The Book Of JOEL
Much of the book of Joel concerns a terrible locust plague that causes
starvation for animals and humans. Joel takes this as a sign that people
should lament and repent. God responds positively beginning in 2:18.
After 2:29, the book moves from historical events to conjecture about
the end-time (the Day of the Lord) when the world will be changed and
when strange and frightening signs will appear (2:30-32). In the new
age, all people will prophesy (2:28-29). This section of Joel is quoted
in the account of the Pentecost experience in Acts 2:17-21.
If not for the use of Joel 2:28-29 by Acts, we probably would not pay
much attention to Joel. But, as is true of other prophets, Joel does
remind us of a number of important points. God is at work in the world,
there are consequences to human behavior, lament and repentance are
appropriate responses to disaster, and hope is always the last word.
Joel also is important for giving us a glimpse of early end-time
speculation that will be expanded further in other biblical books.
The only information that is known about Joel is that his father was
named Pethuel (Joel 1:1), but we do not know who Pethuel is either.
There are a dozen persons named Joel in the Old Testament, and none
seems to be the one who is responsible for this book. His hometown is
not identified, nor his occupation, nor who was ruling the country
during his ministry. The first verse of the book does make clear that he
is a prophet to whom the word of the Lord came.
Joel probably lived during the Persian period of Old Testament history
(539-331 B.C.E.) During that time, the Persians allowed some of the Jews
to return to Jerusalem and the temple was eventually rebuilt. Joel was
familiar with the temple, so he must be dated after its restoration. He
knows earlier prophets. No kings of Judah are mentioned (there were none
after the defeat by Babylon in 586 B.C.E.). All this points to a period
between 400 and 350 B.C.E.
Joel calls the people to recognize a locust plague as a sign from God
that they should repent, and then goes on to envision a final judgment
when God will punish evil nations and vindicate Israel.
Since Joel is a short book, one should simply read it straight through,
paying special attention to the transitions in 2:18 and 2:28. God
responds favorably in 2:18 after laments and rituals of repentance. The
move from historical events to end-time speculation begins in 2:28.
AUTHOR: Daniel Simundson, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament
The Book Of JOEL
1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath
this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell ye your children of it, and [let] your children [tell] their children, and their children another generation.
which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the
locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the
cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.
5 Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
6 For a
nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth
[are] the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
7 He hath
laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare,
and cast [it] away; the branches thereof are made white.
8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD'S ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 Be ye
ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for
the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree,
the palm tree also, and the apple tree, [even] all the trees of the
field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar:
come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat
offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your
Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders [and] all
the inhabitants of the land [into] the house of the LORD your God, and
cry unto the LORD,
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD [is] at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, [yea], joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
18 How do
the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have
no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the
wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are
dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
1 Blow ye
the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all
the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for
[it is] nigh at hand;
2 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.
3 A fire
devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land [is] as
the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness;
yea, and nothing shall escape them.
4 The appearance of them [is] as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.
the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the
noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people
set in battle array.
6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war;
and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break
shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and
[when] they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they
shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a
earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and
the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp [is] very
great: for [he is] strong that executeth his word: for the day of the
LORD [is] great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and
with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God:
for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great
kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
knoweth [if] he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him;
[even] a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the
children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth
of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the
altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine
heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore
should they say among the people, Where [is] their God?
18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you
corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will
no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
20 But I
will remove far off from you the northern [army], and will drive him
into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and
his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and
his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.
21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
22 Be not
afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do
spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do
yield their strength.
glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he
hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come
down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 And I
will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the
cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which
I sent among you.
26 And ye
shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD
your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never
27 And ye
shall know that I [am] in the midst of Israel, and [that] I [am] the
LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it
shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all
flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men
shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32 And it
shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD
shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be
deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD
1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
2 I will
also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of
Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my
heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted
3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.
and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of
Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me,
swiftly [and] speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;
5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:
children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto
the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.
7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:
8 And I
will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of
Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for
the LORD hath spoken [it].
9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:
10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I [am] strong.
yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together
round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.
12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.
13 Put ye
in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the
press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness [is] great.
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem;
and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD [will be] the
hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
shall ye know that I [am] the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy
mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers
pass through her any more.
18 And it
shall come to pass in that day, [that] the mountains shall drop down
new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of
Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the
house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the
violence [against] the children of Judah, because they have shed
innocent blood in their land.
20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
21 For I will cleanse their blood [that] I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.