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Joel 3:1-5

Context
The Lord Plans to Judge the Nations

3:1 (4:1) 1  For look! In those 2  days and at that time

I will return the exiles 3  to Judah and Jerusalem. 4 

3:2 Then I will gather all the nations,

and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. 5 

I will enter into judgment 6  against them there

concerning my people Israel who are my inheritance, 7 

whom they scattered among the nations.

They partitioned my land,

3:3 and they cast lots for my people.

They traded 8  a boy for a prostitute;

they sold a little girl for wine so they could drink. 9 

3:4 Why are you doing these things to me, Tyre and Sidon? 10 

Are you trying to get even with me, land of Philistia? 11 

I will very quickly repay you for what you have done! 12 

3:5 For you took my silver and my gold

and brought my precious valuables to your own palaces. 13 

1 sn Joel 3:1 in the English Bible is 4:1 in the Hebrew text (BHS). See also the note at 2:28.

2 tc The MT and LXX read “in those days,” while MurXII reads “in that day.”

3 tc The Kethib reads אָשִׁיב (’ashiv, “return the captivity [captives]), while the Qere is אָשׁוּב (’ashuv, “restore the fortunes”). Many modern English versions follow the Qere reading. Either reading seems to fit the context. Joel refers to an exile of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem in 3:2-6 and their return from exile in 3:7. On the other hand, 2:25-26 describes the reversal of judgment and restoration of the covenant blessings. However, the former seems to be the concern of the immediate context.

4 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

5 sn There is a play on words here. Jehoshaphat in Hebrew means “the Lord has judged,” and the next line in v. 2 further explicates this thought. The location of this valley is uncertain (cf. v. 12). Many interpreters have understood the Valley of Jehoshaphat to be the Kidron Valley, located on the east side of old Jerusalem. Since this is described as a scene of future messianic activity and judgment, many Jews and Muslims have desired to be buried in the vicinity, a fact attested to in modern times by the presence of many graves in the area. A variation of this view is mentioned by Eusebius, Onomasticon 1:10. According to this view, the Valley of Jehoshaphat is located in the Hinnom Valley, on the south side of the old city. Yet another view is held by many modern scholars, who understand the reference to this valley to be one of an idealized and nonliteral scene of judgment.

6 tn Heb “I will execute judgment.”

7 tn Heb “concerning my people and my inheritance Israel.”

8 tn Heb “gave.”

9 sn Heb “and they drank.” Joel vividly refers to a situation where innocent human life has little value; its only worth is its use in somehow satisfying selfish appetites of wicked people who have control over others (cf. Amos 2:6 and 8:6).

10 tn Heb “What [are] you [doing] to me, O Tyre and Sidon?”

11 tn Or “districts.”

12 tn Heb “quickly, speedily, I will return your recompense on your head.” This is an idiom for retributive justice and an equitable reversal of situation.

13 tn Or perhaps, “temples.”



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