BOOK ENDS. Seraphim, April 2009.
JB JOEL Chapter 1
1:1 The word of Yahweh that was addressed to Joel son of Pethuel.
- THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS
- A LITURGY OF MOURNING AND ENTREATY
- Lamentation over the ruin of the country
1:2 Listen to this, you elders; all inhabitants of the country, attend. Has anything like this ever happened in your day, or in your fathers’ days?
1:3 Tell it to your sons, let your sons tell it to their sons, and their sons to a generation after them.
1:4 What the gnawer has left, the grown locust has devoured, what the grown locust has left, the hopper has devoured, what the hopper has left, the shearer has devoured.[*a]
1:5 Awake, drunkards, and weep! All you who drink wine, lament for that new wine: it has been dashed from your lips.
1:6 For a nation has invaded my country, mighty and innumerable; its teeth are the teeth of lions, it has the fangs of a lioness.
1:7 It has laid waste my vines and torn my fig trees to pieces; it has stripped them clean and cut them down, their branches have turned white.
1:8 Mourn like a virgin wearing sackcloth for her young man betrothed to her.
1:9 Oblation and libation[*b] have vanished from the house of Yahweh. The priests, the ministers of Yahweh, are in mourning.
1:10 Wasted lie the fields, the fallow is in mourning. For the corn has been laid waste, the wine fails, the fresh oil dries up.
1:11 Stand dismayed, you farmers, wail, you vinedressers, for the wheat, for the barley; the harvest of the field has been ruined.
1:12 The vine has withered, the fig tree wilts away; pomegranate, and palm, and apple, every tree in the field is drooping. Yes, gladness has faded among the sons of men.
- A call to repentance and prayer
1:13 Priests, put on sackcloth and lament. Ministers of the altar, wail. Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God. For the house of our God has been deprived of oblation and libation.
1:14 Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; elders, call together all the inhabitants of the country to the house of Yahweh your God. Cry out to Yahweh,
1:15 ‘Oh, what a day! For the day of Yahweh is near, it comes as a devastation from Shaddai.'[*c]
1:16 Has not the food disappeared before our eyes? Have not joy and gladness vanished from the house of our God?
1:17 Seeds shrivel under their clods; the barns are broken down, the granaries lie in ruins, for lack of harvest.
1:18 What mourning from the beasts! The herds of cattle wander bewildered because they have no pasture. Even the flocks of sheep must bear their punishment.
1:19 To you, Yahweh, I cry: fire has devoured the pastures on the heath, flame has burnt up every tree in the orchard.
1:20 Even the wild beasts wait anxiously for you, for the watercourses have run dry, and fire has devoured the pastures on the heath.
JB JOEL Chapter 2
- The day of Yahweh and the present calamity
2:1 Sound the trumpet in Zion, give the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the country tremble, for the day of Yahweh is coming, yes, it is near.
2:2 Day of darkness and gloom, day of cloud and blackness. Like the dawn there spreads across the mountains a vast and mighty host, such as has never been before, such as will never be again to the remotest ages.
The invading army
2:3 In their van the fire devours, in their rear a flame consumes. The country is like a garden of Eden ahead of them and a desert waste behind them. Nothing escapes them.
2:4 They look like horses, like chargers they gallop on,
2:5 with a racket like the clatter of chariots they hurtle over the mountain tops, with a crackling like a blazing fire devouring the stubble, a mighty army in battle array.
2:6 At the sight of them the peoples are appalled and every face grows pale.
2:7 Like fighting men they press forward, like warriors scale the walls, each marching straight ahead, not turning from his path;
2:8 they never jostle each other, each marches straight ahead: arrows fly, they still press forward, without breaking ranks.
2:9 They hurl themselves at the city, they leap on to its walls, climb to the housetops, and make their way through windows like marauders.
A vision of the day of Yahweh
2:10 As they come on, the earth quakes, the skies tremble, sun and moon grow dark, the stars lose their brilliance.
2:11 Yahweh makes his voice heard at the head of his army, and indeed his regiments are innumerable, all-powerful is the one that carries out his orders, for great is the day of Yahweh, and very terrible-who can face it?
- A call to repentance
2:12 ‘But now, now-it is Yahweh who speaks-come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’
2:13 Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to Yahweh your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.
2:14 Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent, will not leave a blessing as he passes, oblation and libation for Yahweh your God?
2:15 Sound the trumpet in Zion! Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,
2:16 call the people together, summon the community, assemble the elders, gather the children, even the infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom and the bride her alcove.
2:17 Between vestibule and altar let the priests, the ministers of Yahweh, lament. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, Yahweh! Do not make your heritage a thing of shame, a byword for the nations. Why should it be said among the nations,
“Where is their God?”‘
- THE PRAYER ANSWERED
2:18 Then Yahweh, jealous on behalf of his land, took pity on his people.
