God promises to send his Spirit

About this book

Joel may have lived in the country called Judah. He was a prophet. And he told Israel’s people, and their enemies, that God would punish them. They thought that on the ‘Day of the Lord’ he would bless them. But on that day he would punish them. But after God had punished his people, he would again show his love to them. He would send them his Holy Spirit.

The ‘Day of the Lord’ was an idea that several prophets had given to Israel. Most people thought that the Lord Jehovah would then make Israel rule all the other countries in the world.

Chapter 1

Locusts eat all the plants in Israel

1 This is the word of the Lord that came to Joel, son of Pethuel.

2 You older men, hear this! Listen, all people who live in this country.

Nothing like this has happened while you have been alive.

Nothing like this happened while your fathers were alive.

3 Tell this to your children.

And they must tell it to their children.

And their children must tell it to their own children.

4 The great locusts have eaten what the big group of locusts left.

The young locusts have eaten what the great locusts left.

Other locusts have eaten what the young locusts left.

5 Wake up, you who have drunk too much wine!

Cry, all people who drink wine!

Cry because you will have no new wine.

Someone has taken it away from you.

6 A group has come to fill my country.

It is powerful, and great in numbers.

It has the teeth of a strong animal.

And the teeth are long and dangerous.

7 It has broken my vines

and destroyed my fig trees.

It has eaten the hard skins and it threw them away.

It has left their branches white.

8 Cry like a girl that no man ever loved.

She is crying because her promised husband is dead.

9 There will be no more gifts of food or drink.

They will not reach the house of the Lord.

The priests, the servants of the Lord,

are very, very sad.

10 Nobody can use the fields.

They are all dry.

The new wine has all gone.

The oil has all gone.

11 You farmers, you cry.

You who grow vines, cry.

Be sad for the seeds that are food.

Be sad because the fields are dry. And the plants have died.

12 The vine has become dry

and the fig tree is dead.

The apple trees and other fruit trees -

all the trees have no more fruit.

Men have no more joy.

It has all gone.

Joel tells people that they must repent

13 You priests, wear clothes that are not comfortable.

That will show that you are sad.

You cry, you who serve the Lord in his temple.

Come, you who serve in front of my God.

Sleep in the clothes that are not comfortable.

Cry for the gifts of food and drink.

Cry because they do not come to the house of your God any longer.

14 Tell everyone that they must not eat any food.

Tell the people that they must all come to hear the Lord.

Speak to the older leaders,

and all the people who live in this country.

Tell them that they must all come.

They must come to the house of the Lord your God

and they must shout out to the Lord.

15 Be afraid because of that day.

Be afraid because the day of the Lord is near.

It will be as if the great God would destroy everything.

16 No food has come.

We saw this with our own eyes.

The house of our God cannot make us happy.

17 The seeds under the earth are dry.

The places where they were stored have fallen down.

Someone has broken them up

because the seed does not grow.

18 The cows make a sad noise.

They all move about

because they cannot find any grass.

Even groups of sheep are hungry.

19 I speak to you, my Lord.

Fire has destroyed the grass,

and it has burned up all the trees.

20 Even the wild animals are thirsty and they want your help.

The rivers have no water in them.

Fire has destroyed the grass in the fields.

Chapter 2

The army of locusts

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion.

Tell the people on the Lord’s hill that they must watch for trouble.

All the people who live in this country will be afraid.

They will be afraid because the day of the Lord is coming.

It is very near.

2 That day will be sad and dark.

It will be cloudy and black.

A great big army is coming.

It comes across the sky like light in the morning.

A great army like this has never come before.

And it will never come again in future years.

3 Fire goes in front of the army.

It burns everything behind them.

The land in front of them is like the Garden of Eden.

Behind them it is like a desert.

They leave nothing behind them.

Verse 3 This army is an army of locusts. See Genesis 2:8 for the Garden of Eden.

4 They look like horses.

And they run fast to the war.

5 Their noise is like the noise of many feet.

They jump over the mountains

as fast as fire burns dry grass.

They are like a great army ready for a fight.

6 Nations that see them are very afraid.

Every face changes colour.

7 They run together like an army into a fight.

They climb walls like soldiers.

They march on in a straight line.

They do not turn away.

8 They do not push each other away.

Each one of them goes straight on.

You can put weapons in their path

but they go straight on.

9 They run towards the city.

They run along the wall.

They climb into houses.

They go through the windows like thieves.

10 The earth in front of them moves.

The sky itself moves.

The sun and moon are dark

and the stars do not give any light.

