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Joel 3 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Joel 3 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

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.

(3:2) "They ... parted my land."
On January 5, 2006, Pat Robertson linked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recemt stroke to God's wrath, saying: "In the book of Joel, the prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has 'enmity against those who divide my land.'"
Although he didn't quote chapter and verse, Joel 3:2 is probably what he was referring to, though his interpretation of that verse is a bit less than "very clear" to me.
I assume readers won't expect me to defend Pat Robertson, he can speak for himself.

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.

(3:3) "They ... have given a boy for an harlot and sold a girl for whine."
The reference to foul language is unclear, the word harlot now means foul language is used? The author of the SAB also seems to read homosexuality here, but I don't see that either. “Given a boy for a harlot” means that they gave a slave boy to a harlot as payment for sexual services. The same with the girl: they gave a girl to the pub owner, so they could drink themselves into a stupor.

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.

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.

"And I will sell your sons and your daughters ... for the Lord hath spoken it."
I do not understand why the author of the SAB claims this verse is women-unfriendly, it mentions both sons and daughters.
Also the charge of cruelty is mistaken. The persons being sold here are the inhabitants of Tyre and Zidon and the coasts of Palestine, see verse 4. And why are they being sold? Because this is what they did to the Jews, they sold them to the Grecians (verse 6).

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.

"Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong."
See Is. 2:4.

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.

"For the day of the LORD is near."
John Gill on the day of the Lord is near:

that is, the great and terrible day of the Lord, to take vengeance on all the antichristian powers, both eastern and western, is nigh at hand, which will be done in this valley.

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

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.

"The LORD also shall roar... and the heavens and the earth shall shake."
The Lord will roar and the heavens and earth will shake.
John Gill:

Christ, the Lamb, shall now appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and utter his voice in his providence and judgments on the behalf of his church and people, signified by Zion and Jerusalem; and therefore said to roar, and utter his voice from thence; he will be heard far and near, and strike terror in the hearts of his enemies

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.

(3:17, 21) "I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain."
Where does God live?
The meaning of “God dwells in Zion” is that God's presence was shown their in particular. See Ps. 9:11.

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.