God's Vengeance on Israel's Foes in the Valley
of Jehoshaphat. His Blessing on the Church.
1. bring again the captivity—that is,
reverse it. The Jews restrict this to the return from Babylon.
Christians refer it to the coming of Christ. But the prophet comprises
the whole redemption, beginning from the return out of Babylon, then
continued from the first advent of Christ down to the last day (His
second advent), when God will restore His Church to perfect felicity
2. Parallel to Zec 14:2, 3, 4, where the "Mount of Olives" answers to
the "Valley of Jehoshaphat" here. The latter is called "the valley of
blessing" (Berachah) (2Ch 20:26). It lies between Jerusalem and the
Mount of Olives and has the Kedron flowing through it. As Jehoshaphat
overthrew the confederate foes of Judah, namely, Ammon, Moab, &c.
83:6-8), in this valley, so
God was to overthrow the Tyrians, Zidonians, Philistines, Edom, and
Egypt, with a similar utter overthrow (Joe 3:4, 19). This has been long ago fulfilled; but
the ultimate event shadowed forth herein is still future, when God
shall specially interpose to destroy Jerusalem's last foes, of whom
Tyre, Zidon, Edom, Egypt, and Philistia are the types. As "Jehoshaphat"
means "the judgment of Jehovah," the valley of Jehoshaphat may
be used as a general term for the theater of God's final
judgments on Israel's foes, with an allusion to the judgment inflicted
on them by Jehoshaphat. The definite mention of the Mount of Olives in
14:4, and the fact that this
was the scene of the ascension, makes it likely the same shall be the
scene of Christ's coming again: compare "this same Jesus … shall
so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven"
all nations—namely, which have
plead with them—(Isa 66:16;
my heritage Israel—(De 32:9; Jer
10:16). Implying that the
source of Judah's redemption is God's free love, wherewith He chose
Israel as His peculiar heritage, and at the same time assuring
them, when desponding because of trials, that He would plead their
cause as His own, and as if He were injured in their person.
3. cast lots for my people—that is,
divided among themselves My people as their captives by lot. Compare as
to the distribution of captives by lot (Ob 11; Na 3:10).
given a boy for … harlot—Instead
of paying a harlot for her prostitution in money, they gave her a
Jewish captive boy as a slave.
girl for wine—So valueless did they
regard a Jewish girl that they would sell her for a draught of
4. what have ye to do with me—Ye have no
connection with Me (that is, with My people: God identifying Himself
with Israel); I (that is, My people) have given you no cause of
quarrel, why then do ye trouble Me (that is, My people)? (Compare the
same phrase, Jos 22:24; Jud 11:12; 2Sa 16:10; Mt
Tyre … Zidon …
Palestine—(Am 1:6, 9).
if ye recompense me—If ye injure
Me (My people), in revenge for fancied wrongs (Eze 25:15-17), I will requite you in your own
coin swiftly and speedily.
5. my silver … my gold—that is,
the gold and silver of My people. The Philistines and Arabians had
carried off all the treasures of King Jehoram's house (2Ch 21:16, 17). Compare also 1Ki
15:18; 2Ki 12:18; 14:14, for
the spoiling of the treasures of the temple and the king's palace in
Judah by Syria. It was customary among the heathen to hang up in the
idol temples some of the spoils of war as presents to their gods.
6. Grecians—literally, "Javanites," that
is, the Ionians, a Greek colony on the coast of Asia Minor who were the
first Greeks known to the Jews. The Greeks themselves, however, in
their original descent came from Javan (Ge 10:2, 4). Probably the germ of Greek
civilization in part came through the Jewish slaves imported into
Greece from Phœnicia by traffickers. Eze 27:13 mentions Javan and Tyre as
trading in the persons of men.
far from their border—far from Judea;
so that the captive Jews were cut off from all hope of return.
