Joel 3:17
So shall you 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) No strangers pass through her.—Strangers signify the aliens who had hitherto oppressed. They are like the spots and wrinkles which would defile the bride—the Church of God.

Joel 3:17. So shall ye know that I am the Lord dwelling in Zion — Very graciously present with you, and ever watching over you and delighting to save you. Then shall Jerusalem be holy — After the church’s enemies are destroyed, the Messiah is come, and the remnant saved, the people of God shall be holy. There shall no strangers pass through her — No profane or unclean person shall be found in the church of Christ.3:9-17 Here is a challenge to all the enemies of God's people. There is no escaping God's judgments; hardened sinners, in that day of wrath, shall be cut off from all comfort and joy. Most of the prophets foretell the same final victory of the church of God over all that oppose it. To the wicked it will be a terrible day, but to the righteous it will be a joyful day. What cause have those who possess an interest in Christ, to glory in their Strength and their Redeemer! The acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great favour to some, will be a day of remarkable vengeance to others: let every one that is out of Christ awake, and flee from the wrath to come.God Himself wondrously joins on His own words to those of the prophet, and speaks to His own people; "so (literally, and) ye shall know," by experience, by sight, face to face, what ye now believe, "that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain." So He saith in the second Psalm, "Then shall he speak unto them" Psalm 2:5-6 (the enemies of His Christ) "in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure; And I have set My king on My holy hill of Zion;" and, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, their God" Revelation 21:3, dwelling with them and in them, by an unvarying, blissful, hallowing presence, never withdrawn, never hidden, never shadowed, but ever shining upon them. "Your God," your own, as much as if possessed by none besides, filling all with gladness, yet fully possessed by each, as though there were none besides, so that each may say, "Thou art my Portion, O Lord" Psalm 119:57; Lamentations 3:24; my "Lord, and my God" John 20:28, as He saith, "I am thy exceeding great Reward" Genesis 15:1.

And Jerusalem shall be holy - Literally, "holiness" as John saith, "He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God" Revelation 21:10-11.

And there shall no stranger pass through her anymore - "Without," says John, "are dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" Revelation 22:15. None alien from her shall pass through her, so as to have dominion over her, defile or oppress her.

This special promise is often repeated. "It shall be called the way of holiness, the unclean shall not pass over it" Isaiah 35:8. "Henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean" Isaiah 52:1. "The wicked shall no more pass through thee" Nahum 1:15. "In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts" . "And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth" Revelation 21:27. These promises are, in their degree and in the image and beginning, made good to the Church here, to be fully fulfilled when it shall be "a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish" Ephesians 5:27. Here they do not pass through her, so as to overcome; "the gates of hell shall not prevail against her." However near, as hypocrites, they come to her, they feel in themselves that they "are not of her" 1 John 2:19. There they shall be severed from her forever. : "Heretics came, armed with fantastic reasons and deceitful arguments; but they could not pass through her, repelled by the truth of the word, overcome by reason, cast down by the testimonies of Scripture and by the glow of faith." They fell backward to the ground before her. They "go out from her, because they are not of her" 1 John 2:19. They who are not of her can mingle with her, touch her sacraments, but their power and virtue they partake not. They are inwardly repelled.

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 God.

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).

So, by these effects of my presence with my people, by my anger against their enemies, by punishing them by each other, overthrowing oppressors, by fulfilling what is foretold, shall ye, ye that suffer for my sake, but hope in my word, and support yourselves on my strength,

know, by most comfortable and unquestionable experience,

that I am the Lord your God; that I have remembered my covenant for you, and acted according to the power and mercy of an almighty and all-gracious God.

Dwelling in Zion; very graciously present with you, and ever watching over you, and delighting to save you, as a man would do his dwellinghouse.

My holy mountain; which is chosen and separated from all others to be the place of his habitation, as Psalm 2:6, which he loves above all places.

Then, after these things are finished, when enemies are destroyed, and the remnant is saved, and the Messiah is come, (for to him and his days do these things finally and ultimately refer,) and the gospel is preached,

shall Jerusalem, the church of Christ, the spiritual Jerusalem,

be holy; be much more holy and pure than now, being made so by the word and Spirit, and afflictions too.

