Joel 3:9
Proclaim this among the nations: "Prepare for war; rouse the mighty men; let all the men of war advance and attack!
War and JudgmentJ.R. Thomson Joel 3:9-13
RetributionD. Thomas Joel 3:9-17
The Final Battle Between Good and EvilJ. S. Exell, M. A.Joel 3:9-17
This is truly prophetic language; for the writer is not merely relating historical facts, or foretelling future events; he is uttering great moral and religions principles. The form these utterances assume is determined by the circumstances of Judah in the time of the prophet; but the truth enunciated is one which is universal and all-important.


1. The vastness of the scale upon which it is conducted appears from the language employed to designate those who take part in it. They are "the Gentiles;" "all the nations."

2. The valour and renown of the combatants are set forth in the expressions," the mighty men," "the men of war," etc.

3. The military preparation and warlike accoutrements are brought before us very vividly and picturesquely in the representation of ploughshares fashioned into swords, and pruning-hooks into spears.

4. The warlike array is denoted by the directions to "assemble," to "come up," etc.


1. The vast multitudes who intend to gather for battle prove in reality to have gathered for judgment. They came in battle array to contend with the Lord of hosts; and 1o! they find themselves standing at the bar of the great Judge of all.

2. The Lord sits upon his judgment-seat, his throne, whilst before him are gathered all nations.

3. Under two striking figures is set forth the judicial process and the punitive consequences which ensue. The harvest is reaped, the wine-press is trodden. The enemies of the Lord and of his people are, as it were, mown down by the hand of the reaper; their blood flows from the wine-press of the wrath of God.

APPLICATION. The passage shows us the omniscient regard of God surveying all the sons of men, and the power of God defeating the counsels of rebels and foes, delivering the righteous from oppression, vindicating the cause of truth and obedience. The sway of the Supreme extends throughout the universe; and however we may be perplexed and baffled by seeming disorder, we may be assured that the sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of God's kingdom, and that every enemy shall be put beneath his feet. - T.

Prepare war, wake up the mighty men.
I. IN THIS BATTLE EVIL WILL GATHER ALL ITS AVAILABLE ENERGIES. "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the up." mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come This is sublime irony. The wicked will collect all their agencies for this last struggle. The prophet intimates that all this shall only render their destruction more complete. Great armies are arrayed against God. They are bold in atheism. They are cunning in sin. They are malicious in temper. But "let them come up," and they shall be consumed by the breath of the Lord. Evil has many agencies. It has many "mighty men" on its side. They are united in their purpose. Their dormant energies will be awakened. But they cannot be finally victorious.

II. IN THIS BATTLE EVIL WILL TURN MANY USEFUL AGENCIES INTO DESTRUCTIVE INSTRUMENTS. "Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong." When Isaiah and Micah prophesied of the kingdom of Christ, they said, "Beat your swords into pruning-hooks, and your spears into ploughshares" (Isaiah 2.; Micah 4.). This sentence is now inverted by Joel. The words of Isaiah show the condition of the world under the rule of goodness. The words of Joel show the condition of men under the tyranny of evil. Sin converts the instruments of peace into the implements of war. And in the last great battle between good and evil, many useful principles and institutions will be converted into the means of attack upon truth. The peaceful life and words of Christ have been turned into swords; and eminently will this be the case in the last great conflict with evil.

III. IN THIS BATTLE EVIL WILL PRESENT ITSELF AS NATURALLY READY FOR DESTRUCTION. "Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great." There are here two metaphors, one taken from the harvest, the other from the vintage, — .indicating that sin shall reach its limit. This gives us insight into the method of the Divine government. Sin is not always destroyed in its earliest stage. It remains as a discipline to the world. It tests the patience and moral resistance of the good. The time of its harvest is not yet.

IV. IN THIS BATTLE THE NATURAL AND HELPFUL AGENCIES OF THE UNIVERSE SHALL AID THE DEFEAT OF MORAL EVIL. "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining." When the wicked gather for the great battle they will find the ordinary agencies of the universe against them.

V. IN THIS BATTLE THE GOOD SHALL ENJOY THE DIVINE PROTECTION. "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion," etc. Lessons: —

1. That evil often leads the Church of God into captivity.

2. That moral evil is advancing to its perilous destiny.

3. That the good will finally triumph over the combined forces of evil.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

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