2:1 Blow the trumpet 1 in Zion;
sound the alarm signal on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land shake with fear,
for the day of the Lord is about to come.
Indeed, 2 it is near! 3
2:30 I will produce portents both in the sky 4 and on the earth –
blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
2:31 The sunlight will be turned to darkness
and the moon to the color of blood, 5
before the day of the Lord comes –
that great and terrible day!
3:15 The sun and moon are darkened;
the stars withhold 6 their brightness.
1 tn The word translated “trumpet” here (so most English versions) is the Hebrew שׁוֹפָר (shofar). The shophar was a wind instrument made from a cow or ram’s horn and used as a military instrument for calling people to attention in the face of danger or as a religious instrument for calling people to occasions of communal celebration.
2 tn Or “for.”
3 sn The interpretation of 2:1-11 is very difficult. Four views may be mentioned here. (1) Some commentators understand this section to be describing a human invasion of Judah on the part of an ancient army. The exact identity of this army (e.g., Assyrian or Babylonian) varies among interpreters depending upon issues of dating for the book of Joel. (2) Some commentators take the section to describe an eschatological scene in which the army according to some is human, or according to others is nonhuman (i.e., angelic). (3) Some interpreters argue for taking the section to refer to the potential advent in the fall season of a severe east wind (i.e., Sirocco) that would further exacerbate the conditions of the land described in chapter one. (4) Finally, some interpreters understand the section to continue the discussion of locust invasion and drought described in chapter one, partly on the basis that there is no clear exegetical evidence in 2:1-11 to suggest a shift of referent from that of chapter one.
4 tn Or “in the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
5 tn Heb “to blood,” but no doubt this is intended to indicate by metonymy the color of blood rather than the substance itself. The blood red color suggests a visual impression here – something that could be caused by fires, volcanic dust, sandstorms, or other atmospheric phenomena.
6 tn Heb “gather in.”