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Joel 1-4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 1

The word of the Lord which came to Joel, the son of Pethuel.

I. Announcement of Unprecedented Disaster

Listen to this, you elders!
    Pay attention, all who dwell in the land!
Has anything like this ever happened in your lifetime,
    or in the lifetime of your ancestors?
Report it to your children.
    Have your children report it to their children,
    and their children to the next generation.
What the cutter left,
    the swarming locust has devoured;
What the swarming locust left,
    the hopper has devoured;
What the hopper left,
    the consuming locust[a] has devoured.
Wake up, you drunkards,[b] and weep;
    wail, all you wine drinkers,
Over the new wine,
    taken away from your mouths.
For a nation[c] invaded my land,
    powerful and past counting,
With teeth like a lion’s,
    fangs like those of a lioness.
It has stripped bare my vines,
    splintered my fig tree,
Shearing off its bark and throwing it away,
    until its branches turn white.
Wail like a young woman[d] dressed in sackcloth
    for the husband of her youth.
Grain offering and libation are cut off
    from the house of the Lord;
In mourning are the priests,
    the ministers of the Lord.
10 The field is devastated;
    the farmland mourns,[e]
Because the grain is devastated,
    the wine has dried up,
    the oil has failed.
11 Be appalled, you farmers!
    wail, you vinedressers,
Over the wheat and the barley,
    because the harvest in the field is ruined.
12 The vine has dried up,
    the fig tree has withered;
The pomegranate, even the date palm and the apple—
    every tree in the field has dried up.
Joy itself has dried up
    among the people.

Cry Out to the Lord

13 [f]Gird yourselves and lament, you priests!
    wail, ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
    ministers of my God!
For the grain offering and the libation
    are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Proclaim a holy fast!
    Call an assembly!
Gather the elders,
    all who dwell in the land,
To the house of the Lord, your God,
    and cry out to the Lord!
15 O! The day![g]
    For near is the day of the Lord,
    like destruction from the Almighty it is coming!
16 Before our very eyes[h]
    has not food been cut off?
And from the house of our God,
    joy and gladness?
17 The seed lies shriveled beneath clods of dirt;[i]
    the storehouses are emptied.
The granaries are broken down,
    for the grain is dried up.
18 [j]How the animals groan!
    The herds of cattle are bewildered!
Because they have no pasture,
    even the flocks of sheep are starving.
19 To you, Lord, I cry!
    for fire has devoured the wilderness pastures,
    flame has scorched all the trees in the field.
20 Even the animals in the wild
    cry out to you;
For the streams of water have run dry,
    and fire has devoured the wilderness pastures.

II. The Day of the Lord

Chapter 2

The Day Approaches

[k]Blow the horn in Zion,
    sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord is coming!
Yes, it approaches,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of thick clouds!
Like dawn[l] spreading over the mountains,
    a vast and mighty army!
Nothing like it has ever happened in ages past,
    nor will the future hold anything like it,
    even to the most distant generations.
Before it,[m] fire devours,
    behind it flame scorches.
The land before it is like the garden of Eden,
    and behind it, a desolate wilderness;
    from it nothing escapes.
Their appearance is that of horses;
    like war horses they run.
Like the rumble of chariots
    they hurtle across mountaintops;
Like the crackling of fiery flames
    devouring stubble;
Like a massive army
    in battle formation.
Before them peoples tremble,
    every face turns pale.
Like warriors they run,
    like soldiers they scale walls,
Each advancing in line,
    without swerving from the course.
No one crowds the other;
    each advances in its own track;
They plunge through the weapons;
    they are not checked.
They charge the city,
    they run upon the wall,
    they climb into the houses;
Through the windows
    they enter like thieves.

10 Before them the earth trembles;
    the heavens shake;
Sun and moon are darkened,
    and the stars withhold their brightness.
11 The Lord raises his voice
    at the head of his army;
How immense is his host!
    How numerous those who carry out his command!
How great is the day of the Lord!
    Utterly terrifying! Who can survive it?

Return to the Lord

12 Yet even now—oracle of the Lord
    return to me with your whole heart,
    with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
13 Rend your hearts, not your garments,
    and return to the Lord, your God,
For he is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love,
    and relenting in punishment.
14 Perhaps he will again relent
    and leave behind a blessing,[n]
Grain offering and libation
    for the Lord, your God.
15 Blow the horn in Zion!
    Proclaim a fast,
    call an assembly!
16 Gather the people,
    sanctify the congregation;
Assemble the elderly;
    gather the children,
    even infants nursing at the breast;
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
    and the bride[o] her bridal tent.
17 Between the porch and the altar[p]
    let the priests weep,
    let the ministers of the Lord weep and say:
“Spare your people, Lord!
    do not let your heritage become a disgrace,
    a byword among the nations!
Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?’”

