God's judgments against the enemies of his people, 1-8. God will be known in his judgment, 9-17. His blessing upon the church, 18-21.
1 "For behold, in those days and in that time, when I bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will also gather all nations and bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat. I will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and divided my land.
3 And they have cast lots for my people, have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine so that they might drink.
4 "And what do you even have to do with me, O Tyre, Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? Will you render me a recompense? And if you recompense me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense upon your own head, 5 Because you have taken my silver and my gold and have carried into your temples my good, desirable things. 6 You have sold the children of Judah and the children of Jerusalem to the Grecians, so that you might remove them far from their border. 7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place where you have sold them and will return your recompense upon your own head. 8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off. For the LORD has spoken it."
9 Proclaim this among the Gentiles: "Prepare for war. Wake up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near. Let them come up.
10 Beat your plow-shares into swords and your pruning-hooks into spears. Let the weak say, 'I am strong.'
11 Assemble yourselves and come, all you heathen, and gather yourselves together around." Cause your mighty ones to come down there, O LORD.
12 "Let the heathen be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the heathen on every side.
13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great."
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
16 The LORD will also roar out of Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake. But the LORD will be the hope of his people and the strength of the children of Israel.
17 "And you shall know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no strangers shall pass through her anymore.
18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and shall water the valley of Shittim.
19 Egypt shall be a desolation and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
20 But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed. For the LORD dwells in Zion."
Matthew Henry Commentary - Joel, Chapter 3[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter, which some make the fourth, contains a prophecy of God's judgments on all the antichristian nations at the time of the Jews' conversion, and the reasons of them (verses 1-3); a threatening of Tyre and Zidon, by way of retaliation, for carrying the riches of the Jews into their temples, and selling their persons to the Greeks (verses 4-8); an alarm to prepare for the battle of Armageddon, or the destruction that shall be made in the valley of Jehoshaphat (verses 9-15); and after that an account of the happy state of the church of Christ, their safety and security, plenty, prosperity, and purity, to the end of the world (verses 16-21).
[v.2] - "the valley of Jehoshaphat" - This is a valley near Jerusalem that was likely named after Jehoshaphat because he either built or did some great works there. It is also possible that no proper name was intended here, but rather the valley be named, "the valley of judgment," from the Hebrew word, Yhowshaphat (yeh-ho-shaw-fawt'), which means Yahweh-judged. In that case, Jehoshaphat would signify the judgment of God.
[v.12] - "the valley of Jehoshaphat" - See the note for verse 2.
[v.14] - "the valley of decision" - From John Gill's Exposition: "The same with the valley of Jehoshaphat before mentioned; which shows that not any valley of that name is intended, but a certain place so called from the judgments of God in it; and here named 'the valley of decision,' because here their judgment will be determined... and at this time the controversy between God, and his people's enemies, will be decided, and at an end." The word decision has also been interpreted as concision (from the Latin Vulgate), as in the valley of concision, where the nations gathered together in it will be cut to pieces. It can also be interpreted as threshing, as in the valley of threshing, where the enemies of the Jews will be threshed, or beaten soundly, for the Hebrew word, charuts (khaw-roots'), refers to a threshing instrument used by the Jews.
[v.15] - Reference, Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24.