Breaking Covenant Through Divorce

10 Do we not all have one Father[a]?(A) Did not one God create us?(B) Why do we profane the covenant(C) of our ancestors by being unfaithful(D) to one another?

11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable(E) thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves(F) by marrying(G) women who worship a foreign god.(H) 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord remove(I) him from the tents of Jacob[b](J)—even though he brings an offering(K) to the Lord Almighty.

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears.(L) You weep and wail(M) because he no longer looks with favor(N) on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.(O) 14 You ask,(P) “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness(Q) between you and the wife of your youth.(R) You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.(S)

15 Has not the one God made you?(T) You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[c](U) So be on your guard,(V) and do not be unfaithful(W) to the wife of your youth.

16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,(X)” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”[d](Y) says the Lord Almighty.

So be on your guard,(Z) and do not be unfaithful.

Breaking Covenant Through Injustice

17 You have wearied(AA) the Lord with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.(AB)

By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased(AC) with them” or “Where is the God of justice?(AD)

“I will send my messenger,(AE) who will prepare the way before me.(AF) Then suddenly the Lord(AG) you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant,(AH) whom you desire,(AI) will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure(AJ) the day of his coming?(AK) Who can stand(AL) when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire(AM) or a launderer’s soap.(AN) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver;(AO) he will purify(AP) the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.(AQ) Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,(AR) and the offerings(AS) of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.(AT)

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers,(AU) adulterers(AV) and perjurers,(AW) against those who defraud laborers of their wages,(AX) who oppress the widows(AY) and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners(AZ) among you of justice, but do not fear(BA) me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

“I the Lord do not change.(BB) So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.(BC) Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away(BD) from my decrees and have not kept them. Return(BE) to me, and I will return to you,”(BF) says the Lord Almighty.

“But you ask,(BG) ‘How are we to return?’

“Will a mere mortal rob(BH) God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’

“In tithes(BI) and offerings. You are under a curse(BJ)—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe(BK) into the storehouse,(BL) that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates(BM) of heaven and pour out(BN) so much blessing(BO) that there will not be room enough to store it.(BP) 11 I will prevent pests from devouring(BQ) your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,(BR)” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed,(BS) for yours will be a delightful land,”(BT) says the Lord Almighty.(BU)

Israel Speaks Arrogantly Against God

13 “You have spoken arrogantly(BV) against me,” says the Lord.

“Yet you ask,(BW) ‘What have we said against you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is futile(BX) to serve(BY) God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements(BZ) and going about like mourners(CA) before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant(CB) blessed. Certainly evildoers(CC) prosper,(CD) and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”

The Faithful Remnant

16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.(CE) A scroll(CF) of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared(CG) the Lord and honored his name.

17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my(CH) treasured possession.(CI) I will spare(CJ) them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son(CK) who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous(CL) and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.(CM)

Judgment and Covenant Renewal

[e]“Surely the day is coming;(CN) it will burn like a furnace.(CO) All the arrogant(CP) and every evildoer will be stubble,(CQ) and the day that is coming will set them on fire,(CR)” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch(CS) will be left to them. But for you who revere my name,(CT) the sun of righteousness(CU) will rise with healing(CV) in its rays. And you will go out and frolic(CW) like well-fed calves. Then you will trample(CX) on the wicked; they will be ashes(CY) under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.

“Remember the law(CZ) of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb(DA) for all Israel.(DB)

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah(DC) to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.(DD) He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children,(DE) and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike(DF) the land with total destruction.”(DG)


  1. Malachi 2:10 Or father
  2. Malachi 2:12 Or 12 May the Lord remove from the tents of Jacob anyone who gives testimony in behalf of the man who does this
  3. Malachi 2:15 The meaning of the Hebrew for the first part of this verse is uncertain.
  4. Malachi 2:16 Or “I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “because the man who divorces his wife covers his garment with violence,”
  5. Malachi 4:1 In Hebrew texts 4:1-6 is numbered 3:19-24.

The word of the Lord that came(A) to Joel(B) son of Pethuel.

An Invasion of Locusts

Hear this,(C) you elders;(D)
    listen, all who live in the land.(E)
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
    or in the days of your ancestors?(F)
Tell it to your children,(G)
    and let your children tell it to their children,
    and their children to the next generation.(H)
What the locust(I) swarm has left
    the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
    the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left(J)
    other locusts[a] have eaten.(K)

Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
    Wail, all you drinkers of wine;(L)
wail because of the new wine,
    for it has been snatched(M) from your lips.
A nation has invaded my land,
    a mighty army without number;(N)
it has the teeth(O) of a lion,
    the fangs of a lioness.
It has laid waste(P) my vines
    and ruined my fig trees.(Q)
It has stripped off their bark
    and thrown it away,
    leaving their branches white.

Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth(R)
    grieving for the betrothed of her youth.
Grain offerings and drink offerings(S)
    are cut off from the house of the Lord.
The priests are in mourning,(T)
    those who minister before the Lord.
10 The fields are ruined,
    the ground is dried up;(U)
the grain is destroyed,
    the new wine(V) is dried up,
    the olive oil fails.(W)

11 Despair, you farmers,(X)
    wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,(Y)
    because the harvest of the field is destroyed.(Z)
12 The vine is dried up
    and the fig tree is withered;(AA)
the pomegranate,(AB) the palm and the apple[b] tree—
    all the trees of the field—are dried up.(AC)
Surely the people’s joy
    is withered away.

A Call to Lamentation

13 Put on sackcloth,(AD) you priests, and mourn;
    wail, you who minister(AE) before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
    you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings(AF)
    are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Declare a holy fast;(AG)
    call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
    and all who live in the land(AH)
to the house of the Lord your God,
    and cry out(AI) to the Lord.(AJ)

15 Alas for that(AK) day!
    For the day of the Lord(AL) is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.[c](AM)

16 Has not the food been cut off(AN)
    before our very eyes—
joy and gladness(AO)
    from the house of our God?(AP)
17 The seeds are shriveled
    beneath the clods.[d](AQ)
The storehouses are in ruins,
    the granaries have been broken down,
    for the grain has dried up.
18 How the cattle moan!
    The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;(AR)
    even the flocks of sheep are suffering.(AS)

19 To you, Lord, I call,(AT)
    for fire(AU) has devoured the pastures(AV) in the wilderness
    and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the wild animals pant for you;(AW)
    the streams of water have dried up(AX)
    and fire has devoured the pastures(AY) in the wilderness.

An Army of Locusts

Blow the trumpet(AZ) in Zion;(BA)
    sound the alarm on my holy hill.(BB)

Let all who live in the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord(BC) is coming.
It is close at hand(BD)
    a day of darkness(BE) and gloom,(BF)
    a day of clouds(BG) and blackness.(BH)
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
    a large and mighty army(BI) comes,
such as never was in ancient times(BJ)
    nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire(BK) devours,
    behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,(BL)
    behind them, a desert waste(BM)
    nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;(BN)
    they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots(BO)
    they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire(BP) consuming stubble,
    like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;(BQ)
    every face turns pale.(BR)
They charge like warriors;(BS)
    they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,(BT)
    not swerving(BU) from their course.
They do not jostle each other;
    each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
    without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
    they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;(BV)
    like thieves they enter through the windows.(BW)

10 Before them the earth shakes,(BX)
    the heavens tremble,(BY)
the sun and moon are darkened,(BZ)
    and the stars no longer shine.(CA)
11 The Lord(CB) thunders(CC)
    at the head of his army;(CD)
his forces are beyond number,
    and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great;(CE)
    it is dreadful.
    Who can endure it?(CF)

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return(CG) to me with all your heart,(CH)
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart(CI)
    and not your garments.(CJ)
Return(CK) to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,(CL)
slow to anger and abounding in love,(CM)
    and he relents from sending calamity.(CN)
14 Who knows? He may turn(CO) and relent(CP)
    and leave behind a blessing(CQ)
grain offerings and drink offerings(CR)
    for the Lord your God.

15 Blow the trumpet(CS) in Zion,(CT)
    declare a holy fast,(CU)
    call a sacred assembly.(CV)
16 Gather the people,
    consecrate(CW) the assembly;
bring together the elders,(CX)
    gather the children,
    those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom(CY) leave his room
    and the bride her chamber.
17 Let the priests, who minister(CZ) before the Lord,
    weep(DA) between the portico and the altar.(DB)
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
    Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,(DC)
    a byword(DD) among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?(DE)’”

The Lord’s Answer

18 Then the Lord was jealous(DF) for his land
    and took pity(DG) on his people.

19 The Lord replied[e] to them:

“I am sending you grain, new wine(DH) and olive oil,(DI)
    enough to satisfy you fully;(DJ)
never again will I make you
    an object of scorn(DK) to the nations.

20 “I will drive the northern horde(DL) far from you,
    pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
    and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench(DM) will go up;
    its smell will rise.”

