Virtually nothing is known about Joel except his name and that of his father. His name means “Yahweh is God”. He is a little-known prophet, who is not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Joel is cited by the apostle Peter at the day of Pentecost, Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21.
The General Theme
The key words of this short prophecy are:
The Meal Offering along with the elements of that offering – Oil and Corn, Harvest, Joy, Gladness, Rejoice. The significance of the meal offering was the concept of giving to God with a spirit of joy and gladness.
The Drink Offering along with the elements of this offering Press is Full, the Fats Overflow.
Joel speaks of a time of drought, leading to the demise of the meal offerings and the drink offerings, a time when joy and gladness would be lacking in the nation of Israel.
Interestingly in Leviticus 26:3-4 God told His people that their spiritual state would be reflected in the state of the land’s fruitfulness, If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Again, in Deuteronomy 28:47 God tells His people that the curses of the law would come on them throughout their history because they served not the Lord their God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things.
These two offerings, the meal offering and the drink offering can be seen reflected in coming judgments referred to in the Bible as the harvest of the earth and the vintage of the earth.
The other key phrase in this short book is the day of the Lord, a day, in that day, in those days, in that time. Joel announces the day of the Lord 1:15; 2:1,2,11,29,31;3:1,14,18, prefigured by the military threats of his era, but pointing forward to the ultimate day of the Lord when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth. At the end of the prophecy in chapter 3, Joel sees the re-establishment of Israel under a Messianic reign of peace.
Section 1 chapter 1 The Day of the Lord – A Prophecy Fulfilled
- The plague of the grasshoppers, an illustration of the invasions of the territory of Israel, 1:1-12
- The plague of drought demonstrating the judgment of Judah, 1:13-20
Section 2 chapters 2–3 The Day of the Lord – A Prophecy that Must be Fulfilled
- The suddenness of the day of the Lord at the end of time 2:1-27
- The outcome of the day of the Lord, with the restoration of Israel and of Judah, 3:1-21