11 The Lord shouts aloud

as he leads his army.

We cannot count his soldiers.

Those who obey him are very strong.

The day of the Lord is powerful.

It makes us afraid.

Not many of us will be alive after it has gone.

Joel is telling Israel that the Lord will send a great number of locusts. The locusts will eat the food that is growing in their fields. The insects will march together like an army.

Show the Lord that you are sorry

12 ‘Even now’, the Lord says,

‘return to me and put me first.

Eat no food. Cry and be very sad.

13 Stop pulling your clothes to pieces. That does not help.

Show me instead that you are really sorry.’

Return to the Lord, your God.

He is kind and full of grace.

He is slow to get angry, and he is full of love.

He is sad that he had to cause troubles for you.

14 Perhaps he will change his mind and he will be sorry.

He may send you blessings of food and drink.

Then you can offer gifts to the Lord your God.

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion.

Tell the people that they must not eat any food.

Tell the people that they must all come to worship him.

16 Tell the people that they must all come.

Make them all ready to serve the Lord.

Bring the old people together.

Bring the children - even the smallest ones.

Every new husband must leave his room.

Every wife must leave her secret room.

17 There are priests who go in front of the Lord.

They must cry as they go from the temple door to the altar.

They must say to the Lord, ‘Do not hurt your people.

Do not let the people in other countries laugh at your own people.

They will point at them. And they will say that they have no value.

They will say that we have no God.’

The Lord’s answer

18 Then the Lord will be careful for his land.

He will be kind to his people.

19 He will answer them and he will say,

‘I am giving you new wine and food and oil.

You will have enough to fill you up.

I will never again let people in other countries laugh about you.

20 I will send the army from the north far from you.

I will push it into empty land where nothing grows.

I will make the front of it go into the sea on the east.

And I will make the back of it go into the sea on the west.

I will make its smell rise up high

because it has done great things.’

21 Be not afraid, land in Israel.

Be very happy.

Be sure that the Lord has done great things.

22 Do not be afraid, wild animals.

The fields are becoming green.

Fruit is growing on the trees.

The fig tree and the vine are giving much fruit.

23 Be happy, people in Zion!

Rejoice in the Lord your God.

He has given you just enough autumn rain.

He has given you the winter rain,

and the summer rain, as before.

24 He will fill your stores with seeds to make bread.

And he will fill your jars with new wine and oil.

25 ‘I will give you back the years that the locusts have eaten.

I will give you all that the great locust and the young locust,

and other locusts and their groups have eaten.

All that my great army has eaten I will give you.

26 You will have plenty to eat. You will be full.

You will praise the name of the Lord your God.

He has done great things for you.

My people will never again be ashamed.

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel.

You will know that I am your God.

And you will know that there is no other God.

My people will never again be ashamed.’

Zion was the place where the Israelites built the temple of the Lord. Sometimes the people who lived in Jerusalem called themselves ‘Zion’.

Verse 25 The Lord will give back to his people as much food as the locusts had eaten.

The day of the Lord

28 After that, I will pour out my Holy Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will be prophets.

Your old men will dream and

your young men will see pictures in their minds. (The Lord will send these to them.)

29 I will pour out my Spirit on all my servants,

on men and on women in those days.

Verse 29 God gives the Spirit of the Lord to his servants. He can make us more like him.

30 I will do strange things in the sky and on the earth.

I will send blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

31 The sun will become dark and the moon will become red.

Then the great and frightening day of the Lord will come.

32 Everyone who asks the Lord for help

will be safe.

They will be safe if they believe in his name.

The Lord will save the people on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.

He has promised this to those people whom he has asked to come to him.

Chapter 3

The Lord judges the nations

1 ‘Judah and Jerusalem were once great.

One day, at that time, I will make them great again.

2 Then I will bring all the nations together.

I will bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat (a place of judgement).

There I will judge against them

because of what they did to my children, my people Israel.

Those nations pushed my people out into other countries.

They broke up my land and each took pieces.

3 They played games to win my people.

They gave boys to buy women to have sex with them.

They sold girls so that they could get wine to drink.

4 You people in Tyre, Sidon, and of all the land of the people called Philistines, listen. You cannot say that I have done anything wrong. You want to punish me. If you do this, I will soon do the same to you. 5 You took my silver and my gold, and you put all my riches in your temples. 6 You sold the people from Judah and Jerusalem to the Greek people. You wanted to send them a long way from their own country. 7 Now I am going to bring them back from the places to which you sold them. I will do to you what you have done to them. 8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people in Judah. And they will sell them to the people called Sabeans, who live far away. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

9 Tell this news to the people in all the countries.

Get ready for war!

