Study of Joel


The book of Joel is named after the prophet to whom God delivered these messages. Joel means the Lord (Jehovah) is God.

Joel was a prophet of the Southern Kingdom. Little is known about him. It is impossible to date Joel precisely because no Israelite king or foreign nation is mentioned in it. Many believe Joel wrote his book during the reign of Joash (835-796 B.C.), which, if accurate, would make him the earliest prophet in Judah, his ministry beginning shortly after the days of Elijah and Elisha.

The theme of Joel is the solemn warning of divine judgment to be visited upon Israel in the day of the Lord. This day was foreshadowed by the locust plague as recorded in the first chapter.

The following helpful outline is found in Gleason L. Archer's Survey

of New Testament Introduction, p. 291-292:

I. The Plague of Locusts as a Type of the Day of Jehovah, 1:1 - 2:11

A. The tremendous devastation by the locust horde, 1:1-7

B. This invasion a prefiguration of the human invaders of the future (Assyrians and Chaldeans), 1:8-20

C. The day of Jehovah as a day of reckoning, 2:1-11

II. The Call to Repentance, 2:12-19

A. The external forms of contrition as well as sincere heart repentance, 2:12-15

B. Repentance on a nation-wide scale, including all classes and ages, 2:16, 17

C. Promise of the returning mercy of the Lord (apparently fulfilled in the reign of Joash), 2:18, 19

III. Promise of Showers of Blessing, 2:20-32

A. The terrible overthrow of Israel's invaders from the north, 2:20

1. Sennacherib

2. The world power of the last days

B. Rain from the Lord after locust plague and drought, 2:21-27

C. This rain a prefiguration of outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days (beginning at Pentecost), 2:28-32

Meteoric signs the final phase of the last days (cf. Matt. 24:29)

IV. The Final Triumph of God in the Day of Jehovah, 3:1- 21

A. The final slaughter of unbelievers; divine judgment upon the final dictator, 3:1-16

1. The foreshadowing judgment upon Phoenicia and Philistia, now oppressing Judah, 3:1-13

2. The foreshadowing triumphs of the Maccabean age, 3:14-16

B. Millennial triumph and peace for Jerusalem, including the whole family of the redeemed, 3:17-21