1 Awake, awake; put on [clothe thyself] thy strength, O [Tziyon]; put on thy beautiful garments [garments of splendor], O [Yerushalayim], the holy city [Ir HaKodesh]: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised [ arel] and the unclean [tameh].
2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem [O captive Yerushalayim]: loose [free] thyself from the bands of [ chains around] thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion [Bat Tziyon].
3 For thus saith Yahweh, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money [your geulah (redemption) shall be without kesef.].
4 For thus saith the Adonai Yahweh, My people went down aforetime into Egypt [at first into Mitzrayim] to sojourn there; and [lately] the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith Yahweh, that My people is taken away for nought? They that rule over them make them to howl [mock them], saith Yahweh; and my name [Shemi] continually every day [all day long] is blasphemed.
Before the Lamb can enter Zion with the 144,000, it will be necessary for him to expel the enemy. He comes to redeem Zion from the power of the foreigners, who have "come in like a flood", and afflicted her with "desolation and destruction, and the famine, and the sword". At this crisis of Zion's history, coeval with "darkness covering the earth, and gross darkness the people," Yahweh inquires through the prophet, "What have I here that My people is taken away for naught? They who rule over them make them to howl, saith Yahweh; and My Name continually every day is blasphemed". "They have scattered Israel among the nations, and they have parted My land;" and "the king of the north hath planted the tents of his entrenched camp between the seas to the mountain of the glory of the Holy One" (Isa. 59:19; 52:5; Joel 3:2; Dan. 11:45).
Such are Zion's relations, domestic and foreign, social, civil, and spiritual, at the crisis immediately preceding the appearance of the Lamb and his company within her walls. Being assembled in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and having laid successful siege to Jerusalem, they rifle its houses, ravish its women, and send half of its population into captivity, many of whom they sell to the Greeks for slaves at the vilest prices (Zech. 14:2; Joel 3:3).
This prostrates Jerusalem in the dust, and fastens bands around the neck of the captive daughter of Zion. The uncircumcised and the unclean, then in possession of Tyre and Zidon, and the coasts of Palestine, are in high feather over their success. This will be truly the day of Jacob's trouble, in which there will be none to help, nor any to uphold (Isa. 63:5; Jer. 30:7). But, Zion's extremity is her Redeemer's opportunity. "When," saith Moses, "he seeth that their power is gone, he will repent himself for his servants;" and saith Joel, "He will then be jealous for his land, and pity his people, who shall no more be made a reproach among the nations" (ch. 2:18,19; Deut. 32:36).
"The Harvest of the Earth," according to Joel, and John's angel that comes out of the nave, hath been ripened; "for their wickedness is great". The harvest is composed of vast multitudes of ripened wickedness in the plain, or valley of judgment, unconsciously awaiting a terrible overthrow. Joel in vision saw them all assembled there, as expressed in the words, "Multitudes, multitudes (hamonim, hamonim) in the valley of the judgment; for the Day of Yahweh is near in the valley of the judgment" (ch. 3:14). These hamonim are the hamon-gog of Ezekiel 39:11 - the multitude of Gog, which is buried in the valley of the judgment executed; and gives name to an adjacent city, called Hamonah, that is, Multitude.
This and the preceding chapter of Ezekiel are parallel with Joel 3, and John's vision of the reaping. The prophet is indignant at their wickedness. He does not pray for their conversion, nor for their salvation; but for their sudden and complete overthrow, in the words, "Thither cause to come down with violence thy mighty ones, 0 Yahweh!" Nor will Joel's prayer be in vain; for, referring to the same crisis, Zechariah says, "Yahweh Elohim shall come in, and all the Saints with thee" (ch. 14:5).
This coming in to Jerusalem will be with violence, and a terrific outpouring of wrath upon the multitudes in arms. In the words of Ezek. 38:18, "Adonai Yahweh saith, my fury shall come up in My face: for in my jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken, surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel.... and all the men that are upon the face of the land shall shake AT MY PRESENCE, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the towers shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
And I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all my mountains saith Adonai Yahweh: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him and upon his bands and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone". Thus, Yahweh goes forth and fights against these multitudes, as in the days of old (Zech.14:3).