Prepare for a holy war (Joel 3:9-3:10)

“Proclaim this

Among the nations!

Prepare war!

Stir up the warriors!                                       

Let all the soldiers

Draw near!

Let them come up!

Beat your plowshares

Into swords!

Beat your pruning hooks

Into spears!

Let the weakling say.

‘I am a warrior.’”

Yahweh, via Joel, proclaimed that there would be a holy war between the various nations and Israel. They should prepare for war with their warriors, so that the soldiers should get ready. They should turn their plows into swords and their pruning hooks into spears. Even the weak ones should say that they were warriors.

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Judgment of all the countries (Joel 3:2-3:3)

“I will gather

All the nations.

I will bring them down

To the valley of Jehoshaphat.

I will enter

Into judgment

With them there.

On account of my people,

On account of my heritage,

Israel,

Because they have scattered them

Among the nations.

They have divided

My land.

They have cast lots

For my people.

They have traded boys

For prostitutes.

They have sold girls

For wine.

They have drunk it down.”

Yahweh, via Joel, said that he was going to gather all the countries of the world together in the valley of Jehoshaphat. That would have to be a big place. Actually, they were dealing with the known world of the near East at that time. Jehoshaphat means the valley of decision or the Lord judges. This was probably some place close to Jerusalem, perhaps the Kidron valley. Yahweh was going to judge these countries on what they had done to his people, his heritage, Israel. They had scattered the Israelites among the various countries. They had divided the land of Israel. They had gambled over his people, trading boys for prostitutes and selling girls for wine to get drunk on. Yahweh was going to lay down his judgment on them.

Israel shall return to life (Hos 14:4-14:6)

“I will heal

Their disloyalty.

I will love them

Freely.

My anger

Has turned

From them.

I will be

Like the dew

To Israel.

He shall blossom

Like the lily.

He shall strike root

Like the forests of Lebanon.

His shoots

Shall spread out.

His beauty shall be

Like the olive tree.

His fragrance shall be

Like Lebanon.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, said that he was going to heal the disloyalty of Israel. He would love them freely, since his anger had turned from them. He was going to be like the morning dew to Israel. He was going to make them blossom again like the lilies. He was going to have them set down strong roots, like the forests of the Lebanon cedar trees. Their shoots would spread out all over the place. Their beauty would be like that of an olive tree. Their fragrance would be like the Lebanon cedar trees.

The death of Ephraim (Hos 13:1-13:1)

“When Ephraim spoke,

There was trembling.

He was exalted

In Israel.

But he incurred guilt

Through Baal.

Thus,

He died.”

People used to tremble when the territory and people of Ephraim spoke. Among the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim was exalted. However, Ephraim incurred guilt with their sacrificial altars to Baal. Thus, Ephraim, like Israel, died. This statement assumes the Assyrian capture of the northern kingdom.

Jacob in Aram (Hos 12:12-12:12)

“Jacob fled

To the land of Aram.

There Israel served

For a wife.

He guarded sheep

For a wife.”

This incident about Jacob or Israel can be found in Genesis, chapter 29. Jacob went east and found his cousin Rachel, whom he wanted to marry. He was tricked into marring her sister Leah. However, he stayed on to take care of the sheep of his uncle Laban, so that he would have Rachel as his wife also.

The example of Jacob (Hos 12:2-12:6)

“Yahweh has an indictment

Against Judah.

He will punish Jacob

According to his ways.

He will repay him

According to his deeds.

In the womb,

He tried to supplant

His brother.

In his manhood,

He strove with God.

He strove

With the angel.

He prevailed.

He wept.

He sought his favor.

He met him

At Bethel.

There God spoke

with him.

Yahweh!

The God of hosts!

Yahweh is his name!

But as for you,

Return to your God!

Hold fast

To love!

Hold fast

To justice!

Wait continually

For your God.”

Here Hosea referred to the stories about Jacob in Genesis, chapters 25, 28, 32, and 35. Somehow, this is an indictment against Judah and not Israel. Jacob should have been punished and repaid for his bad deeds. He had tried to supplant his brother. He actually tricked his father, but there is no mention of that. He wrestled with God or an angel, and won. Yet he wept and sought out God at Bethel. There, God spoke to him to tell him that his name was Yahweh. He wanted Jacob, Judah, Israel, and Ephraim to hold fast to love and justice. They were to continually wait for God.

The return from exile (Hos 11:10-11:11)

“They shall go after Yahweh.

He will roar

Like a lion.

When he roars,

His children

Shall come trembling

From the west.

They shall come trembling

Like birds

From Egypt.

They shall come trembling

Like doves

From the land of Assyria.

‘I will return them

To their homes.’

Says Yahweh.”

The compassion of Yahweh will lead the Israelites to return to Israel and Ephraim. Yahweh would roar like a lion. When his children, the Israelites, heard this roar, they would come trembling back to Israel. They would come from the west, like birds from Egypt. They would also return like trembling doves from Assyria. Yahweh said that he would return them to their homes.