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For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land, 3and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down.

4 What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads swiftly and speedily. 5For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. 7But now I will rouse them to leave the places to which you have sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads. 8I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away; for the L ord has spoken.


Judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat


Proclaim this among the nations:

Prepare war,

stir up the warriors.

Let all the soldiers draw near,

let them come up.


Beat your plowshares into swords,

and your pruning hooks into spears;

let the weakling say, “I am a warrior.”



Come quickly,

all you nations all around,

gather yourselves there.

Bring down your warriors, O L ord.


Let the nations rouse themselves,

and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;

for there I will sit to judge

all the neighboring nations.



Put in the sickle,

for the harvest is ripe.

Go in, tread,

for the wine press is full.

The vats overflow,

for their wickedness is great.



Multitudes, multitudes,

in the valley of decision!

For the day of the L ord is near

in the valley of decision.


The sun and the moon are darkened,

and the stars withdraw their shining.



The L ord roars from Zion,

and utters his voice from Jerusalem,

and the heavens and the earth shake.

But the L ord is a refuge for his people,

a stronghold for the people of Israel.


The Glorious Future of Judah


So you shall know that I, the L ord your God,

dwell in Zion, my holy mountain.

And Jerusalem shall be holy,

and strangers shall never again pass through it.



In that day

the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

the hills shall flow with milk,

and all the stream beds of Judah

shall flow with water;

a fountain shall come forth from the house of the L ord

and water the Wadi Shittim.



Egypt shall become a desolation

and Edom a desolate wilderness,

because of the violence done to the people of Judah,

in whose land they have shed innocent blood.


But Judah shall be inhabited forever,

and Jerusalem to all generations.


I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty,

for the L ord dwells in Zion.

The Prophet confirms the same truth; but he multiplies words, because the devastation of the Church might have taken away all hope from God’s servants; for who could have said that the Church could be restored when it was so miserably wasted, yea, almost reduced to nothing? For the people were so scattered that the name of Israel was of no account. The people then had ceased to exist, for they had lost their name; in short, the constitution of the Church was dissolved, and all might have said, that the people were given up to thousand modes of destruction, as all execrated the name of Israel. Since it was so, whatever the Prophets said of the restoration of the people might certainly have seemed incredible. The repetition then is not superfluous, when the Prophet in various forms of words testifies and affirms that God would abide faithful, and that, though Israel should perish according to what men could see, yet God had power enough to vivify the people when dead: hence the Prophet speaks emphatically, Nations! Nations! for he assumes here the character of a herald, as indeed this office had been committed to him, and shows that his predictions would not be fruitless, that he declared not words which would vanish into air, but that whatever he declared in God’s name was full of power and energy. It might indeed have appeared ridiculous in the Prophet to summon all nations since his doctrine was laughed to scorn, even at Jerusalem. How could his voice penetrate to the utmost borders of the world and be there heard? Though hidden then was the power of this prediction, it yet showed itself at last, and it was really made evident that the Prophet spoke not in vain.

Besides, he addresses the nations as though they could hear; but he raises thus his voice, and nobly triumphs over all the wicked for the sake of the godly, though the wicked then proudly ruled and with high disdain: “They shall come,” he says, “at length before God’s tribunal, though they now tread the Church under foot; yea, the nations, the nations.” He does not now mention the valley of Jehoshaphat, but of concision. חרוף cheruts some take for a fixed decree; but the word means a sledge or an instrument for threshing. We know not the mode of threshing used by the Jews, but it is evident from several passages that חרוף cheruts was an instrument with which they were wont to thresh; and I am inclined to adopt this sense; for the Prophet had first called God’s judgment a harvest, then he compared it to presses. But if the word “concision” is more approved, I object not; at the same time, I do not doubt but that the Prophet alludes to threshing, as he ascribes to God his own office, that of scattering nations, who seem now to have conspired for the destruction of the Church. If any one considers it to mean a fixed decree, or a cutting off, as it means in Isaiah, I make no objection; for many give this interpretation. I have, however, explained what I most approve.

As to the drift of the subject, there is no ambiguity; the meaning of the Prophet is, — that God will so punish all the ungodly, that he will cut down and scatter them all, as when the corn is threshed on the floor.

At last he adds, that nigh was the day of Jehovah in the valley of the sledge. He intimates, that though God as yet connived at their wickedness, yet the day was coming on, unknown indeed to men, and that he would come at length to that valley, that is, that he would inflict such punishment as would prove that he was the protector of his people. Of this valley we have spoken already; and no doubt he has throughout a reference to it, otherwise he would not have used a suitable language, when he said, Ascend into the valley. But what is to ascend into the valley? for, on the contrary, he ought to have spoken of descending. But he compares Judea with other parts of the world; and it is, as it is well known elevated in its situation. Then the higher situation of Judea well agrees with the ascent of which the Prophet speaks. But he ever means that God would so punish the nations as to make it evident that he did this in favor of his Church, as we shall soon see more clearly. But he says —

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