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Joel 2:28-29

Context
An Outpouring of the Spirit

2:28 (3:1) 1  After all of this 2 

I will pour out my Spirit 3  on all kinds of people. 4 

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; 5 

your young men will see prophetic visions.

2:29 Even on male and female servants

I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

1 sn Beginning with 2:28, the verse numbers through 3:21 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 2:28 ET = 3:1 HT, 2:29 ET = 3:2 HT, 2:30 ET = 3:3 HT, 2:31 ET = 3:4 HT, 2:32 ET = 3:5 HT, 3:1 ET = 4:1 HT, etc., through 3:21 ET = 4:21 HT. Thus Joel in the Hebrew Bible has 4 chapters, the 5 verses of ch. 3 being included at the end of ch. 2 in the English Bible.

2 tn Heb “Now it will be after this.”

3 sn This passage plays a key role in the apostolic explanation of the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:17-21. Peter introduces his quotation of this passage with “this is that spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16; cf. the similar pesher formula used at Qumran). The New Testament experience at Pentecost is thus seen in some sense as a fulfillment of this Old Testament passage, even though that experience did not exhaustively fulfill Joel’s words. Some portions of Joel’s prophecy have no precise counterpart in that experience. For example, there is nothing in the experience recorded in Acts 2 that exactly corresponds to the earthly and heavenly signs described in Joel 3:3-4. But inasmuch as the messianic age had already begun and the “last days” had already commenced with the coming of the Messiah (cf. Heb 1:1-2), Peter was able to point to Joel 3:1-5 as a text that was relevant to the advent of Jesus and the bestowal of the Spirit. The equative language that Peter employs (“this is that”) stresses an incipient fulfillment of the Joel passage without precluding or minimizing a yet future and more exhaustive fulfillment in events associated with the return of Christ.

4 tn Heb “all flesh.” As a term for humanity, “flesh” suggests the weakness and fragility of human beings as opposed to God who is “spirit.” The word “all” refers not to all human beings without exception (cf. NAB, NASB “all mankind”; NLT “all people”), but to all classes of human beings without distinction (cf. NCV).

5 tn Heb “your old men will dream dreams.”



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