Joel 2:1-32 (2:1-3:5)

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Those who are directed to blow a shofar or ram’s-horn trumpet (“trumpet a trumpet,” LXX) in Zion or Jerusalem are not identified. According to the context, the trumpet blast would signal the arrival of the “day of YHWH” or of the time for the execution of his judgment. As the location of his temple or his representative place of dwelling, Zion is designated as his holy mountain. Crying out or “heralding” (LXX) from there would apply to making an outcry of alarm. (2:1)

All those inhabiting the “earth” or the “land,” specifically Judah, were to tremble in fear because of the arrival of the “day of YHWH.” Joel, under the influence of God’s spirit, apparently saw in the devastating locust plague, the approach of this “day.” Seemingly, because of the severity of the plague, the prophet spoke of the “day of YHWH” as though a then-present reality or as having come, and he proceeded to describe the “day” that was near. (2:1)

The day that was at hand is described as one of “darkness and gloom.” This is because of what it would mean for those whom YHWH disapproved. There would be nothing to brighten their future. (2:2)

It would be a day of “cloud and thick darkness [‘araphél].” The Septuagint rendering for ‘araphél is homíchle, which word can designate “mist,” “fog,” “gloom,” or “darkness.” Accordingly, the day could be compared to a day of dark clouds and thick fog, with visibility being almost nonexistent. (2:2)

The expression “like dawn [sháchar] spread upon the mountains” could refer to the light of the rising sun becoming visible above the tops of the mountains as if being spread over them. According to a different vowel pointing, the consonants of the word sháchar could be read as shechór, meaning “blackness.” Numerous modern translations have adopted this significance (“like blackness spread upon the mountains” [NRSV]; “like blackness spread over the mountains” [REB]; “like thunderclouds” [CEV]) The Septuagint does not support understanding the Hebrew word to apply to “blackness.” It reads órthros, meaning “dawn” or “early morning.” (2:2)

Like the dawn, a “great” or numerous and “mighty” people is portrayed as appearing on the scene. Based on the description that follows, this “people” consists of a huge swarm of desert locusts. Because of the astronomically large numbers in a swarm and the voracious appetites, desert locusts are appropriately called “great and mighty.” Within less than half a square mile (about one square kilometer), there can be between roughly 40 million and as many as some 80 million desert locusts, and an exceptionally large swarm may cover an area of 460 square miles (c. 1,200 square kilometers). The extraordinarily numerous and mighty “people” would not be like any previous one and would not be duplicated in the years to come. There would be nothing comparable to it in “generation after generation.” (2:2)

Once a swarm of locusts alights on a field, the effect is like a consuming fire as the insects devour everything in their path. After they leave the field behind, its appearance is comparable to its having been burned. Land with a flourishing crop and resembling the beauty of the “garden of Eden” (or, according to the Septuagint, a “paradise of delight”) is transformed into a desolated field. Absolutely nothing escapes the voracious appetite of the numerous and mighty “people.” A very large swarm of locusts may consume more than 400 million pounds (over 180 million kilograms) of crops in just one day. (2:3)

In appearance, locusts, particularly their heads, resemble horses. Like “horsemen” on their mounts, they “run,” “will pursue” (form of katadióko [LXX]), move swiftly, or charge. (2:4)

The sound of the leaping of the “people,” the locust swarm, “on the top of the mountains” is likened to that of “chariots,” or the whirring sound of many chariot wheels in motion, and is compared to that of a “flame of fire” as it consumes “stubble.” In modern times, the sound of a locust swarm has been described as resembling a continuous hailstorm, muffled distant thunder, or a train in motion. The locust swarm (the “mighty people” or, according to the Septuagint, the “numerous and mighty people”) is like an army “drawn up [for] battle,” prepared to devastate everything in its path. (2:5; see the Notes section.)

