One of the minor prophets, of whom nothing is known beyond the few hints furnished in his brief but valuable prophecy. He lived in the kingdom of Judah, and at a time when the temple and temple-worship still existed, Joe 1:14; 2:1,15,32-3:1. Different authors assign to his prophecy different dates, but the prevailing opinion is that he prophesied in the reign of Uzziah, nearly 800 B. C.
The BOOK of JOEL opens with a most graphic and powerful description of the devastation caused by swarms of divers kinds of locusts, accompanied by a terrible drought. The plague of locusts, one of the most dreadful scourges of the East, (see LOCUSTS,) is highly suggestive of an invasion of hostile legions such as have often ravaged Judea; and many have understood, by the locusts of Joel, the Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, or Romans. The prophet, however, adheres to his figure, if it be one; depicts the land as stripped of its verdure and parched with drought, summons the stricken people to fasting and penitence, and encourages them by promising the removal of the divine judgments and the return of fertility. While describing this returning plenty and prosperity, the prophet casts his view forward on a future still more remote, and predicts the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the signs and wonders and spiritual prosperity of the Messiah's reign, Joe 2:28. This passage is quoted by the apostle Peter in Ac 2:16. The style of Joel is exceedingly poetical and elegant; his descriptions are vivid and sublime, and his prophecy ranks among the gems of Hebrew poetry. It is well fitted to cheer the church militant in all ages.
Jehovah is his God. (1.) The oldest of Samuel's two sons appointed by him as judges in Beersheba (1Sa 8:2). (2.) A descendant of Reuben (1Ch 5:4,8). (3.) One of David's famous warriors (1Ch 11:38). (4.) A Levite of the family of Gershom (1Ch 15:7,11). (5.) 1Ch 7:3. (6.) 1Ch 27:20. (7.) The second of the twelve minor prophets. He was the son of Pethuel. His personal history is only known from his book.
("Jehovah is God".)
1. Samuel's oldest son (1Sa 8:2; 1Ch 6:28 (read "the firstborn (Joel) and the second (Vashni) Abiah"), 1Ch 6:33; 15:17). Father of Heman the singer. He and his brother Abiah were judges in Beersheba, when their father was too old to go on circuit. Their bribery and perversion of justice occasioned the cry for a monarchy.
3. Of the twelve minor prophets. Son of Pethuel. The many (Joe 1:14; 2:1,15,22; 3:1-2,6,16-21) references to Judah and Jerusalem and the temple imply that his ministry was in the southern kingdom. "Israel," when mentioned (Joe 3:2), represents the whole twelve tribes. Date. The position of his book in the Hebrew canon between Hosea and Amos implies that he was Hosea's contemporary, slightly preceding Amos who at Tekoa probably heard him, and so under the Spirit reproduces his words (Joe 3:16, compare Am 1:2). The sentiment and language of the three prophets correspond. The freshness of style, the absence of allusion to the great empires Assyria and Babylon, and the mention of Tyre, Sidon, and the Philistines (Joe 3:4) as God's executioners of judgment on Israel, accord with an early date, probably Uzziah's reign or even Joash's reign.
No mention is made of the Syrians who invaded Judah in the close of the reign of Joash of Judah (2Ki 12:17-18; 2Ch 24:23-25), but that was an isolated event and Syria was too far N. to trouble Judah permanently. The mention of "the valley of Jehoshaphat" (Joe 3:12) alludes to Jehoshaphat's victory (2 Chronicles 20), the earnest of Israel's future triumph over the pagan; though occurring long before, it was so great an event as to be ever after a pledge of God's favor to His people. Chap. 1 describes the ravages caused by locusts, a scourge foretold by Moses (De 28:38-39) and by Solomon (1Ki 8:37,46).
The second chapter makes them symbols of foreign foes who would destroy all before them. So Re 9:1-12; Am 7:1-4. Their teeth like those "of lions" (Joe 1:6), their assailing cities (Joe 2:6-9), and a flame of fire being their image (Joe 1:19-20; 2:3,5), and their finally being driven eastward, westward ("the utmost sea," the Mediterranean), and southward ("a land barren," etc.), whereas locusts are carried away by wind in one direction only, all favor the symbolical meaning. They are plainly called "the pagan" (Joe 2:17), "the northern (a quarter from whence locusts do not come) army" (Joe 2:20), "all the nations" (Joe 3:2), "strangers" (Joe 3:17). Their fourfold invasion is to be the last before Jehovah's glorious deliverance (Joe 2:18-20, etc.) in answer to His people's penitent prayer (Joe 2:12-17).