There shall no strangers pass through her any more; no profane and unclean persons shall pass through it as formerly, and bring their strange fashions, rites, worship, or doctrine; though they have done it formerly, as in Solomon’s days, and Ahaz’s and Manasseh’s time, they shall do so no more for ever. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain,.... The church of God, which is his dwelling place; and will appear more manifestly to be so at this time, when Christ the Lamb will stand on Mount Zion, with an 144,000, having his Father's name in their foreheads, Revelation 14:1; and which presence of the Lord will be clearly discerned by his people; by the destruction of their enemies, and by his protection of them; by his being their hope and strength, their refuge and their fortress; they will experimentally know his divine inhabitation among them:

then shall Jerusalem be holy; or "holiness" (s); not Jerusalem, literally taken, as Kimchi; though, it being now rebuilt, will be inhabited by holy persons, the converted Jews, and so all manner of holiness practised in it; but rather the whole church of God everywhere, consisting of holy persons, made so through the holiness of Christ imputed to them, and the sanctifying grace of his Spirit wrought in them; not that they will be perfectly holy in themselves, as the saints will in the New Jerusalem state, Revelation 21:2; but they will be greatly so; holiness will be predominant and universal among men; there will be more real saints, and fewer hypocrites will be in the churches; see Isaiah 4:3;

and there shall no strangers pass through her any more; to hurt and annoy the church of God; for there shall be none in these times to molest, disturb, and hurt, in all the holy mountain of the Lord, Isaiah 11:9; or to pollute her with false doctrine, superstitious worship, or morality; or her communion shall not be interrupted and made uncomfortable, or she be pestered with hypocrites and ungodly persons, strangers to God and godliness, to Christ, his Spirit, and the power of religion; see Isaiah 52:1.

(s) "sanctitas", Munster, Mercerus, Vatablus, Piscator, Tarnovius.

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 {k} through her any more.

(k) The strangers will no longer destroy his Church: and if they do, it is the fault of the people, who by their sins make the breach for the enemy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. In consequence of this deliverance Israel will know that Jehovah is its God, dwelling in its midst, and ready to succour it; Jerusalem also will no more be defiled by the presence in it of strangers.

And ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God] Cf. Ezekiel 38:23; Ezekiel 39:6-7; Ezekiel 39:22; Ezekiel 39:28 : and comp. on Joel 2:27.

dwelling in Zion] Isaiah 8:18, &c.: synonymous with ‘in the midst of Israel,’ Joel 2:27.

and Jerusalem shall be holy, &c.] Cf. Nahum 1:15; Isaiah 52:1 b. Israel’s foes being annihilated, there will no more be any heathen to force their way into the holy city, and defile it.

