Joel 3:1-7

Joel 3:1

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


Once the seventy year captivity of Judah will be completed, they will be returned to the land about 516 B.C. where they will rebuild the temple and the walls of Jerusalem.  Then when the fullness of time comes Jesus will be born in Bethlehem and that is why Judah will be returned to the land.  The northern kingdom will never be returned to the land but will be assimilated into Gentile kingdoms.


Joel 3:2

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.


Here God will bring all the nations who have come against the nation of Judah and Israel and will bring them into judgment.  The word “plead” in the Hebrew may also be understood as “sentence of bring judgment.”  The name “Jehoshaphat” means “God Judges.”  So in this verse we have God stating that he is going to bring judgment against the enemies of national Israel such as Babylon, Assyria, and the others that have persecuted the people when they came out of Egypt.  This also parallels the fact that on Judgment day God is going to judge all the nations and their leaders who have persecuted the true believers in the Kingdom of God.  When God speaks of Israel being his heritage he speaks of ancient Israel where the blood line to Christ ran through the tribe of Judah and the believers who are the inheritors of the Kingdom of God.


And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel.  (Numbers 18:20)


Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.  (Ezekiel 33:24)


The physical inheritance of the land which Israel received was contingent upon their obedience to God and if they obeyed him they would be allowed to stay in the land but if they disobeyed him and went after other gods then they would lose the land which they finally did permanently in 70 A.D. 


To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  (1 Peter 1:4)


The inheritance the believer in Christ receives is based upon obedience but not the individual Christian’s obedience but Christ’s obedience in which he fulfilled that obedience fully.  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  (Philippians 2:8)  Our inheritance is based fully on Christ and his sacrifice upon Calvary for all the Elect of God.  God is going to bring into judgment all those who have persecuted the true believers on Judgment Day.  The term “Valley of Jehoshaphat” is another synonym for judgment day of all the unbelievers consisting of those on the Old Testament and New Testament side of Calvary.  Those pagan nations who came against ancient Israel and the modern nations which persecuted and killed the true believers will all be judged on Judgement Day where sentence will be carried out.   And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  (Matthew 25:32) 


Joel 3:3

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.


The pagan nations who had persecuted Israel had shown that they had a low opinion of human life.  The Assyrians were a very cruel people and contemptuously treated their conquests with the utmost cruelty.  They would cast lots for the right to own a person and a young boy was given for the price of a harlot.  If they wanted wine to drink, they would trade a girl for wine.


Joel 3:4

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;


Tyre and Sidon were both enemies of the nation of Israel.  They probably also represented the other Gentile nations in that area who persecuted ancient Israel.  In Sidon they also sold captured Jews for slaves.  Those pagan cities thought that they had victory over Israel and over God himself.  When God removed them out of their land and placed his people in there, did they think that they were somehow going to get even with God and attack swiftly and hope to win their land back?  If they tried it, then God would return their own recompense upon them, that is, he will swiftly bring judgment against them like they wanted to do to Israel.


Joel 3:5

Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:


Their swift judgment was coming because Tyre and Sidon had taken the treasures of God’s people and brought it into their pagan temples and also into the palaces of the rulers.  God takes that serious when a pagan nation attempts to plunder his goods even though these were the goods of his people nevertheless God took the spoiling of them very seriously.


Joel 3:6

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.


Whenever the Phoenicians would capture any of the Jews from Judah or Jerusalem, they would sell them westward to Greece which would mean they were removing any future threats of retaliation by moving the conquered people farther away.  This is why in 70 A.D. the Romans took many of the Jews to Rome and sold them as slaves.  If they removed them far from their homeland, then there would be little possibility of an uprising.  In the days of slavery here in the USA if a slave escaped, let’s say in Virginia and was caught, the owner would sell that slave south to get them farther away from the free states in the north.  The chances of that slave escaping to the north was reduced tremendously.


Joel 3:7

Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:


Here is another example of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth which was a method of divine punishment.  Since they sold them to Greece God will raise them up in the place where they were sold.  This was fulfilled in the time of Alexander the Great and his successors who took all those Jews who were slaves in Greece and repatriated them to Judah.  Then God tells the Phoenicians that he is going to return their recompense upon their head, that is, he is going to do to them what they did to Judah.