Joel - An Introduction

Joel Introduction

Joel is the second of the Minor Prophets. He did not date his book, so the time of writing is uncertain. It may have been in the seventh century b.c.* Joel's name means "Jehovah is God." He may have lived in the city of Jerusalem because he mentions the "house of the Lord" (1:14).

The prophet Joel warned the people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah of coming judgment and urged them to repent and turn to God. The main theme of the book is the "day of the Lord" is coming.

Joel vividly described a severe locust plague that had devastated the land. He compared the locust plague to an invading army, "powerful and without number; it has the teeth of a lion, the fangs of a lioness" (1:6). He called the people to repent, "For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty" (1:15).

Joel told them, "Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love" (2:13). In response, the Lord said, "'I will drive the northern army far from you'" (2:20). He told Israel that He would repay them for the years the locusts had eaten. They would have plenty to eat and would praise the name of the Lord, who had worked wonders for them.

The Lord said, "'Afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days'" (2:28-29).

Many verses in Joel are mirrored in the Book of Revelation. For example, look at Joel 2:31 and then read Revelation 6:12.

Chapter 3 talks about a coming "day of the Lord" when the nations will be judged for their mistreatment of God's people. It offers a message of hope for Israel. "'Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. . . . Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon'" (3:17, 20-21).

Read the Book of Joel carefully, and then fill in the blanks on the worksheet and on the "Go to the Word" sheet. May God bless you as you study His Word.

By: Warren Simmons

* NIV Archaeological Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 1435.