Michael D. Coogan

in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Third Edition, New Revised Standard Version

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780195288803
Published online April 2009 |

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Of the prophet Joel himself nothing is known except that he was the son of Pethuel ( 1.1 ). The dates of his career cannot be determined with precision. The majority of historical references in the book, the absence of any mention of the Assyrians or Babylonians, and the heavy borrowing from other prophets point to the latter part of the Persian period, from about 400 to 350 bce. Thus the book's placement between Hosea and Amos among the Minor Prophets is not chronological and is apparently based on thematic and verbal correspondences between the end of Joel and the beginning of Amos. Joel 3.16a and Amos 1.2a are identical, and the final chapter of Joel and the initial chapter of Amos contain oracles against Tyre and Philistia.

Joel is not only acquainted with the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been rebuilt in the sixth century bce, but is so interested in its priesthood and services that, like Haggai and Zechariah, he can be considered a “cultic prophet,” that is, a prophet who could exercise his ministry within the life of the Temple, even using liturgical forms, and whose message may have been transmitted through priestly circles. As such, Joel helps to mark a notable change in prophecy in the Hebrew Bible. Taking the characteristic forms of classical prophecy, he expands their apocalyptic and liturgical dimensions.

The book has two major sections, and the second builds on the first. Joel viewed a locust plague that ravaged the country—a plague that devastated both the human community and the natural world—as God's judgment on the people, and he called them to repentance ( 1.2–2.27 ). Using this catastrophe as a dire warning, Joel went on to depict the coming of the “Day of the Lord” and its final judgments and blessings ( 2.28–3.21 ).

Chapter.  2177 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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