I. Joel 1-2:17 the fourfold invasion answering to the four successive world empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome. Each of the four species of locusts in Hebrew letters represents the exact number of years that each empire oppressed, until they had deprived the Jews of all their glory (J. C. Reichardt). Gazare, the first, "the palmerworm," represents the 50 years of Babylon's oppression, from the temple's destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (588 B.C.) to Babylon's overthrow by Cyrus (538 B.C.). Arbeh, the second, "the locust," represents Persia's 208 years' sway over the Jews, from 538 to 330 B.C., when Persia fell before Alexander the Great.
Yelequ, the third, "the cankerworm," represents 140 years of the Graeco-Macedonian oppression, from 330 to 190 B.C., when Antiochus the Jews' great enemy was defeated by the Roman, Lucius Scipio. Chasil, "the caterpillar," the fourth, represents the 108 years of the Romans' oppression, beginning with their minion Herod the Great, an Idumean stranger, 38 B.C., and ending A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The whole period thus comprises that between the destruction of the first and the second temple; and the calamities which befell the Jews by the four world empires in that period are those precisely which produced the ruin under which they are still groaning, and form the theme of their Kinoth or songs of lamentation. This first portion ends in a call to thorough and universal repentance.
II. Joe 2:18-29. Salvation announced to the repentant people, and restoration of all they lost, and greater blessings added.
III. Joe 2:30-3:21. Destruction of the apostate nations confederate against Israel on the one hand; and Jehovah's dwelling as Israel's God in Zion, and Judah abiding for ever, on the other, so that fountains of blessing from His house shall flow, symbolized by waters, milk, and new wine. References to the law, on which all the prophets lean, occur: Joe 2:13, compare Ex 34:6; 32:14; 2:25, compare Nu 11:29, fulfilled in the pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit in part (Ac 2:16,21; 21:9; Joh 7:39), but awaiting a further fulfillment just before Israel's restoration, when "the Spirit shall be poured upon all flesh" (of which the outpouring on all classes without distinction of race is the earnest: Ac 2:28,38; Ro 10:12-13; Zec 12:10; Joe 2:23). Also Joe 3:19-21, compare De 32:42-43, the locusts, of which it is written "there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be" (Joe 2:2, compare Ex 10:14).
Pusey translates Joe 2:23 ("the former rain moderately") "He hath given you (in His purpose) the Teacher unto righteousness," namely, who" shall bring in everlasting righteousness" (Daniel 9). This translation is favored by the emphasis on et hamoreh, not found in the latter part of the verse where rain is meant; the promise of Christ's coming thus stands first, as the source of "rain" and all other blessings which follow; He is God's gift, "given" as in Isa 55:4. Joel's style is pure, smooth, rhythmical, periodic, and regular in its parallelisms; strong as Micah, tender as Jeremiah, vivid as Nathan, and sublime as Isaiah. Take as a specimen (Joel 2) his graphic picture of the terrible aspect of the locusts, their rapidity, irresistible progress, noisy din, and instinct-taught power of marshaling their forces for devastation.
5. 1Ch 5:4.
6. 1Ch 5:11-12.
7. 1Ch 7:3-4.
10. 1Ch 27:20.
1. The prophet (see next article). Regarding his personal history we know nothing. 2. A son of Samuel (1Sa 8:2; 1Ch 6:28 [RV6:33). 3. An ancestor of Samuel (1Ch 6:36, called in v. 24 Shaul). 4. A Simeonite prince (1Ch 4:35). 5. A Reubenite (1Ch 5:4,8). 6. A Gadite chief (1Ch 5:12). 7. A chief man of Issachar (1Ch 7:3). 8. One of David's heroes (1Ch 11:38). 9, 10, 11. Levites (1Ch 15:7,11,17; 23:8; 26:22; 2Ch 29:12). 12. A Manassite chief (1Ch 27:20). 13. One of those who married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:43 [1Es 9:35 Juel]). 14. A Benjamite overseer after the Exile (Ne 11:9).
1. Eldest son of Samuel: he and his brother Abiah acted as judges; their corrupt practices were the plea upon which Israel demanded a king. 1Sa 8:2; 1Ch 6:33; 15:17. Apparently Joel is called VASHNI in 1Ch 6:28; but it is possible that the word Joel has dropped out: the passage would then read "the firstborn Joel, and 'the second' Abiah," as in the R.V.
