1. What days does this chapter begin discussing?
The days when the Lord was going to bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem” (Joel 3:1).
- This is not the days of Joel 2:28-32; cf. Acts 2:1-47. This is about about coming out of captivity not salvation coming into the world.
- This is taking the reader back to Joel 2:21-27. This is when God brought His people forth either from Babylonian captivity, under the hand of Greece, or a forward looking prophecy concerning both.
- The point is, Jerusalem is not without hope in captivity (I Samuel 12:22, Zephaniah 3:19-20, and Zechariah 12:7-9).
2. What had the nations that had cast lots for the Lord’s people done to get harlots and wine?
“(2) I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. (3) And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink” (Joel 3:2-3).
- The phrase “gather all nations” in relation to God’s judgment being on display and His “pleading” with them (Isaiah 66:15-24).
- Nations, such as the Edomites, had cast lots for the people of Jerusalem (Obadiah 1:10-14).
- There was a slave trade involving the people of Judah (Esther 7:1-4 and Ezekiel 34:27).
3. What had the people of Tyre, Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine done?
“(4) Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; (5) Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: (6) The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border” (Joel 3:4-6).
- Tyre and Zidon punished (Isaiah 23:1-18).
- Palestine visited (Isaiah 14:28-32).
- God wanted to know if they were seeking retribution against Him for something by afflicting His people (i.e. Philistines did so - Ezekiel 25:15-17).
- Should they have thought getting back at God was a good idea? Isn’t God vengeful (Deuteronomy 32:35-43, Psalms 94:1, and Psalms 149:1-9)?
- They had taken things, by implication, from the temple of the Lord similar as to what we saw with Babylon (II Kings 25:13-17).
- The children of Judah sold to Greece (Ezekiel 27:13).
4. How did the Lord say He was going to respond to what the people of Tyre, Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine had done?
Repay their ways on their own heads: “(7) Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence 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 hath spoken it. (9) Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: (10) Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. (11) Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. (12) Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. (13) Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats 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” (Joel 3:7-15).
- God would bring His people out of the lands they were sold into (Jeremiah 31:10 and Ezekiel 34:12-13).
- As is often, we see the Lord’s principle point of you reap what you sow (II Chronicles 6:23, Job 4:8, Job 34:11, Proverbs 1:24-31, Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 14:14, Proverbs 24:12, Isaiah 3:10-11, Jeremiah 2:19, Jeremiah 4:16-18, Jeremiah 32:19, Ezekiel 22:31, Hosea 7:2, Hosea 8:7, John 5:28-29, Romans 2:4-11, II Corinthians 5:10, and Galatians 6:7-9).
- God has, even with Israel, sold them into slavery when such was deserved (Judges 2:14).
- This is repaying these heathen nations for what they did to Judah (Isaiah 60:14).
- God called them out to fight (Ezekiel 38:1-8).
- Again, we see the reference to the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2). It is then called the valley of decision (Joel 3:14).
- This was not physical battle though. God was going to bring forth the darkening of the lights above and this is what we see when God judged nations in times past (Isaiah 13:1-11 and Mark 13:1-30).
5. As the written words of Joel concludes, was there hope for Jerusalem?
Certainly so as the Lord dwelt in Zion: “(16) The LORD also shall 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) So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. (18) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of 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 for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. (21) For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion” (Joel 3:16-21).
- The Lord roaring out of Zion (Isaiah 42:13 and Amos 1:1-2) with His earth shaking voice (Hebrews 12:25-26).
- This did not just happen in coming out of Babylon, but was also future from there (Haggai 2:6-7).
- God wanted to let them know, whom had been captive, that God was in Zion (Zechariah 8:3). Mount Zion, in Jerusalem (Psalms 135:21), is where the glory of the Lord was (Psalms 102:16). It is also where they looked to for God to show His saving power (Psalms 69:35).
- When God says strangers would not pass through Zion any more dates this prophesy. It separates from Joel 2:28-32 from what we are discussing here. For, once the New Testament was to come about, Zion was the place where all men could look to for the message of salvation (Micah 4:1-2).
- The land of Judah would once again be fruitful (Amos 9:13-14).
- At that time Egypt and Edom would be repaid for what they did to Judah (Isaiah 19:1-15 and Obadiah 1:1-21).
- The conclusion is that, regardless of their captivities to come, Judah would not be made a permanent desolation (II Kings 19:30).
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.