The Locusts’ Devastation, 1-11
2:1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm signal on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land shake with fear,
for the day of the LORD is about to come.
Indeed, it is near!
2:2 It will be a day of dreadful darkness,
a day of foreboding storm clouds,
like blackness spread over the mountains.
It is a huge and powerful army—
there has never been anything like it ever before,
and there will not be anything like it for many generations to come!
2:3 Like fire they devour everything in their path;
a flame blazes behind them.
The land looks like the Garden of Eden before them,
but behind them there is only a desolate wilderness—
for nothing escapes them!
2:4 They look like horses;
they charge ahead like war horses.
2:5 They sound like chariots rumbling over mountain tops,
like the crackling of blazing fire consuming stubble,
like the noise of a mighty army being drawn up for battle.
2:6 People writhe in fear when they see them.
All of their faces turn pale with fright.
2:7 They charge like warriors;
they scale walls like soldiers.
Each one proceeds on his course;
they do not alter their path.
2:8 They do not jostle one another;
each of them marches straight ahead.
They burst through the city defenses
and do not break ranks.
2:9 They rush into the city;
they scale its walls.
They climb up into the houses;
they go in through the windows like a thief.
2:10 The earth quakes before them;
the sky reverberates.
The sun and the moon grow dark;
the stars refuse to shine.
2:11 The voice of the LORD thunders as he leads his army.
Indeed, his warriors are innumerable;
Surely his command is carried out!
Yes, the day of the LORD is awesome
and very terrifying—who can survive it?
An Appeal for Repentance, 12-17
2:12 “Yet even now,” the LORD says,
“return to me with all your heart—
with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Tear your hearts,
not just your garments!”
2:13 Return to the LORD your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to anger and boundless in loyal love—often relenting from calamitous punishment.
2:14 Who knows?
Perhaps he will be compassionate and grant a reprieve,
and leave blessing in his wake—
a meal offering and a drink offering for you to offer to the LORD your God!
2:15 Blow the trumpet in Zion.
Announce a holy fast;
proclaim a sacred assembly!
2:16 Gather the people;
sanctify an assembly!
Gather the elders;
gather the children and the nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom come out from his bedroom
and the bride from her private quarters.
2:17 Let the priests, those who serve the LORD, weep
from the vestibule all the way back to the altar.
Let them say, “Have pity, O LORD, on your people;
please do not turn over your inheritance to be mocked,
to become a proverb among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
“Where is their God?”
The LORD’s Response, 18-27
2:18 Then the LORD became zealous for his land;
he had compassion on his people.
2:19 The LORD responded to his people,
“Look! I am about to restore your grain
as well as fresh wine and olive oil.
You will be fully satisfied.
I will never again make you an object of mockery among the nations.
2:20 I will remove the one from the north far from you.
I will drive him out to a dry and desolate place.
Those in front will be driven eastward into the Dead Sea,
and those in back westward into the Mediterranean Sea.
His stench will rise up as a foul smell.”
Indeed, the LORD has accomplished great things.
2:21 Do not fear, my land!
Rejoice and be glad,
because the LORD has accomplished great things!
2:22 Do not fear, wild animals!
For the pastures of the wilderness are again green with grass.
Indeed, the trees bear their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield to their fullest.
2:23 Citizens of Zion, rejoice!
Be glad because of what the LORD your God has done!
For he has given to you the early rains as vindication.
He has sent to you the rains—
both the early and the late rains as formerly.
2:24 The threshing floors are full of grain;
the vats overflow with fresh wine and olive oil.
2:25 I will make up for the years
that the ‘arbeh-locust consumed your crops—
the yeleq-locust, the hasil-locust, and the gazam-locust—
my great army that I sent against you.
2:26 You will have plenty to eat,
and your hunger will be fully satisfied;
you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has acted wondrously in your behalf.
My people will never again be put to shame.
2:27 You will be convinced that I am in the midst of Israel.
I am the LORD your God; there is no other.
My people will never again be put to shame.
An Outpouring of the Spirit, 28-32
2:28 (3:1) After all of this
I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your elderly will have revelatory dreams;
your young men will see prophetic visions.
2:29 Even on male and female servants
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
‘A blessed promise of which our Lord gave an earnest on the day of Pentecost when he sent a glorious shower on his little vineyard, a pledge of the might rivers of righteousness which will by and by cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.’ (John Fletcher, in Wood, Baptised With Fire, 13)
‘This remarkable utterance, like many of the prophetic Scriptures, seems to have a two-fold application; one to Israel in the last days of the Jewish dispensation, and another to the Gentile nations in the closing period of the Christian era; its earlier and partial fulfilment at Pentecost throwing light, as we believe, upon that which will be later and larger … Our anticipation … is that while the close of the age will witness grievous declension, it will be broken in upon, ere judgement falls, by a powerful worldwide testimony to the grace of God; and that this testimony will be accompanied by a great work of the Holy Spirit which will complete the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel.’ (Poole-Connor, Evangelicalism in England, 292ff)