Joel (/oʊ əl/; Hebrew: יוֹאֵל – Yō'ēl; Greek: Ἰωήλ – Iōḗl; Syriac: ܝܘܐܝܠ – Yu'il) was a prophet of ancient Israel,
the second of the twelve minor prophets and according to the book itself the author of the Book of Joel.
He is mentioned by name only once in the Hebrew Bible,
in the introduction to that book, as the son of Pethuel (Joel 1:1).
The name Joel combines the covenant name of God, YHWH (or Yahweh), and El (god),
and has been translated as "one to whom YHWH is God," that is, a worshiper of YHWH. (Wikipedia)

Joel wrote to warn his audience about a coming day in which God would judge His people.
He compared this devastating judgment to a terrible locust invasion that had fairly recently swept through the land.
What he said about this coming judgment has only seen partial fulfillment;
some of it still lies in the eschatological future (i.e., the eschaton).
God would send blessing as well as judgment,
however, and this too has only come partially on the Israelites so far.
The prophet warned his hearers that unless they repented of their empty formalism in worship
and turned back to Yahweh wholeheartedly,
devastating judgment would overtake them.
If they repented, God would pardon them
and restore His blessings to them abundantly. (Thomas Constable)

Locusts in Ancient times

Study of literature shows how pervasive plagues of locusts were over the course of history. The insects arrived unexpectedly, often after a change of wind direction or weather, and the consequences were devastating. The Ancient Egyptians carved locusts on tombs in the period 2470 to 2220 BC. A devastating plague in Egypt is also mentioned in the Book of Exodus in the Bible. The Iliad mentions locusts taking to the wing to escape fire. Plagues of locusts are also mentioned in the Quran. In the ninth century BC, the Chinese authorities appointed anti-locust officers. Human-headed locusts are also mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Aristotle studied locusts and their breeding habits and Livy recorded a devastating plague in Capua in 203 BC. He mentioned human epidemics following locust plagues which he associated with the stench from the putrifying corpses; the linking of human disease outbreaks to locust plagues was widespread. A pestilence in the northwestern provinces of China in 311 AD that killed 98% of the population locally was blamed on locusts, and may have been caused by an increase in numbers of rats (and their fleas) that devoured the locust carcasses.

Locusts in Recent times

During the last two millennia, locust plagues continued to appear at irregular intervals with the main recorded outbreaks of the desert and migratory locusts occurring in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Other species of locusts caused havoc in North and South America, Asia, and Australasia; 173 outbreaks over a period of 1924 years have been recorded in China. The Bombay locust (Nomadacris succincta) was a major pest in India and southeastern Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries, but has seldom swarmed since the last plague in 1908.

In the spring of 1747 locusts arrived outside Damascus eating the majority of the crops and vegetation of the surrounding countryside. One local barber, Ahmad al-Budayri, recalled the locusts "came like a black cloud. They covered everything: the trees and the crops. May God Almighty save us!"

The extinction of the Rocky Mountain locust has been a source of puzzlement. It had swarmed throughout the west of the United States and parts of Canada in the 19th century. Albert's swarm of 1875 was estimated to cover 198,000 square miles (510,000 km2) (greater than the area of California) and to weigh 27.5 million tons, with some 12.5 trillion insects. The last specimen was seen alive in Canada in 1902. Recent research suggests the breeding grounds of this insect in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains came under sustained agricultural development during the large influx of gold miners, destroying the underground eggs of the locust.

The 1915 infestation across Palestine and Syria was one of the main contributors to famine in Lebanon which lasted from 1915 to 1918 during which around 200,000 people died.

 

Joel

1 The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel: 

2 Hear this, O elders,
   give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
   or in the days of your ancestors? 
3 Tell your children of it,
   and let your children tell their children,
   and their children another generation. 



4 What the cutting locust left,
   the swarming locust has eaten.
What the swarming locust left,
   the hopping locust has eaten,
and what the hopping locust left,
   the destroying locust has eaten. 

5 Wake up, you drunkards, and weep;
   and wail, all you wine-drinkers,
over the sweet wine,
   for it is cut off from your mouth. 

6 For a nation has invaded my land,
   powerful and innumerable;
its teeth are lions’ teeth,
   and it has the fangs of a lioness. 
7 It has laid waste my vines,
   and splintered my fig trees;
it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down;
   their branches have turned white. 