The plague ceases
2:19 Yahweh spoke in answer to his people, ‘Now I send you corn and wine and oil, until you have enough. Never again shall I make you a thing of shame for the nations.
2:20 I will drive the invader from the north far away from you and drive him into an arid, desolate land, his vanguard to the eastern sea, his rearguard to the western sea. He will give off a stench, give off a foul stink.’ (For he has done great things.)
A vision of plenty
2:21 O soil, do not be afraid; be glad, rejoice, for Yahweh has done great things.
2:22 Beasts of the field, do not be afraid; the pastures on the heath are green again, the trees bear fruit, vine and fig tree yield abundantly.
2:23 Sons of Zion, be glad, rejoice in Yahweh your God; for he has given you the autumn rain, since he is just, and has poured the rains down for you, the autumn and spring rain as before.
2:24 The threshing-floors will be full of grain, the vats overflow with wine and oil.
2:25 ‘I will make up to you for the years devoured by grown locust and hopper by shearer and young locust, my great army which I sent to invade you.’
2:26 You will eat to your heart’s content, will eat your fill, and praise the name of Yahweh your God who has treated you so wonderfully. (My people will not be disappointed any more.)
2:27 And you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, that I am Yahweh your God, with none to equal me. My people will not be disappointed any more.
JB JOEL Chapter 3
- THE NEW AGE AND THE DAY OF YAHWEH
- THE OUTPOURING OF THE SPIRIT
3:1 ‘After this I will pour out my spirit on all mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men see visions.
3:2 Even on the slaves, men and women, will I pour out my spirit in those days.
3:3 I will display portents in heaven and on earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.’
3:4 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the day of Yahweh dawns, that great and terrible day.
3:5 All who call on the name of Yahweh will be saved, for on Mount Zion there will be some who have escaped,[*a] as Yahweh has said, and in Jerusalem some survivors whom Yahweh will call.
JB JOEL Chapter 4
- THE JUDGEMENT OF THE NATIONS
The judgement announced
4:1 ‘For in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
4:2 I am going to gather all the nations and take them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; there I intend to put them on trial for all they have done to Israel, my people and my heritage. For[*a] they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land among themselves.
4:3 They have cast lots for my people; they have bartered the boys for prostitutes, have sold the girls for wine and drunk it.’
Charges against the Phoenicians and Philistines
4:4 ‘And you, Tyre and Sidon, what do you expect from me? You too, regions of Philistia? Do you want to take revenge on me? If you were to take revenge on me, I would make it recoil promptly and swiftly on your own heads.
4:5 You who have taken my silver and my gold, who have carried off my rich treasures to your temples,
4:6 you who have sold to the people of Javan[*b] the sons of Judah and Jerusalem, to remove them far from their own frontiers.
4:7 Now I mean to summon them from wherever you have sold them, now I intend to make your crime recoil on your own heads.
4:8 I am going to sell your sons and daughters into the hands of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabaeans,[*c] to a distant nation; Yahweh has spoken!’
A summons to the nations
4:9 ‘Proclaim this among the nations. “Prepare for war! Muster the champions! Warriors, advance, quick march!
4:10 Hammer your ploughshares into swords, your sickles into spears, let the weakling say, ‘I am a fighting man’.
4:11 Come quickly, all you surrounding nations, assemble there!” (Yahweh, send down your champions!)
4:12 ‘Let the nations rouse themselves, let them march to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for I am going to sit in judgement there on all the nations round.
4:13 Put the sickle in: the harvest is ripe; come and tread: the winepress is full, the vats are overflowing, so great is their wickedness!’
4:14 Host on host in the Valley of Decision! For the day of Yahweh is near in the Valley of Decision!
The day of Yahweh
4:15 Sun and moon grow dark, the stars lose their brilliance.
4:16 Yahweh roars from Zion, makes his voice heard from Jerusalem; heaven and earth tremble. But Yahweh will be a shelter for his people, a stronghold for the sons of Israel.
4:17 ‘You will learn then that I am Yahweh your God, dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be a holy place, no alien will ever pass through it again.
- THE GLORIOUS FUTURE OF ISRAEL
4:18 When that day comes, the mountains will run with new wine and the hills flow with milk, and all the river beds of Judah will run with water. A fountain will spring from the house of Yahweh to water the wadi of Acacias.
4:19 Egypt will become a desolation, Edom a desert waste on account of the violence done to the sons of Judah whose innocent blood they shed in their country.
4:20 But Judah will be inhabited for ever, Jerusalem from age to age.
4:21 ‘I will avenge their blood and let none go unpunished’, and Yahweh shall make his home in Zion.
END OF JB JOEL [4 Chapters].