on Joel 3 :2
The valley of Jehoshaphat - There is no such valley in the land of Judea; and hence the word must be symbolical. It signifies the judgment of God, or Jehovah judgeth; and may mean some place (as Bp. Newcome imagines) where Nebuchadnezzar should gain a great battle, which would utterly discomfit the ancient enemies of the Jews, and resemble the victory which Jehoshaphat gained over the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, 2 Chronicles 20:22-26.
And parted my land - The above nations had frequently entered into the territories of Israel; and divided among themselves the lands they had thus overrun.
While the Jews were in captivity, much of the land of Israel was seized on, and occupied by the Philistines, and other nations that bordered on Judea.
on Joel 3 :2
I will gather all nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat - It may be that the imagery is furnished by that great deliverance which God gave to Jehoshaphat, when "Ammon and Moab and Edom come against" him, "to cast God's people out of" His "possession," which "He gave" them "to inherit" 2 Chronicles 20:11, and Jehoshaphat appealed to God, "O our God, wilt Thou not judge them?" and God said, "the battle is not yours but God's," and God turned their swords everyone against the other, "and none escaped. And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah" (blessing); "for there they blesed the Lord" 2 Chronicles 24, 26. So, in the end, He shall destroy antichrist, not by human aid, but "by the breath of His mouth," and then the end shall come and lie shall sit on the throne of His glory to judge all nations. Then shall none escape of those gathered against Judah and Jerusalem, but shall be judged of their own consciences, as those former enemies of His people fell by their own swords.
That valley, however, is nowhere called "the valley of Jehoshaphat." It continued to be "called the valley of Berachah," the writer adds, "to this day." And it is so called still. Caphar Barucha, "the village of blessing," was still known in that neighborhood in the time of Jerome ; it had been known in that of Josephus . Southwest of Bethlehem and east of Tekoa are still 3 or 4 acres of ruins , bearing the name Bereikut , and a valley below them, still bearing silent witness to God's ancient mercies, in its but slightly disguised name, "the valley of Bereikut" (Berachah). The only valley called the "valley of Jehoshaphat" , is the valley of Kedron, lying between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, incircling the city on the east.
There Asa, Hezekiah, and Josiah cast the idols, which they had burned 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 30:14; 2 Kings 23:6, 2 Kings 23:12. The valley was the common burying-place for the inhabitants of Jerusalem . "There" was the garden where Jesus oftentimes resorted with His disciples; "there" was His Agony and Bloody Sweat; there Judas betrayed Him; thence He was dragged by the rude officers of the high priest. The temple, the token of God's presence among them, the pledge of His accepting their sacrifices which could only be offered there, overhung it on the one side. There, under the rock on which that temple stood, they dragged Jesus, "as a lamb to the slaughter" Isaiah 53:7. On the other side, it was overhung by the Mount of "Olives," from where, "He beheld the city and wept over it," because it "knew" not "in" that its "day, the things which belong to its peace;" whence, after His precious Death and Resurrection, Jesus ascended into, heaven.
There the Angels foretold His return, "This heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" Acts 1:11. It has been a current opinion, that our Lord should descend to judgment, not only in like manner, and in the like Form of Man, but in the same place, over this valley of Jehoshaphat. Certainly, if so it be, it were appropriate, that He should appear in His Majesty, where, for us, He bore the extremest shame; that He should judge "there," where for us, He submitted to be judged. "He sheweth," says Hilary (in Matthew 25), "that the Angels bringing them together, the assemblage shall be in the place of His Passion; and meetly will His Coming in glory be looked for there, where He won for us the glory of eternity by the sufferings of His humility in the Body." But since the Apostle says, "we shall meet the Lord in the air," then, not "in" the valley of Jehoshaphat, but "over" it, in the clouds, would His throne be. : "Uniting, as it were, Mount Calvary and Olivet, the spot would be well suited to that judgment wherein the saints shall partake of the glory of the Ascension of Christ and the fruit of His Blood and Passion, and Christ shall take deserved vengeance of His persecutors and of all who would not be cleansed by His Blood."
God saith, "I will gather all nations," of the gathering together of the nations against Him under antichrist, because He overrules all things, and while they, in "their" purpose, are gathering themselves against His people and elect, He, in His purpose secret to them, is gathering them to sudden destruction and judgment, "and will bring them down;" for their pride shall be brought down, and themselves laid low. Even Jewish writers have seen a mystery in the word, and said, that it hinteth "the depth of God's judgments," that God "would descend with them into the depth of judgment" , "a most exact judgment even the most hidden things."