8 Lament like a virgin dressed in sackcloth
   for the husband of her youth. 
9 The grain-offering and the drink-offering are cut off
   from the house of the Lord.
The priests mourn,
   the ministers of the Lord. 
10 The fields are devastated,
   the ground mourns;
for the grain is destroyed,
   the wine dries up,
   the oil fails. 

11 Be dismayed, you farmers,
   wail, you vine-dressers,
over the wheat and the barley;
   for the crops of the field are ruined. 
12 The vine withers,
   the fig tree droops.
Pomegranate, palm, and apple—
   all the trees of the field are dried up;
surely, joy withers away
   among the people. 

13 Put on sackcloth and lament, you priests;
   wail, you ministers of the altar.
Come, pass the night in sackcloth,
   you ministers of my God!
Grain-offering and drink-offering
   are withheld from the house of your God. 

14 Sanctify a fast,
   call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
   and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
   and cry out to the Lord. 

15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near,
   and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. 
16 Is not the food cut off
   before our eyes,
joy and gladness
   from the house of our God? 

17 The seed shrivels under the clods,
   the storehouses are desolate;
the granaries are ruined
   because the grain has failed. 
18 How the animals groan!
   The herds of cattle wander about
because there is no pasture for them;
   even the flocks of sheep are dazed. 

19 To you, O Lord, I cry.
For fire has devoured
   the pastures of the wilderness,
and flames have burned
   all the trees of the field. 
20 Even the wild animals cry to you
   because the watercourses are dried up,
and fire has devoured
   the pastures of the wilderness. 



2:1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
   sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
   for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— 
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
   a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains
   a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old,
   nor will be again after them
   in ages to come. 

3 Fire devours in front of them,
   and behind them a flame burns.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
   but after them a desolate wilderness,
   and nothing escapes them. 



4 They have the appearance of horses,
   and like warhorses they charge. 
5 As with the rumbling of chariots,
   they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire
   devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army
   drawn up for battle. 

6 Before them peoples are in anguish,
   all faces grow pale. 
7 Like warriors they charge,
   like soldiers they scale the wall.
Each keeps to its own course,
   they do not swerve from their paths. 
8 They do not jostle one another,
   each keeps to its own track;
they burst through the weapons
   and are not halted. 
9 They leap upon the city,
   they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
   they enter through the windows like a thief. 

10 The earth quakes before them,
   the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
   and the stars withdraw their shining. 
11 The Lord utters his voice
   at the head of his army;
how vast is his host!
   Numberless are those who obey his command.
Truly the day of the Lord is great;
   terrible indeed—who can endure it? 

12 Yet even now, says the Lord,
   return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 
13   rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
   for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
   and relents from punishing. 
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
   and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering
   for the Lord, your God? 



15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
   sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly; 
16   gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
   assemble the aged;
gather the children,
   even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
   and the bride her canopy. 

17 Between the vestibule and the altar
   let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O Lord,
   and do not make your heritage a mockery,
   a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
   “Where is their God?” ’ 

18 Then the Lord became jealous for his land,
   and had pity on his people. 
19 In response to his people the Lord said:
I am sending you
   grain, wine, and oil,
   and you will be satisfied;
and I will no more make you
   a mockery among the nations. 

20 I will remove the northern army far from you,
   and drive it into a parched and desolate land,
its front into the eastern sea,
   and its rear into the western sea;
its stench and foul smell will rise up.
   Surely he has done great things! 

21 Do not fear, O soil;
   be glad and rejoice,
   for the Lord has done great things! 
22 Do not fear, you animals of the field,
   for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
the tree bears its fruit,
   the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 

23 O children of Zion, be glad
   and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
   he has poured down for you abundant rain,
   the early and the later rain, as before. 
24 The threshing-floors shall be full of grain,
   the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 

25 I will repay you for the years
   that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
   my great army, which I sent against you. 

26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
   and praise the name of the Lord your God,
   who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame. 

27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
   and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
   be put to shame. 

28 Then afterwards
   I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
   your old men shall dream dreams,
   and your young men shall see visions. 
29 Even on the male and female slaves,
   in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 

30 I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 32 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.

3:1 For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgement with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land, 3 and cast lots for my people, and traded boys for prostitutes, and sold girls for wine, and drunk it down.

