Commentary on the
BOOK OF JOEL
Joel's prophecy of the Day of the Lord was cited by Peter in his first sermon on the day of Pentecost. It's imagery was adapted by John in Revelation. The book of Joel thus stands as one of the great "end time" prophecies of Israel's prophets.
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1 – The word of the LORD
The Bible everywhere claims to be the “word of the Lord,” not of man. If scripture merely represents the subjective thoughts and impressions of man, then it has only the authority of man; it is fallible, subject to error, and may be gainsaid and ignored with impunity. But if scripture represents the word of God, then it speaks with the infallibility and authority of God and cannot be ignored without mortal peril. That scripture is the word of God, not man, is affirmed by Peter: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20, 21). Peter, speaking as an apostle of Jesus Christ, thus affirms that scripture does not find its origin in the “will of man,” but the Spirit of God. That not merely the thoughts, but the very words themselves (verbissima ipsi) are selected by God’s Spirit, is implicit in the statement of Paul that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). The word “inspiration” here is from the Greek “qeopneustoV” (theo-pneustos), or “God-breathed” and signifies that scripture is spoken (“breathed out”) by God, making the prophets merely the instruments through which he speaks. If we can think of the prophets and apostles as musical instruments, each with its unique qualities and characteristics given by God, which the Spirit “plays,” selecting each note and the very mood and tone conveyed, we would come close to the conception of scripture that the Bible communicates about itself (cf. 1 Cor. 14:6-8). However, scripture is inerrant only in the original autographs; the text has suffered small errors of spelling and other oversights at the hands of copyists and scribes. However, none of these errors or omissions affects the slightest part of the Bible’s message; God has providentially preserved his word for the benefit and salvation of man. “The word of the Lord endureth forever” (1 Pet. 1:23-25; Ps. 119:89; Isa. 40:8; Matt. 24:35).
that came to
When Aaron and Mariam spoke against Moses because he had married a woman of Ethiopia, God rebuked them, saying,
If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold. (Num. 12:7, 8; cf. Ex. 33:11
Whereas God spoke face to face with Moses and Moses beheld the similitude of the Lord, God revealed himself to other prophets by dreams and visions. These dreams and visions included oracular revelation impressed upon the prophet’s mind. In the first book of Samuel, the Lord thus “appeared” to Samuel “by the word of the LORD” (1 Sam. 3:1, 21). Similarly, Paul states that he learned the gospel not from man, but by revelation (Gal. 1:11, 12). So here, God’s revelation came to Joel in oracular form, recorded here in the book bearing his name.
Joel the son of Pethuel.
The name “Joel” means “JHWH (Jehovah) is God.” Nothing more is known of this prophet than that he was the son of Pethuel, whose name signifies “the sincerity” or “open-heartedness of God” (the suffix “el” is the Hebrew for “God”). Even the time Joel prophesied is cloaked in mystery. The only certain indication we possess is reference in Joel 3:2, 12 to the “valley of Jehoshaphat,” so that he must have written sometime after the event of which that became a symbol (2 Chron. 20). It is supposed by some that Joel wrote before Amos and Isaiah on the ground that these seem to borrow from him (cf. Joel 3:16 with Amos 1:2, Joel 3:18 with Amos 9:13; Joel 1:15 with Isa. 13:6). However, the opposite inference is equally plausible; viz., that Joel borrowed from Isaiah and Amos. Besides, since God is ultimately the author of all scripture, no real inference can be drawn about the priority of any given writer based upon similar usage of speech, since common authorship makes inevitable the use of common themes and language. In the end, the time the book of Joel was written cannot be known.
2 – Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land.
The prophet calls the eldest representatives of the community and all the inhabitants of the land to heed the events he is about to predict. “Old men” are specifically named because Israel was a patriarchal society in which men were charged with the weight and responsibility of leadership, and women were to be in subjection to their husbands or fathers, such that the prophet’s calling old men to listen is most natural, whereas had he said “hear this, ye old women” we should be very surprised.
Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
The coming calamity is without precedent in the mind and memory those living; nothing like it has occurred in their lives, or in the lives of their fathers. “Fathers” are mentioned, again laying emphasis to the patriarchal order of Israelite society. When a nation wanders into spiritual apostasy, the natural role of the members and sexes are often reversed, further aggravating the people’s ability to find their way and order their lives and society. The prophet Isaiah, in the midst of Israel’s great spiritual apostasy leading to the Assyrio-Babylonian captivity, thus indicts the nation, saying, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them” (Isa. 3:12). The apostle Paul was similarly at pains to establish the divine order for the human race, of which the woman’s headship veiling is a symbol (1 Cor. 11:2-16), saying, “I would have you to know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor. 11:3). Thus, although it is not Joel’s purpose here to give instruction regarding the role of the sexes; it is nevertheless implicit in addressing men as the natural, appointed leaders and representatives of the community.
3 – Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
Like the plague of locusts upon the Egyptians, which “neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen” and which would be retold “in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son” (Ex. 10:2, 6), the coming catastrophe would be so great that it would be recounted for generations among the Jews, and thus serve to warn future generations to fear and obey the Lord lest they suffer similar calamity. God is reluctant to visit man’s sins upon him; only when there is no other remedy is God’s hand forced to bring his mighty judgments upon mankind to turn them from their sinful ways. When calamity strikes, generations profit and thus keep themselves from evil.
4 – That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.
The plagues of insects here are sometimes taken metaphorically for the Assyrio-Babylonian invasions of Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar, or the succession of four world empires depicted by Daniel; viz., Babylon, Mede-Persia, Greece, and Rome. In support of this view we may note that the prophet Nahum wrote against Nineveh, likening the invading armies of foreigners to swarms of locusts and cankerworms:
There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of the heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away. Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day. Nahum 3:15-17
Jeremiah used similar imagery against Babylon, saying, “cause the horses to come up as caterpillars” (Jer. 51:27). Finally, Revelation borrows directly from Joel’s imagery to depict the legions of Vespasian and Titus sent against the Jewish nation (Rev. 9:1-11). Since invading armies are likened by the prophets to a plague of locusts, and Revelation in particular uses Joel’s imagery in a figurative and symbolic sense, some commentators interpret Joel metaphorically here. However, merely because a passage will bear an interpretation does not mean it is correct. The only valid interpretation is the one the author intended. In the passages we have looked at, the author’s intention and use of figurative expressions is apparent; we recognize instantly that the writer is employing a simile to liken one thing to another, and does not intend we understand him literally. However, no such intention is apparent in Joel. Although use of Joel’s prophecy by Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21) and John in Revelation indicates Joel’s imagery possessed a plenior sensus (fuller sense) that looked ahead to Messianic times and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (A.D. 66-70), the better view is that the verses before us are intended in the first instance to be understood literally of various species of locusts and crop-destroying pests.
5 – Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
Those addicted to wine and given to drunkenness are roused from their stupors; the careless abandon with which they have neglected God and righteousness, giving themselves instead to pleasure and banqueting, is rebuked by destruction of the vine; they bewail the loss of wine.
6 – For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number,
The source of the vintage’s destruction is now revealed: The land will undergo an invasion as if by a foreign army. In the book of Judges, the Israelites’ sins caused the Lord to deliver them into the hand of the Midianites and Amalekites who invaded the land in such numbers that they were likened to swarming grasshoppers: “For they came up with the cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it” (Jud. 6:5).In Judges, the armies of men were likened to locusts; in Joel, the plague of locusts is likened to an army of men. Collectively, the locust army is called “a nation” just as the ants collectively are called “a people” and the conies a “feeble folk” (Prov. 30:25, 26). “My land” refers to the Lord: “For the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23; cf. Deut. 32:43; 2 Chrn. 7:20; Ps. 85:1). The prophet uses the prophetic perfect “is come” to show the certainty of what is foretold. Although spoken of in absolute terms, such pronouncements nevertheless are generally conditional: If the people turn from evil and seek the Lord, God may relent, as the prophet states in the following chapter: “For he is gracious, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:14). If the predicted judgment was absolute, why should God tell them beforehand unless it were to move the people to repentance that the destruction warned might be avoided?