The Lord Relents. 18 Then the Lord grew jealous[q] for his land and took pity on his people. 19 In response the Lord said to his people:

I am sending you
    grain, new wine, and oil,
    and you will be satisfied by them;
Never again will I make you
    a disgrace among the nations.
20 The northerner[r] I will remove far from you,
    driving them out into a dry and desolate land,
Their vanguard to the eastern sea,
    their rearguard to the western sea,
And their stench will rise,
    their stink will ascend,
What great deeds the Lord has done!
21 Do not fear, O land!
    delight and rejoice,
    for the Lord has done great things!
22 Do not fear, you animals in the wild,
    for the wilderness pastures sprout green grass.
The trees bear fruit,
    the fig tree and the vine produce their harvest.
23 Children of Zion, delight
    and rejoice in the Lord, your God!
For he has faithfully given you the early rain,[s]
    sending rain down on you,
    the early and the late rains as before.
24 The threshing floors will be full of grain,
    the vats spilling over with new wine and oil.
25 I will repay you double
    what the swarming locust has eaten,
The hopper, the consuming locust, and the cutter,
    my great army I sent against you.
26 You will eat until you are fully satisfied,
    then you will praise the name of the Lord, your God,
Who acts so wondrously on your behalf!
    My people will never again be put to shame.
27 Then you will know that I am in the midst of Israel:
    I, the Lord, am your God, and there is no other;
    my people will never again be put to shame.

III. The Lord’s Final Judgment

Chapter 3

The Day of the Lord

[t]It shall come to pass
    I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
Even upon your male and female servants,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
I will set signs in the heavens and on the earth,
    blood, fire, and columns of smoke;
The sun will darken,
    the moon turn blood-red,
Before the day of the Lord arrives,
    that great and terrible day.
Then everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord
    will escape harm.
For on Mount Zion there will be a remnant,
    as the Lord has said,
And in Jerusalem survivors
    whom the Lord will summon.

Chapter 4

The Lord’s Case Against the Nations

For see, in those days and at that time,
    when I restore the fortunes
    of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather all the nations
    and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.[u]
There I will enter into judgment with them
    on behalf of my people, my heritage, Israel;
Because they scattered them among the nations,
    they divided up my land.
For my people they cast lots,
    trading a young boy for the price of a prostitute,
    exchanging a young girl for the wine they drank.

[v]Moreover, what are you doing to me, Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are, I will very quickly turn your deeds back upon your own head. You took my silver and my gold and brought my priceless treasures into your temples! You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, taking them far from their own country! Look! I am rousing them from the place to which you sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own head. I will sell your sons and daughters to the Judahites who will sell them to the Sabeans,[w] a distant nation. The Lord has spoken!

The Nations Destroyed

Announce this to the nations:
    Proclaim a holy war!
    Alert the warriors!
Let all the soldiers
    report and march!
10 [x]Beat your plowshares into swords,
    and your pruning knives into spears;
    let the weakling boast, “I am a warrior!”

11 Hurry and come, all you neighboring peoples,
    assemble there!
Bring down, Lord, your warriors!
12 Let the nations rouse themselves and come up
    to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
For there I will sit in judgment
    upon all the neighboring nations.

13 Wield the sickle,
    for the harvest is ripe;
Come and tread,
    for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow,
    for their crimes are numerous.[y]
14 Crowds upon crowds
    in the Valley of Decision;
For near is the day of the Lord
    in the Valley of Decision.
15 Sun and moon are darkened,
    and the stars withhold their brightness,
16 The Lord roars from Zion,
    and from Jerusalem raises his voice,
The heavens and the earth quake,
    but the Lord will be a shelter for his people,
    a fortress for the people of Israel.