Before the “face” or in front of the “mighty people” or the locust swarm, those who experience its onslaught would “writhe,” come to be in a state of anguish, or would be “crushed” (LXX). Overwhelmed by the huge number of locusts, they could do nothing to protect their crops from being devastated and to safeguard themselves from facing severe famine. All their “faces” would “collect a glow [pa’rúr].” (2:6)

There is considerable uncertainty about the meaning of the Hebrew word pa’rúr. The phrase where pa’rúr appears has been interpretively rendered. “All faces turn ashen.” (Tanakh [NJPS]) “All faces grow pale.” (NRSV) “Every face is drained of colour.” (REB) “Every face blanches.” (NAB) The thought would be that the “glow” is collected from the faces, turning them pale. According to the Septuagint, “every face” would be “like soot on a pot” or take on an ashen or black appearance when faced with the locust onslaught. The Syriac reads similarly, “All faces will be blackened as the blackness of a pot” (or “jar”). While the Vulgate also contains the word for “pot,” the complete phrase does not convey a comprehensible meaning (omnes vultus redigentur in ollam [“all visages will be reduced to a pot”]). (2:6)

The “mighty people” (the locust swarm) move onward like an army, “running” like mighty men or warriors, ascending or scaling a wall, each one going in its ways, and they do not turn aside from their paths (literally, “take a pledge [‘avát] from their paths”). The literal rendering of the form of the Hebrew verb ‘avát, meaning “take a pledge” or “borrow,” does not convey an understandable significance, and the part of the text where this word appears is not preserved in any of the extant Dead Sea Scrolls. According to the Septuagint, “By no means will they turn from their paths.” Modern translations have commonly followed this meaningful rendering, which also has the support of the Vulgate and the Syriac. (2:7; see the Notes section.)

The forward movement of a locust swarm is comparable to that of an army, with no warrior pushing or jostling his fellow in the ranks and each one continuing to advance in his course. A literal rendering of the words that follow is, “And among the weapons they fall [and] are not cut off.” This could mean that, while human efforts directed against the swarm would kill many of the locusts, their onslaught could not be stopped. Translators have variously rendered the Hebrew text, and also in ways that are suggestive of a military force. “Weapons cannot halt their attack.” (REB) “They burst through the weapons and are not halted.” (NRSV) “Arrows fly, they still press forward, never breaking ranks.” (NJB) “Even arrows and spears cannot make them retreat.” (CEV) “They plunge through defenses without breaking ranks.” (NIV) “Though they fall into the ditches, they are not checked.” (NAB) (2:8)

In the phrase about not “pushing” or “jostling,” the two Hebrew words that are commonly translated “one another” are the nouns ’ish (“man”) and ’ach (“brother”). This accounts for the Septuagint rendering, “And each one will not be far from his brother.” In view of the phrase that follows, the words of the Septuagint cannot be applied to locusts, for those referred to are described as warriors “burdened with their weapons” and falling “among their arrows.” Nevertheless, they would “by no means” be “finished off.” The army would continue to exist as a mighty military force. Accordingly, in relation to his “brother” or his fellow fighter, a warrior would not distance himself but would always be there to support his fellow soldier. Based on the reading of the Septuagint, the swarm of locusts could be understood to be a harbinger of the “day of YHWH” when a large and unstoppable army would invade the land, serving as the instrument for executing the foretold judgment upon the disobedient and unrepentant people. (2:8; see the Notes section.)

The vast host of invaders is portrayed as affecting a populated place. They “rush” upon the city, “run” on the walls, ascend the exterior of the houses, and enter the windows as would a thief. This description could apply either to a locust swarm (as may be the meaning of the Masoretic Text) or a military force (as is the apparent significance of the Septuagint rendering). (2:9)

The “trembling” of the earth or land before the swarm of locusts (literally, “their faces”) could refer to the fear the plague would engender among the inhabitants of the land, for the people knew that crops would be devastated and famine conditions would follow. When in flight, a large locust swarm can hide the sky as do clouds, obscuring the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars. In the case of the Septuagint rendering, the words could be understood to mean that there would be no bright prospect for the people, as if the sun and the moon were darkened and the stars had withdrawn their light. These developments are apparently included in the reference to the “shaking” of the heavens. (2:10)

