Joel 2
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Blow a shofar in Tzion, Sound an alarm on My holy mount! Let all dwellers on earth tremble, For the day of Hashem has come! It is close—

א  תִּקְעוּ שׁוֹפָר בְּצִיּוֹן וְהָרִיעוּ בְּהַר קָדְשִׁי יִרְגְּזוּ כֹּל יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ כִּי־בָא יוֹם־יְהֹוָה כִּי קָרוֹב׃

2  A day of darkness and gloom, A day of densest cloud Spread like soot over the hills. A vast, enormous horde— Nothing like it has ever happened, And it shall never happen again Through the years and ages.

ב  יוֹם חֹשֶׁךְ וַאֲפֵלָה יוֹם עָנָן וַעֲרָפֶל כְּשַׁחַר פָּרֻשׂ עַל־הֶהָרִים עַם רַב וְעָצוּם כָּמֹהוּ לֹא נִהְיָה מִן־הָעוֹלָם וְאַחֲרָיו לֹא יוֹסֵף עַד־שְׁנֵי דּוֹר וָדוֹר׃

3  Their vanguard is a consuming fire, Their rear guard a devouring flame. Before them the land was like the Garden of Eden, Behind them, a desolate waste: Nothing has escaped them.

ג  לְפָנָיו אָכְלָה אֵשׁ וְאַחֲרָיו תְּלַהֵט לֶהָבָה כְּגַן־עֵדֶן הָאָרֶץ לְפָנָיו וְאַחֲרָיו מִדְבַּר שְׁמָמָה וְגַם־פְּלֵיטָה לֹא־הָיְתָה לּוֹ׃

4  They have the appearance of horses, They gallop just like steeds.

ד  כְּמַרְאֵה סוּסִים מַרְאֵהוּ וּכְפָרָשִׁים כֵּן יְרוּצוּן׃

5  With a clatter as of chariots They bound on the hilltops, With a noise like a blazing fire Consuming straw; Like an enormous horde Arrayed for battle.

ה  כְּקוֹל מַרְכָּבוֹת עַל־רָאשֵׁי הֶהָרִים יְרַקֵּדוּן כְּקוֹל לַהַב אֵשׁ אֹכְלָה קָשׁ כְּעַם עָצוּם עֱרוּךְ מִלְחָמָה׃

6  Peoples tremble before them, All faces turn ashen.

ו  מִפָּנָיו יָחִילוּ עַמִּים כָּל־פָּנִים קִבְּצוּ פָארוּר׃

7  They rush like warriors, They scale a wall like fighters. And each keeps to his own track. Their paths never cross;

ז  כְּגִבּוֹרִים יְרֻצוּן כְּאַנְשֵׁי מִלְחָמָה יַעֲלוּ חוֹמָה וְאִישׁ בִּדְרָכָיו יֵלֵכוּן וְלֹא יְעַבְּטוּן אֹרְחוֹתָם׃

8  No one jostles another, Each keeps to his own course. And should they fall through a loophole, They do not get hurt.

ח  וְאִישׁ אָחִיו לֹא יִדְחָקוּן גֶּבֶר בִּמְסִלָּתוֹ יֵלֵכוּן וּבְעַד הַשֶּׁלַח יִפֹּלוּ לֹא יִבְצָעוּ׃

9  They rush up the wall, They dash about in the city; They climb into the houses, They enter like thieves By way of the windows.

ט  בָּעִיר יָשֹׁקּוּ בַּחוֹמָה יְרֻצוּן בַּבָּתִּים יַעֲלוּ בְּעַד הַחַלּוֹנִים יָבֹאוּ כַּגַּנָּב׃

10  Before them earth trembles, Heaven shakes, Sun and moon are darkened, And stars withdraw their brightness.

י  לְפָנָיו רָגְזָה אֶרֶץ רָעֲשׁוּ שָׁמָיִם שֶׁמֶשׁ וְיָרֵחַ קָדָרוּ וְכוֹכָבִים אָסְפוּ נָגְהָם׃

11  And Hashem roars aloud At the head of His army; For vast indeed is His host, Numberless are those that do His bidding. For great is the day of Hashem, Most terrible—who can endure it?