7. raise them—that is, I will
rouse them. Neither sea nor distance will prevent My bringing
them back. Alexander, and his successors, restored to liberty many Jews
in bondage in Greece [Josephus,
Antiquities, 13.5; Wars of the Jews, 3.9,2].
8. sell them to … Sabeans—The
Persian Artaxerxes Mnemon and Darius Ochus, and chiefly the Greek
Alexander, reduced the Phœnician and Philistine powers. Thirty
thousand Tyrians after the capture of Tyre by the last conqueror, and
multitudes of Philistines on the taking of Gaza, were sold as slaves.
The Jews are here said to do that which the God of Judah does in
vindication of their wrong, namely, sell the Phœnicians who sold
them, to a people "far off," as was Greece, whither the Jews had been
sold. The Sabeans at the most remote extremity of Arabia Felix are
referred to (compare Jer 6:20; Mt 12:42).
9. The nations hostile to Israel are summoned
by Jehovah to "come up" (this phrase is used because Jerusalem was on a
hill) against Jerusalem, not that they may destroy it, but to be
destroyed by the Lord (Eze 38:7-23; Zec 12:2-9; 14:2,
Prepare war—literally, sanctify
war: because the heathen always began war with religious ceremonies.
The very phrase used of Babylon's preparations against Jerusalem
6:4) is now used of the final
foes of Jerusalem. As Babylon was then desired by God to advance
against her for her destruction, so now all her foes, of whom Babylon
was the type, are desired to advance against her for their own
10. Beat your ploughshares into
swords—As the foes are desired to "beat their ploughshares
into swords, and their pruning hooks into spears," that so
they may perish in their unhallowed attack on Judah and Jerusalem, so
these latter, and the nations converted to God by them, after the
overthrow of the antichristian confederacy, shall, on the contrary,
"beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into
pruning hooks," when under Messiah's coming reign there shall be
war no more (Isa 2:4; Ho 2:18; Mic 4:3).
let the weak say, I am strong—So
universal shall be the rage of Israel's foes for invading her, that
even the weak among them will fancy themselves strong
enough to join the invading forces. Age and infirmity were ordinarily
made valid excuses for exemption from service, but so mad shall be the
fury of the world against God's people, that even the feeble will not
desire to be exempted (compare Ps 2:1-3).
11. Assemble—"Hasten" [Maurer].
thither—to the valley of
thy mighty ones—the warriors who fancy
themselves "mighty ones," but who are on that very spot to be
overthrown by Jehovah [Maurer]. Compare
"the mighty men" (Joe 3:9).
Rather, Joel speaks of God's really "mighty ones" in contrast to the
self-styled "mighty men" (Joe 3:9; Ps 103:20; Isa 13:3; compare Da 10:13). Auberlen remarks: One prophet supplements the other,
for they all prophesied only "in part." What was obscure to one was
revealed to the other; what is briefly described by one is more fully
so by another. Daniel calls Antichrist a king, and dwells on his
worldly conquests; John looks more to his spiritual tyranny, for which
reason he adds a second beast, wearing the semblance of spirituality.
Antichrist himself is described by Daniel. Isaiah (Isa 29:1-24), Joel (Joe 3:1-21) and Zechariah (Zec
12:1-14:21), describe his
army of heathen followers coming up against Jerusalem, but not
12. See Joe 3:2.
judge all the heathen round about—that
is, all the nations from all parts of the earth which have maltreated
Israel; not merely, as Henderson
supposes, the nations round about Jerusalem (compare Ps 110:6; Isa 2:4; Mic
4:3, 11-13; Zep 3:15-19; Zec 12:9; 14:3-11; Mal 4:1-3).
13. Direction to the ministers of vengeance to
execute God's wrath, as the enemy's wickedness is come to its full
maturity. God does not cut off the wicked at once, but waits till their
guilt is at its full (so as to the Amorites' iniquity, Ge 15:16), to show forth His own
long-suffering, and the justice of their doom who have so long abused
it (Mt 13:27-30, 38, 40; Re 14:15-19). For the image of a harvest to be
threshed, compare Jer 51:33;
and a wine-press, Isa 63:3 and La 1:15.
