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Joel 2:12 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Yet even now, saith Jehovah, turn ye unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Therefore also now, saith the LORD, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Yet even now, saith Jehovah, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning;
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Even now, therefore, urgeth Yahweh, Turn ye unto me, with all your heart,—and with fasting and with weeping, and with lamentation;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And also now—an affirmation of Jehovah, Turn ye back unto Me with all your heart, And with fasting, and with weeping, And with lamentation.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Now, therefore, saith the Lord. Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and mourning.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turne yee euen to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— Now therefore, saith the Lord your God, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with lamentation:
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Therefore also now, saith Yahweh, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Therefore also x1571
(1571) Complement
By contraction from an unused root meaning to gather; properly assemblage; used only adverbially also, even, yea, though; often repeated as correlation both... and.
now, x6258
(6258) Complement
From H6256; at this time, whether adverbial, conjugational or expletive.
saith 5002
{5002} Prime
From H5001; an oracle.
<8803> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Passive (See H8815)
Count - 1415
Yhw יָהוֶה, 3068
{3068} Prime
From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God.
turn 7725
{7725} Prime
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again.
<8798> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperative (See H8810)
Count - 2847
ye [even] to x5704
(5704) Complement
Properly the same as H5703 (used as a preposition, adverb or conjugation; especially with a preposition); as far (or long, or much) as, whether of space (even unto) or time (during, while, until) or degree (equally with).
me with all x3605
(3605) Complement
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
your heart, 3824
{3824} Prime
From H3823; the heart (as the most interior organ); used also like H3820.
and with fasting, 6685
{6685} Prime
From H6684; a fast.
and with weeping, 1065
{1065} Prime
From H1058; a weeping; by analogy, a dripping.
and with mourning: 4553
{4553} Prime
From H5594; a lamentation.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Joel 2:12

_ _ With such judgments impending over the Jews, Jehovah Himself urges them to repentance.

_ _ also nowEven now, what none could have hoped or believed possible, God still invites you to the hope of salvation.

_ _ fasting ... weeping ... mourning — Their sin being most heinous needs extraordinary humiliation. The outward marks of repentance are to signify the depth of their sorrow for sin.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Joel 2:12-17

_ _ We have here an earnest exhortation to repentance, inferred from that desolating judgment described and threatened in the foregoing verses: Therefore now turn you to the Lord. 1. “Thus you must answer the end and intention of the judgment; for it was sent for this end, to convince you of your sins, to humble you for them, to reduce you to your right minds and to your allegiance.” God brings us into straits, that he may bring us to repentance and so bring us to himself. 2. “Thus you may stay the progress of the judgment. Things are bad with you, but thus you may prevent their growing worse; nay, if you take this course, they will soon grow better.” Here is a gracious invitation,

_ _ I. To a personal repentance, exercised in the soul, every family apart, and their wives apart, Zechariah 12:12. When the judgments of God are abroad, each person is concerned to contribute his quota to the common supplications, having contributed to the common guilt. Every one must mend one and mourn for one, and then we should all be mended and all found among God's mourners. Observe,

_ _ 1. What we are here called to, which will teach us what it is to repent, for it is the same that the Lord our God still requires of us, we having all made work for repentance. (1.) We must be truly humbled for our sins, must be sorry we have by sin offended God, and ashamed we have by sin wronged ourselves, both wronged our judgments and wronged our interests. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, and weeping, and mourning; tears for the sin that procured it. But what will the outward expressions of sorrow avail if the inward impressions be not agreeable, and not only accompany them, but be the root and spring of them, and give rise to them? And therefore it follows, Rend your heart, and not your garments; not but that, according to the custom of that age, it was proper for them to rend their garments, in token of great grief for their sins and a holy indignation against themselves for their folly; but, “Rest not in the doing of that, as if that were sufficient, but be more in care to accommodate your spirits than to accommodate your dress to a day of fasting and humiliation; nay, rend not your garments at all, unless withal you rend your hearts, for the sign without the thing signified is but a jest and a mockery, and an affront to God.” Rending the heart is that which God looks for and requires; that is the broken and contrite heart which he will not despise, Psalms 51:17. When we are greatly grieved in soul for sin, so that it even cuts us to the heart to think how we have dishonoured God and disparaged ourselves by it, when we conceive an aversion to sin, and earnestly desire and endeavor to get clear of the principles of it and never to return to the practice of it, then we rend our hearts for it, and then will God rend the heavens and come down to us with mercy. (2.) We must be thoroughly converted to our God, and come home to him when we fall out with sin. Turn you even to me, said the Lord (Joel 2:12), and again (Joel 2:13), Turn unto the Lord your God. Our fasting and weeping are worth nothing if we do not with them turn to God as our God. When we are fully convinced that it is our duty and interest to keep in with him, and are heartily sorry we have ever turned the back upon him, and thereupon, by a firm and fixed resolution, make his glory our end, his will our rule, and his favour our felicity, then we return to the Lord our God, and this we are all commanded and invited to do, and to do it quickly.

