Summary of the Book of Joel
Key personalities are Joel and the people of Judah. Its purpose was to call the Southern Kingdom to repentance or prepare for the coming judgment. Joel describes the locust that inflicts severe damage to everything in their paths, and warns that it is only the beginning of what is to come.
Chapter 1 – Joel compares the destruction and judgment of God like a plague of locust. This is the warning and penalty for disobedience and evilness:
For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion (1:6).
Chapter 2-3 – God calls His people to repent and return, if not, they will all be judged. The promise and deliverance of the Lord is waiting and He will restore the land, Return to Me with all your heart, And with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (2:12-13).
Joel, son of Pethuel, was a native of Judah. Joel, means “Ya is God”, and his book is the second of the twelve Minor Prophets.
He was well-educated and he was a gifted poet and one of the books of the Bible is named after him. The Bible’s book of Joel has two main parts.
The first describes a locust plague and a drought. The second is more apocalyptic. Joel sees in both the locust plague and drought the judgment of God. Just as the locusts devoured the land, so will the land be devoured by enemy armies, unless the nation repents of its sins.
The Lord promises the people who repent, whether they are Jewish or non-Jewish, an ultimate deliverance from disaster.
Joel also warns punishment against the nations who have wronged the Jews, specifically, Tyre, Sidon, the Philistines, Egypt and Edom.
Joel mentions the great and terrible “Day of the Lord” which is in the future, but everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
In chapter 2, Joel makes the famous prediction of the Lord:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call” (Joel 2:28-32).
The theme of Joel’s message is one of coming judgment if Jerusalem does not repent. Joel also speaks of coming prosperity and final blessing, if the people respond in faith.