14. The prophet in vision seeing the immense
array of nations congregating, exclaims, "Multitudes, multitudes!" a
Hebraism for immense multitudes.
valley of decision—that is, the valley
in which they are to meet their "determined doom." The same as "the
valley of Jehoshaphat," that is, "the valley of judgment" (see
on Joe 3:2). Compare Joe 3:12, "there will I sit to judge,"
which confirms English Version rather than Margin,
"threshing." The repetition of "valley of decision" heightens the
effect and pronounces the awful certainty of their doom.
15. (See on Joe 2:10;
16. (Compare Eze 38:18-22). The victories of the Jews over their
cruel foe Antiochus, under the Maccabees, may be a reference of this
prophecy; but the ultimate reference is to the last Antichrist, of whom
Antiochus was the type. Jerusalem being the central seat of the
theocracy (Ps 132:13),
it is from thence that Jehovah discomfits the foe.
roar—as a lion (Jer 25:30;
Am 1:2; 3:8). Compare as to
Jehovah's voice thundering, Ps 18:13; Hab 3:10, 11.
Lord … the hope of his
people—or, "their refuge" (Ps 46:1).
17. shall ye know—experimentally by the
proofs of favors which I shall vouchsafe to you. So "know" (Isa
60:16; Ho 2:20).
dwelling in Zion—as peculiarly your
holy … no strangers pass
through—to attack, or to defile, the holy city (Isa
35:8; 52:1; Zec 14:21).
Strangers, or Gentiles, shall come to Jerusalem, but it shall be
in order to worship Jehovah there (Zec 14:16).
18. mountains … drop …
wine—figurative for abundance of vines, which were
cultivated in terraces of earth between the rocks on the sides of the
hills of Palestine (Am 9:13).
hills … flow with milk—that is,
they shall abound in flocks and herds yielding milk plentifully,
through the richness of the pastures.
waters—the great desideratum for
fertility in the parched East (Isa 30:25).
fountain … of … house of …
Lord … water … valley of Shittim—The blessings,
temporal and spiritual, issuing from Jehovah's house at Jerusalem,
shall extend even to Shittim, on the border between Moab and Israel,
beyond Jordan (Nu 25:1; 33:49; Jos 2:1; Mic
6:5). "Shittim" means
"acacias," which grow only in arid regions: implying that even the
arid desert shall be fertilized by the blessing from Jerusalem. So
47:1-12 describes the waters
issuing from the threshold of the house as flowing into the Dead Sea,
and purifying it. Also in Zec 14:8 the
waters flow on one side into the Mediterranean, on the other side into
the Dead Sea, near which latter Shittim was situated (compare Ps 46:4;
19. Edom—It was subjugated by David, but
revolted under Jehoram (2Ch 21:8-10); and at every subsequent opportunity
tried to injure Judah. Egypt under Shishak spoiled Jerusalem under
Rehoboam of the treasures of the temple and the king's house;
subsequently to the captivity, it inflicted under the Ptolemies various
injuries on Judea. Antiochus spoiled Egypt (Da 11:40-43). Edom was made "desolate" under
the Maccabees [Josephus,
Antiquities, 12.11,12]. The low condition of the two countries
for centuries proves the truth of the prediction (compare Isa
19:1, &c.; Jer 49:17; Ob 10). So shall fare all the foes of Israel,
typified by these two (Isa 63:1,
20. dwell for ever—(Am 9:15), that is, be established as a
21. cleanse … blood … not
cleansed—I will purge away from Judah the extreme guilt
(represented by "blood," the shedding of which was the climax of her
1:15) which was for long not
purged away, but visited with judgments (Isa 4:4). Messiah saves from guilt, in order to
save from punishment (Mt 1:21).