Joel 3:21
For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
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(21) I will cleanse . . .—The LXX. translate this sentence, “I will avenge their blood, and not leave it unavenged”—i.e., the “innocent blood” mentioned in Joel 3:19; but the promise seems rather to indicate, as in the English Version, the extension of God’s pardon to those hitherto unpardoned.

The Lord dwelleth in Zioni.e., over a raging and swelling world, probably unconscious of Him, the Lord nevertheless reigns in the heavenly Jerusalem, and all His redeemed shall dwell securely under His eternal rule. “And the name of the city from that day shall be Jehovah Shammah, the LORD IS THERE (Ezekiel 48:35).

Joel 3:21. I will cleanse their blood, &c. — The word blood seems here to signify pollution in general; and the promise implies, that God would perfectly purge away the guilt and defilement of all the sins of his people, by a free pardon and entire sanctification. Calmet, who applies this to the times of the gospel, thus interprets the verse: “Jesus Christ cleanses, by the new law, the blood which remained unclean under the old. We find in the sacrament of the new law that real purity, of which the legal ceremonies and purifications were only a figure.” For the Lord dwelleth in Zion —

And his presence shall be a source of purity, as well as of consolation to his people. “It is uncertain,” says Archbishop Newcome, “whether we have the key to this difficult chapter; which may not be fully understood till Jerusalem is rebuilt, and till the prophecies, Ezekiel 39:5; Ezekiel 39:11; Revelation 20:8-9, are accomplished.”

3:18-21 There shall be abundant Divine influences, and the gospel will spread speedily into the remotest corners of the earth. These events are predicted under significant emblems; there is a day coming, when every thing amiss shall be amended. The fountain of this plenty is in the house of God, whence the streams take rise. Christ is this Fountain; his sufferings, merit, and grace, cleanse, refresh, and make fruitful. Gospel grace, flowing from Christ, shall reach to the Gentile world, to the most remote regions, and make them abound in fruits of righteousness; and from the house of the Lord above, from his heavenly temple, flows all the good we daily taste, and hope to enjoy eternally.For I will cleanse her blood that I have not cleansed - The word rendered "cleansed" is not used of natural cleansing, nor is the image taken from the cleansing of the body. The word signifies only to pronounce innocent, or to free from guilt. Nor is "blood" used of sinfulness generally, but only of the actual guilt of shedding blood. The whole then cannot be an image taken from the cleansing of physical defilement, like the words in the prophet Ezekiel, "then washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee" Ezekiel 16:9. Nor again can it mean the forgiveness of sins generally, but only the pronouncing innocent the blood which had been shed. This, the only meaning of the words, fall in with the mention of the "innocent blood," for shedding which, Egypt and Edom had been condemned. The words are the same. There it was said, "because they have shed innocent blood; dam naki;" here, "I will pronounce innocent their blood, nikkethi damam." "How," it is not said. But the sentence on Egypt and Edom explains how God would do it, by punishing those who shed it. For in that He punishes the shedding of it, He declared the "blood" innocent, whose shedding He punished. So in the Revelation it is said, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held, and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Revelation 6:10-11. : "Then, at the last judgment, when the truth in all things shall be made manifest, He shall "declare the blood" of His people, who clave to Him and His truth, which blood their enemies thought they had shed justly and deservedly as the blood of guilty persons, to have indeed been innocent, by absorbing them from eternal destruction to which He shall then adjudge their enemies for shedding of it."

For - (literally and) the Lord dwelleth in Zion He closes with the promise of God's abiding dwelling. He speaks, not simply of a future, but of an ever-abiding present. He who is, the unchangeable God , "the Lord, infinite in power and of eternal Being, who gives necessary being to all His purposes and promises," dwelleth now in "Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Hebrews 12:22; add Galatians 4:26; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:10), now by grace and the presence of His Holy Spirit, hereafter in glory. Both of the Church militant on earth and that triumphant in heaven, it is truly to be said, that the Lord dwelleth in them, and that, perpetually. Of the Church on earth will be verified what our Saviour Christ saith, "lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" Matthew 28:20; and of its members Paul saith, that "they" are "of the household of God, an holy temple in the Lord, in whom they are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" Ephesians 2:19, Ephesians 2:21-22. Of the Church triumphant, there is no doubt, that "He" doth and will there dwell, and manifest His glorious presence forever, "in" whose "presence is the fullness of joy, and at His Right Hand" there are "pleasures for evermore" Psalm 16:1-11 :12. It is an eternal dwelling of the Eternal, varied as to the way and degree of His presence by our condition, now imperfect, there perfected in Him; but He Himself dwelleth on for ever. He, the Unchangeable, dwelleth unchangeably; the Eternal, eternally.

: "Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of God" Psalm 87:3 Jerusalem, our mother, we thy children now groan and weep in this valley of tears, hanging between hope and fear, and, amid toil and conflicts, "lifting up our eyes" to thee and greeting thee from far. Truly "glorious things are spoken of thee." But whatever can be said, since it is said to people and in the words of people, is too little for the "good things" in thee, which "neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man" 1 Corinthians 2:9. Great to us seem the things which we suffer; but one of thy most illustrious citizens, placed amid those sufferings, who knew something of thee, hesitated not to say, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" 2 Corinthians 4:17. We will then "rejoice in hope," and "by the waters of Babylon," even while "we sit and weep," we will "remember thee, O Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget" her cunning. "Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, I do not remember thee, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy" Psalm 137:1-9.