YHWH’s giving “his voice before the face of his force” could refer to his voice resounding like thunder as he leads his army or to his summoning his force for action. This army can either be a large locust swarm or a mighty military force (LXX). The three phrases that follow are introduced by the Hebrew word ki and the corresponding Greek word hóti in the first two occurrences and then dióti. Depending on the context, the Hebrew and Greek words may be rendered “that,” “for,” “since,” or “because.” (2:11)

The first phrase relates to YHWH’s camp or the camp of his force as being great or numerous. Literally translated, the second phrase in the Hebrew text reads, “because mighty making his word.” The corresponding Septuagint rendering is, “because mighty [are the] works of his words.” Perhaps the basic thought is that the “making” or “working” of YHWH’s word is mighty or irresistible and, therefore, certain of accomplishment. The final phrase describes the “day of YHWH” as “great” and as “exceedingly terrifying.” Then comes the question, “And who can endure [kul] it?” Because YHWH’s camp is numerous, because his word is certain to be carried out, because his day is great and fear-inspiring, no one who opposes his will can hope to escape the punitive judgment. (2:11; see the Notes section about how translators have variously interpreted this verse.)

There was only one way for the people of Judah to escape the fearful judgment that YHWH’s day would bring, and he made this known to them through his prophet. They needed to return to him as a repentant people, doing so with all their “heart” or their inmost selves. To manifest their repentance outwardly, they were to fast and, in expression of their sadness about having transgressed YHWH’s commands, they were to weep and wail or mourn. (2:12)

Outward displays of sorrow were not sufficient for YHWH to grant forgiveness to his people and to spare them from his punitive judgment. Mourners, in expression of their grief, would tear their garments, exposing their breasts. The word of YHWH through his prophet, however, directed them to tear their hearts, not their garments. This would mean that, in their inmost selves, they were to feel deep and intense sorrow and pain on account of their transgressions. As a repentant people, they were to turn to YHWH their God, confident that they would be forgiven “because he is gracious and merciful [‘merciful and compassionate’ (LXX)], slow to anger and great in kindness [‘abundantly merciful’ (LXX)], and regretting over evil [‘evils’ (LXX)].” (2:13; see the Notes section.)

In his dealings, YHWH is a God who wants to show compassion and to be patient and forbearing, extending every opportunity possible for transgressors to abandon their wayward ways. The reference to “regretting over evil” identifies YHWH as willing to refrain from bringing the threatened evil or calamity upon transgressors if they repentantly turn to him and seek to do his will. Translators have interpretively rendered the words about “regretting over evil” as “renouncing punishment” (Tanakh [NJPS]), “relenting in punishment” (NAB), “ready always to relent when he threatens disaster” (REB); “I don’t like to punish” (CEV); “he is always ready to forgive and not punish” (GNT, Second Edition). “He can change his mind about doing harm” (NCV). (2:13)

After YHWH is identified as a merciful God, the words that follow are framed from the standpoint of those who have sinned against him. Upon recognizing the gravity of their transgressions, they may feel uncertain about whether they can be forgiven. Sinners may also be aware that they cannot presume on what YHWH may or may not do. They do not know to what extent he may mitigate punishment. Accordingly, it remained an open question when it came to knowing whether YHWH would turn from inflicting punishment, would “regret,” relenting from the judgment he had previously announced through his prophet, and would leave behind a blessing instead of allowing the land to be completely devastated. For a blessing to be left would mean that offerings and libations could be presented to YHWH at the temple. As products of the fields and the vineyards, the offerings would be grain offerings and drink offerings of wine. (2:14)

The blowing of a shofar (“trumpeting a trumpet” [LXX]), a ram’s-horn trumpet, in Zion would serve as a signal for the people to act on the proclamation to be made. Sanctifying a fast denoted setting aside a time for abstaining from food as an expression of sorrow and repentance and as an outward manifestation of a plea to be shown mercy. Calling an assembly would require summoning the people to come together at the temple and to acknowledge their transgressions and to seek YHWH’s forgiveness and mercy. (2:15)

