1sn Joel 3:1 in the English Bible is 4:1 in the Hebrew text (BHS). See also the note at 2:28.

2tc The MT and LXX read “in those days,” while MurXII reads “in that day.”

3tc The Kethib reads אָשִׁיב (’ashiv, “return the captivity [captives]), while the Qere is אָשׁוּב (’ashuv, “restore the fortunes”). Many modern English versions follow the Qere reading. Either reading seems to fit the context. Joel refers to an exile of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem in 3:2-6 and their return from exile in 3:7. On the other hand, 2:25-26 describes the reversal of judgment and restoration of the covenant blessings. However, the former seems to be the concern of the immediate context.

4map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

5sn There is a play on words here. Jehoshaphat in Hebrew means “the Lord has judged,” and the next line in v. 2 further explicates this thought. The location of this valley is uncertain (cf. v. 12). Many interpreters have understood the Valley of Jehoshaphat to be the Kidron Valley, located on the east side of old Jerusalem. Since this is described as a scene of future messianic activity and judgment, many Jews and Muslims have desired to be buried in the vicinity, a fact attested to in modern times by the presence of many graves in the area. A variation of this view is mentioned by Eusebius, Onomasticon 1:10. According to this view, the Valley of Jehoshaphat is located in the Hinnom Valley, on the south side of the old city. Yet another view is held by many modern scholars, who understand the reference to this valley to be one of an idealized and nonliteral scene of judgment.

6tn Heb “I will execute judgment.”

7tn Heb “concerning my people and my inheritance Israel.”

8tn Heb “gave.”

9sn Heb “and they drank.” Joel vividly refers to a situation where innocent human life has little value; its only worth is its use in somehow satisfying selfish appetites of wicked people who have control over others (cf. Amos 2:6 and 8:6).

10tn Heb “What [are] you [doing] to me, O Tyre and Sidon?”

11tn Or “districts.”

12tn Heb “quickly, speedily, I will return your recompense on your head.” This is an idiom for retributive justice and an equitable reversal of situation.

13tn Or perhaps, “temples.”

14tn Heb “border.”

15tn Heb “I will return your recompense on your head.”

16tn Heb “into the hand of.”

17tn Heb “the sons of Judah.”

18sn The Sabeans were Arabian merchants who were influential along the ancient caravan routes that traveled through Arabia. See also Job 1:15; Isa 43:3; 45:14; Ps 72:10.

19tn Heb “draw near and go up.”

20sn Instead of referring to the large plow as a whole, the plowshare is simply the metal tip which actually breaks the earth and cuts the furrow.

21sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle.

22sn This conversion of farming instruments to instruments of war is the reverse of Isa 2:4 (cf. Mic 4:3), where military weapons are transformed into tools for farming. Isaiah describes a time of kingdom blessing and prosperity, whereas Joel describes a time of eschatological conflict and judgment.

23sn The “weak” individual mentioned here is apparently the farmer who has little or no military prowess or prior fighting experience. Under ordinary circumstances such a person would be ill-prepared for assuming the role of a soldier. However, in the scene that Joel is describing here even the most unlikely candidate will become a participant to be reckoned with in this final conflict.

24tn This Hebrew verb is found only here in the OT; its meaning is uncertain. Some scholars prefer to read here עוּרוּ (’uru, “arouse”) or חוּשׁוּ (khushu, “hasten”).

25tc The present translation follows the reading of the imperative הִקָּבְצוּ (hiqqavtsu) rather than the perfect with vav (ו) consecutive וְנִקְבָּצוּ (vniqbbatsu) of the MT.

26tc Some commentators prefer to delete the line “Bring down, O Lord, your warriors,” understanding it to be a later addition. But this is unnecessary. Contrary to what some have suggested, a prayer for the Lord’s intervention is not out of place here.

27tn Heb “send.”

28tn Heb “go down” or “tread.” The Hebrew term רְדוּ (rdu) may be from יָרַד (yarad, “to go down”) or from רָדָה (radah, “have dominion,” here in the sense of “to tread”). If it means “go down,” the reference would be to entering the vat to squash the grapes. If it means “tread,” the verb would refer specifically to the action of those who walk over the grapes to press out their juice. The phrase “the grapes” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

29sn The immediacy of judgment upon wickedness is likened to the urgency required for a harvest that has reached its pinnacle of development. When the harvest is completely ripe, there can be no delay by the reapers in gathering the harvest. In a similar way, Joel envisions a time when human wickedness will reach such a heightened degree that there can be no further stay of divine judgment (cf. the “fullness of time” language in Gal 4:4).

30sn The decision referred to here is not a response on the part of the crowd, but the verdict handed out by the divine judge.

31tn Heb “gather in.”

32map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

33tn Heb “he sounds forth his voice.”

34tn Or “the sky.” See the note on “sky” in 2:30.

35tn Heb “sons.”

36tn Heb “know.”

37map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.

38tn Heb “strangers” or “foreigners.” In context, this refers to invasions by conquering armies.

39tn Heb “and it will come about in that day.”

40tn Many English translations read “new wine” or “sweet wine,” meaning unfermented wine, i.e., grape juice.

41sn The language used here is a hyperbolic way of describing both a bountiful grape harvest (“the mountains will drip with juice”) and an abundance of cattle (“the hills will flow with milk”). In addition to being hyperbolic, the language is also metonymical (effect for cause).

42tn Or “seasonal streams.”

43tn Heb “house.”

44tn Heb “valley of Shittim.” The exact location of the Valley of Acacia Trees is uncertain. The Hebrew word שִׁטִּים (shittim) refers to a place where the acacia trees grow, which would be a very arid and dry place. The acacia tree can survive in such locations, whereas most other trees require more advantageous conditions. Joel’s point is that the stream that has been mentioned will proceed to the most dry and barren of locations in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

45tn Heb “violence of the sons of Judah.” The phrase “of the sons of Judah” is an objective genitive (cf. KJV “the violence against the children of Judah”; NAB, NIV, NRSV “violence done to the people of Judah”). It refers to injustices committed against the Judeans, not violence that the Judeans themselves had committed against others.

46tn The phrase “will be secure” does not appear in the Hebrew, but are supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.

47tc The present translation follows the reading וְנִקַּמְתִּי (vniqqamti, “I will avenge”) rather than וְנִקֵּתִי (vniqqeti, “I will acquit”) of the MT.