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Joel 3:9-12

Context
Judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat

3:9 Proclaim this among the nations:

“Prepare for a holy war!

Call out the warriors!

Let all these fighting men approach and attack! 1 

3:10 Beat your plowshares 2  into swords,

and your pruning hooks 3  into spears! 4 

Let the weak say, ‘I too am a warrior!’ 5 

3:11 Lend your aid 6  and come,

all you surrounding nations,

and gather yourselves 7  to that place.”

Bring down, O Lord, your warriors! 8 

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.

1 tn Heb “draw near and go up.”

2 sn Instead of referring to the large plow as a whole, the plowshare is simply the metal tip which actually breaks the earth and cuts the furrow.

3 sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle.

4 sn This conversion of farming instruments to instruments of war is the reverse of Isa 2:4 (cf. Mic 4:3), where military weapons are transformed into tools for farming. Isaiah describes a time of kingdom blessing and prosperity, whereas Joel describes a time of eschatological conflict and judgment.

5 sn The “weak” individual mentioned here is apparently the farmer who has little or no military prowess or prior fighting experience. Under ordinary circumstances such a person would be ill-prepared for assuming the role of a soldier. However, in the scene that Joel is describing here even the most unlikely candidate will become a participant to be reckoned with in this final conflict.

6 tn This Hebrew verb is found only here in the OT; its meaning is uncertain. Some scholars prefer to read here עוּרוּ (’uru, “arouse”) or חוּשׁוּ (khushu, “hasten”).

7 tc The present translation follows the reading of the imperative הִקָּבְצוּ (hiqqavÿtsu) rather than the perfect with vav (ו) consecutive וְנִקְבָּצוּ (vÿniqbbatsu) of the MT.

8 tc Some commentators prefer to delete the line “Bring down, O Lord, your warriors,” understanding it to be a later addition. But this is unnecessary. Contrary to what some have suggested, a prayer for the Lord’s intervention is not out of place here.



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