The directive for the people to assemble applied to everyone. As a congregation, they were to be sanctified or set apart as ceremonially fit to appear before YHWH at his temple and to petition him to be merciful. All would be affected by the threatened punishment, and so all needed to be present at the solemn gathering. Neither the elders, or the aged members of the community, nor the very young, the children and nursing infants, were exempt from being included among the assembled people. It would not even be a time for a bridegroom and a bride to enjoy the first day of their union as husband and wife, but they were to leave their respective chambers and join the rest of the people in fasting and supplicating God for forgiveness and mercy. (2:16)

The priests would already have been at the temple, and so they are not included in the call for the people to assemble. In the courtyard of the temple “between the porch” of the sanctuary “and the altar, they, the “servants of YHWH,” would be weeping, sharing with the people in their expression of sorrow over transgressions. The priests would plead, “Spare, O YHWH, your people and do not make your inheritance a reproach, to a byword [mashál] among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where [is] their God?’” (2:17; see the Notes section.)

The supplication of the priests would be for YHWH to spare his people from the threatened punitive judgment. As his people, the Israelites belonged to him. They were his inheritance. For the people of other nations to see them reduced to a state of misery would result in their looking upon YHWH’s inheritance as an object of reproach. Foreign peoples would make the suffering Israelites a byword as part of an expression of mockery. As it would appear to them that YHWH had abandoned his people, they would question just where he might be in that he had done nothing to spare his people from great suffering. (2:17)

As a verb, the Hebrew word mashál can mean “to rule,” “to speak a proverb” or “to use as a byword.” The same consonants as a noun designate a proverb, a byword, or a parable. In the Septuagint, the corresponding word for mashál is katárcho, meaning “rule” or “govern.” When the threatened calamity relates to the plague of locusts, a rendering that fits the sense of “byword” would be preferable. If, however, a military invasion is in view, the reference to nations ruling over the people is appropriate. (2:17)

That YHWH responded favorably to his people is particularly evident from the Septuagint rendering. The verbs are in the aorist tense, relating to past developments. YHWH’s jealousy or zeal for his land would have been manifest in his not permitting it to be completely devastated. He spared his people or had pity on them, not letting them experience the suffering that would have resulted from ruin to their crops. (2:18; see the Notes section.)

YHWH, doubtless through his prophet, assured the people that he would send them, or provide for them, grain, wine, and oil. The grain fields, vineyards, and olive trees would produce abundantly, making it possible for the people to eat to satisfaction. YHWH would bless his people and thus not make them or let them become an object of reproach among the people of the other nations. (2:19; see the Notes section.)

The words about the “northerner,” while retaining elements that relate to the swarm of locusts, appear to apply in a more general sense to any force that might attack God’s people. Swarms of locusts came from the south, and so would not be described as “northerners.” Vast inhospitable desert areas lay east of the land the Israelites inhabited. Therefore, attacking forces from major powers did not march through the desert but took the longer northern route and launched their military campaigns from the north. (2:20)

Swarms of desert locusts fly with the wind and so can be driven, as the verse says, into a dry and desolate land or into the sea. (Compare Exodus 10:19.) Seemingly, the destruction of the “northerner” or the attacking force is being depicted in language that somewhat describes what can happen to a swarm of desert locusts. YHWH is represented as the one who would drive the “face” or front of the “northerner” into the eastern sea (the Dead Sea) and the rear of the “northerner” into the western sea (the Mediterranean). The “northerner” would rot, and the stench of decay would ascend. Dead locusts may wash ashore, and the smell from piles of decaying locusts would then fill the air. (2:20)

There are translators who have interpretively applied the concluding phrase (“for he has magnified to act” or, according to the Septuagint, “for he has magnified his works”) to God. “The LORD works wonders and does great things.” (CEV) “Surely the Lord has done great things!” (NLT) “The Lord has surely done a wonderful thing!” (NCV) “Surely he has done great things.” (NIV) It appears preferable, however, to regard the introductory “for” or “because” (ki) as setting forth the reason for YHWH’s action against the “northerner.” The magnifying of the northerner’s doing could be understood to refer to its launching a proud assault on God’s people and their land. A number of translations convey this basic sense in their renderings. “I will destroy them because of all they have done to you.” (GNT, Second Edition) “So I will punish your enemy for his arrogance.” (So strafe ich euren Feind für seine Überheblichkeit. [German, Hoffnung für alle]) (2:20)

