Egypt and Edom will become a desolation (Joel 3:19-3:19)

“Egypt

Shall become

A desolation.

Edom

Shall become

A desolate wilderness.

They have done violence

To the people of Judah.

They have shed

Innocent blood

In their land.”

Egypt and Edom would become desolate and a wilderness because of the violence that they have done to Judah in shedding innocent blood. Edom would disappear, but Egypt still stands today

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The rich fertile land (Joel 3:18-3-18)

“In that day,

The mountains shall drip

Sweet wine.

The hills shall flow

With milk.

All the stream beds

Of Judah

Shall flow with water.

A fountain shall come forth

From the house of Yahweh.

It will water

The valley of Shittim.”

In the day of Yahweh, the mountains would drip a sweet wine, while the hills would flow with milk. There would be multiple streams of water in Judah to make the land fertile. In fact, a fountain would flow from the house of Yahweh to the Shittim valley that was in Moab.

Yahweh speaks to Joel (Joel 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to Joel,

The son of Pethuel.”

Like most prophets, the word of God came to Joel. The problem of dating when Joel was active as a prophet is difficult. Joel does not have a unique name, since it was a quite common name. He probably lived in Judah during the post-exilic Persian rule. He may have been a Temple prophet in the Second Temple times. Thus, putting him between 400-350 BCE does not seem out of place. His father was Pethuel, but this is the only time that his name appears in the biblical literature.

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 defeat of Ephraim (Hos 10:11-10:12)

“Ephraim was a trained heifer

That loved to thresh.

I spared her fair neck.

But I will make Ephraim

Break the ground.

Judah must plow.

Jacob must harrow

For himself.

Sow for yourselves righteousness!

Reap the fruit of steadfast love!

Break up your fallow ground!

It is time

To seek Yahweh.

Thus,

He may come.

He may rain

Salvation upon you.”

Ephraim was like a trained young cow that would thresh or grind wheat. Although Yahweh had spared her neck, now he was going to send her out to plow the fields, like Judah and Jacob. If they were to sow in righteousness, then they would reap steadfast love. It was time for them to seek good ground, to seek Yahweh. Then Yahweh would come and rain salvation down on them.

Temporary fickle love (Hos 6:4-6:5)

“What shall I do with you?

O Ephraim!

What shall I do with you?

O Judah!

Your love is

Like a morning cloud.

Your love is

Like the dew

That goes away early.

Therefore,

I have hewn them

By the prophets.

I have killed them

By the words

Of my mouth.

My judgment

Goes forth

As the light.”

Yahweh, via Hosea, wanted to know what he was going to do with Ephraim and Judah. Their love was like a morning cloud that dissipated or the morning dew that vanished with the sun. Yahweh had cut down the prophets and killed them with his words. His judgment was light in the day. They would suffer for their fickle love of Yahweh.

The false alliance with Assyria (Hos 5:13-5:14)

“Ephraim saw

His sickness.

Judah saw

His wound.

Then Ephraim

Went to Assyria.

He sent

To the great king.

But he is not able

To cure you.

He was not able

To heal your wound.

I will be

Like a lion

To Ephraim.

I will be

Like a young lion

To the house of Judah.

I myself

Will tear.

I will go away.

I will carry off.

None shall rescue.”

Ephraim and Judah saw that they were not in a good place, since they were sick and wounded. King Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria had taken over the northern half of Israel. Then the king of Israel, King Pekah (737-732 BCE) made an alliance with the king of Aram, the area around Damascus, or southern Syria. However, this did not help. Therefore, Yahweh was going to be a lion against Ephraim, and a young lion against Judah. Meanwhile, Yahweh was going to tear himself away. He was not going to rescue them.