2. Prince in the tribe of Simeon. 1Ch 4:35.
4. A chief man among the Gadites. 1Ch 5:12.
5. Son of Azariah, a Kohathite. 1Ch 6:36.
6. Son of Izrahiah, a descendant of Issachar. 1Ch 7:3.
7. One of David's mighty men. 1Ch 11:38.
10. Son of Pedaiah, of the tribe of Manasseh. 1Ch 27:20.
11. Son of Azariah, a Kohathite of Hezekiah's time. 2Ch 29:12.
12. One who had married a strange wife. Ezr 10:43.
13. Son of Zichri, and overseer of the Benjamites in Jerusalem. Ne 11:9.
14. Son of Pethuel: the prophet. Joe 1:1.
Joel, Jo'el Book of.
Of the minor Prophets, Joel is judged to be the earliest in connection with Judah, though there are no dates given in the prophecy itself. The key-note of the prophecy is 'the day of Jehovah,' which is five times mentioned in connection with the future judgements, which will bring in the full blessing of Israel and the earth, when the Lord also will have His portion, a meat offering, and a drink offering for Himself.
Joel 1. The Prophet takes occasion by the devastation wrought in his day by an army of insects to call the priests, the princes, and the people to a fast, and a solemn assembly in the house of the Lord, there to cry unto Jehovah. Then he adds, "Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come." Here it is destruction, open judgement, as in the day when God will judge the world in righteousness. The army of insects was but a precursor, but as a present thing, instead of joy and gladness being in the house of God, God was judging. The prophet said 'is at hand;' but God's long-suffering deferred its full execution, and defers it still.
Joel 2. The day of Jehovah is nigh at hand, and the trumpet is to sound an alarm of war: cf. Nu 10:9. The army of insects is still alluded to, but it looks forward to the future, when God will bring His judgements upon the land. The army is His, and the camp is His: the day of Jehovah. is great and very terrible. The people are called to repentance, to rend their hearts and not their garments, for God is merciful and gracious. The trumpet was to be blown in Zion for a solemn assembly: cf. Nu 10:7. Priests and all are called to weep and pray. God will hear, and will destroy their enemies, especially the northern army (Joe 2:20, elsewhere alluded to as Assyria) and He will bring His people into great blessing. When they repent, the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon them and upon all flesh. This was quoted by Peter in Ac 2:16-21, but the nation did not then repent, it was only a remnant that turned to the Lord and entered into the blessing that God was bestowing
(to whom Jehovah is God).
1. Eldest son of Samuel the prophet,
and father of Heman the singer. (B.C. 1094.)
Authorized Version, Joel seems to be merely a corruption of Shaul in ver. 24.
3. A Simeonite chief.
4. A descendant of Reuben. Junius and Tremellius make him the son of Hanoeh, while others trace his descent through Carmi.
(B.C. before 1092.)
5. Chief of the Gadites, who dwelt in the land of Bashan.
6. The son of Izrahiah, of the tribe of Issachar.
7. The brother of Nathan of Zobah,
and one of David's guard.
8. The chief of the Gershomites in the reign of David.
9. A Gershonite Levite in the reign of David, son of Jehiel, a descendant of Laadan, and probably the same as the preceding.
10. The son of Pedaiah, and a chief of the half-tribe of Manasseh west of Jordan, in the reign of David.
11. A Kohathite Levite in the reign of Hezekiah.
12. One of the sons of Nebo, who returned with Ezra, and had married a foreign wife.
13. The son of Zichri, a Benjamite.
14. The second of the twelve minor prophets, the son of Pethuel, probably prophesied in Judah in the reign of Uzziah, about B.C. 800. The book of Joel contains a grand outline of the whole terrible scene, which was to be depicted more and more in detail by subsequent prophets. The proximate event to which the prophecy related was a public calamity, then impending on Judah, of a two-plague of locusts --and continuing for several years. The prophet exhorts the people to turn to God with penitence, fasting and prayer; and then, he says, the plague shall cease, and the rain descendent in its season, and the land yield her accustomed fruit. Nay, the time will be a most joyful one; for God, by the outpouring of his Spirit, will extend the blessings of true religion to heathen lands. The prophecy is referred to in Acts 2.
JOEL, the second of the twelve lesser prophets. It is impossible to ascertain the age in which he lived, but it seems most probable that he was contemporary with Hosea. No particulars of his life or death are certainly known. His prophecies are confined to the kingdom of Judah. He inveighs against the sin's and impieties of the people, and threatens them with divine vengeance; he exhorts to repentance, fasting, and prayer; and promises the favour of God to those who should be obedient. The principal predictions contained in this book are the Chaldean invasion, under the figurative representation of locusts; the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus; the blessings of the Gospel dispensation; the conversion and restoration of the Jews to their own land; the overthrow of the enemies of God; and the glorious state of the Christian church in the end of the world. The style of Joel is perspicuous and elegant, and his descriptions are remarkably animated and poetical.