יא  וַיהֹוָה נָתַן קוֹלוֹ לִפְנֵי חֵילוֹ כִּי רַב מְאֹד מַחֲנֵהוּ כִּי עָצוּם עֹשֵׂה דְבָרוֹ כִּי־גָדוֹל יוֹם־יְהֹוָה וְנוֹרָא מְאֹד וּמִי יְכִילֶנּוּ׃

12  “Yet even now”—says Hashem— “Turn back to Me with all your hearts, And with fasting, weeping, and lamenting.”

יב  וְגַם־עַתָּה נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה שֻׁבוּ עָדַי בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם וּבְצוֹם וּבְבְכִי וּבְמִסְפֵּד׃

13  Rend your hearts Rather than your garments, And turn back to Hashem your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in kindness, And renouncing punishment.

v’-kir-U l’-vav-KHEM v’-al big-day-KHEM v’-SHU-vu el a-do-NAI e-lo-hay-KHEM kee kha-NUN v’-ra-KHUM HU E-rekh a-PA-yim v’-rav KHE-sed v’-ni-KHAM al ha-ra-AH

יג  וְקִרְעוּ לְבַבְכֶם וְאַל־בִּגְדֵיכֶם וְשׁוּבוּ אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כִּי־חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם הוּא אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב־חֶסֶד וְנִחָם עַל־הָרָעָה׃

2:13  Rend your hearts rather than your garments

Yoel tells the Children of Israel that all is not lost; if they repent, the impending disaster can be averted. However, the repentance must not focus on external symbols and behavior, but rather must consist of a genuine change in thoughts and actions. Tearing one’s clothing is a sign of mourning (see for example II Samuel 3:31), but Yoel cautions that these actions must reflect genuine feelings of remorse. He then references the divine attributes of mercy detailed in Shemot (34:6-7)in the context of the giving of the second set of tablets of the Law, which symbolizes the renewal of the covenant. By mentioning the divine attributes, Yoel reminds his people that God gives second chances, and also hints to them how they should behave in order to once again find favor in His eyes.4 comments

14  Who knows but He may turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind For meal offering and drink offering To Hashem your God?

יד  מִי יוֹדֵעַ יָשׁוּב וְנִחָם וְהִשְׁאִיר אַחֲרָיו בְּרָכָה מִנְחָה וָנֶסֶךְ לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

15  Blow a shofar in Tzion, Solemnize a fast, Proclaim an assembly!

טו  תִּקְעוּ שׁוֹפָר בְּצִיּוֹן קַדְּשׁוּ־צוֹם קִרְאוּ עֲצָרָה׃

16  Gather the people, Bid the congregation purify themselves. Bring together the old, Gather the babes And the sucklings at the breast; Let the bridegroom come out of his chamber, The bride from her canopied couch.

טז  אִסְפוּ־עָם קַדְּשׁוּ קָהָל קִבְצוּ זְקֵנִים אִסְפוּ עוֹלָלִים וְיֹנְקֵי שָׁדָיִם יֵצֵא חָתָן מֵחֶדְרוֹ וְכַלָּה מֵחֻפָּתָהּ׃

17  Between the portico and the mizbayach, Let the Kohanim, Hashem‘s ministers, weep And say: “Oh, spare Your people, Hashem! Let not Your possession become a mockery, To be taunted by nations! Let not the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”

יז  בֵּין הָאוּלָם וְלַמִּזְבֵּחַ יִבְכּוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים מְשָׁרְתֵי יְהֹוָה וְיֹאמְרוּ חוּסָה יְהֹוָה עַל־עַמֶּךָ וְאַל־תִּתֵּן נַחֲלָתְךָ לְחֶרְפָּה לִמְשָׁל־בָּם גּוֹיִם לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ בָעַמִּים אַיֵּה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃

18  Then Hashem was roused On behalf of His land And had compassion Upon His people.

יח  וַיְקַנֵּא יְהֹוָה לְאַרְצוֹ וַיַּחְמֹל עַל־עַמּוֹ׃

19  In response to His people Hashem declared: “I will grant you the new grain, The new wine, and the new oil, And you shall have them in abundance. Nevermore will I let you be A mockery among the nations.

