Joel wanted the temple priests, the minister of Yahweh, to deliver a prayer to Yahweh between the altar and the vestibule, in the open court. They were to weep and ask God to spare them. They did not want the heritage of Yahweh to be a mockery or a byword among the various countries. There should never be a question about their God. Yahweh should show himself during this time of the locust plagues.
Yahweh told Ezekiel to speak to the city of Jerusalem because it was shedding blood within itself. Its time has come. It had been making idols and defiling itself. They have become guilty by the blood that they have shed. They have brought their day of punishment nearer. The appointed time of their years has come to an end. Yahweh was going to make them a disgrace and a mockery among the various nations and countries, whether they were near or far. Everyone would mock them as the infamous place full of tumult.
Yahweh said that Jerusalem had become an object of reproach. Her sister Sodom had been a byword for evil in her day of pride. Then the wickedness of Jerusalem was uncovered. Now Jerusalem was a mockery to those around her, especially the daughters of Edom and the daughters of the Philistines, as they despised her. Jerusalem was going to bear the penalty for all her lewdness and abominations.
Clearly Jerusalem has sinned seriously. Jerusalem has become a mockery of itself. Those who once honored her, now despise her. They have seen her naked. She herself has groaned and turned her face away, since she has admitted her faults. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Heth. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.