A Secure Future for Judah

17 Then you will know[z] that I the Lord am your God,
    dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain;
Jerusalem will be holy,
    and strangers will never again travel through her.
18 [aa]On that day
    the mountains will drip new wine,
    and the hills flow with milk,
All the streams of Judah
    will flow with water.
A spring will rise from the house of the Lord,
    watering the Valley of Shittim.
19 Egypt will be a waste,
    Edom a desolate wilderness,
Because of violence done to the Judahites,
    because they shed innocent blood in their land.
20 But Judah will be inhabited forever,
    and Jerusalem for all generations.
21 I will avenge their blood,
    and I will not acquit the guilt.
    The Lord dwells in Zion.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:4 Cutter…swarming locust…hopper…consuming locust: these names may refer to various species of locusts, or to some phases in the insect’s life cycle, or to successive waves of locusts ravaging the countryside.
  2. 1:5 Drunkards: this metaphor expresses both the urgency behind Joel’s preaching and his ironic assessment of his audience. There are no grapes to process into new wine, yet people view their situation as just another agricultural crisis. Joel argues that the problems they now face are lessons the Lord is using to provide the knowledge they lack.
  3. 1:6 A nation: the locusts are compared to an invading army, whose numbers are overwhelming. The ravaged landscape resembles the wasteland left behind by marauding troops; the order and peace associated with agricultural productivity (1 Kgs 5:5; Mi 4:4) has been destroyed.
  4. 1:8 Like a young woman: this simile personifies Jerusalem as a youthful widow, left unprotected and without resources by her husband’s sudden death.
  5. 1:10 The farmland mourns: or “the farmland is dried up.”
  6. 1:13 Judah’s situation is so grave and the day of the Lord so imminent that priests must lament day and night if they hope to reverse the divine punishment.
  7. 1:15 As in Am 5:18–20, the day of the Lord in Joel’s first speech brings punishment, not victory, for Judah. In his second speech, this event means victory for those faithful to the Lord and death for the nations who are the Lord’s enemies. Almighty: Hebrew shaddai. There is wordplay between shod (“destruction”) and shaddai.
  8. 1:16 Before our very eyes: Joel’s audience should have discerned the significance of the winter drought and the locust invasion they witnessed. Joy and gladness: the loss of field crops has reduced Joel’s audience to subsistence living, with no means for liturgical or personal celebration, as in v. 12.
  9. 1:17 The seed…clods of dirt: the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. Most commentators use the translation given here, since it fits the prophet’s description of an agricultural year plagued by winter drought and a spring locust infestation.
  10. 1:18–19 In figurative language, Joel describes how the insufficient winter rain, the locust invasions, and summer’s heat on pasture lands and water sources drive domestic and wild animals to cry out for rain.
  11. 2:1–11 Joel warns the people about the destruction he sees galloping toward Jerusalem. He combines the imagery of the locust invasion (chap. 1) with language from the holy war tradition in order to describe the Lord leading a heavenly army against the enemy, in this case, Jerusalem.
  12. 2:2 Like dawn: from the east comes dark destruction rather than a new day’s light.
  13. 2:3 Before it: fire precedes and follows the army’s advance. Even the ravaged landscape of chap. 1 looks like a lush garden compared to the devastation this army leaves behind.
  14. 2:14 Blessing: the rain that makes possible the grapes and grain (v. 19) that workers will process into Temple offerings.
  15. 2:16 Elderly…infants…bridegroom…bride: Jerusalem is in such great danger that even those normally excused from fasting or working are called upon to participate in activities to ward off the imminent catastrophe.
  16. 2:17 Between the porch and the altar: the priests stood in the open space between the outdoor altar for burnt offerings and the Temple building.
  17. 2:18 Jealous: the Hebrew word describes the passionate empathetic bond the Lord has with Israel. The people’s wholehearted participation in Joel’s call for fasting and prayer sparks the Lord’s longing to protect and love his people Israel. This desire moves him to withhold punishment and to send the blessing of v. 14 instead.
  18. 2:20 The northerner: the locusts, pictured as an invading army, which traditionally came from the north (Jer 1:14–15; Ez 26:7; 38:6, 15). Locusts are not usually an annual threat in Palestine, nor are they often associated with the north. However, to demonstrate the extent of the Lord’s care for Judah and control over what happens within its borders, Joel assures his audience that the Lord will quickly drive the locusts out of Judah the coming spring, should they reappear. Dead locusts will litter the shores of the “eastern” (the Dead Sea) and the “western” (the Mediterranean) seas.
  19. 2:23 This autumn rain teaches the people to recognize God’s compassionate presence in nature and history. There is a play on the double meaning of the Hebrew word moreh: “early rain” and “teacher.” In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the word is used in the phrase “teacher (= moreh) of righteousness.”
  20. 3:1–5 In many places in the Old Testament, Hebrew ruah is God’s power, or spirit, bestowed on chosen individuals. The word can also mean “breath” or “wind.” In this summary introduction to his second speech, Joel anticipates that the Lord will someday renew faithful Judahites with the divine spirit. In Acts 2:17–21 the author has Peter cite Joel’s words to suggest that the newly constituted Christian community, filled with divine life and power, inaugurates the Lord’s Day, understood as salvation for all who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ.
  21. 4:2 Valley of Jehoshaphat: one of the symbolic names of the place of punishment for Judah’s enemies; the other is “Valley of Decision” (v. 14). The name Jehoshaphat means “the Lord judges.” If the popular identification of this place as the Kidron Valley is accurate, Joel may imagine the Lord seated above the valley on Mount Zion directing his troops in the destruction of nations in the valley below.
  22. 4:4–8 This prose material may be a later addition to the book. It illustrates a common biblical theme (cf. Ps 7:16; 9:16; 35:8; 37:14–15; 57:7), having one’s evil deed (selling Judahites into slavery) turned into one’s own punishment (being sold into slavery by the Judahites).
  23. 4:8 Sabeans: traders from the southwestern tip of the Arabian peninsula, present-day Yemen (cf. 1 Kgs 10:1–2; Ps 72:10; Jer 6:20).
  24. 4:10 The Lord directs the troops to forge military weapons out of the agricultural tools necessary for life during peacetime. In Is 2:4 and Mi 4:3, both in contexts presuming the defeat of Israel’s enemies, this imagery is reversed.
  25. 4:13 Their crimes are numerous: the nations are ripe for punishment. Joel uses the vocabulary of the autumn grape harvest to describe the assault of the Lord’s army against these nations. In Is 63:1–6, grape harvest imagery also controls the description of the Lord’s return from Edom with blood-spattered clothing after having trod his enemies into the ground as if they were grapes (cf. Jer 25:30).
  26. 4:17 Then you will know: this verse further develops the motif of knowledge introduced in 2:27. The Judahites will learn that the Lord is present in their economic prosperity and political autonomy, even though they did not associate God’s presence with their crop failure.
  27. 4:18 Images of agricultural abundance illustrate the harmony and order Joel expects the Lord to establish in Judah; like 2:18–27, this section reverses the deprivation and drought of chap. 1. A spring…house of the Lord: streams of water flowing from the Temple of an ideal Jerusalem also appear in Ez 47:1. The Valley of Shittim: or “the ravine of the acacia trees”; while there is a Shittim east of the Jordan, the reference here is probably to that rocky part of the Kidron Valley southeast of Jerusalem, an arid region where acacia trees flourished.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Ben Sira 44:1-11 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 44

