Devotional Thoughts: Ever heard of the book of Joel?


image source: http://www.romaculta.it/det/sistina/prophet_4.html
The image is from the Sistine Chapel as painted by Michelangelo.

Ever heard a sermon from Joel?

If you have heard a sermon from Joel, what was it about?

I've taken a quick read and here are some quick impressions.

Let's start at the very beginning, Joel 1:1:

The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel.

When we see "LORD" in our Old Testament, the Hebrew word is YHWH, the divine personal name of God. It was a name the Jewish people would never say. When they would come across YHWH, they would instead say adonai which appears in our Bibles as the word, Lord.

FYI, when the word God appears in the Old Testament, it from the Hebrew elohim. And of course, when you see Lord that is the Hebrew word adonai.

Who?

We know nothing about Joel from other parts of Scripture. There are other people named Joel but there is no clear connection to the Joel of this book.

He is the son of Pethuel. We know nothing about Pethuel either.

We do know Joel means, "the LORD is God."

When?

We can't be sure when he wrote because the events described in the book are not specific enough to assign a certain date.

He addresses "elders" in Joel 1:2 which some commentators suggest he was speaking to the nation prior to the rise of kings ruling the nation of Israel which would put it around 9th Century BC.

Another possibility is that it is in the post-exile era when there were no more kings. Supporters of that view will also cite Joel 3:1-3 which describes in past tense events that may have taken place when the nation was destroyed by the Babylonians. This would put the book around the 6th Century BC.

A short history of Israel is as follows:
Exodus out of Egypt
Entering the Land under Joshua
Lead by various Judges
The Kingdom under Saul, David and Solomon
The Kingdom divided North and South
The Northern Kingdom is defeated by the Assyrians
The Southern Kingdom is defeated by the Babylonians
Post-Exile

What?

The phrase "The Day of the LORD" appears six five times in Joel and in the whole Bible it appears 26 23 times.

So nearly 1/4 of all appearances of that phrase occurs in Joel!

Do you know how big a book Joel is?

Three chapters!

What else is in Joel?

If you have read Acts 2:17-21 then you have read Joel 2:28-32.

I came across an interesting verse in Joel 3:10.

Have you ever heard the phrase, beat your swords into plowshares?

Well, in Joel 3:10, we have an inversion of that famous phrase, Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, "I am strong!"

Okay, that is a quick introduction to Joel.

Lord, thank you that you are a God who cares about us. You came to Joel to tell him things You wanted the people to know. May in some small way this blog be the Word of the LORD that comes through this small blogger to who ever clicks here. May the visitors of these pages be shown a little bit of Your light. Amen.

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