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.

Get rid of the tree (Dan 4:14-4:14)

“The holy watcher

Cried aloud.

He said.

‘Cut down

The tree!

Chop off

Its branches!

Strip off

Its foliage!

Scatter its fruit!

Let the animals flee

From under it!

Let the birds flee

From its branches!’”

This holy watcher or angel from heaven told the king in a loud commanding voice to chop the tree down, cut off its branches, and strip it of all its leaves. The fruit of the tree was to be scattered all over the place. The animals should no longer lay under its shade. The birds should leave its branches. Thus, the beautiful tree would be cut down and be no more.

The protection of the holy name of Yahweh (Ezek 36:22-36:23)

“Therefore,

Say to

The house of Israel.

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘It is not for your sake,

O house of Israel!

That I am about to act,

But for the sake

Of my holy name.

You have profaned it

Among the nations

To which you came.

I will sanctify

My great name.

You have profaned it

Among the nations.’

Says Yahweh God!

‘The nations will know

That I am Yahweh,

When through you,

I display my holiness

Before their eyes.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, explained to the house of Israel that he was acting to protect his own name. It was not for their own sake, but for his good reputation that he was about to bring them back from wherever they were scattered. Yahweh was going to sanctify his great name that had been profaned among the various nations. These various countries would know that he was Yahweh God, when he displayed his great holiness through the Israelites.

The reasons for the scattered Israelites (Ezek 36:16-36:19)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

When the house

Of Israel

Lived

On their own soil,

They defiled it

With their ways,

With their doings.

Their conduct was,

In my sight,

Like the uncleanness

Of a woman

In her menstrual period.

Thus,

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the blood

That they had shed

Upon the land.

I poured out my wrath

Upon them

For the idols

With which

They had defiled it.

I scattered them

Among the nations.

They were dispersed

Through the countries.

I judged them

In accordance

With their conduct.

I judged them

In accordance

With their deeds.’”

Once again, the word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, but without a specific date. Yahweh said that when the house of Israel lived on their own soil, they defiled it with how they acted. They were unclean, like the uncleanness of the menstrual female, who was considered to be unclean at the time of her period. They had shed blood throughout the land. They had worshipped idols, thus defiling the land. Yahweh then poured out his wrath and scattered them among the various nations. Thus, they were dispersed throughout the different countries. Yahweh judged them according to their conduct and their deeds.

The distressed sheep (Ezek 34:7-34:8)

“Therefore,

You shepherds!

Hear

The word of Yahweh!

Says Yahweh God!

‘As I live!

My sheep

Have become

A prey.

My sheep

Have become

Food

For all the wild animals.

Because there was

No shepherd.

Because my shepherds

Have not searched

For my sheep.

But the shepherds

Have fed themselves.

They have not fed

My sheep.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, wanted those Israelite shepherds to listen. Yahweh’s sheep, the Israelites, had become a prey and food for all the wild animals of the foreign countries. There was no shepherd or leader. Thus, Yahweh’s sheep had been scattered, but no one searched for them. These shepherds or so-called leaders fed themselves, but they never fed Yahweh’s sheep.

The restoration of a smaller Egypt (Ezek 29:13-29:16)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘At the end of forty years,

I will gather

The Egyptians

From the people

Among whom

They were scattered.

I will restore

The fortunes of Egypt.

I will bring them back

To the land of Pathros,

The land of their origin.

There they shall be

A lowly kingdom.

It shall be the lowliest

Of the kingdoms.

It shall never again

Exalt itself

Above the nations.

I will make them

So small

That they will never again

Rule over the nations.

The Egyptians shall never again

Be the reliance

Of the house of Israel.

They will recall

Their iniquity,

When they turned

To them

For aid.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh God!’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel that at end of forty years, he would gather the Egyptians from wherever they were scattered. He was going to restore the fortunes of Egypt. He was going to bring them back to Pathros, the southern part of Egypt near Thebes, where they originally came from. However, this would be a low kingdom that would not exalt itself among the various nations. They would be so small that they would never again rule over other countries. Israel would not rely on Egypt again. They would recall their iniquity when they turned to them for aid. They would all know that Yahweh was God.

Forty years of problems for Egypt (Ezek 29:11-29:12)

“No human foot

Shall pass through Egypt.

No animal foot

Shall pass through it.

It shall be uninhabited

Forty years.

I will make

The land of Egypt

A desolation

Among desolated countries.

Her cities shall be

A desolation

Forty years

Among cities

That are laid waste.

I will scatter

The Egyptians

Among the nations.

I will disperse them

Among the countries.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that no humans or animals would set foot in Egypt, because it was going to be uninhabited for 40 years. Thus the 40 years was similar to the 40 years in the wilderness for the Israelites. Egypt was going to be a land of desolation among desolated countries since her cities would be laid waste for 40 years. The Egyptians would also be scattered and dispersed among the various nations and countries. Actually the Persians took over Egypt in 525 BCE.

The gathering of the house of Israel (Ezek 28:25-28:25)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will gather

The house of Israel

From the people

Among whom

They are scattered.

I will manifest

My holiness

In them,

In the sight of the nations.

Then they shall settle

On their own soil

That I gave

To my servant

Jacob.’”

Yahweh said that he was going to gather the house of Israel from all the people, countries, and nations that they had been scattered into. Yahweh was going to manifest his holiness then, so that all the nations would see it. Finally, the Israelites would settle on their own soil, the same land that Yahweh had given to his servant, Jacob.

The gathering (Ezek 20:34-20:35)

“I will bring you out

From the people.

I will gather you

Out of the countries,

Where you are scattered.

I will bring you

With a mighty hand,

With an outstretched arm,

With wrath poured out.

I will bring you

Into the wilderness

Of the people.

There I will enter

Into judgment

With you

Face to face.”

The kingship of Yahweh, as just mentioned, included a mighty hand, an outstretched hand, and anger poured out. Yahweh was going to gather the Israelites from wherever they had been scattered. He was going to bring them into a new wilderness of all the people. There he was going to enter into personal judgment with them face to face.

The king of Judah broke Yahweh’s oath (Ezek 17:19-17:21)

“Therefore thus says

Yahweh God!

‘As I live,

I will surely return

Upon his head

My oath

That he despised.

He broke

My covenant.

I will spread

My net

Over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon.

I will enter

Into judgment

With him there

For the treason

That he has committed

Against me.

The entire pick

Of his troops

Shall fall

By the sword.

The survivors

Shall be scattered

To every wind.

You shall know

That I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.’”

It is interesting to note that the covenant and oath that King Zedekiah had sworn to the King of Babylon was interpreted by Yahweh as an oath and alliance with Yahweh, himself. Yahweh was going to return the oath on the king’s head because he had despised this oath. He had broken Yahweh’s covenant when he broke his agreement with the king of Babylon. Yahweh was going to spread his net over him, so that he was going to be caught in his snare. Yahweh was going to bring the king to Babylon to enter judgment on him there for the treason that he had committed against Yahweh. All the king’s best troops would fall by the sword in battle. The survivors would be scattered to every wind. They would know that it was Yahweh who had delivered this judgment.