At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If a nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. Jer. 18:7, 8
whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion
The prophet compares the teeth of the locusts and caterpillars to the teeth of a lion; as lions strangle their prey and devour it with their teeth, the locusts will devour crops and foliage.
7 – He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree:
The vine and fig tree were proverbial in Israel as symbols of plenty and security: “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree” (1 Kng. 4:25). “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid” (Mic. 4:4). “In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree” (Zech. 3:10). The vine and fig are also used collectively as symbols of God’s people: “Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it” (Ps. 80:8; cf. Jer. 2:21; Lk. 13:6, 7). It is unclear here which sense the prophet intends, whether literal vines and fig trees or as a symbol of Judah itself. The fact that the singular is used—“my vine” and “my fig tree”— suggests the prophet has in mind the kingdom of Judah collectively: “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant” (Isa. 5:7). Conversely, if the general destruction of the vintage and fig harvest were intended, we would expect the plural “my vines” and “my fig trees.” In the end, however, both are true: In the general destruction of the vintage and fig harvest Judah itself is laid waste and bare.
he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
The inner cambium layer beneath the outer bark carries nourishment to the tree’s branches and limbs; this is the life of the tree and the part that adds “rings” to its annual growth. When this layer is eaten away, the tree cannot send sap to its extremities and will die. As trees are stripped of their outer bark to reveal the soft inner layer which the locusts devour, so Judah will be stripped clean in the ensuing plague; it will be as a tree whose limbs have been barked, her branches white, unable to send nourishment to its limbs.
8 – Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
The verb “lament” is feminine imperative and requires a feminine subject, here assumed but not expressed. The subject almost certainly is the collective people and congregation of Judah to whom the prophecy is directed. The image is that of a young maiden betrothed to marry but as yet unwed, whose husband-to-be is suddenly and tragically cut off, such that she puts off her bridal gown, donning sackcloth instead. Passions are strongest in our youth; the unfulfilled anticipation of marriage is replaced by premature widowhood, evoking the bitterest weeping and sorrow.
9 – The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, and LORD’S ministers, mourn.
The famine resulting from the locust plague will impact the whole of Judea; even the temple and priesthood feel the effects. Meat offerings consisted of fine flour, sprinkled with oil and frankincense. The priest would take a handful of flour, pour oil and frankincense upon it and burn it before the Lord. The rest and remainder of the flour belonged to the priests as a thing most holy; it was to be baked in a pan without leaven and eaten in the holy place, in the court of the tabernacle. Lev. 2:1-3, 6:14-18). The priests were prohibited to drink wine or alcohol while serving in the tabernacle (Lev. 10:8-10); therefore, unlike meat offerings which belonged to the priests, drink offerings consisted of wine poured out unto the Lord, usually accompanying a burnt offering, sin offering, or other sacrifice (Num. 15:5, 7, 10).
10 – The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
The three great staples of ancient life are mentioned: grain, wine, and oil. These three appear together under the horseman of the Apocalypse that brought famine, a probable reference to the famine that occurred in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:28):
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. Rev. 6:5, 6
The plagues in Revelation progressively worsen and grow more pervasive in effect as God attempted to lead the Jewish people to repentance and acceptance of the gospel. Hence, a limit is set upon the famine: Oil and wine are there ordered not to be hurt. But the famine in Joel admits of no such limitation: grain, wine, and oil will all suffer scarcity.
11 – Be ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
Those occupied as husbandmen and vinedressers are called to join the priestly caste in mourning the devastation of crops; their means of gainful employment vanishes before their eyes by the ever-advancing army of locusts. Wheat and barley are spring crops. Barley winters over and is ready for harvest at Passover, at the first full moon following the vernal equinox; the offering of the sheaf of firstfruits of the barley harvest on the “morrow after the Sabbath” following Passover prefigured the resurrection of Christ (Lev. 23:4-14). The wheat harvest follows fifty days later marked by Pentecost (Ex. 34:22; Lev. 23:15-21). The grape harvest came at the end of summer and was followed by the feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Ex. 34:22; Lev. 23:33-44; Deut. 16:13). The plague would apparently be so timed as to destroy the barley when it was ripe, the wheat when it was as yet unripe, and the new growth of the vine, destroying the entire harvest of grain and summer fruit.
