Joel 2:21-32

Joel 2:21-32


21 Do not fear,A O soil;B
    be gladC and rejoice,D
    for the LordE has done great things!F

Notes on verse 21

A “fear” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
B “soil” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
C “be glad” = gil. Properly, this is twirling around because of a strong feeling whether of rejoicing or from fear. This can be rejoice, be glad or joyful, or to cry.
D “rejoice” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
E “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
F “great things” = gadal. This is to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing.

22 Do not fear, you animalsG of the field,
    for the pasturesH of the wildernessI are green;J

Notes on verse 22a

G “animals” = behemah. This is animal or cattle. It is often used of large quadrupeds.
H “pastures” = naah. 12x in OT. From the same as naveh (home, place where shepherd or sheep live; at hme implies a lovely place or a place of satisfaction); from navah (home, beautify, praise) OR from naah (to be at home and so pleasant, beautiful). This is a home, pleasant place, or pasture.
I “wilderness” = midbar. From dabar (to speak, command, declare). This is mouth or speech. It can also be desert or wilderness. Additionally, it can be used for a pasture to which one drives cattle.
J “are green” = dasha. 2x in OT. This is to sprout or bring forth.

the treeK bears its fruit,L
    the fig tree and vineM give their full yield.N

Notes on verse 22b

K “tree” = ets. Perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter.
L “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.
M “vine” = gephen. Root may mean to twine or bend. So, it is a vine, particularly referring to grapes.
N “full yield” = chel. From chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting) OR from chayil (strength, wealth, ability, activity; a soldier or a company of soldiers; goods; a force of people, means, or goods; valor, virtue, or strength); from chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is an army, entrenchment, fortress, wall, or host.

23 O children of Zion,O be glad
    and rejoice in the Lord your God;P
for he has given the early rainQ for your vindication,R
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,S
    the early and the later rain,T as before.

Notes on verse 23

O “Zion” = tsiyyon. The word is related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.
P “God” = Elohim.
Q “early rain” = moreh. 3x in OT. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is rain or early rain. It can also refer to a teacher or teaching or an archer.
R “vindication” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
S “abundant rain” = geshem. Perhaps from gasham (to rain). This is rain, shower, or rainy. It can be used figuratively for blessing or for destruction.
T “later rain” = malqosh. 8x in OT. From the same as leqesh (later growth, spring crop); from laqash (to take everything, gathering the later crop). This is late or the spring rain. Can refer figuratively to eloquence.

24 The threshing floorsU shall be fullV of grain,W
    the vatsX shall overflowY with wineZ and oil.AA

Notes on verse 24

U “threshing floors” = goren. Root may mean to smooth. It is a threshing floor, barn, or open areas more generally.
V “be full” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
W “grain” = bar. 14x in OT. From barar (to select, polish, cleanse, brighten, purify). This is something that is winnowed so any kind of grain, whether in the field or harvested. It can be corn, wheat, or other grains. This can also refer to a field or the open country.
X “vats” = yeqeb. 16x in OT. This is wine vat or wine press. Root may mean to excavate – so it would be the trough as excavated. Specifically, it could refer to a vat that collects wine or an upper vat where grapes are crushed.
Y “overflow” = shuq. 3x in OT. This is being abundant, run over, overflow.
Z “wine” = tirosh. From yarash (inheriting or dispossessing; refers to occupying or colonizing – taking territory by driving out the previous inhabitants and living there instead of them; by implication, to seize or rob, to expel, ruin, or impoverish).  This is new wine or sweet wine – wine that is freshly squeezed. Sometimes used for fermented wine.
AA “oil” = yitshar. From tsahar (to press oil or glisten). This is fresh oil, anointed. It is oil as that which is burned to make light; used figuratively to talk about anointing.

25 I will repayBB you for the years
    that the swarming locustCC has eaten,
the hopper,DD the destroyer,EE and the cutter,FF
    my greatGG army,HH which I sent against you.

Notes on verse 25

BB “repay” = shalam. This is to be complete or sound – to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate. So, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated. This is the root verb that “shalom” comes from, the Hebrew word for peace.
CC “swarming locust” = arbeh. From rabah (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is a locust from its abundance – a swarming locust or grasshopper.
DD “hopper” = yeleq. 9x in OT. Root may mean to lick up. So, this is one that devours, a young locust or caterpillar.
EE “destroyer” = chasil. 6x in OT. From chasal (to finish or consume). This is a locust as having a ravenous appetite – one that strips plants, a grasshopper or caterpillar.
FF “cutter” = gazam. 3x in OT. Root may mean to devour. This is a caterpillar, locust, or grasshopper.
GG “great” = gadol. Related to “great things” in v21. From gadal (see note F above). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
HH “army” = chel. Same as “full yield” in v22. See note N above.

