Joel is addressed to Judah and Jerusalem of the southern kingdom. It builds on a literal locust invasion to describe the Day of the Lord to punish Judah’s sins (2:1). “A great and strong people” will invade and devour the land (2:2-3). There are no words to actually describe the army (2:4-5). Their army and abilities are incredible (2:7-9). The sun, moon and stars will be affected by their invasion (2:10). It is even called the “LORD’s army” because it is punishing wicked Judah for Him (2:11).
Judah is called to gather for national repentance (2:12-19).
More details of chapter 2 are given in chapter 3.
3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
Judah and Jerusalem will return from captivity (3:1).
3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
All nations gather and invade Israel. God is jealous for his heritage Israel (3:2, 9-12).
3:12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
God judges the nations inside Israel (3:12-14).
3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
The Day of the Lord is announced by omens in the sun, moon and stars. Good omens for Judah and bad omens foor the Gentile nations (3:15).
3:16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
God roars and delivers Jerusalem (3:16).
2:20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.
The northern army will be cast out and destroyed (2:20). God’s land and the beasts and trees on it will be comforted (2:21-22). The former and latter rain return and total restoration returns (2:23-27).
Joel 2:27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
The restoration will be for ever (2:27).
Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joel 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
After the restoration of Judah there will be a great revival in the land. Instead of the Holy Spirit only being poured out on one person at a time, it will be poured out on all believers.
Joel 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
There will be another round of heavenly signs –this time for good instead of evil—for blessing instead of curses and punishment.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
A revival of salvation will occur among the remnant of Judah and Jerusalem. Details follow in chapter 3.
3:17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
3:18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
3:19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
3:20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
3:21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
Sequence of events in Joel:
1. Judah has sinned.
2. A great northern army invades. The Day of the Lord is a bad omen for Judah.
3. Judah is taken captive.
4. Judah prays for deliverance.
5. God roars and Judah is returned to its land.
6. All nations invade.
7. All nations are judged.
8. Total restoration; the former and latter rain falls.
Like most of the prophets, Joel ends with the complete restoration of Judah and Jerusalem. There is not a hint from Joel that God will eventually totally reject his heritage of the elect of national Israel.