12 – The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
When Moses described the blessed state of the Promised Land that the Jews were about to enter, he mentions the products here:
For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Deut. 8:7-10
But the happy condition of the land is now reversed, and famine and scarcity overtake the people because of their sin and apostasy from God. The principle crops of grain, grapes, and figs are not alone affected; all the trees of the field are ravished by the locust plague. The pomegranate, the date-palm, and apple trees are all denuded of foliage and wither away. The greatness of the calamity is inexpressible; therefore joy also withers and departs from the sons of men.
13 – Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
Priests were mediators between God and man. Under the Old Testament, the worshiper was prohibited to approach God except through the sprinkling of blood and an appointed intermediary; the stranger that drew nigh was to be put to death (Num. 1:51). As the appointed mediators of the people, the priestly caste is called upon to intercede for the nation with God by humbling themselves in sackcloth and prostrating themselves before God in night-long vigil. Sackcloth was made from goat’s hair; was coarse and black (cf. Rev. 6:12 – “black as sackcloth of hair”); and was worn against the skin, often upon the loins in private self-affliction (Gen. 37:34; 2 Kng. 6:30), but upon the whole body as an outward display of repentance and humiliation (Isa. 37:1, 2; Jonah 3:5-8); its coarseness made it uncomfortable and suitable for afflicting oneself before God; black made it appropriate for mourning. As it would seem impious and inappropriate to dress in festal garb when one is overtaken by great calamity or the death of a loved one, sackcloth was deemed an appropriate expression of personal grief and mourning, or, as in the present case, repentance and contrition for sin.
14 – Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
Fasting was another form of self-affliction, appropriate to times of mourning and grief, or when seeking heaven’s mercy or assistance. The priests were to take the lead in bringing the nation to repentance before God; they were charged to believe the words of the prophet and to take all necessary action to avoid the predicted calamity by prayer and fasting. The priests were to be followed by the elders and rulers of the people. In calling a solemn assembly, all the inhabitants of the land were marshalled to the house of God where they might seek God’s mercy and implore his pardon that the plague might be averted and his favor restored to his people.
15 – Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD
A “day of the Lord” bespeaks a time of judgment and divine visitation, and is either special, limited to a particular nation and people, or general, bringing numerous nations and peoples within its sweep. The book of Zephaniah provides an example of a day of the Lord that represented a general visitation upon various nations. The prophecy was given in the time of Josiah, king of Judah, and described the Babylonian invasion and conquest that brought most of the known world under the power of the Chaldeans. The nations mentioned include Judea, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, and Nineveh (Zeph. 1:14; 2:1-15). Another example exists in the third chapter of Joel, which depicts a time of judgment and wrath upon the nations of those that persecuted and oppressed God’s people (Joel 3:1-17). This day of the Lord was eschatological and is the topic of New Testament teaching, and describes the series of judgments that ensued shortly after Christ received the kingdom of the world when he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. However, the locust plague now under discussion was a special day of the Lord, limited in scope to God’s visitation upon Judah.
is at hand,
The phrase “at hand” signifies that divine visitation would overtake the generation of those living when the prophecy was spoken. This also follows from the fact that the priests, elders, and people were called to don sackcloth, and to fast and pray, for it is their sins that brought on the threatened plague, not a people yet to be born. It is sometimes objected that “at hand” can bespeak certainty, rather than nearness— an argument made by those who assume that Revelation was not fulfilled in the generation of those to whom it was written and addressed. It is true that there are one or two instances where the phrase seems to describe events many centuries in the future. However, in these cases “at hand” is used proleptically, and contemplates the nearness of judgment upon future peoples whose sins would provoke divine wrath, but who were not alive when the prophecy was given. Thus, Moses says that destruction would be “at hand” upon the generation of the Jews whom God would move to jealousy with a “foolish nation” and those which are ”not a people”—that is, the first generation of Jews who rejected the gospel even while the Gentiles received it (Deut. 32:21-35; cf. Rom. 10:19). “At hand” in this case must be viewed from the perspective of the generation and people to suffer judgment, not those alive when Moses uttered the prophetic announcement. This is clear from the entire context of the passage, which describes the latter end of the Jewish nation accomplished in A.D. 70. But in the case before us, as in the overwhelming majority of all others, the judgment was near upon those called to repentance, and is therefore characterized as already “at hand.”
