1 Blow the trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm on my holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD comes. It is near at hand,
2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness. As the morning spreading upon the mountains, so there is a great and strong people. There has never been the like, neither shall there be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
3 A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing shall escape them.
4 Their appearance is as the appearance of horses. And as horsemen, so they shall run.
5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains they shall leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
6 Before their face the people shall be much pained. All faces shall gather blackness.
7 They shall run like mighty men. They shall climb the wall like men of war. They shall each march on his ways and shall not break their ranks,
8 Neither shall one thrust another. They shall each walk in his path. And when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
9 They shall run to and fro in the city. They shall run upon the wall. They shall climb upon the houses. They shall enter in at the windows like a thief.
10 The earth shall quake before them. The heavens shall tremble. The sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
11 And the LORD will utter his voice before his army, for his camp is very great, and he is strong who executes his word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible. Who can endure it?
12 "Yet even now," says the LORD, "turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning."
13 And rend your heart and not your garments, and turn to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents of the evil.
14 Who knows if he will return and repent and leave a blessing behind him, even a food-offering and a drink-offering to the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion. Sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly.
16 Gather the people. Sanctify the congregation. Assemble the elders. Gather the children and those who nurse from the breasts. Let the bridegroom go forth from his room and the bride out of her chamber.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD, and do not give your heritage to reproach so that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the people, 'Where is their God?'"
18 Then the LORD will be jealous for his land and pity his people.
19 And the LORD will answer and say to his people, "Behold, I will send you grain, wine, and oil, and you shall be satisfied with it, and I will no longer make you a reproach among the heathen.
20 But I will remove far from you the northern army and drive him into a land barren and desolate with his face toward the east sea and his back parts toward the utmost sea, and his odious scent shall come up and his ill savor shall come up, because he has worked proudly."
21 Do not fear, O land. Be glad and rejoice, for the LORD will do great things.
22 Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness spring, the tree bears its fruit, and the fig-tree and the vine yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the former rain moderately. He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, in the first month.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 "And I will restore to you the years that the swarming-locust, the licking-locust, the ravaging-locust, and the cutting-locust consumed—my great army which I sent among you.
26 And you shall eat in plenty, be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never be ashamed.
27 And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel and that I am the LORD your God, and no one else. And my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
29 And also upon the men-servants and upon the women-servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be delivered. For on mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, and in the remnant whom the LORD calls."
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
In this chapter a further account is given of the judgment of the various locusts, or of those who are designed by them (verses 1-11); the people of the Jews are called to repentance, humbleness, and fasting, urged from the grace and goodness of God, his jealousy and pity for his people, and the answer of prayer that might be expected from him upon this, even to the removal of the calamity (verses 12-20); a prophecy of good things, both temporal and spiritual, in the times of the Messiah, is delivered out as matter and occasion of great joy (verses 21-27); and another concerning the outpouring of the Spirit, which was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (verses 28-29); and the chapter is concluded with the judgments and desolations that should come upon the land of Judea after this, for their rejection of Christ, though the remnant according to the election of grace should be delivered and saved from the general destruction (verses 30-32).
[v.10] - Reference, Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24.
[v.13] - "rend your heart and not your garments" - Reference, Psalm 62:8, 95:8.
[v.20a] - "the northern army" - This is likely an allusion to the Chaldeans and the Assyrians who were to the north of Judea.
[v.20b] - "with his face towards the east sea, and his hinder part towards the utmost sea" - That is, from the Salt Sea (east of the Jews) to the Mediterranean Sea.
[v.25] - "the swarming-locust, the licking-locust, the ravaging-locust, and the cutting-locust" - See the note for Joel 1:4.
[v.28-32] - Quoted in Acts 2:17-21.
[v.31] - Reference, Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24.
[v.32] - Quoted in Romans 10:13.