There is now a change in tone, as Joel begs the people of God to repent and change their future. The consequences of continuing in an evil direction are dire. If the people repent, maybe God will change His mind.
FYI:It is one of those, “God can repent?” passages. The word repent in English is not a perfect match for the Hebrew, shuv which literally means to turn and go the other way.
12 “Yet even now,” says the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. 14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God? Joel 2:12-14
There is far too much mixing of the pagan religions around them for God to look the other way. He is fed up with Baal, Ashtaroth and Molech.
There is a chance that all this judgment by foreign invasion can be avoided.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; 16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Joel 2:15-16
A full nationwide repentance is called for, including infants and the newly married. Those under 20 or just married are usually exempted from national commitments. [Ex. 30:14; Deut. 24:5 ]
17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?” Joel 2:17
This is a public area in the temple. Their repentance should be visible to all. No sacrifices are called for. For sacrifices have more to do with worship than paying for ones sins.
FYI: Only on Yom Kippur could there be a sacrifice for intentional sin. All others are for things one forgot.
The language of their scourge is similar to the curse that would come upon them if they did not keep the original covenant with the LORD.
37 And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword, among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you away. 38 You shall carry much seed into the field, and shall gather little in; for the locust shall consume it. Deut. 28:37-38
There was no repentance among the majority of the peoples. As a consequence, the Jews have wandered the earth with no real home. They have not been an independent nation from 587BC until 1948AD. They have been out of their land for 2520 years.
They were unwelcome wherever they went. Often they could only live on the fringes of towns, establishing Jewish ghettos. In Western Europe they fell into the hands of the church of Rome and her INQUISITION. In Eastern Europe there were frequent pogroms, repetitively driving them from the land. During these many years, everywhere they went they have been called “Wandering Jews.”