Joel 3

“The Twelve”

Reading The Minor Prophets

‘Trinity on Church’ UC Kitchener


January 12, 2018

Joel 3-4

You may have this precursor of Pentecost as the end of your chapter 2 – I am reading from the Jewish Publication Society which stands it alone as chapter 3. The whole of Joel echoes earlier prophets in the voice or erudition attributed to this late prophet…

This last day of the last of The Twelve, take the promise home. The vision is apocalyptic, and can be reduced to a millennial Armageddon of militarism. Can it also be a moment of militant hope among the weak and despised? This is not a call to nationalist vengeance, but a song of hope for God’s ultimate justice.

That reference to Greeks in verse 6 is the pivot for the argument placing Joel in the mid-300’s CE. The status of Tyre and Sidon or Philistia, along the Mediterranean coast, can be tied to naval battles of the century from mid 400’s to mid 300’s.

Each generation can claim this stuff as typological in their own time, as did Americans in their Civil War, with ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, taken not only from Revelation, but from Joel. When is it time to beat swords into ploughshares? When it is Joel’s time?

Anyhow, not with a bang, but with a whimper – thanks for your company through these 11 weeks, and anno domini 2018 – let’s keep sharing the way into 2019, with the Epiphany season to follow!

Joel 3-4 (NRSV)

28 *Then afterwards I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

29 Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.

31The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.

32Then everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

1 For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,

2I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgement with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land,

3and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down.

4 What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads swiftly and speedily.

5For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples.

6You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border.

7But now I will rouse them to leave the places to which you have sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads.

8I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away; for the LORD has spoken.

9 Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the warriors. Let all the soldiers draw near, let them come up.

10 Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears; let the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’

11 Come quickly, all you nations all around, gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD. 1

2 Let the nations rouse themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the neighbouring nations.

13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine 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 are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.

16 The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake. But the LORD is a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

17 So you shall know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it.

18 On that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the Wadi Shittim.

19 Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood.

20 But Judah shall be inhabited for ever, and Jerusalem to all generations.

21 I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty, for the LORD dwells in Zion.