (Jehovah) shall roar out of Zion and Jerusalem, like an aroused lion against an intruder. So ferocious shall be the sound that "the heavens and the earth shall shake," more furiously than an earthquake under heaven. He came forth against His foe, who has fought His people from Megiddo, some 50 miles north, up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, lying alongside Jerusalem to the east, where blood shall shortly flow to the horses bridle, Revelation 14:20. See Jeremiah 25:30; Amos 1:2; Amos 3:8; Psalms 18:13; Habakkuk 3:10-11. But the Lord will be the refuge of His saints in that hour, Psalms 46:1.

Verses 17-21

Full Kingdom Blessings

Verses 17-21:

Verse 17 asserts that then all Israel will know or recognize that He is the Jehovah (Messiah) their Elohim (trinitarian) God residing in Zion, as asserted Isaiah 60:16; Hosea 2:20. The unclean unholy, or heathen Gentile shall not pass through it, to defile it, Isaiah 35:8; Isaiah 52:1; Zechariah 14:16; Zechariah 14:21. Out of Jerusalem and Zion Jehovah will: 1) destroy His enemies, 2) protect His people, and 3) purify His sanctuary.

Verse 18 describes blessings on Israel in the days, as follows:

1) Mountains will produce abundance of new wine.

2) The hills shall flow with milk from livestock.

3) All the rivers will flow with fresh water.

4) A fountain shall well up out of the house of the Lord, Psalms 46:4; Ezekiel 47:1; Revelation 22:1-2.

5) They shall water the valley of Shittim, of Acacia trees. Literally, material blessings, Divinely given, shall cover all the land of Israel with fertility, happy times and prosperity. Even the arid desert will bloom with blessings from Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:8.

Verse 19 contrasts heathen, Gentile countries of Egypt and Edom, who had oppressed God’s people, with violence and bloodshed as experiencing a parallel time of desolation. Edom had repeatedly done evil to Judah and Israel and is to suffer for it yet, 2 Chronicles 21:8-10; Isaiah 19:1; Jeremiah 49:17; Obadiah 1:10; Isaiah 63:1.

Verse 20 pledges that Judah who gave the Messiah (Genesis 49:10; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6) shall dwell, continually reside forever, shall never be destroyed or again dispersed from her heritage, Amos 9:15.

Verse 21 concludes with a vindication for Judah who has turned again to Him, in harmony with His direction, 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9. Jehovah promises that He will "wipe away," cleanse, or purge all of Judah’s former blood guiltiness, that had been unpurged before, Isaiah 1:15; Jesus saves from guilt, in order to save from punishment, and restore His people to full favor and fellowship with God, Matthew 1:21; Titus 2:14; Luke 1:32-33.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Joel 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/joel-3.html. 1985.
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