AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOEL
Joel, which means "Yahweh is God" (HSN3100), is named as the author of these prophecies. The name is found several times elsewhere in the Old Testament, but none of these men can be identified with this prophet who is called the son of Pethuel. Therefore, we know nothing of Joel beyond this writing.
# It is almost impossible to assign a date to its origin. Scholars have tended to date it either among the earliest or among the latest of the prophetic writings. They generally agree that his ministry was carried out in Judah. Conservative scholars usually place it during the reign of Joash (ninth century B.C.), before the exile. It is noted that the enemies mentioned in Joel are the Philistines, Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Edomites of their earlier history rather than Assyria and Babylonia of later historical importance. Other scholars place it after the exile, pointing out that no mention is made of the northern kingdom and that elders and priests seem to be in authority rather than a king. Neither of these lines of reasoning is conclusive for dating, nor is the fact that it is the second book in order among the minor prophets.
The prophecy is clearly divided into two parts. In Jl.1v1--2.27, Joel uses the description of a plague of locusts and a drought to call the people to repentance with fear, fasting, and prayer. In Jl.2v28-3:21, God's mercy drives out the locusts and gives a plentiful harvest, bringing blessings to His people and punishment to their enemies. "The day of the Lord" which is "coming" is a major theme in Joel. On the day of Pentecost (Ac.2v16), Peter quoted Jl.2v28-32 about the outpouring of the Spirit, stating that it was fulfilled on that very day.
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