strangers] members of an alien race, who have no share in Israel or its privileges, and who do not care for them. The word has often this sense, as Hosea 7:6; Jeremiah 30:8; Ezekiel 7:21; Ezekiel 11:9.Verse 17. - Jerusalem will be a sanctuary, and strangers will not pass through it any more. In the beginning of this verse Jehovah promises to be the God of his people; he points to the place of his abode, and purifies Jerusalem by judgment that it will be a true holy place, untrodden by the foot of Gentile stranger or Jewish unbeliever any more. His people would recognize his presence and his power by the wonderful deliverance vouchsafed to them. "Jerusalem," says Kimchi, "shall be a sanctuary, like the sanctuary which was forbidden to strangers; and strangers shall not pass through it any more to do injury to them as they have done up to this day. It may also be explained that strangers shall not enter into Jerusalem, for its holiness shall be great for the future. And as the temple was forbidden even for Israel to enter there, so all the city shall be a sanctuary into which strangers out of the nations of the world shall not enter." "They will not remain in the land of Jehovah: Ephraim returns to Egypt, and they will eat unclean things in the land of Asshur. Hosea 9:4. They will not pour out wine to Jehovah, and their slain-offerings will not please Him: like bread of mourning are they to Him; all who eat it become unclean: for their bread is for themselves, it does not come into the house of Jehovah." Because they have fallen away from Jehovah, He will drive them out of His land. The driving away is described as a return to Egypt, as in Hosea 8:13; but Asshur is mentioned immediately afterwards as the actual land of banishment. That this threat is not to be understood as implying that they will be carried away to Egypt as well as to Assyria, but that Egypt is referred to here and in Hosea 9:6, just as in Hosea 8:13, simply as a type of the land of captivity, so that Assyria is represented as a new Egypt, may be clearly seen from the words themselves, in which eating unclean bread in Assyria is mentioned as the direct consequence of their return to Egypt; whereas neither here nor in Hosea 9:6 is their being carried away to Assyria mentioned at all; but, on the contrary, in Hosea 9:6, Egypt only is introduced as the place where they are to find their grave. This is still more evident from the fact that Hosea throughout speaks of Asshur alone, as the rod of the wrath of God for His rebellious people. The king of Asshur is king Jareb (striver), to whom Ephraim goes for help, and by whom it will be put to shame (Hosea 5:13; Hosea 10:6); and it is from the Assyrian king Salman that devastation and destruction proceed (Hosea 10:14). And, lastly, it is expressly stated in Hosea 11:5, that Israel will not return to Egypt, but to Asshur, who will be its king. By the allusion to Egypt, therefore, the carrying away to Assyria is simply represented as a state of bondage and oppression, resembling the sojourn of Israel in Egypt in the olden time, or else the threat contained in Deuteronomy 28:68 is simply transferred to Ephraim. They will eat unclean things in Assyria, not only inasmuch as when, under the oppression of their heathen rulers, they will not be able to observe the laws of food laid down in the law, or will be obliged to eat unclean things from simple want and misery; but also inasmuch as all food, which was not sanctified to the Lord by the presentation of the first-fruits, was unclean food to Israel (Hengstenberg). In Assyria these offerings would cease with the whole of the sacrificial ritual; and the food which was clean in itself would thereby become unclean outside the land of Jehovah (cf. Ezekiel 4:13). This explanation of טמא is required by Hosea 9:4, in which a further reason is assigned for the threat. For what we have there is not a description of the present attitude of Israel towards Jehovah, but a picture of the miserable condition of the people in exile. The verbs are pure futures. In Assyria they will neither be able to offer wine to the Lord as a drink-offering, nor such slain-offerings as we well-pleasing to Him. For Israel could only offer sacrifices to its God at the place where He made known His name by revelation, and therefore not in exile, where He had withdrawn His gracious presence from it. The drink-offerings are mentioned, as pars pro toto, in the place of all the meat-offerings and drink-offerings, i.e., of the bloodless gifts, which were connected with the zebhâchı̄m, or burnt-offerings and thank-offerings (shelâmı̄m, Numbers 15:2-15, Numbers 15:28-29), and could never be omitted when the first-fruits were offered (Leviticus 23:13, Leviticus 23:18). "Their sacrifices:" zibhchēhem belongs to יערבוּ־לו (shall be pleasing to Him), notwithstanding the previous segholta, because otherwise the subject to יערבו would be wanting, and there is evidently quite as little ground for supplying נס'כיהם from the preceding clause, as Hitzig proposes, as for assuming that ערב here means to mix. Again, we must not infer from the words, "their slain-offerings will not please Him," that the Israelites offered sacrifices when in exile. The meaning is simply that the sacrifices, which they might wish to offer to Jehovah there, would not be well-pleasing to Him. We must not repeat זבחיהם as the subject to the next clause להם ... כּלחם, in the sense of "their sacrifices will be to them like mourners' bread," which would give no suitable meaning; for though the sacrifices are called bread of God, they are never called the bread of men. The subject may be supplied very readily from kelechem (like bread) thus: their bread, or food, would be to them like mourners' bread; and the correctness of this is proved by the explanatory clause, "for their bread," etc. Lechem 'ōnı̄m, bread of affliction, i.e., of those who mourn for the dead (cf. Deuteronomy 26:14), in other words, the bread eaten at funeral meals. This was regarded as unclean, because the corpse defiled the house, and all who came in contact with it, for seven days (Numbers 19:14). Their bread would resemble bread of this kind, because it had not been sanctified by the offering of the first-fruits. "For their bread will not come into the house of Jehovah," viz., to be sanctified, "for their souls," i.e., to serve for the preservation of their life.
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