_ _ 2. What arguments are here used to persuade this people thus to turn to the Lord, and to turn to him with all their hearts. When the heart is rent for sin, and rent from it, then it is prepared to turn entirely to God, and to be devoted entirely to him, and he will have it all or none. Now, to bring ourselves to this, let us consider, (1.) We are sure that he is, in general, a good God. We must turn to the Lord our God, not only because he has been just and righteous in punishing us for our sins, the fear of which should drive us to him, but because he is gracious and merciful, in receiving upon us our repentance, the hope of which should draw us to him. He is gracious and merciful, delights not in the death of sinners, but desires that they may turn and live. He is slow to anger against those that offend him, but of great kindness towards those that desire to please him. These very expressions are used in God's proclamation of his name when he caused his goodness, and with it all his glory, to pass before Moses, Exodus 34:6, Exodus 34:7. He repents him of the evil, not that he changes his mind, but, when the sinner's mind is changed, God's way towards him is changed; the sentence is reversed, and the curse of the law is taken off. Note, That is genuine, ingenuous, and evangelical repentance, which arises from a firm belief of the mercy of God, which we have sinned against, and yet are not in despair. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The goodness of God, if it be rightly understood, instead of emboldening us to go on in sin, will be the most powerful inducement to repentance, Psalms 130:4. The act of indemnity brings those to God whom the act of attainder frightened from him. (2.) We have reason to hope that he will, upon our repentance, give us that good which by sin we have forfeited and deprived ourselves of (Joel 2:14), that he will return and repent, that he will not proceed against us as he has done, but will act in favour of us. Therefore let us repent of our sins against him, and return to him in a way of duty, because then we may hope that he will repent of his judgments against us and return to us in a way of mercy. Now observe, [1.] The manner of expectation is very humble and modest: Who knows if he will? Some think it is expressed thus doubtfully to check the presumption and security of the people, and to quicken them to a holy carefulness and liveliness in their repentance, as Joshua 24:19. Or, rather, it is expressed doubtfully because it is the removal of a temporal judgment that they here promise themselves, of which we cannot be so confident as we can that, in general, God is gracious and merciful. There is no question at all to be made but that if we truly repent of our sins God will forgive them, and be reconciled to us; but whether he will remove this or the other affliction which we are under may well be questioned, and yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent. Promises of temporal good things are often made with a peradventure. It may be, you shall be hid, Zephaniah 2:3. David's sin is pardoned, and yet the child shall die, and, when David prayed for its life, he said, as here, Who can tell whether God will begracious to me in this matter likewise? 2 Samuel 12:22. The Ninevites repented and reformed upon such a consideration as this, Jonah 3:9. [2.] The matter of expectation is very pious. They hope God will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, not as if he were about to go from them, and they could be content with any blessing in lieu of his presence, but behind him, that is, “After he has ceased his controversy with us, he will bestow a blessing upon us;” and what is it? It is a meat-offering and a drink-offering to the Lord our God. The fruits of the earth are called a blessing (Isaiah 45:8) because they depend upon God's blessing and are necessary blessings to us. They had been deprived of these, and that which grieved them most while they were so was that God's altar was deprived of its offerings and God's priests of their maintenance; that therefore which they comfort themselves with the prospect of in their return of plenty is that then there shall be meat-offerings and drink-offerings in abundance brought to God's altar, which they more desired than to see the wonted abundance of meat and drink brought to their own tables. Thus when Hezekiah was in hopes that he should recover of his sickness he asked, What is the sign that I shall go up, not to the thrones of judgment, or to the councilboard, but to the house of the Lord? Isaiah 38:22. Note, The plentiful enjoyment of God's ordinances in their power and purity is the most valuable instance of a nation's prosperity and the greatest blessing that can be desired. If God give the blessing of meat-offering and the drink-offering, that will bring along with it other blessings, will sanctify them, sweeten them, and secure them.