and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
The plagues evoked by Moses upon Egypt were clearly understood by Pharaoh’s counsellors as divine visitation, and nothing less than the “finger of God” (Ex. 8:19). So here, the plague of locusts would be such that its origin and source could not be mistaken as the result of chance or misadventure, but would be clearly understood as destruction from the Almighty.
16 – Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
When the people enjoyed plenty, their joy and gladness overflowed into the house of God, which assumed a festive atmosphere. But when there was drought and famine, the temple became a place of mourning and lamentation, as the people bewailed their unhappy condition and besought the mercies of God. So, now in ensuing plague, joy and gladness are banished from the temple precincts by the suffering of the people.
17 – The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
Not only are the new growth and early crops like barley and wheat devoured, but later maturing crops like corn and vegetables rot beneath the soil for lack of rain to germinate their seeds. Consequently, the grain garners and barns have fallen into disuse and disrepair.
18 – How do the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
The hapless beasts suffer because of the sins of men; field and pasture are afflicted by the drought; there is no tender herb for the cattle to lick up or the sheep to graze upon. The want of necessary pasturage renders the flocks desolate; they do not conceive, or if they conceive, their offspring are born still; those that are born alive, are abandoned by their mothers; sheep become like the barren field whose seeds rot beneath the clods, their offspring abortive, still-born, and abandoned. So Jeremiah:
Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up. And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded and covered their heads. Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed and covered their heads. Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass. Jer. 14:2-5
19 – O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
The curse pronounced upon the Jews if they forsook God and his law threatened drought and famine:
And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. Deut. 28:23, 24
So here Judea suffers drought and famine for the iniquity of the inhabitants of the land. Joel commiserates the plight of man and beast and intercedes with God. The prophet Amos also made supplication to God when shown a plague of grasshoppers and drought, saying, “O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small?” The Lord relented, saying, “It shall not be” (Amos 7:1-6). “Fire” here, as in Amos (Amos 7:4), is best understood figuratively of a great drought that consumes vegetation like fire, leaving the land scorched and the soil baked and cracked.
20 – The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Man and beast alike suffer perplexity for want of necessary sustenance; cattle which have their dwelling in the field groan and cry for want of food and provender; their accustomed places of watering have slowly dried up and shrunk away; the grasslands have been consumed by drought; famine approaches and the grim reaper begins his awful harvest of mortal man and beast.
 This should not be mistaken to teach that use of wine is unlawful per se. To the contrary, a “blessing” is in the vine (Isa. 65:8); it “cheereth God and man” (Jud. 9:13); and wine “maketh glad the heart of man” (Ps. 104:15). Christ’s first miracle was to furnish wine for the wedding couple at Cana, which is commemorated by the feast of “Epiphany,” because in it he manifested his divine glory to his disciples (Jn. 2:1-11). Moreover, it was almost certainly wine Christ used when he instituted the Lord’s Supper, for Passover is in the spring; but the vintage is not brought in until late summer/early fall (Micah 7:1), leaving only fermented, not fresh, “fruit of the vine” available for use (Luke 22:15-20).
 The other case is the destruction of Babylon in Isaiah 13-14, which is often assumed to refer to the city’s capture by Cyrus in 539 B.C., making “at hand” (Isa. 13:6) difficult to reconcile seeing the book of Isaiah was written as much as two hundred years before Cyrus about 740-680 B.C. However, the destruction here prophesied is probably that by Sennacherib in 689 B.C., so that the prophecy was fulfilled within the generation it was written.
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