Praise of Israel’s Great Ancestors[a]

I will now praise the godly,
    our ancestors, in their own time,[b]
The abounding glory of the Most High’s portion,
    his own part, since the days of old.
Subduers of the land in kingly fashion,
    renowned for their might,
Counselors in their prudence,
    seers of all things in prophecy,
Resolute princes of the flock,
    lawgivers and their rules,
Sages skilled in composition,
    authors of sharp proverbs,
Composers of melodious psalms,
    writers of lyric poems;
Stalwart, solidly established,
    at peace in their own estates—
All these were glorious in their time,
    illustrious in their day.
Some of them left behind a name
    so that people recount their praises.
Of others no memory remains,
    for when they perished, they perished,
As if they had never lived,
    they and their children after them.
10 Yet these also were godly;
    their virtues have not been forgotten.
11 Their wealth remains in their families,
    their heritage with their descendants.

Footnotes:

  1. 44:1–50:24 As in the previous section God’s glory shone forth in the works of nature, so in these chapters it is revealed through the history of God’s people as seen in the lives of their ancestors, prophets, priests, and rulers. The example of these great people, whose virtues are recalled here, constitutes a high point of Ben Sira’s teaching.
  2. 44:1–15 The reader is here introduced to those people of Israel, later mentioned by name, who through various achievements and beneficial social activities have acquired great renown (vv. 1–8, 14–15); and also to those who, though forgotten, endure through the fruit of their virtues and through their families because of God’s covenant with them (vv. 9–15).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Revelation 20 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 20

The Thousand-year Reign. [a]Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss[b] and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan,[c] and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark[d] on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. Blessed[e] and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over these; they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for [the] thousand years.

[f]When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog,[g] to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth[h] and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Large White Throne.[i] 11 Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life.[j] The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. 13 The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades[k] gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death.[l]) 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.

Footnotes:

  1. 20:1–6 Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ’s resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God’s people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin; cf. Rom 6:1–8; Jn 5:24–25; 16:33; 1 Jn 3:14; Eph 2:1.
  2. 20:1 Abyss: see note on Rev 9:1.
  3. 20:2 Dragon…serpent…Satan: see notes on Rev 12:3, 9, 10, 15.
  4. 20:4 Beast…mark: see Rev 13 and its notes.
  5. 20:6 Blessed: see note on Rev 1:3. Second death: see note on Rev 2:11. Priests: as in Rev 1:6; 5:10; cf. 1 Pt 2:9.
  6. 20:7–10 A description of the symbolic battle to take place when Satan is released at the end of time, when the thousand years are over; see note on Rev 20:1–6.
  7. 20:8 Gog and Magog: symbols of all pagan nations; the names are taken from Ez 38:1–39:20.
  8. 20:9 The breadth of the earth: Palestine. The beloved city: Jerusalem; see note on Rev 14:1.
  9. 20:11–15 A description of the final judgment. After the intermediate reign of Christ, all the dead are raised and judged, thus inaugurating the new age.
  10. 20:12 The book of life: see note on Rev 3:5. Judged…scrolls: see note on Rev 14:12.
  11. 20:13 Hades: the netherworld; see note on Rev 1:18.
  12. 20:14 Second death: see note on Rev 2:11.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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