Joel 3 – Judgment of Judah’s Enemies & The Greeks and the Old Testament

I can understand why people would want to know if something is counterfeit or not, but the purpose of the below article is to prove that the Bible is false and that is nonsense because it’s kind of obvious that it’s not since it’s been here over 4,000 years.  The oldest book in the world.

People that do this are trying to prove that You don’t exist, are trying to defame You and that is not a smart thing to do.

Convincing people that the Bible is not real would be the same as changing or removing words and You made it clear that would not be a wise move:

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (read Deut 28:15-68).

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life (Rev 20:15), and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (read Rev 22:18-19).

This is the last book of Joel, so tomorrow we will look at…

 Joel 3
Judgment of Judah’s Enemies

Written records of the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Greeks as well as numerous references in the Old Testament reveal the significance of the ancient city of Sidon (modern Saida), especially famous for being one of the most important coastal city-states of the ancient Phoenicians.

Almost everything known about this ancient city has however, been revealed through these written records of other peoples, as Sidon has remained continuously inhabited up to the present day and the ancient remains lie beneath the modern buildings.

1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

“Valley of Jehoshaphat” – called the “valley of decision” seems to be a symbolic name for a valley near Jerusalem that is here depicted as the place of God’s ultimate judgment on the nations gathered against Jerusalem. 

There King Jehoshaphat had witnessed one of the Lord’s historic victories over the nations (see 2 Chr 20:1-30).

3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.

“Cast lots for my people” –this happened to Judah at the time of the captivity (586 B.C.) and is mentioned in Obad 11.  The Israelites were treated by their  as mere chattel, to be traded off for the pleasures of prostitution and wine.

4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompense? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head;

“Tyre…Zidon…Palestine” – Tyre had sold Israelites as slaves and Palestine (i.e., “Philistia”) had often plundered Israel. 

God punished them by allowing Zidon (i.e., “Sidon”) to be enslaved by Antiochus III in 345 B.C. and by allowing Tyre to be besieged by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and to be captured by the Greeks (under Alexander the Great) in 332 B.C.

5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

Sidon, on the coast 48 kilometers south of Beirut, is one of the Famous names in ancient history. But of all of Lebanon’s cities this is the most mysterious, for its past has been tragically scattered and plundered.

In the 19th century, treasure hunters and amateur archaeologists made off with many of its most beautiful and important objects, some of which can now be seen in foreign museums.

In this century too, ancient objects from Sidon (Saidoon is the Phoenician name, Saida in Arabic), have turned up on the world’s antiquities markets.

6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.

The Greeks were trading with the Phoenicians as early as 800 B.C.

7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompense upon your own head:

8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

“Sabeans”  – from Sheba, whose queen visited Solomon (see 1 Kgs 10:1-13).

9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:

10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

Antiochus III the Great (Ancient Greek: Ἀντίoχoς Μέγας; c. 241 – 187 BC, ruled 222–187 BC) was a Seleucid Greek king and the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire.

He ruled over the region of Syria and western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC. Rising to the throne at the age of eighteen in 223 BC, his early campaigns against the Ptolemaic Kingdom were unsuccessful, but in the following years Antiochus gained several military victories.

12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

13 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.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

20 But Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.

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

This book of judgment ends on a promising and encourage note: “The Lord dwelleth in Zion,” and therefore all is right with those who trust in God and live with Him.

The Greeks and the Old Testament

Alexander the Great conquered the ancient Near East during the late fourth century B.C. and began a process of “Hellenizing” the region (spreading Greek language and culture).

Fragment of a Septuagint:
A column of uncial text from 1 Esdras in the Codex Vaticanus c. 325–350 CE. The Septuagint from the Latin word septuaginta (meaning seventy), is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts into Koine Greek.

The title and its Roman numeral acronym “LXX” refer to the legendary seventy Jewish scholars that completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century B.C. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the “Greek Old Testament.

Unfortunately, this has wrongly given some modern interpreters the notion that any sign of a Greek presence in an Old Testament text is evidence that the text was not written until after the time of Alexander.

Thus, for example, the book of Daniel is often dated to the second century B.C., partially on the ground that Daniel 3 includes a few Greek words (e.g., sumponia, analogous to the Greek sumphonia, perhaps referring to some wind instrument).

However, Greek musicians were famous in the ancient world far earlier than the time of Alexander the Great, and no doubt some of the Greek musical terminology was adopted by other cultures.

An interesting case is Joel 3:6, where the prophet castigated the Philistines and Phoenicians for having taken Israelites as slaves and sold them to Greeks, thus removing Jews far from their homeland.

Some have taken this to be an indication that the book of Joel is postexilic, but this is not necessarily the case. The Greeks were well known as a seafaring people, and undoubtedly pre-exilic Israelites had some contact with Greeks.

It is significant in the Joel text, however, that Greece is perceived to be far away from the land of Israel. In pre-exilic times very few Israelites had ever ventured there, and most had never encountered a Greek.

The Septuagint is a 3rd to 2nd Century BCE Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The below fragments are evidence that the Septuagint originally contained the name Yahweh.

The first is an ancient fragment of the Septuagint dated between 50 BCE and 50 CE (AD). If this dating is correct, it would have been written near the time of Yahushua’s ministry.

Thus they would have perceived Greece to be a remote and far-flung place. However, during the postexilic period, and certainly after Alexander’s time, contact with Greeks was frequent and the Greek language widely spoken. Travel to Greece was also more common during this era.

The perception of Greeks as a faraway people in verse 6, therefore, actually suggests a pre-exilic date for the book.  In addition, in the 7th century B.C. Greece was in the midst of a great economic expansion and needed many slaves.

This, too, fits well with what we see in Joel 3 if the book is dated to the 7th century B.C. 

…the Book of Amos.