Shout to the soldiers.

Make all the men who fight get ready to attack.

10 Make your digging tools into sharp knives.

Make the tools that you use on the farm into pointed fighting sticks.

The weak man must say, ‘I am strong!’

11 Come quickly, you people who live round Israel.

And get together in the valley.

Lord, send down your army to attack them.

12 Wake up the people in all the countries!

Bring them into the Valley of Jehoshaphat (place of judgement).

I will sit there to judge the people from every place.

13 Now is the time to cut down the fruits.

They are ready for you to bring them in.

Walk all over the grapes.

The winepress is full of them.

They come over the top.

The people in all countries have done so many bad things.

14 Many, many nations are in the Valley of Judgement.

It is there that the day of the Lord will soon come.

15 The sun and moon will grow dark,

and the stars will not shine.

God will bless his people

16 The Lord will shout from Zion.

He will make a great noise from Jerusalem.

The earth and the sky will move about.

But the Lord will keep his people safe.

17 Then you will know that I am your God.

You will know that I live in Zion, my holy hill.

Jerusalem will be holy.

Strangers will never take it again.

18 In that day new wine will run from the mountains.

And milk will run from the hills.

All the valleys of Judah will have rivers of water.

Water will come from the house of the Lord

and it will water the Valley of Acacias (special trees).

19 But Egypt will be an empty desert.

I will destroy Edom (a country near Israel)

because their people hurt the people in Judah.

The people in Judah had not done anything wrong,

but the people from Edom made them give up their blood.

20 My people will always live in Jerusalem and Judah.

21 I will forgive all the wrong things that they have done.

The Lord lives in Zion!

Word List

altar
place where they burnt animals or other gifts to God.
bless
to say or to do many good things to a person.
blessing
the good things that happen when someone blesses a person.
desert
wild place where no people live. It may be very dry.
fig
sweet fruit that grows on a tree.
forgive
to show love and not to remember bad things about a person.
grace
good gifts that God gives to people who believe him. Those people believe that God has forgiven them. They are free gifts. We do not get them because we have been good!
grape
a fruit that men make a drink from.
Greek
people who live in Greece or their language.
holy
very, very good; only God is really holy; the country where he lives with his people is also holy; it is holy because he is there.
Hebrew
the language that the Israelites spoke.
Holy Spirit
one person of the 3 persons who are God. He can give people the power to do what God wants. God gives his Spirit to every person who believes in him. Only God can give his Spirit, because only God is really holy.
Israelites
sons of Jacob; people who lived in Israel.
Jehovah
how some languages say the Hebrew word Yahweh; the name that the Israelites gave to their God.
joy
when people are happy because of what God has done for them.
judge
person with authority to say what is good or bad.
judge
to say what is good or bad.
judgement
when God says what is good or bad; when someone says if another person is good or bad; when people are told by God or Christ if they are good or bad.
locust
insect that moves in big groups. It is very hungry, and it eats all green plants.
lord
a name that we call God or Jesus we call God or Jesus Lord when we obey them.
mount
a short word for mountain.
nation
people who live in the same country and have the same rules. They often belong to the same family.
praise
when we say good things about a person.
priest
someone from the family of Aaron, son of Levi. God chose the priests to burn gifts to God for the Israelites.
prophet
person who speaks for God. He can sometimes say what will happen in the future.
punish
to hurt a person because he or she has done wrong things.
rejoice
to be very happy and to praise God.
repent
to start to do better things because we are sorry.
serve
to be a servant to someone.
silver
shining white metal with great value.
temple
building where people praise and worship their god.
thieves
people who secretly take things that do not belong to them.
thirsty
when people want a drink, they are thirsty.
trumpet
people blow through this bent metal pipe to make a loud noise.
vine
plant that climbs. People make wine from its fruits.
weapon
something to fight people with.
wine
drink from the fruits of a vine. It contains alcohol.
winepress
very big basket. Men begin to make wine from grapes in it.
worship
to love and to say how very good someone is; to work for them; to believe that they are more important than anything or anyone else.
Zion
Zion was the place where the Israelites built the temple of the Lord. Sometimes the people who lived in Jerusalem called themselves ‘Zion’.

Book List

G. Campbell Morgan ~ ‘The Voice of Joel’ in Voices of 12 Hebrew Prophets ~ Pickering and Inglis

L. H. Brockington ~ Joel ~ Peake’s Commentary on the Bible

NSV Study Bible

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2007

This version published January 2007

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.