The book of Joel.
Counted among the prophets.
On site: Joel
CCEL: Joel (Hebrew only).
Swete LXX (Greek only).
Gateway (English only).
HTML Bible: Joel (Hebrew and English).
HTML Bible: Joel
(Latin Vulgate only).
Zhubert (Greek and English).
Kata Pi BHS: Joel (Hebrew and English).
Kata Pi LXX: Joel (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: Joel (polyglot).
Joel at the OT Gateway.
Joel in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Joel at Kata Pi (Oesterly and Robinson).
Joel from the Plymouth Brethren.
Introduction to Joel (David Malick).
Outline of Joel (David Malick).
The book of Joel ranks among the
latter prophets in the Jewish scriptures.
The book was originally written in Hebrew, but the ancient Greek
translation known as the Septuagint
(abbreviated LXX) is also a very important witness to the text. Some
versions combine the second and third chapters into one.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the book of Joel:
Jay G. Williams writes: "The book of Joel, though it contains some superb
Hebrew poetry, raises a number of critical issues which are not easiyl solved.
In the first place, the work is undated and gives few clues as to the time of
origin. Some have taken the mention of the Greeks in 3:6 as a sign of post-exilic
origin, but this reasoning is specious to say the least. Not only were the Greeks
known of for centuries before the rise of Alexander the Great, but 2:30-3:8
is in prose and may constitute a later addition to the text anyway. Traditionally,
Joel has been dated in the eighth century, perhaps because of its position among
the minor prophets, but few arguments can be offered for tihs dating. More critical
scholars have variously assigned it dates during and after the exilic period.
The basic reason for so dating it is that it contains an eschatological vision
somewhat similar to those found in Ezekiel and other exilic and post-exilic
prophets." (Understanding the Old Testament, pp. 239-240)
J. William Whedbee writes: "The very features that unify the book efface
and blur the traces of compositional history. The theory once dominant among
biblical scholars of two stages of composition, which argued that a prophetic
response to a locust plague was later expanded by apocalyptic editors, is now
passé. Most would still allow for a complex history of the book's composition,
but interpreters are increasingly content to posit a postexilic date for the
final form of the book without delineating clear-cut stages of development.
Even the evidence for dating is entirely circumstantial: there is no sign of
a king, and the leadership is in the hands of elders; Israel is scattered among
the nations (3:2); the Temple, with its priesthood and ritual, are at the center
of the community's life (1:9, 13; 2:14); the community is apparently small (2:16);
Phoenicians and Greeks, not Assyrians and Babylonians, are active in slave trading
(3:6). All such clues point to a probable postexilic date (ca. 500-350 B.C.)."
(Harper's Bible Commentary, pp. 716-717)
Geoffrey F. Wood writes: "There is no mention of a reigning king or dynasty
where one might expect it, e.g., 2:16-17. Elders and priests hold prominence
in the community (1:2,13; 2:16-17), which is small enough to live within trumpet-call
of the Temple (1:14; 2:1,15-16). Judah can be called Israel (2:27; 4:2,16),
which suggests that the northern tribes have disappeared. The fall of Jerusalem
(587-586), the Exile, and the annexation of Jewish territory are all memories
(4:1-3,17). The book is therefore post-exilic. Further precision is possible.
The Temple must be that of Ezr 6:13-18, completed ca. 515. Joel seems
influenced by two mid-5th-cent. prophets, among othersMalachi (cf. Jl
2:11 with Mal 3:2; Jl 3:4 with Mal 3:23) and Obadiah (cf. Jl 3:5 with Ob 17;
Jl 4:2-3 with Ob 11; Jl 4:19 with Ob 10). Greeks merit only passing notice (4:6),
indicating that the Battle of Issus (333) and Alexander's entrance into Palestine
still lie ahead. Weighing all this, we may date Jl between 400-350. The particularism,
the antipathy toward Gentiles, the liturgical preoccupation that Jl manifests
characterized this period. Note the allusion to the tamid in 1:9,13; 2:14, the
daily sacrifice stressed by late Judaism (see Dn 8:11; 11:31; 12:11; Josephus,
JW 6.2,1)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 440)
J. Alberto Soggin writes: "These are clearly post-exilic themes. The final
attack of the nations on Jerusalem is a typical example; in 2.9 the walls seem
to have been rebuilt, although the country has been reduced to Jerusalem and
Judah only (4.1ff., EV 3.1ff.). Because of this, most scholars think of a period
a little before the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332. However, the theories
of Keller and Rudolph [for a pre-exilic date] are extremely important, and we
must concede to them at least that earlier texts have been used again in a later
context. At any rate, the literary genre is that of a collective lament over
the catastrophe which has befallen the people, a portent of worse things which
are still to come." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 353)
Douglas Stuart writes: "Affinities to Joel's style and language in describing
the invasion of his land are found elsewhere in the prophets, in contexts that
do not involve locusts but clearly do involve enemy forces. These also tend
to confirm that the threat portrayed in Joel 1 and 2 is a human army. For example,
in Hab 3:16-17 reference is made to fig trees not budding, grapeless vines,
lack of an olive crop, fields that produce no food, lack of sheep and cattleall
as the result of an invasion of an enemy nation. The parallels to Joel 1:14-20
are strong, yet humans, not locusts, have caused the devastation. Several passages
in Jeremiah describe invasions with imagery and terminology parallel to that
of Joel 1-2:17. Jer 50:41-56, for example, describes an invding army from the
north, well armed, making a loud noise, invading in ofrmation, causing fear
to grip those invaded, destroying pastureland, causing the earth to quake, etc.
Jer 51:27-33 features an alarm to battle, locust-like invaders, quaking earth,
desolation, fire, etc. (cf. also Jer 4:5-29; 6:22-24; 49:19-22). In Isa 24:1-3,
in addition to the evident parallel in chap. 13, the prophet describes an invasion
in terms of wasting the land, a devastated cross section of citizenry, drought,
withering of plant life, a cutting off of wine, the city broken into, etc. (cf.
Isa 63:13-14; 64:1-6; etc.). Nah 2:1-10 portrays an advancing attack, wasted
land, impressive, unstoppable troops invading the city, the fall of the city,
etc. From these and other passages it is evident that the kind of language and
imagery used in Joel 1:1-2:17 is language traditionally appropriate to the description
of invading human armies, and hardly characeteristic of locusts per se. In other
words, if the two references to locusts in the book, 1:4 and 2:25, are understood
as metaphorical rather than literal, the rest of the imagery fits perfectly
well with the scenario of a Babylonian or Assyrian invasion." (Hosea-Jonah,