YHWH did not permit the land of his people to be completely devastated. Therefore, it is represented as not having to fear. As a land that did not become transformed into the sad appearance of desolation, it is told to rejoice and exalt. YHWH provided the circumstances for the joyous state by magnifying his taking action, accomplishing great things when safeguarding his people and their land. (2:21)

The beasts of the field did not need to fear, for their environment would not be ruined. “Fields of the wilderness” would sprout, indicating that vegetation would flourish and provide ample food for animals. Fruit-bearing trees would thrive, and fig trees and grapevines would “give their strength” or produce in abundance. (2:22)

The “sons” or inhabitants of Zion or Jerusalem were invited to rejoice in YHWH their God. This is on account of what he had done for them when providing the “early rain” (mohréh) in the fall and the latter rain in the spring, making it possible for crops to flourish. YHWH acted as he did formerly when he blessed his people. (2:23)

The Hebrew word mohréh, here translated “early rain,” is linked to the words “for your righteousness” and the corresponding phrase in the Septuagint is, “food for righteousness.” Perhaps the thought is that, because of the rain, the people would have food, and this would be the evidence of YHWH’s righteous or just dealings with his people. As recipients of the just dealings, the people could be viewed as possessors of this righteousness (their “righteousness”). The uncertainty about the meaning of the words is reflected in the varying renderings of modern translations. “He has given you the autumn rains in righteousness.” (NIV) “He has given the early rain for your vindication.” (NRSV) “He has given you autumn rain as justice demands.” (NJB) “He has given you the early rain in [His] kindness.” (Tanakh [NJPS]) “The LORD your God, who gives you food in due measure by sending you rain.” (REB) “He is generous and has sent the autumn and spring rains in the proper seasons.” (CEV) (2:23; see the Notes section.)

Bountiful barley and wheat harvests would result in an abundance of grain for threshing on the threshing floors. With exceptional yields from vineyards and olive groves, the juice from grapes for making wine and the oil from crushed olives would overflow in the vats. (2:24)

YHWH promised to bless his people, recompensing them for the losses they had experienced from locusts and other insects in previous years. His great destructive “force” includes the same insects that were mentioned in verse 4 of chapter 1 (which see for comments.) The order in which the insects are listed here in verse 25, however, is not the same (“locust” [Hebrew, ’arbéh; Greek, akrís]; “hopper” or locust in its wingless state [Hebrew, yéleq; Greek, broúchos]; possibly the locust in one of the stages of its life cycle or the cockroach [Hebrew, chasíl] but “rust,” “blight,” or “mildew” [erysíbe] according to the Septuagint, and “caterpillar” [Hebrew, gazám; Greek, kámpe]). (2:25)

In Joel 1:6, this great “force” or army is portrayed as having come into YHWH’s land. Here, in verse 25, YHWH is represented as having sent it among his people. This parallel illustrates that his sending denotes his permitting the development. (2:25)

On account of abundant harvests, the people would be eating to satisfaction. In appreciation for the bounties, they would “praise the name [or the person] of YHWH,” their God who had dealt so marvelously with them. With YHWH’s blessing and safeguarding, his people would not be ashamed for all time to come. In the Septuagint, the emphatic sense is conveyed by two words for “not” and, in relation to “ashamed,” may be rendered “will by no means be ashamed.” (2:26)

Based on their again enjoying divine favor as apparent from abundant harvests, the people would know or recognize that YHWH was in the “midst of Israel” or with them as his people. He alone was their God, with there being no one besides him. At the time they found themselves in distressing circumstances on account of meager yields at harvest time, the people would have experienced shame and appeared as persons whom YHWH had abandoned. This situation would end for those whom he recognized as his people. No more would they be ashamed in ages to come. In the Septuagint, the assurance is emphatic, for two words meaning “not” precede the verb for “ashamed” and may be translated “by no means.” (2:27; see the Notes section.)