Surely he has done great things!
21     Do not be afraid,(DN) land of Judah;
    be glad and rejoice.(DO)
Surely the Lord has done great things!(DP)
22     Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
    for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.(DQ)
The trees are bearing their fruit;
    the fig tree(DR) and the vine(DS) yield their riches.(DT)
23 Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice(DU) in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.(DV)
He sends you abundant showers,(DW)
    both autumn(DX) and spring rains,(DY) as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow(DZ) with new wine(EA) and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts(EB) have eaten(EC)
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[f]
my great army(ED) that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,(EE)
    and you will praise(EF) the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders(EG) for you;
never again will my people be shamed.(EH)
27 Then you will know(EI) that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord(EJ) your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.(EK)

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit(EL) on all people.(EM)
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,(EN)
    your old men will dream dreams,(EO)
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants,(EP) both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.(EQ)
30 I will show wonders in the heavens(ER)
    and on the earth,(ES)
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness(ET)
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.(EU)
32 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord(EV) will be saved;(EW)
for on Mount Zion(EX) and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,(EY)
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors(EZ)
    whom the Lord calls.[g](FA)

The Nations Judged

[h]“In those days and at that time,
    when I restore the fortunes(FB) of Judah(FC) and Jerusalem,
I will gather(FD) all nations
    and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.[i](FE)
There I will put them on trial(FF)
    for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel,
because they scattered(FG) my people among the nations
    and divided up my land.
They cast lots(FH) for my people
    and traded boys for prostitutes;
    they sold girls for wine(FI) to drink.

“Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon(FJ) and all you regions of Philistia?(FK) Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.(FL) For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples.[j](FM) You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks,(FN) that you might send them far from their homeland.

“See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them,(FO) and I will return(FP) on your own heads what you have done. I will sell your sons(FQ) and daughters to the people of Judah,(FR) and they will sell them to the Sabeans,(FS) a nation far away.” The Lord has spoken.(FT)

Proclaim this among the nations:
    Prepare for war!(FU)
Rouse the warriors!(FV)
    Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
    and your pruning hooks(FW) into spears.(FX)
Let the weakling(FY) say,
    “I am strong!”(FZ)
11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side,
    and assemble(GA) there.

Bring down your warriors,(GB) Lord!

12 “Let the nations be roused;
    let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,(GC)
for there I will sit
    to judge(GD) all the nations on every side.
13 Swing the sickle,(GE)
    for the harvest(GF) is ripe.
Come, trample the grapes,(GG)
    for the winepress(GH) is full
    and the vats overflow—
so great is their wickedness!”

14 Multitudes,(GI) multitudes
    in the valley(GJ) of decision!
For the day of the Lord(GK) is near
    in the valley of decision.(GL)
15 The sun and moon will be darkened,
    and the stars no longer shine.(GM)
16 The Lord will roar(GN) from Zion
    and thunder from Jerusalem;(GO)
    the earth and the heavens will tremble.(GP)
But the Lord will be a refuge(GQ) for his people,
    a stronghold(GR) for the people of Israel.

Blessings for God’s People

17 “Then you will know(GS) that I, the Lord your God,(GT)
    dwell in Zion,(GU) my holy hill.(GV)
Jerusalem will be holy;(GW)
    never again will foreigners invade her.(GX)

18 “In that day the mountains will drip new wine,(GY)
    and the hills will flow with milk;(GZ)
    all the ravines of Judah will run with water.(HA)
A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house(HB)
    and will water the valley of acacias.[k](HC)
19 But Egypt(HD) will be desolate,
    Edom(HE) a desert waste,
because of violence(HF) done to the people of Judah,
    in whose land they shed innocent blood.
20 Judah will be inhabited forever(HG)
    and Jerusalem through all generations.
21 Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged?(HH)
    No, I will not.(HI)

The Lord dwells in Zion!(HJ)


  1. Joel 1:4 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain.
  2. Joel 1:12 Or possibly apricot
  3. Joel 1:15 Hebrew Shaddai
  4. Joel 1:17 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  5. Joel 2:19 Or Lord will be jealous … / and take pity … / 19 The Lord will reply
  6. Joel 2:25 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain.
  7. Joel 2:32 In Hebrew texts 2:28-32 is numbered 3:1-5.
  8. Joel 3:1 In Hebrew texts 3:1-21 is numbered 4:1-21.
  9. Joel 3:2 Jehoshaphat means the Lord judges; also in verse 12.
  10. Joel 3:5 Or palaces
  11. Joel 3:18 Or Valley of Shittim

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