_ _ II. They are here called to a public national repentance, to be exercised in the solemn assembly, as a national act, for the glory of God and the excitement of one another, and that the neighbouring nations might know and observe what it was that qualified them for God's gracious returns in mercy to them, which they would be the admiring witnesses of. Let us see here, 1. How the congregation must be called together, Joel 2:15, Joel 2:16. The trumpet was blown (Joel 2:1), to sound an alarm of war; but now it must be blown in order to a treaty of peace. God is willing to show mercy to his people if he do but find them in a frame fit for it; and therefore, Call them together; sanctify a fast. By the law many annual feasts were appointed, but only one day in the year was to be observed as a fast, the day of atonement, a day to afflict the soul; and, if they had kept close to God and their duty, there would have been no occasion to observe any more; but now that they had by sin brought the judgments of God upon them they are often called to fasting. What was said Joel 1:14 is here repeated: “Call a solemn assembly; gather the people (press them to come together upon this errand); sanctify the congregation; appoint a time for solemn preparation beforehand and put them in mind to prepare themselves. Let not the greatest be excused, but assemble the elders, the judges and magistrates. Let not the meanest be passed by, but gather the children, and those that suck the breasts.” It is good to bring little children, as soon as they are capable of understanding any thing, to religious assemblies, that they may be trained up betimes in the way wherein they should go; but these were brought even when they were at the breast and were kept fasting, that by their cries for the breast the hearts of the parents might be moved to repent of sin, which God might justly so visit upon their children that the tongue of the sucking child might cleave to the roof of his mouth (Lamentations 4:4), and that on them God might have compassion, as he had on the infants of Nineveh, Jonah 4:11. New-married people must not be exempted: Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber and the bride out of her closet; let them not take state upon them as usual, not put on their ornaments, nor indulge themselves in mirth, but address themselves to the duties of the public fast with as much gravity and sadness as any of their neighbours. Note, Private joys must always give way to public sorrows, both those for affliction and those for sin. 2. How the work of the day must be carried on, Joel 2:17. (1.) The priests, the Lord's ministers, must preside in the congregation, and be God's mouth to the people, and theirs to God; who should stand in the gap to turn away the wrath of God but those whose business it was to make intercession upon ordinary occasions? (2.) They must officiate between the porch and the altar. There they used to attend about the sacrifices, and therefore now that they have no sacrifices to offer, or next to none, there they must offer up spiritual sacrifices. There the people must see them weeping and wrestling, like their father Jacob, and be helped into the same devout frame. Ministers must themselves be affected with those things wherewith they desire to affect others. It was between the porch and the altar that Zechariah the son of Jehoiada was put to death for his faithfulness; that precious blood God would require at their hands, and therefore, to turn away the judgment threatened for it, there they must weep. (3.) They must pray. Words here are put into their mouths, which they might in their prayers enlarge upon. Their petition must be, Spare thy people, O Lord! God's people, when they are in distress, can expect no relief against God's justice but what comes from his mercy. They cannot say, Lord, right us, but, Lord, spare us. We deserve the correction; we need it; but, Lord, mitigate it. The sinner's supplication is, Spare us, good Lord. Their plea must be taken from the relation wherein they stand to God (“They are thy people, and thy heritage, therefore have compassion on them”), but especially from the concern of God's glory in their trouble — “Lord, give not thy heritage to reproach, to the reproach of famine; let not the land of Canaan, that has so long been celebrated as the glory of all lands, now be made the scorn of all lands; let not the heathen rule over them, as they will easily do when thy heritage is thus impoverished and disabled to subsist. Let not the heathen make them a proverb, or a by-word” (so some read it); “let it never be said, As poor and beggarly as an Israelite.” Note, The maintaining of the credit of the nation among its neighbours is a blessing to be desired and prayed for by all that wish well to it. But that reproach of the church is especially to be dreaded and deprecated which reflects upon God: “Let them not say among the people, Where is their God — that God who has promised to help them, whom they have boasted so much of and put such a confidence in?” If God's heritage be destroyed, the neighbours will say, “God was either weak and could not relieve them or unkind and would not.” Deuteronomy 32:37, Where are now their gods in whom they trusted? And Sennacherib thus triumphs over them. Where are they gods of Hamath and Arpad? But it must by no means be suffered that they should say of Israel, Where is their God? For we are sure that our God is in the heavens (Psalms 115:2, Psalms 115:3), is in his temple, Psalms 11:4.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Deuteronomy 4:29-30 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find [him], if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. ... When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, [even] in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
1 Samuel 7:3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, [then] put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
1 Kings 8:47-49 [Yet] if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; ... Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
2 Chronicles 6:38-39 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and [toward] the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: ... Then hear thou from the heavens, [even] from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; ... If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: ... Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Jeremiah 4:1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. ... And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Lamentations 3:40-41 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. ... Let us lift up our heart with [our] hands unto God in the heavens.
Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Hosea 12:6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.
Hosea 14:1 O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.
Zechariah 1:3-4 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. ... Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and [from] your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

with fasting:

Judges 20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
1 Samuel 7:6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured [it] out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
2 Chronicles 20:3-4 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. ... And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask [help] of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
Nehemiah 9:1-2 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. ... And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.
Isaiah 22:12 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
Jonah 3:5-8 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. ... But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that [is] in their hands.
Zechariah 7:3 [And] to speak unto the priests which [were] in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
Zechariah 7:5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh [month], even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, [even] to me?
Zechariah 12:10-14 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn. ... All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
James 4:8-9 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded. ... Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and [your] joy to heaviness.
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Dt 4:29. Jg 20:26. 1S 7:3, 6. 1K 8:47. 2Ch 6:38; 7:13; 20:3. Ne 9:1. Is 22:12; 55:6. Jr 4:1; 29:12. Lm 3:40. Ho 6:1; 12:6; 14:1. Jna 3:5. Zc 1:3; 7:3, 5; 12:10. Ac 26:20. Jm 4:8.

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