4 What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads swiftly and speedily. 5 For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6 You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. 7 But now I will rouse them to leave the places to which you have sold them, and I will turn your deeds back upon your own heads. 8 I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away; for the Lord has spoken. 

9 Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare war,
   stir up the warriors.
Let all the soldiers draw near,
   let them come up. 
10 Beat your ploughshares into swords,
   and your pruning-hooks into spears;
   let the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’ 

11 Come quickly,
   all you nations all around,
   gather yourselves there.
Bring down your warriors, O Lord. 
12 Let the nations rouse themselves,
   and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat;
for there I will sit to judge
   all the neighboring nations. 

13 Put in the sickle,
   for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
   for the wine press is full.
The vats overflow,
   for their wickedness is great. 

14 Multitudes, multitudes,
   in the valley of decision!
For the day of the Lord is near
   in the valley of decision. 
15 The sun and the moon are darkened,
   and the stars withdraw their shining. 

16 The Lord roars from Zion,
   and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
   and the heavens and the earth shake.
But the Lord is a refuge for his people,
   a stronghold for the people of Israel. 

17 So you shall know that I, the Lord your God,
   dwell in Zion, my holy mountain.
And Jerusalem shall be holy,
   and strangers shall never again pass through it. 

18 On that day
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
   the hills shall flow with milk,
and all the stream beds of Judah
   shall flow with water;
a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord
   and water the Wadi Shittim. 

19 Egypt shall become a desolation
   and Edom a desolate wilderness,
because of the violence done to the people of Judah,
   in whose land they have shed innocent blood. 
20 But Judah shall be inhabited for ever,
   and Jerusalem to all generations. 
21 I will avenge their blood, and I will not clear the guilty,
for the Lord dwells in Zion.

****** Ray Stedman: Joel--The Revelation of God's Hand ******

Thomas Constable: Comments on Joel

Notes

The physical land of Israel is owned by God--even though He created everything. The Jewish people, specifically called to represent the One True God, were called to live in the Land--God's Land, God's People. The right of the Jews to live in the land is, however, conditioned on their obedience. Disobedience brought times of testing: a locus invasion or a military invasion from the North.

An invasion of locusts was unstoppable. In a matter of hours, green, lush, farm land, orchards, meadows, gardens was stripped bare leaving total desolation and immediate economic disaster affecting everyone.

The prophet Joel calls the entire nation to prayer, (1:6) because of an impending invasion of these flying grasshoppers. In this instance, evidently, the wake-up call succeeds! The entire nation repents and the invasion is thwarted. (2:12-27) God not only calls off the invasion but He heals the damages of sin in His people. (2:21-22) He gives them back their wasted years!

The latter part of Joel leaps forward in time to events concerned with the Final Redemption of Israel, soon to take place in our day! This explains why the Apostle Peter quotes Joel in his stirring message on the Day of Pentecost. Peter said Joel's prophecy was happening then and there that very day. Further revelation from God now tells us Israel was placed on hold in 70 AD because of their further disobedience, God is now calling out a Bride for Messiah Jesus, afterwards He will return Israel to center stage, fulfilling all His promises to Israel in spite of their four thousand year poor track record.

The Day of Man / The Day of the Lord | The Day of the Lord | The Returning of the Lord Jesus Christ | Keeping Ready for the Return of the Lord

The Day of Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 

“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
   and your old men shall dream dreams. 
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
     and they shall prophesy. 
And I will show portents in the heaven above
   and signs on the earth below,
     blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 
The sun shall be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood,
     before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. For David says concerning him,
“I saw the Lord always before me,
   for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
   moreover, my flesh will live in hope. 
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
   or let your Holy One experience corruption. 
You have made known to me the ways of life;
   you will make me full of gladness with your presence.

‘Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,

“He was not abandoned to Hades,
   nor did his flesh experience corruption.” 

This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand, 
until I make your enemies your footstool.’ ” 
Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’

(
Acts 2:1-34)

Extra Credit

The Wasted Years

The Gog/Magog Invasion

Hard Times

Hunkering Down

The Body of Christ in Perilous Times

At the Gate

Hiding in the Rock

The Hidden of the Lord

Music

Battle Hymn of the Republic

"Hard Times" Mavis Staples, (Stephen Foster)

"All the Good Times are Past and Gone" 

Marching Upward to Zion

Come Thou Almighty King

No Hiding Place Down Here (Carter Family)

Notes by Lambert Dolphin 



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January 18, 2022

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