As revealed in the previous verses, repentant persons are the ones whom YHWH recognizes as his people and to whom he grants his favorable attention. Therefore, the future imparting of his spirit would be on repentant ones who had been forgiven of their sins. According to the reading of the Septuagint, God is represented as promising, “I will pour out from [apó] my spirit upon all flesh.” This wording suggests that he would impart a portion of his spirit to all, young and old, male and female, and even persons in servitude. (2:28 [3:1])

According to Acts 2:14-16, the apostle Peter explained that those who heard the disciples of Jesus Christ speaking in tongues witnessed the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Joel. (See the comments on Acts chapter 2 and the accompanying Notes section.) The words in Joel 2:28 do not refer to any speaking in tongues, but do indicate that prophesying on the part of sons and daughters would make it evident that they had received God’s spirit. In the case of prophesying, the principal aspect was the declaring of God’s message, which did at times include the foretelling of future events. The speaking in tongues did involve prophesying, for those who listened to what was being said in their own languages understood the words to be about the “great things of God.” (Acts 2:8-11) Although referring to the pouring out of the spirit as the act of the resurrected and exalted Lord Jesus Christ, Peter identified God as the One from whom Jesus had received the spirit (Acts 2:32, 33) Accordingly, in fulfillment of the words in Joel, YHWH poured out his spirit through his Son. (2:28 [3:1])

Against the backdrop of what is recorded in the book of Acts (9:10-16; 10:9-17; 16:9, 10), the dreams elders or old men dreamed and the visions that young men saw provided them with guidance about how they should carry out their service to God and Jesus Christ, revealed aspects of God’s will to them, and clarified what was divinely approved. (2:28 [3:1])

Women, even women who found themselves in bondage, would not be excluded from having God’s spirit imparted to them “in those days” or at the time the prophetic words came to be fulfilled. Both male and female slaves would receive God’s spirit. In Acts 2:18, God is represented as calling them “my male slaves” and “my female slaves,” indicating that he honored them as belonging to him. (2:29 [3:2])

At the time the disciples of Jesus Christ received God’s spirit on the day of Pentecost, God did give “portents” in “heaven,” or from above in the sky, and “signs” on the “earth” or on the land. From out of heaven came a sound comparable to that of a fierce tempest and that rushing wind filled the house in which the disciples were gathered. The tongue-like flames that appeared above the heads of each one of them could also be regarded as a portent from heaven. Thereafter when the disciples spoke in tongues (Acts 2:2, 3), this proved to be a sign on earth. (2:30 [3:3])

These developments pointed to the coming of a time of judgment, for not all responded favorably to the evidence of divine activity. (Acts 2:13) This aspect is included in the words that follow. “Blood” suggests a time of slaughter as takes place during war, and fire and “columns of smoke” or “smoky vapor” (literally, “vapor of smoke” [LXX]) are likewise associated with military conflicts. Armies set houses and other structures on fire, creating haze and smoke. (2:30 [3:3])

The day of YHWH, the time for him to execute judgment, is described as “great and fearful” or “notable” (LXX), indicating that it would be of unprecedented significance and have a terrifying impact on those against whom the judgment would be directed. Linked to that day is a period of darkness or gloom. It would then appear that light, or any glimmer of hope, had been blotted out for the people as when a dark shadow passes over the sun during a solar eclipse or when the moon turns red (the color of blood) during a lunar eclipse. The turning of the sun “to darkness and the moon to blood” could also allude to what happens during campaigns of conquest. The thick smoke from burning houses and other buildings can obscure the light of the sun, and the fires raging at night can make the moon take on a reddish color. (2:31 [3:4])

There would be survivors. All who call on the “name” or the person of YHWH would be saved. These would be persons who recognize him as their God and are devoted to him as evident from their faithful adherence to his commands. In Mount Zion and in the city of Jerusalem as a whole, there would be escapees, persons who would not perish. This is the assurance that is represented as coming from YHWH, and “among the survivors” would be those “whom YHWH calls.” (2:32 [3:5])

