“Blow the trumpet
Sanctify a fast!
Call a solemn assembly!
Gather the people!
Sanctify the congregation!
Assemble the aged!
Gather the children!
Gather even nursing infants!
Let the bridegroom leave
Let the bride leave
In order to get out of their bad situation, Joel wanted everyone to come together for a solemn assembly. They were to sound the trumpet on Zion for a holy fast. Let everyone know what was going on. They had to gather the people into a sanctified congregation. This also meant the aged and the children, even the nursing children. The newlywed brides and grooms were not exempt either. This was serious business.
“If you have gathered nothing
In your youth,
How can you find anything
In your old age?
How attractive is sound judgment
In gray-haired people?
The aged possess good counsel.
How attractive is wisdom
In the aged?
There is understanding
In the venerable people.
There is counsel
In honorable persons.
Is the crown of the aged.
Is the fear of the Lord.”
If you have not gathered anything in your youth, you might have a hard time in your old age. However, sound judgment is attractive in gray-haired people. The aged have good counsel. Wisdom, understanding, and counsel make old people attractive and honorable. The crown of the aged old folks is the rich experience of their life. They can boast in their fear of the Lord.
“It is a snare for one to say rashly.
‘It is holy.’
Then only begin to reflect after making a vow.
A wise king winnows the wicked.
He drives the wheel over them.
The human spirit is the lamp of Yahweh.
It searches every innermost part.
Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king.
His throne is upheld by righteousness.
The glory of young men is their strength.
The beauty of the aged is their gray hair.
Blows that wound
Cleanse away evil.
Strokes make clean the innermost parts.”
Watch out for snares or traps. When someone thinks that something is holy and then makes a vow, they might be caught because only later do they think about what they just agreed to do. A wise king winnows or gets rid of the wicked ones. Then he drives a wheel over them. The human spirit is like God’s lamp that searches his most inner part. If the king is loyal and faithful he will preserve himself. Righteousness keeps the king on his throne. The glory of young people is their strength. However, the aged are beautiful because of their wonderful gray hair. Any blows that wound people clean up any evil in them. These strokes clean the innermost parts of their human bodies. This seems like an argument for corporal punishment.
“Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered.
‘I am young in years.
You are aged.
Therefore I was timid and afraid
To declare my opinion to you.
‘Let days speak!
Let many years teach wisdom!’
But truly it is the Spirit in a mortal,
The breath of the Almighty Shaddai,
That makes him understand.
It is not the old that are wise.
The aged do not understand what is right.
Therefore I say.
‘Listen to me!
Let me also declare my opinion!’”
Elihu said that he was young, which is why he had not spoken yet. The others were older so that he was timid and afraid to insert his opinion. He had hoped that he could learn from their wisdom. However, their so-called aged wisdom was lacking. It was the breath and the Spirit of the almighty Shaddai that brought understanding and wisdom. Elihu went on the offensive as he said that old people are not wise. They do not understand what is right. He wanted them to listen to him and his opinion.
“In encounters with the forces of Timothy and Bacchides, they killed more than twenty thousand of them. They got possession of some exceedingly high strongholds. They divided a very great amount of plunder. They give it to those who had been tortured, to the orphans, widows, and aged, shares equal to their own. They collected the arms of the enemy. They carefully stored them all of them in strategic places. They carried the rest of the spoils to Jerusalem. They killed the commander of Timothy’s forces, a most unholy man, one who had greatly troubled the Jews. While they were celebrating the victory in the city of their ancestors, they burned those who had set fire to the sacred gates, Callisthenes and some others. They had fled into one little house. Thus they received the proper recompense for their impiety.”
This is loosely connected to stories and battles in 1 Maccabees, chapters 5 and 7. Timothy was a leader of the gentiles on the east side of the Jordan River. Bacchides was a governor and general of King Demetrius I. Both of them were considered the enemy. These enemy troops had lost 20,000 men. The spoils had been taken and distributed to the tortured, the widows, the orphans, and the aged. However, they always kept some for themselves as they had done with the spoils from the defeat of Nicanor. Here it says that they had killed the commander of the troops of the unholy man Timothy. When they were celebrating in Jerusalem, they also burned the house of this unknown man named Callisthenes and others because they had been impious. Perhaps these were the Hellenizing Jews in Jerusalem.