3:12 Let the nations be roused and let them go up
to the valley of Jehoshaphat,
for there I will sit in judgment on all the surrounding nations.
Come, stomp the grapes, 2 for the winepress is full!
The vats overflow.
Indeed, their evil is great! 3
3:14 Crowds, great crowds are in the valley of decision,
for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision! 4
3:15 The sun and moon are darkened;
the stars withhold 5 their brightness.
3:16 The Lord roars from Zion;
The heavens 8 and the earth shake.
But the Lord is a refuge for his people;
he is a stronghold for the citizens 9 of Israel.
1 tn Heb “send.”
2 tn Heb “go down” or “tread.” The Hebrew term רְדוּ (rÿdu) may be from יָרַד (yarad, “to go down”) or from רָדָה (radah, “have dominion,” here in the sense of “to tread”). If it means “go down,” the reference would be to entering the vat to squash the grapes. If it means “tread,” the verb would refer specifically to the action of those who walk over the grapes to press out their juice. The phrase “the grapes” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
3 sn The immediacy of judgment upon wickedness is likened to the urgency required for a harvest that has reached its pinnacle of development. When the harvest is completely ripe, there can be no delay by the reapers in gathering the harvest. In a similar way, Joel envisions a time when human wickedness will reach such a heightened degree that there can be no further stay of divine judgment (cf. the “fullness of time” language in Gal 4:4).
4 sn The decision referred to here is not a response on the part of the crowd, but the verdict handed out by the divine judge.
5 tn Heb “gather in.”
7 tn Heb “he sounds forth his voice.”
9 tn Heb “sons.”