26 You shall eat in plentyII and be satisfied,JJ
    and praiseKK the nameLL of the Lord your God,

Notes on verse 26a

II “eat in plenty” = akal + akal. This is to eat or consume in a literal or figurative sense. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
JJ “be satisfied” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
KK “praise” = halal. This is to be clear – it originally referred to a sound, then a color. It was to shine and then make a show or boast then to rave. In a causative sense it came to mean celebrate, give glory, sing praise, or be worth of praise. Because of the celebratory nature of the word, it could also mean to give in marriage. This is where Hallelujah comes from.
LL “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

    who has dealt wondrouslyMM with you.
And my peopleNN shall never againOO be put to shame.PP

Notes on verse 26b

MM “wondrously” = pala. From pele (wonder, miracle, wonderful, marvelous thing). This is to be extraordinary, to arise, to be great or accomplish.
NN “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
OO “again” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
PP “put to shame” = bosh. Properly, this mean to be pale, which implies shame, disappointment, or confusion.

27 You shall knowQQ that I am in the midstRR of Israel,SS
    and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Notes on verse 27

QQ “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
RR “midst” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
SS “Israel” = yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

28 Then afterward
    I will pour outTT my spiritUU on all flesh;VV
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,WW

Notes on verse 28a

TT “pour out” = shaphak. This is to pour out, gust, or slip. It can be to pour as blood, a drink offering, or molten metal. It can also mean to create a mound. Figuratively, it can refer to killing, or spending money.
UU “spirit” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
VV “flesh” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.
WW “prophesy” = naba. From nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. Older usages referred to raving, religious ecstasy that sometimes went along with music. In later usage, it was religious teachings that sometimes held prediction. Prophesying is speaking the truth of what is and where it will lead.

    your old menXX shall dreamYY dreams,ZZ
    and your young menAAA shall see visions.BBB

Notes on verse 28b

XX “old men” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
YY “dream” = chalam. Properly, to bind solidly and so to be plump. This is to be healthy or strong, to recover; figuratively, to dream.
ZZ “dreams” = chalom. Related to “dream” in v28. From chalam (see note YY above). This is a dream or dreamer.
AAA “young men” = bachur. From bachar (to choose, appoint, try, excellent). This is choice, chosen, selected. It is a youth or young man
BBB “visions” = chizzayon. 9x in OT. From chazah (to gaze at – to see or behold; perceiving as a mental process or looking at something with pleasure; seeing a vision). This is a vision or revelation that comes in a dream.

29 Even on the maleCCC and female slaves,DDD
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

30 I will show portentsEEE in the heavensFFF and on the earth, bloodGGG and fire and columnsHHH of smoke.III 

Notes on verses 29-30

CCC “male” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
DDD “female slaves” = shiphchah. Root means spreading out. The same root is used in mishpachah, which means family (spread out in offspring). This is maid, maidservant, or female slave.
EEE “portents” = mopheth. Perhaps from yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is a wonder, miracle, symbol, sign, or omen.
FFF “heavens” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
GGG “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
HHH “columns” = timarah. 2x in OT. From the same as tomer (palm tree, post, or scarecrow); from the same as tamar (palm tree or date palm); from a root that means being erect. This is a column that looks like a palm or a cloud.
III “smoke” = ashan. From ashan (to smoke or burn in a literal or figurative sense; to be angry). This is smoke, vapor, dust, or anger.

31 The sunJJJ shall be turned to darkness,KKK and the moon to blood, before the great and terribleLLL day of the Lord comes. 

Notes on verse 31

JJJ “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
KKK “darkness” = choshek. From chashak (to be or become dark). This is literal darkness is contrast to light. Figuratively, it can be obscurity, sorrow, misery, blindness, wickedness, destruction, death. It can also be hiding places. Additionally, it can mean judgment, mourning, ignorance, evil, or sin.
LLL “terrible” = yare. Same as “fear” in v21. See note A above.

32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved;MMM for in Mount Zion and in JerusalemNNN there shall be those who escape,OOO as the Lord has said, and among the survivorsPPP shall be those whom the Lord calls.

Notes on verse 32

MMM “saved” = malat. This is to be smooth, which implies to escape as slipping away from. It can also be release, rescue, deliver, or preserve. It can be used specifically to meaning giving birth or making sparks.
NNN “Jerusalem” = yerushalaim. Related to “early rain” in v23. From yarah (see note Q above) + shalem (to make amends, to be complete or sound). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
OOO “those who escape” = peletah. From paliyt (fugitive, refugee, or one who escaped); from palat (to escape, slip out, deliver, calve). This is deliverance or escape. It is the remnant that got away.
PPP “survivors” = sarid. From sarad (to escape or remain; properly, this refers to a puncture, so figuratively it is remaining or escaping by slipping out). This is survivor, remnant, or alive.

Image credit: Depiction of Pentecost from the Bontoc Museum in the Philippines.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply