Remember the Day of the Lord? Featured big in the book of Joel? Well, it’s back in Zephaniah. Prophecies about it are back, anyway.
Joel may not spell out Israel’s sins as explicitly as Hosea does, but he certainly spells out the sins of the foreign nations.
The second chapter of Joel begins with a trumpet warning of war–if you can call it a war. Joel sees a vision of an advancing foreign nation, and he devotes nearly half the chapter to describing their power. Even at a distance, it’ll be clear to the people of Israel that they’re terrifyingly outclassed by the horde; Joel prophesies, “Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale” (6). The advancing crowd are disciplined soldiers, besieging cities with ease, and their power even shakes heaven and earth with apocalyptic might. And on top of that, they’re sanctioned by God.
The last time we saw the Sad Zone–also known as the Cry Hole–it was on an individual level, yet it was the subject of a song to be performed in a communal religious context. Today, though, the prophet Joel begins his message to Israel by calling for a nationwide Sad Zone.