PODCAST: The Scripture & The Sense Podcast #381: Joel 2:19-20 (with Daniel Whyte III)

This is Daniel Whyte III with The Scripture & The Sense Podcast #381, where I read the Word of God and give the sense of it based on an authoritative commentary source such as the Bible Knowledge Commentary. This podcast is based upon Nehemiah 8:8 where it says Ezra and the Levites “read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” The aim of this podcast is that through the simple reading of the Word of God and the giving of the sense of it, the church would be revived and the world would be awakened.

Today we are reading Joel 2:19-20.

19 Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.


That was Joel 2:19-20. Now here is the sense of it.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary reads:

The Lord’s promise began with a proclamation that the agricultural produce (grain, new wine, and oil) destroyed by the locusts would be restored. He then announced that His people would never again be an object of scorn to the nations. Similarly He promised they would “never again be shamed.” The seemingly unconditional tone of these statements is problematic if verses 18–19a describe a historical event in Joel’s day. Whether one posits a preexilic or postexilic date for the writing of Joel, history shows that Israel, after Joel’s day, often did become an object of scorn. Perhaps the best solution to this difficulty is to understand that at least this aspect of the promise is eschatological in its ultimate fulfillment. Joel’s prophecy deals with Israel’s future apart from the chronological gaps which one sees so readily in retrospect. Consequently prophecies pertaining to his own generation are merged here with those that await future realization. This is common in Old Testament prophecies. The Lord next announced that the threat described in Joel 2:1–11 would be averted. He would turn against the very army He had been bringing against His disobedient people, driving it into the desert (a parched and barren land) and the seas (the eastern sea and the western sea, probably the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea). The carcasses’ stench would permeate the air. As in Joel 2:1–11, the language, though alluding to a literal army, applies to locusts as well. Eyewitness accounts tell how dead locusts, having been driven into the sea and then washed ashore, gave out a foul odor. As noted in the Introduction, the designation northern army suggests that a literal army is ultimately in view. If “the northerner” is yet future (eschatological), the army is possibly the army in Joel 3:9, 12; Daniel 11:40; and Zechariah 14:2. But if the reference is strictly historical, any precise identification of the army is precluded by the uncertainty surrounding the date of authorship. So in this case it would not be clear to what extent, if any, Joel 2:20 was historically fulfilled in Joel’s day. If the invasion threatened in 2:1–11 had not actually begun, the language of verse 20 need not refer to a historical event. It would simply be a vivid and concrete way of saying that the destruction planned by the Lord had been averted at the last moment.


Thank you for listening to the Scripture & The Sense Podcast. Remember to read the Word of God each and every day and pray without ceasing to God for wisdom to understand it and apply it to your life. Most importantly, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Please stay tuned for a complete presentation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so that you can get your soul saved from Hell to that wonderful place called Heaven when you die. May God bless you and keep you is my prayer.