New International Reader's Version

Joel 3

The Lord Judges the Nations

1“At that time I will bless Judah and Jerusalem
    with great success again.
I will gather together all the nations.
    I will bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will put them on trial.
    I will judge them for what they have done
    to my people Israel.
They scattered them among the nations.
    They divided up my land among themselves.
They cast lots for my people.
    They sold boys into slavery to get prostitutes.
    They sold girls to buy some wine to drink.

“Tyre and Sidon, why are you doing things like that to me? And why are you doing them, all you people in Philistia? Are you trying to get even with me for something I have done? If you are, I will pay you back for it in a quick and speedy way. You took my silver and gold. You carried off my finest treasures to your temples. You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks. You wanted to send them far away from their own country.

“But now I will stir them up into action. I will bring them back from the places you sold them to. And I will do to you what you did to them. I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah. And they will sell them to the Sabeans. The Sabeans are a nation that is far away.” The Lord has spoken.

Announce this among the nations.
    Tell them to prepare for battle.
Nations, get your soldiers ready!
    Bring all your fighting men together
    and march out to attack.
10 Hammer your plows into swords.
    Hammer your pruning tools into spears.
Let anyone who is weak say,
    “I am strong!”
11 Come quickly, all you surrounding nations.
    Gather together in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

Lord, send down your soldiers from heaven!

12 The Lord says,

“Stir up the nations into action!
    Let them march into the valley
    where I will judge them.
I will take my seat in court.
    I will judge all the surrounding nations.
13 My soldiers, swing your blades.
    The nations are ripe for harvest.
Come and stomp on them as if they were grapes.
    Crush them until the winepress of my anger is full.
Do it until the wine spills over
    from the places where it is stored.
    The nations have committed far too many sins!”

14 Huge numbers of soldiers are gathered in the valley
    where the Lord will hand down his sentence.
    The day of the Lord is near in that valley.
15 The sun and moon will become dark.
    The stars won’t shine anymore.
16 The Lord will roar like a lion from Jerusalem.
    His voice will sound like thunder from Zion.
    The earth and the heavens will tremble.
But the Lord will keep the people of Israel safe.
    He will be a place of safety for them.

The Lord Blesses His People

17 The Lord says,

“You will know that I am the Lord your God.
    I live in Zion.
    It is my holy mountain.
Jerusalem will be my holy city.
    People from other lands
    will never again attack it.

18 “At that time fresh wine will drip from the mountains.
    Milk will flow down from the hills.
    Water will run through all Judah’s valleys.
A fountain will flow out of my temple.
    It will water the places where acacia trees grow.
19 But Egypt will be deserted.
    Edom will become a dry and empty desert.
They did terrible harm to the people of Judah.
    My people were not guilty of doing anything wrong.
    But Egypt and Edom spilled their blood anyway.
20 My people will live in Judah and Jerusalem forever.
    The land will be their home for all time to come.
21 Egypt and Edom have spilled my people’s blood.
    Should I let them escape my judgment?
    No, I will not.”

The Lord lives in Zion!

The Message

Joel 3

God Is a Safe Hiding Place

11-3 “In those days, yes, at that very time
    when I put life back together again for Judah and Jerusalem,
I’ll assemble all the godless nations.
    I’ll lead them down into Judgment Valley
And put them all on trial, and judge them one and all
    because of their treatment of my own people Israel.
They scattered my people all over the pagan world
    and grabbed my land for themselves.
They threw dice for my people
    and used them for barter.
They would trade a boy for a whore,
    sell a girl for a bottle of wine when they wanted a drink.

4-8 “As for you, Tyre and Sidon and Philistia,
    why should I bother with you?
Are you trying to get back at me
    for something I did to you?
If you are, forget it.
    I’ll see to it that it boomerangs on you.
You robbed me, cleaned me out of silver and gold,
    carted off everything valuable to furnish your own temples.
You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem
    into slavery to the Greeks in faraway places.
But I’m going to reverse your crime.
    I’m going to free those slaves.
I’ll have done to you what you did to them:
    I’ll sell your children as slaves to your neighbors,
And they’ll sell them to the far-off Sabeans.”
    God’s Verdict.

9-11 Announce this to the godless nations:
    Prepare for battle!
Soldiers at attention!
    Present arms! Advance!
Turn your shovels into swords,
    turn your hoes into spears.
Let the weak one throw out his chest
    and say, “I’m tough, I’m a fighter.”
Hurry up, pagans! Wherever you are, get a move on!
    Get your act together.
Prepare to be
    shattered by God!

12 Let the pagan nations set out
    for Judgment Valley.
There I’ll take my place at the bench
    and judge all the surrounding nations.

13 “Swing the sickle—
    the harvest is ready.
Stomp on the grapes—
    the winepress is full.
The wine vats are full,
    overflowing with vintage evil.

14 “Mass confusion, mob uproar—
    in Decision Valley!
God’s Judgment Day has arrived
    in Decision Valley.

15-17 “The sky turns black,
    sun and moon go dark, stars burn out.
God roars from Zion, shouts from Jerusalem.
    Earth and sky quake in terror.
But God is a safe hiding place,
    a granite safe house for the children of Israel.
Then you’ll know for sure
    that I’m your God,
Living in Zion,
    my sacred mountain.
Jerusalem will be a sacred city,
    posted: ‘no trespassing.’

Milk Rivering Out of the Hills

18-21 “What a day!
    Wine streaming off the mountains,
Milk rivering out of the hills,
    water flowing everywhere in Judah,
A fountain pouring out of God’s Sanctuary,
    watering all the parks and gardens!
But Egypt will be reduced to weeds in a vacant lot,
    Edom turned into barren badlands,
All because of brutalities to the Judean people,
    the atrocities and murders of helpless innocents.
Meanwhile, Judah will be filled with people,
    Jerusalem inhabited forever.
The sins I haven’t already forgiven, I’ll forgive.”
    God has moved into Zion for good.