יט  וַיַּעַן יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמֶר לְעַמּוֹ הִנְנִי שֹׁלֵחַ לָכֶם אֶת־הַדָּגָן וְהַתִּירוֹשׁ וְהַיִּצְהָר וּשְׂבַעְתֶּם אֹתוֹ וְלֹא־אֶתֵּן אֶתְכֶם עוֹד חֶרְפָּה בַּגּוֹיִם׃

20  I will drive the northerner far from you, I will thrust it into a parched and desolate land— Its van to the Eastern Sea And its rear to the Western Sea; And the stench of it shall go up, And the foul smell rise.” For [Hashem] shall work great deeds.

כ  וְאֶת־הַצְּפוֹנִי אַרְחִיק מֵעֲלֵיכֶם וְהִדַּחְתִּיו אֶל־אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וּשְׁמָמָה אֶת־פָּנָיו אֶל־הַיָּם הַקַּדְמֹנִי וְסֹפוֹ אֶל־הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן וְעָלָה בָאְשׁוֹ וְתַעַל צַחֲנָתוֹ כִּי הִגְדִּיל לַעֲשׂוֹת׃

21  Fear not, O soil, rejoice and be glad; For Hashem has wrought great deeds.

כא  אַל־תִּירְאִי אֲדָמָה גִּילִי וּשְׂמָחִי כִּי־הִגְדִּיל יְהֹוָה לַעֲשׂוֹת׃

22  Fear not, O beasts of the field, For the pastures in the wilderness Are clothed with grass. The trees have borne their fruit; Fig tree and vine Have yielded their strength.

כב  אַל־תִּירְאוּ בַּהֲמוֹת שָׂדַי כִּי דָשְׁאוּ נְאוֹת מִדְבָּר כִּי־עֵץ נָשָׂא פִרְיוֹ תְּאֵנָה וָגֶפֶן נָתְנוּ חֵילָם׃

23  O children of Tzion, be glad, Rejoice in Hashem your God. For He has given you the early rain in [His] kindness, Now He makes the rain fall [as] formerly— The early rain and the late—

כג  וּבְנֵי צִיּוֹן גִּילוּ וְשִׂמְחוּ בַּיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כִּי־נָתַן לָכֶם אֶת־הַמּוֹרֶה לִצְדָקָה וַיּוֹרֶד לָכֶם גֶּשֶׁם מוֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ בָּרִאשׁוֹן׃

24  And threshing floors shall be piled with grain, And vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

כד  וּמָלְאוּ הַגֳּרָנוֹת בָּר וְהֵשִׁיקוּ הַיְקָבִים תִּירוֹשׁ וְיִצְהָר׃

25  “I will repay you for the years Consumed by swarms and hoppers, By grubs and locusts, The great army I let loose against you.

כה  וְשִׁלַּמְתִּי לָכֶם אֶת־הַשָּׁנִים אֲשֶׁר אָכַל הָאַרְבֶּה הַיֶּלֶק וְהֶחָסִיל וְהַגָּזָם חֵילִי הַגָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר שִׁלַּחְתִּי בָּכֶם׃

26  And you shall eat your fill And praise the name of Hashem your God Who dealt so wondrously with you— My people shall be shamed no more.

כו  וַאֲכַלְתֶּם אָכוֹל וְשָׂבוֹעַ וְהִלַּלְתֶּם אֶת־שֵׁם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה עִמָּכֶם לְהַפְלִיא וְלֹא־יֵבֹשׁוּ עַמִּי לְעוֹלָם׃

27  And you shall know That I am in the midst of Yisrael: That I Hashem am your God And there is no other. And My people shall be shamed no more.”

כז  וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי בְקֶרֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל אָנִי וַאֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְאֵין עוֹד וְלֹא־יֵבֹשׁוּ עַמִּי לְעוֹלָם׃

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Joel 2

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