O blessed longed-for day, when we shall enter into the city of the saints, 'whose light is the Lamb,' where 'the King is seen in His beauty,' where 'all tears are wiped off from the eyes' of the saints, 'and there shall be no more death neither sorrow nor pain, for the former things have passed away Revelation 21:23; Isaiah 33:17; Revelation 21:4. "How amiable are Thy tabernacle, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth, yea fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God" Psalm 84:1-2. "When shall I come and appear before God?" Psalm 42:2, when shall I see that Father, whom I ever long for and never see, to whom out of this exile, I cry out, "Our Father, which art in heaven?" O true Father, "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:6, ...), "Father of mercies and God of all comfort!" 2 Corinthians 1:3. When shall 'I see the Word, who was in the beginning with God,' and who 'is God?' John 1:1. When may I kiss His sacred Feet, pierced for me, put my mouth to His sacred Side, sit at His Feet, never to depart from them? O Face, more Glorious than the sun! Blessed is he, who beholdeth Thee, who hath never ceased to say, 'I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh' Numbers 24:17. When will the day come, when, cleansed from the defilement of my sins, I shall, 'with unveiled face, behold the glory of the Lord' 2 Corinthians 3:18, and see the sanctifying Spirit, the Author of all good, through whose sanctifying we are cleansed, that 'we may be like Him, and see Him as He is?' 1 John 3:2. 'Blessed are all they that dwell in Thy house,' O Lord, 'they shall ever praise Thee' Psalm 84:4; forever shall they behold Thee and love Thee."

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 sin, Isa 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). For, Heb. And.

Cleanse; purge away, both by the Spirit of sanctification, and by free pardon in the blood of the Redeemer; by their sufferings also, by the waters of affliction, as well as by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Their blood; their moral pollutions and sinfulness, compared here unto blood, as also Ezekiel 16:6,9; and so men in sinful state are called flesh and blood, Matthew 16:17 Galatians 1:16. God will pardon and purify believers, and when they are pardoned and purified, nothing attempted against them shall succeed. That I have not cleansed; which before I had not taken away; what was wanting in their sanctification, or justification and reconciliation, I will make up in them and to them.

For the Lord dwelleth in Zion; and I am Jehovah dwelling in Zion, whence the law of grace was published, where the wonders of pardoning and sanctifying grace are wrought, that Israel might be a people with whom the holy God might dwell. Now whereas this can be done but in part here on earth, there is a Zion above, whither Jehovah who dwells there will take every saint after the day of judgment, having first vindicated, acquitted, and pronounced them holy and meet for enjoyment of the Holy One.

For I will cleanse their blood which I have not cleansed,.... Which some understand, as the Targum, of the Lord's, inflicting further punishments on the, enemies of his people, for shedding their innocent blood; and that he will not expiate their sins, nor hold them guiltless, or suffer them to go unpunished; but rather this is to be interpreted in a way of grace and mercy, as a benefit bestowed on Judah and Jerusalem, who are the immediate antecedents to the relative here; and in the words a reason is given why they should dwell safely and peaceably for ever, because the Lord will justify them from their sins; forgive their iniquities; cleanse them from all their pollution, signified by blood; of which grace they will have had no application made to them till this time; but now all their guilt and faith will be removed; and particularly God will forgive, and declare to be forgiven their sin of crucifying Christ; whose blood they had imprecated upon themselves and their children, and which has remained on them; but now will be removed, with all the sad effects of it. Though this may also refer to the conversion of the Gentiles, and the pardon of their sins, and the sanctification of their persons, in such places and parts of the world, where such blessings of grace have not been bestowed in times past for many ages, if ever;

for the Lord dwelleth in Zion; and therefore will diffuse his grace, and spread the blessings of it all around: or "even the Lord that dwelleth in Zion" (d); he will do what is before promised; being the Lord, he can do it; and dwelling in Zion his church, it may be believed he will do it; and this will be for ever, when his Shechinah shall return thither in the days of the Messiah, as Kimchi observes.

(d) "even I the Lord", margin of our Bibles.

For I will {n} cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.

(n) He had allowed his Church before this to lie in their filthiness, but now he promises to cleanse them and to make them pure unto himself.

21. And I will hold as innocent (R.V. marg.) their blood which I have not held as innocent] By the desolation of Egypt and Edom, Jehovah will shew openly that the murdered Judahites (Joel 3:19 b) had suffered innocently. So long, namely, as He permitted their blood to remain unavenged, it might be supposed that they had not been slain unjustly: but by the punishment of the murderers (i.e. here, by the desolation of their country) Jehovah declares (implicitly), what He had not declared before, that their blood was innocent (Joel 3:19 b), and had been unjustly shed. Niḳḳâh, to hold or declare innocent (Exodus 20:7; Job 9:28 al.), is chosen on account of nâḳî’, innocent, in Joel 3:19.

and Jehovah dwelleth in Zion] and is here almost equivalent to as truly as: in corroboration of the promise made in the preceding clause, the prophet appeals to the indisputable truth that Jehovah’s dwelling-place is in Zion. So Hosea 12:5and (= as truly as) Jehovah is the God of Hosts, Jehovah is his memorial (= name).”

Joel 3:21Joel 3:21 does not contain the announcement of a still further punishment upon Egypt and Edom, but simply the thought with which the proclamation of the judgment closes - namely, that the eternal desolation of the world-kingdoms mentioned here will wipe out all the wrong which they have done to the people of God, and which has hitherto remained unpunished. But Zion will rejoice in the eternal reign of its God. Jehovah dwells upon Zion, when He manifests Himself to all the world as the King of His people, on the one hand by the annihilation of His foes, and on the other hand by the perfecting of His kingdom in glory.
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