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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Joel 3

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Joe 3:1. The prophet drops back to fleshly Israel and again refers to the return from captivity. Judah and Jerusalem. are named because the former was the 2tribe kingdom that had Jerusalem for its capital, and it was the part of the Jewish nation that went last into the captivity.

Verse 2

Joe 3:2. Valley of Jehoshaphat is a figure of speech intended to mean the judgment of God upon the nations that had oppressed His people. Moffatt renders the term valley of Jehoshaphat by “Judgment Valley," and that agrees with the figurative sense of the term attributed to it above.

Verse 3

Joe 3:3. This verse pertains to the disrespect that the heathen nations had imposed on the people of God. They treated them as if they were mere items of personal property which could he handled solely for their value in a business transaction.

Verse 4

Joe 3:4. Tyre and Sidon were among the lesser cities that had mistreated the people of Israel. Wilt ye render me a recompense is a way of saying that the wicked cities could never fully repay the Lord for the injustices they had heaped upon His people. If ye recompense me means that even If these cities thought they could make things right by some temporal offer, it would not meet the just demands of the case. Were they to attempt any such offer their worthless articles would be rejected.

Verse 5

Joe 3:5. It is bad enough to take from another bis personal possessions unlawfully, but it is much worse when it is done with the intention of making an evil use of them. These heathen cities had stolen the precious metals out of the land of Israel and used them in their idolatrous worship.

Verse 6

Joe 3:6. Almost all countries dealt in slaves in ancient times. These cities had kidnapped the young people of Jerusalem and sold them for service to the Greeks who were located near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Verse 7

Joe 3:7. All of God’s people who had been enslaved were promised their freedom. Return your recompense denotes some kind of judgment that would be sent upon these wicked cities for their mistreatment of the Lord’s people.

Verse 8

Joe 3:8. Again we see that slavery was a traffic in those times, and these wicked cities are threatened with be¬ing "paid with their own coin” by hav¬ing their children sold as slaves. The Sabeans were a people living a great distance south of Asia, hence the prediction means to warn these cities that when their own children were taken from them, they would be sold and transported far away,

Verse 9

Joe 3:9. The preceding chapter followed a prediction of the return of fleshly Israel from captivity, by one of the introduction of the Gospel. The present chapter does about the same thing, for the verse of this paragraph begins a highly figurative prophecy of the Gospel Era, and it is the subject through verse 18. Prepare is rendered "sanctify” in the margin, and Strong's lexicon agrees with it. The thought is that a holy war was to be proclaimed, not one to be waged with literal steel weapons.

Verse 10

Joe 3:10. This verse might seem to disagree with the foregoing comments, but it will be seen that it Is a figura¬tive description of the conflict. Men who had been interested only in tem¬poral pursuits such as agriculture or carnal warfare, were to turn their energies into another direction. Let the weak say I am strong. This Is the very thing that Paul tells Christians to be as we read in Ephesians 6: 10. Under the Gospel administration, those who might he regarded as weaklings in temporal activities, may be able to feel strong by the spiritual help from the Lord.

Verse 11

Joe 3:11. All ye heathen is an invitation for all nations to come and partake of the blessings offered by the Lord of heaven and earth, Cause thy mighty one is rendered "the Lord shall bring down” in the margin, which agrees with the thought in the general context of the passage.

Verse 12

Joe 3:12. Valley of Jehoshaphat is explained at verse 2. The heathen or nations in general were to be brought under the rule of the Lord, put forth through the Gospel that is intended for both Jew and Gentile.

Verse 13

Verse 13. A sickle and wine press are instruments used to gather and make use of the products of the land. When used figuratively it denotes that an important ingathering is going to take place, and in the present case it means the harvest of souls gathered by the reapers for the Gospel system. These souls were to be rescued from a life of wickedness which was great, and that can be reversed only by di¬vine truth.

Verse 14

Joe 3:14. Valley of decision is virtually the same as "Jehoshaphat” in verse 2. Sinners of all nations were to be called upon to submit to the decision or judgment of God against all doers of unrighteousness.

Verse 15

Joe 3:15. This appearance among the heavenly bodies identifies the whole passage as a prediction of the church (chapter 2: 31 and Acts 2: 20).

Verse 16

Joe 3:16. A roaring voice usually impresses us with being something fierce or savage; but it also means a voice that is strong and reassuring. Such was to be the kind of voice the Lord would utter from Jerusalem. This place is a contrast with that from which the Jewish law was given which was Mt. Sinai. Zion was a particular spot In Jerusalem that was t.he seat of the government and where David had his headquarters. Heavens and earth shake refers to the general shakeup among the nations that was to be caused by the introduction of the Gos¬pel. This shaking was to cease and leave behind it a kingdom which can¬not he moved (Hebrews 12: 28), and it was to be the hope of the people of God.

Verse 17

Joe 3:17. Mountain in symbolic language means a government, and in the present passage it means the government of Christ, AYi strangers pass through means literally that the na¬tion would not be bodily taken over by a foreign army as it was done by Babylon. Spiritually it denotes that no stranger (one of the outside world) would enter this kingdom until he renounced his past relationship and became a fellow citizen (Ephesians 2: 19).

Verse 18

Joe 3:18. All of these figures of speech refer to the spiritual blessings to be given through the kingdom of Christ. They were to he as water in a thirsty land, and their fountain will reach even to the valley of Shittim. Funk and Wagnails Standard Bible Dictionary says the following of this place: “Some dry, thirsty valley where acactas (a desert plant) were known to flourish is meant.” The point is that the fountain of the water of life will be so full that it will flow and reach even, to the regions formerly very dry.

Verse 19

Joe 3:19. The passage resumes briefly the subject of ancient Israel and the countries that mistreated them. These persecuting groups were destined to feel the weight of God's wrath for their mistreatment of His people.

Verse 20

Joe 3:20. Judah has the meaning of spiritual Israel, and It is a repetition of the prediction that the new king¬dom was to "stand for ever” (Daniel 2; 44).

Verse 21

Joe 3:21. Cleanse their blood means the cure of idolatry if applied to fleshly Israel, and to the remission of sins when applied to spiritual Israel.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Joel 3". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/joel-3.html. 1952.
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