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Joe 3:1-21. GOD'S VENGEANCE ON ISRAEL'S FOES IN THE VALLEY OF JEHOSHAPHAT. HIS BLESSING ON THE CHURCH.
1. bring again the captivity--that is, reverse it. The Jews restrict this to the return from Babylon. Christians refer it to the coming of Christ. But the prophet comprises the whole redemption, beginning from the return out of Babylon, then continued from the first advent of Christ down to the last day (His second advent), when God will restore His Church to perfect felicity [CALVIN].
2. Parallel to
Zec 14:2, 3, 4,
where the "Mount of Olives" answers to the "Valley of Jehoshaphat"
here. The latter is called "the valley of blessing" (Berachah)
It lies between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and has the Kedron
flowing through it. As Jehoshaphat overthrew the confederate foes of
Judah, namely, Ammon, Moab, &c.
in this valley, so God was to overthrow the Tyrians, Zidonians,
Philistines, Edom, and Egypt, with a similar utter overthrow
(Joe 3:4, 19).
This has been long ago fulfilled; but the ultimate event shadowed forth
herein is still future, when God shall specially interpose to destroy
Jerusalem's last foes, of whom Tyre, Zidon, Edom, Egypt, and Philistia
are the types. As "Jehoshaphat" means "the judgment of Jehovah," the
valley of Jehoshaphat may be used as a general term for the
theater of God's final judgments on Israel's foes, with an allusion to
the judgment inflicted on them by Jehoshaphat. The definite mention of
the Mount of Olives in
and the fact that this was the scene of the ascension, makes it likely
the same shall be the scene of Christ's coming again: compare "this
same Jesus . . . shall so come in like manner as ye
have seen Him go into heaven"
3. cast lots for my people--that is, divided among themselves My
people as their captives by lot. Compare as to the distribution of
captives by lot
4. what have ye to do with me--Ye have no connection with Me (that
is, with My people: God identifying Himself with Israel); I
(that is, My people) have given you no cause of quarrel, why then do ye trouble Me
(that is, My people)?
(Compare the same phrase,
5. my silver . . . my gold--that is, the gold and silver of My people. The Philistines and Arabians had carried off all the treasures of King Jehoram's house (2Ch 21:16, 17). Compare also 1Ki 15:18; 2Ki 12:18; 14:14, for the spoiling of the treasures of the temple and the king's palace in Judah by Syria. It was customary among the heathen to hang up in the idol temples some of the spoils of war as presents to their gods.
6. Grecians--literally, "Javanites," that is, the Ionians, a Greek
colony on the coast of Asia Minor who were the first Greeks known to the
Jews. The Greeks themselves, however, in their original descent came
(Ge 10:2, 4).
Probably the germ of Greek civilization in part came through the Jewish
slaves imported into Greece from Phœnicia by traffickers.
mentions Javan and Tyre as trading in the persons of men.
7. raise them--that is, I will rouse them. Neither sea nor distance will prevent My bringing them back. Alexander, and his successors, restored to liberty many Jews in bondage in Greece [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 13.5; Wars of the Jews, 3.9,2].
8. sell them to . . . Sabeans--The Persian Artaxerxes Mnemon and Darius Ochus, and chiefly the Greek Alexander, reduced the Phœnician and Philistine powers. Thirty thousand Tyrians after the capture of Tyre by the last conqueror, and multitudes of Philistines on the taking of Gaza, were sold as slaves. The Jews are here said to do that which the God of Judah does in vindication of their wrong, namely, sell the Phœnicians who sold them, to a people "far off," as was Greece, whither the Jews had been sold. The Sabeans at the most remote extremity of Arabia Felix are referred to (compare Jer 6:20; Mt 12:42).
9. The nations hostile to Israel are summoned by Jehovah to "come up"
(this phrase is used because Jerusalem was on a hill) against
Jerusalem, not that they may destroy it, but to be destroyed by the Lord
Zec 12:2-9; 14:2, 3).
10. Beat your ploughshares into swords--As the foes are desired to
"beat their ploughshares into swords, and
their pruning hooks into spears," that so they may perish in their
unhallowed attack on Judah and Jerusalem, so these latter, and the
nations converted to God by them, after the overthrow of the
antichristian confederacy, shall, on the contrary, "beat their
swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,"
when under Messiah's coming reign there shall be war no more
11. Assemble--"Hasten" [MAURER].
13. Direction to the ministers of vengeance to execute God's wrath, as the enemy's wickedness is come to its full maturity. God does not cut off the wicked at once, but waits till their guilt is at its full (so as to the Amorites' iniquity, Ge 15:16), to show forth His own long-suffering, and the justice of their doom who have so long abused it (Mt 13:27-30, 38, 40; Re 14:15-19). For the image of a harvest to be threshed, compare Jer 51:33; and a wine-press, Isa 63:3 and La 1:15.
14. The prophet in vision seeing the immense array of nations
congregating, exclaims, "Multitudes, multitudes!" a Hebraism for
The victories of the Jews over their cruel foe Antiochus, under the
Maccabees, may be a reference of this prophecy; but the ultimate
reference is to the last Antichrist, of whom Antiochus was the type.
Jerusalem being the central seat of the theocracy
it is from thence that Jehovah discomfits the foe.
17. shall ye know--experimentally by the proofs of favors which I shall
vouchsafe to you. So "know"
18. mountains . . . drop . . . wine--figurative for
abundance of vines, which were cultivated in terraces of earth between
the rocks on the sides of the hills of Palestine