The Septuagint does not contain a corresponding noun for the Hebrew word translated “survivors” but renders the Hebrew with a participial form of the verb euangelízo, meaning “to evangelize” or “to proclaim good news.” It appears preferable to consider this participle to designate those to whom the message is proclaimed and not to the evangelizers, those who make the glad tidings known. The phrase that includes the participial form of euangelízo may be translated, “and the ones being evangelized, whom the Lord has called.” This may be understood to mean that the manner in which God does the calling to himself is by having his servants declare the good news to others. As expressed in the Hebrew text, the “survivors” would then be those who respond favorably to this calling and thus come to be persons whom YHWH approves. (2:32 [3:5]; compare Acts 2:39.)


In a Dead Sea Scroll (4QXIIg), as in the Septuagint, the preposition translated “for” precedes “battle” (verse 5), but it is not included in the Masoretic Text.

In verses 7 and 8 of the Septuagint, the rendering “by no means” preserves the emphatic sense of the two Greek words for “not.”

There is a measure of obscurity about the wording of verse 11 in the extant Hebrew text. Translators have added words and left others untranslated in an effort to convey an understandable significance. “And, Yahweh, hath uttered his voice, before his host, for great indeed is his camp, for bold is he who executeth his word, — for great is the day of Yahweh, and awful exceedingly, Who then shall endure it?” (Rotherham) “And Jehovah hath given forth His voice before His force, For very great [is] His camp, For mighty [is] the doer of His word, For great [is] the day of Jehovah — very fearful, And who doth bear it?” (Young) “The Lord raises His voice in the presence of His army. His camp is very large; Those who carry out His command are powerful. Indeed, the Day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful — who can endure it?” (HCSB) “The LORD thunders as he leads his host; his is a mighty army, countless are those who do his bidding. Great is the day of the LORD and most terrible; who can endure it?” (REB) “The Lord thunders commands to his army. The troops that obey him are many and mighty. How terrible is the day of the Lord! Who will survive it?” (GNT, Second Edition) “The LORD shouts out orders to his army. His army is very large! Those who obey him are very strong! The LORD’s day of judging is an overwhelming and terrible day. No one can stand up against it!” (NCV)

In verse 11, a Dead Sea Scroll (4QXIIc) contains another form of the verb kul, which may also be translated “endure.”

In verse 13, a Dead Sea Scroll (4QXIIc) contains the plural form of the word gedí (“kids,” the young ones of goats) instead of the plural of béged, meaning “garments.” This is likely a scribal error. If the initial beth (B) had been included, the word would be the same one as in the Masoretic Text.

The first two Greek words of the Septuagint in verse 17 are aná méson, usually meaning “among,” “in the middle,” or “between.” None of these expressions convey an intelligible phrase in relation to the words “foundation of the altar.” Therefore, translators of the Septuagint commonly resort to an emendation (“between the foundation and the altar”).

In the Septuagint, the word for “spare” is a form of the same verb (pheídomai) in verses 17 and 18. The Hebrew words, however, are not the same but are similar in meaning. In verse 18, the Hebrew word chamál can be translated either as “spare” or “have pity,” as also may the Greek word pheídomai.

In verse 19, the expanded text of a Dead Sea Scroll (4QXIIc) reads, “and you will eat and you will be satisfied.”

In verse 23, the Hebrew word mohréh, translated “early rain,” can also denote “teacher,” which is the rendering found in the Vulgate (laetamini in Domino Deo vestro quia dedit vobis doctorem iustitiae [“rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you a teacher of righteousness”]).

In the Septuagint rendering of verse 27, the phrasing that includes the expression “I am” (egó eimi) parallels the grammatical construction of the phrase in John 8:58. In both text, “I am” follows a prepositional phrase (“in the midst of Israel, I am” [Joel 2:27]; “before Abraham existed, I am”). In the Hebrew text of Joel 2:27, however, the verb “am” is not included but needs to be supplied in translation.