His very presence there would say to the wicked , "In this place did I endure grief for you; here, at Gethsemane, I poured out for you that sweat of water and Blood; here was I betrayed and taken, bound as a robber, dragged over Cedron into the city; hard by this valley, in the house of Caiaphas and then of Pilate, I was for you judged and condemned to death, crowned with thorns, buffeted, mocked and spat upon; here, led through the whole city, bearing the Cross, I was at length crucified for you on Mount Calvary; here, stripped, suspended between heaven and earth, with hands, feet, and My whole frame distended, I offered Myself for you as a Sacrifice to God the Father. Behold the Hands which ye pierced; the Feet which ye perforated; the Sacred prints which ye anew imprinted on My Body. Ye have despised My toils, griefs, sufferings; ye have counted the Blood of My covenant an unholy thing; ye have chosen to follow your own concupiscences rather than Me, My doctrine and law; ye have preferred momentary pleasures, riches, honors, to the eternal salvation which I promised; ye have despised Me, threatening the fires of hell.
Now ye see whom ye have despised; now ye see that My threats and promises were not vain, but true; now ye see that vain and fallacious were your loves, riches, and dignities; now ye see that ye were fools and senseless in the love of them; but too late. "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." But ye who believed, hoped, loved, worshiped Me, your Redeemer, who obeyed My whole law; who lived a Christian life worthy of Me; who lived soberly, godly and righteously in this world, looking for the blessed hope and this My glorious Coming, "Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom of heaven prepared for you from the foundation of the World - And these shall go into everlasting fire; but the righteous into life eternal." Blessed he whoso continually thinketh or foreseeth, provideth for these things."
And will plead with them there - Woe to him, against whom God pleadeth! He saith not, "judgeth" but "pleadeth," making Himself a party, the Accuser as well as the Judge , "Solemn is it indeed when Almighty God saith, "I will plead. He that hath ears to hear let him hear." For terrible is it. Wherefore also that "Day of the Lord" is called "great and terrible." For what more terrible than, at such a time, the pleading of God with man? For He says, "I will plead," as though He had never yet pleaded with man, great and terrible as have been His judgments since that first destruction of the world by water. Past are those judgments on Sodom and Gomorrah, on Pharaoh and his hosts, on the whole people in the wilderness from twenty years old and upward, the mighty oppressions of the enemies into whose hands He gave them in the land of promise; past were the four Empires; but now, in the time of antichrist, "there shall be tribulation, such as there had not been from the beginning of the world." But all these are little, compared with that great and terrible Day; and so He says, "I will plead," as though all before had not been, to "plead.""
God maketh Himself in such wise a party, as not to condemn those unconvicted; yet the "pleading" has a separate awfulness of its own. God impleads, so as to allow Himself to be impleaded and answered; but there is no answer. He will set forth what He had done, and how we have requited Him. And we are without excuse. Our memories witness against us; our knowledge acknowledges His justice; our conscience convicts us; our reason condemns us; all unite in pronouncing ourselves ungrateful, and God holy and just. For a sinner to see himself is to condemn himself; and in the Day of Judgment, God will bring before each sinner his whole self.
For My people - o: "God's people are the one true Israel, "princes with God," the whole multitude of the elect, foreordained to eternal life." Of these, the former people of Israel, once chosen of God, was a type. As Paul says, "They are not all Israel which are of Israel" Romans 9:6; and again, "As many as walk according to this rule" of the Apostle's teaching, "peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God" Galatians 6:16, i. e., not among the Galatians only, but in the whole Church throughout the world. Since the whole people and Church of God is one, He lays down one law, which shall be fulfilled to the end; that those who, for their own ends, even although therein the instruments of God, shall in any way injure the people of God, shall be themselves punished by God. God makes Himself one with His people. "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of My eye" Zechariah 2:8. So our Lord said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" Acts 9:4 and in the Day of Judgment He will say, "I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat. Forasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these My brethern, ye did it not to Me" Matthew 25:34-35. : "By calling them "My heritage," He shows that He will not on any terms part with them or suffer them to be lost, but will vindicate them to Himself forever."
Whom they have scattered among the nations - Such was the offence of the Assyrians and Babylonians, the first ""army," which God sent against His people. And for it, Nineveh and Babylon perished. : "Yet he does not speak of that ancient people, or of its enemies only, but of all the elect both in that people and in the Church of the Gentiles, and of all persecutors of the elect. For that people were a figure of the Church, and its enemies were a type of those who persecute the saints." The dispersion of God's former people by the pagan was renewed in those who persecuted Christ's disciples from "city to city," banished them, and confiscated their goods. Banishment to mines or islands were the slightest punishments of the early Christians .
on Joel 3 :2