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Summary of Books of the Old Testament: Joel
Posted In: Religion Articles  7/29/12
By: Yona Williams

In the Bible, the text reveals different tales of disaster and punishment that include floods, famine, destruction of entire cities, and locusts. In this article, you will encounter references to misfortune that occurred in the Book of Joel – the 29th Book in the Old Testament.

In the land of Judah, a swarm of locusts brought a black cloud over the land, as they ate everything green in their sight. The incident prompted the prophet Joel to tell his fellow residents that it was a sign to repent. It is throughout the book of Joel (written by the prophet himself) somewhere between 835 and 800 BC that traces this time period.

About Joel

Joel was the son of Pethuel, and it is thought that he did not live too far from Jerusalem. Joel represents an early prophet of Judah with some people thinking that he could have been a contemporary of Elisha in Israel. Joel was most active during the reign of King Joash (from 835 to 796 BC). On the day of Pentecost after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, it is Joel that the apostle Peter quotes in Act 2:17-21.

The hoard of locusts descends upon Judah and destroys their fields filled with grain, the vineyards, the gardens, as well as the trees. Joel likens the locusts to a human army marching towards the people. He states that a divine judgment is upon the people for the sins they have committed against the nation.

Main Points of Book of Joel

Two major events play an important role in the telling of the Book of Joel. The first involves the invasion of locusts, while the second deals with the outpouring of the Spirit. Other themes that appear in the Book of Joel include plagues, famine, raging fires, invading armies and celestial occurrences. While the people are experiencing the onslaught of these disasters, Joel reminds them that it is not too late to repent so that they can avoid any further consequences from God.

When the plague of locusts makes it way to Judah, the people suffer a severe famine throughout the land. Joel takes the opportunity to use this incident as a warning to the people. He warns that if they do not repent fast, then enemy armies will cause just as much pain and suffering as the locusts. He tells the people and priests of the land to seek forgiveness from God. If they comply, then their land will be returned and the nation will enjoy spiritual blessings. He tells them that the Day of the Lord is coming, where the locusts will pale in comparison to what God will bring.

To get an idea of some of the text mentioned in the Book of Joel, consider the following passages:

"What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten." (Joel 1:4)

"The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? " (Joel 2:11)

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..." (Joel 2:25)

"And 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." (Joel 2:28)


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