The Meaning of Joel 2:2 Explained

Joel 2:2

KJV: A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

YLT: A day of darkness and thick darkness, A day of cloud and thick darkness, As darkness spread on the mountains, A people numerous and mighty, Like it there hath not been from of old, And after it there is not again -- till the years of generation and generation.

Darby: a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and gross darkness, as the dawn spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, to the years of generations and generations.

ASV: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the dawn spread upon the mountains; a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations.

What does Joel 2:2 Mean?

Context Summary

Joel 2:1-11 - A Summons To Penitence
We know nothing of Joel beyond this book. He was content to be God's mouthpiece and remain unknown. His message was one of unparalleled woe. The memory of God's loving kindness ought to have kept His people faithful and loyal, but since grace and love had failed to affect them awful judgments were announced. A small insect, the locust, was to prostrate man's boasted power. The four kinds of locusts here described and which doubtless devastated the country, were also symbols of the four world-empires, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, which were to lay waste the Holy Land. Such judgments call for acts of repentance, such as fasting, humiliation, and intercession. There are days in national experience when it becomes us to gird ourselves and lament. The ministers and elders of the Church should lead the way. Where there has been infidelity to the great Lover of souls, when the visible Church or the individual member has turned from Christ to the wanton world, then joy withers away, Joel 1:12, spiritual worship ceases, Joel 1:9, and there can be neither peace nor safety until there has been repentance and return. [source]

Chapter Summary: Joel 2

1  He shows unto Zion the terribleness of God's judgment
12  He exhorts to repentance;
15  prescribes a fast;
18  promises a blessing thereon
21  He comforts Zion with present,
28  and future blessings

What do the individual words in Joel 2:2 mean?

a day of darkness and [deep] darkness of clouds and thick darkness Like the morning [clouds] spread over the mountains a people [come] great and strong the like of whom never has been from ever and after them nor will there be any [such] Even for generations and many successive
י֧וֹם חֹ֣שֶׁךְ וַאֲפֵלָ֗ה עָנָן֙ וַעֲרָפֶ֔ל כְּשַׁ֖חַר פָּרֻ֣שׂ עַל־ הֶֽהָרִ֑ים עַ֚ם רַ֣ב וְעָצ֔וּם כָּמֹ֗הוּ לֹ֤א נִֽהְיָה֙ מִן־ הָ֣עוֹלָ֔ם וְאַֽחֲרָיו֙ לֹ֣א יוֹסֵ֔ף עַד־ שְׁנֵ֖י דּ֥וֹר וָדֽוֹר

י֧וֹם  a  day 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: יׄום 
Sense: day, time, year.
חֹ֣שֶׁךְ  of  darkness 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: חֹשֶׁךְ  
Sense: darkness, obscurity.
וַאֲפֵלָ֗ה  and  [deep]  darkness 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, feminine singular
Root: אֲפֵלָה  
Sense: darkness, gloominess, calamity.
עָנָן֙  of  clouds 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: עָנָן  
Sense: cloud, cloudy, cloud-mass.
וַעֲרָפֶ֔ל  and  thick  darkness 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular
Root: עֲרָפֶל  
Sense: cloud, heavy or dark cloud, darkness, gross darkness, thick darkness.
כְּשַׁ֖חַר  Like  the  morning  [clouds] 
Parse: Preposition-k, Noun, masculine singular
Root: שַׁחַר  
Sense: dawn.
פָּרֻ֣שׂ  spread 
Parse: Verb, Qal, QalPassParticiple, masculine singular
Root: פָּרַשׂ  
Sense: to spread, spread out, stretch, break in pieces.
עַל־  over 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
הֶֽהָרִ֑ים  the  mountains 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine plural
Root: הַר  
Sense: hill, mountain, hill country, mount.
עַ֚ם  a  people  [come] 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: עַם 
Sense: nation, people.
רַ֣ב  great 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: רַב 
Sense: much, many, great.
וְעָצ֔וּם  and  strong 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Adjective, masculine singular
Root: עָצוּם  
Sense: mighty, vast, numerous.
כָּמֹ֗הוּ  the  like  of  whom 
Parse: Preposition, third person masculine singular
Root: כְּמֹו  
Sense: like, as, the like of which conj.
לֹ֤א  never 
Parse: Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
נִֽהְיָה֙  has  been 
Parse: Verb, Nifal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
הָ֣עוֹלָ֔ם  ever 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: עֹולָם  
Sense: long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world.
וְאַֽחֲרָיו֙  and  after  them 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Preposition, third person masculine singular
Root: אַחַר 
Sense: after the following part, behind (of place), hinder, afterwards (of time).
לֹ֣א  nor 
Parse: Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
יוֹסֵ֔ף  will  there  be  any  [such] 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Imperfect Jussive, third person masculine singular
Root: יָסַף 
Sense: to add, increase, do again.
עַד־  Even 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַד  
Sense: as far as, even to, until, up to, while, as far as.
דּ֥וֹר  generations 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: דֹּור 
Sense: period, generation, habitation, dwelling.
וָדֽוֹר  and  many  successive 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular
Root: דֹּור 
Sense: period, generation, habitation, dwelling.