he had compassion on his people.
“Look! I am about to restore your grain 3
as well as fresh wine and olive oil.
You will be fully satisfied. 4
I will never again make you an object of mockery among the nations.
I will drive him out to a dry and desolate place.
Those in front will be driven eastward into the Dead Sea, 6
and those in back westward into the Mediterranean Sea. 7
His stench will rise up as a foul smell.” 8
Indeed, the Lord 9 has accomplished great things.
2:21 Do not fear, my land!
Rejoice and be glad,
because the Lord has accomplished great things!
For the pastures of the wilderness are again green with grass.
Indeed, the trees bear their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield to their fullest. 11
Be glad because of what the Lord your God has done! 13
For he has given to you the early rains 14 as vindication.
He has sent 15 to you the rains –
both the early and the late rains 16 as formerly.
2:24 The threshing floors are full of grain;
the vats overflow with fresh wine and olive oil.
the yeleq-locust, the hasil-locust, and the gazam-locust –
my great army 20 that I sent against you.
2:26 You will have plenty to eat,
and your hunger will be fully satisfied; 21
you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has acted wondrously in your behalf.
My people will never again be put to shame.
2:27 You will be convinced that I am in the midst of Israel.
I am the Lord your God; there is no other.
My people will never again be put to shame.
[2:18] 1 tn The time-frame entertained by the verbs of v.18 constitutes a crux interpretum in this chapter. The Hebrew verb forms used here are preterites with vav consecutive and are most naturally understood as describing a past situation. However, some modern English versions render these verbs as futures (e.g., NIV, NASV), apparently concluding that the context requires a future reference. According to Joüon 2:363 §112.h, n.1 Ibn Ezra explained the verbs of Joel 2:18 as an extension of the so-called prophetic perfect; as such, a future fulfillment was described with a past tense as a rhetorical device lending certainty to the fulfillment. But this lacks adequate precedent and is very unlikely from a syntactical standpoint. It seems better to take the verbs in the normal past sense of the preterite. This would require a vantage point for the prophet at some time after the people had responded favorably to the Lord’s call for repentance and after the Lord had shown compassion and forgiveness toward his people, but before the full realization of God’s promises to restore productivity to the land. In other words, it appears from the verbs of vv. 18-19 that at the time of Joel’s writing this book the events of successive waves of locust invasion and conditions of drought had almost run their course and the people had now begun to turn to the Lord.
[2:20] 5 sn The allusion to the one from the north is best understood as having locusts in view. It is not correct to say that this reference to the enemy who came form the north excludes the possibility of a reference to locusts and must be understood as human armies. Although locust plagues usually approached Palestine from the east or southeast, the severe plague of 1915, for example, came from the northeast.
[2:20] 8 sn Heb “and his foul smell will ascend.” The foul smell probably refers to the unpleasant odor of decayed masses of dead locusts. The Hebrew word for “foul smell” is found only here in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for “stench” appears only here and in Isa 34:3 and Amos 4:10. In the latter references it refers to the stench of dead corpses on a field of battle.
[2:20] 9 tn The Hebrew text does not have “the
[2:23] 14 tn Normally the Hebrew word הַמּוֹרֶה (hammoreh) means “the teacher,” but here and in Ps 84:7 it refers to “early rains.” Elsewhere the word for “early rains” is יוֹרֶה (yoreh). The phrase here הַמּוֹרֶה לִצְדָקָה (hammoreh litsdaqah) is similar to the expression “teacher of righteousness” (Heb., מוֹרֶה הַצֶּדֶק , moreh hatsedeq) found in the Dead Sea Scrolls referring to a particular charismatic leader, although the Qumran community seems not to have invoked this text in support of that notion.
[2:23] 16 sn For half the year Palestine is generally dry. The rainy season begins with the early rains usually in late October to early December, followed by the latter rains in March and April. Without these rains productive farming would not be possible, as Joel’s original readers knew only too well.
[2:25] sn The plural years suggests that the plague to which Joel refers was not limited to a single season. Apparently the locusts were a major problem over several successive years. One season of drought and locust invasion would have been bad enough. Several such years would have been devastating.
[2:25] 18 sn The same four terms for locust are used here as in 1:4, but in a different order. This fact creates some difficulty for the notion that the four words refer to four distinct stages of locust development.
[2:25] 20 sn Here Joel employs military language to describe the locusts. In the prophet’s thinking this invasion was far from being a freak accident. Rather, the Lord is pictured here as a divine warrior who leads his army into the land as a punishment for past sin and as a means of bringing about spiritual renewal on the part of the people.