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Joel 2:7-8

Context

2:7 They 1  charge 2  like warriors;

they scale walls like soldiers. 3 

Each one proceeds on his course;

they do not alter 4  their path.

2:8 They do not jostle one another; 5 

each of them marches straight ahead. 6 

They burst through 7  the city defenses 8 

and do not break ranks.

1 sn Since the invaders are compared to warriors, this suggests that they are not actually human, but instead an army of locusts.

2 tn Heb “run.”

3 tn Heb “men of battle.”

4 tc The translation reads יְעַבְּתוּן (yÿabbÿtun) for MT יְעַבְּטוּן (yÿabbÿtun). The verb found in MT (עָבַט, ’avat) means “take or give a pledge” (cf. Deut 15:6, 8; 24:10) and does not fit the context. Some scholars have proposed various emendations: (1) יְעָוְּתוּן (yÿavvÿtun, “they make crooked”); (2) יָטּוּן (yattun, “they turn aside”); (3) יָעַוּוּן (yaavvun, “they err”); and (4) יְעָבְּתוּן (adopted in the present translation) from the root I עָבַת (’avat, “to twist, pervert”) or II עָבַת (’avat, “to change, abandon”). KBL adopt the latter option, but the only biblical evidence for this is the problematic reference in Joel 2:7. Another option is to view it as a variant of the root חבט (khavat, “turn aside from”), a meaning attested for the Arabic cognate. The difference in spelling would be due to the interchange of the guttural letters khet (ח) and ayin (ע). This may lay behind LXX rendering ἐκκλίνωσιν (ekklinwsin; cf. Syriac Peshitta nstwn and Vg declinabunt). See S. F. Whitley, “‘bt in Joel 2, 7,” Bib 65 (1984): 101-2.

5 tn “each one does not crowd his brother.”

6 tn Heb “each warrior walks in his own course.”

7 tn Heb “they fall upon.” This line has been interpreted in two different ways: (1) although they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded (KJV), or (2) when they “burst through” the city’s defenses, they will not break ranks (RSV, NASB, NIV, NIrV).

8 tn Heb “missile” or “javelin.” This term appears to function as a synecdoche for the city’s defenses as a whole (cf. NASB, NIV, TEV). Some scholars instead understand the reference to be an aqueduct by which the locusts (or armies) entered the city.



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