|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Joel, Book of
Joel was probably a resident in Judah, as his commission was to that people. He makes frequent mention of Judah and Jerusalem (1:14; 2:1, 15, 32; 3:1, 12, 17, 20, 21).
He probably flourished in the reign of Uzziah (about B.C. 800), and was contemporary with Amos and Isaiah.
The contents of this book are,
(1.) A prophecy of a great public calamity then impending over the land, consisting of a want of water and an extraordinary plague of locusts (1:1-2:11).
(2.) The prophet then calls on his countrymen to repent and to turn to God, assuring them of his readiness to forgive (2:12-17), and foretelling the restoration of the land to its accustomed fruitfulness (18-26).
(3.) Then follows a Messianic prophecy, quoted by Peter (Acts 2:39).
(4.) Finally, the prophet foretells portents and judgments as destined to fall on the enemies of God (ch. 3, but in the Hebrew text 4).
Jehovah is his God.
(1.) The oldest of Samuel's two sons appointed by him as judges in Beersheba (1 Samuel 8:2). (see VASHNI.)
(2.) A descendant of Reuben (1 Chronicles 5:4, 8).
(3.) One of David's famous warriors (1 Chronicles 11:38).
(4.) A Levite of the family of Gershom (1 Chronicles 15:7, 11).
(5.) 1 Chronicles 7:3.
(6.) 1 Chronicles 27:20.
(7.) The second of the twelve minor prophets. He was the son of Pethuel. His personal history is only known from his book.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
jo'-el (yo'el, popularly interpreted as "Yahweh is God"; but see HPN, 153; BDB, 222a):
(1) The firstborn of Samuel (1 Samuel 8:2 1 Chronicles 6:33), and supplied in the Revised Version (British and American) of 1 Chronicles 6:28, correctly).
(2) A Simeonite prince (1 Chronicles 4:35). (3) A Reubenite chief (1 Chronicles 5:4, 8).
(4) A Gadite chief, perhaps the same as (3) (1 Chronicles 5:12). He might be the chief of "a family or clan whose members might be reckoned as belonging to either or both of the tribes" (Curtis, Chronicles, 122).
(5) A Levite ancestor of Samuel (1 Chronicles 6:36), called "Shaul" in 6:24 (Hebrew 9)).
(6) A chief of Issachar (1 Chronicles 7:3).
(7) One of David's mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:38), brother of Nathan. 2 Samuel 23:36 has "Igal son of Nathan," and the Septuagint's Codex Vaticanus has "son" in 1 Chronicles, a reading which Curtis adopts.
(8) A Levite (1 Chronicles 15:7, 11, 17), probably the Joel of 1 Chronicles 23:8 and 26:22.
(9) David's tribal chief over half of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 27:20).
(10) A Levite of Hezekiah's time (2 Chronicles 29:12).
(11) One of those who had married foreign wives (Ezra 10:43) = "Juel" of 1 Esdras 9:35.
(12) A Benjamite "overseer" in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:9).
(13) Ioel, the prophet (Joel 1:1 Acts 2:16). See following article.
David Francis Roberts
I. THE PROPHET
II. THE BOOK
1. Literary Form
2. Outline of Contents
4. Indications of Date
(1) Place in the Canon
(2) Language and Style
(4) The Situation
(5) Foreign Nations Mentioned or Omitted
(6) Some Notable Expressions
5. View of Professor Merx
6. Connections with the New Testament LITERATURE
I. The Prophet.
The Book of Joel stands second in the collection of the twelve Prophets in the Hebrew Canon. The name (yo'el), meaning "Yahweh is God," seems to have been common, as we find a dozen other persons bearing it at various periods of the Biblical history. Beyond the fact that he was the son of Pethuel, there is no intimation in the book as to his native place, date, or personal history; nor is he mentioned in any other part of the Old Testament; so that any information on these points must be matter of inference, and the consideration of them must follow some examination of the book itself.
II. The Book.
1. Literary Form:
This takes largely the form of addresses, the occasion and scope of which have to be gathered from the contents. There is no narrative, properly so called, except at one place (Joel 2:18), "Then was Yahweh jealous for his land," etc., and even there the narrative form is not continued. Yet, though the earlier portions at least may be the transcript of actual addresses in which the speaker had his audience before him, this would not apply to the later portions, in which also the direct address is still maintained (e.g. Joel 3:11, "Haste ye, and come, all ye nations round about"). This form of direct address is, indeed, characteristic of the style throughout (e.g. Joel 2:21; Joel 3:4, 9, 13). There is this also to be said of its literary character, that "the style of Joel is bright and flowing," his "imagery and language are fine" (Driver, LOT); "his book is a description, clear, well arranged, and carried out with taste and vivacity, of the present distress and of the ideal future. Joel may be reckoned among the classics of Hebrew literature. The need of a commentary for details, as is the case with Amos and Hosea, is here hardly felt" (Reuss, Das Altes Testament).
2. Outline of Contents:
The book in the original consists of 4 chapters, which, however, are in our version reduced to 3, by making the portion which constitutes chapter 3 in the Hebrew the concluding portion (3:28-32) of chapter 2. The book begins in gloom, and its close is bright. Up to Joel 2:18 there is some great trouble or a succession of troubles culminating at 2:28-32 (Joel 3 in Hebrew). And the concluding portion, Joel 3 (Joel 4 in Hebrew), in which the prophet projects his view into futurity, begins with judgment but ends with final blessedness. There is a progression in the thought, rising from the solid, sorely smitten earth to a region ethereal, and the stages of advance are marked by sudden, sharp calls (1:2, 14; 3:9), or by the blasts of the trumpet which prelude the shifting scenes (2:1, 15).
Joel 1 begins with an address, sharp and peremptory, in which the oldest inhabitant is appealed to whether such a calamity as the present has ever been experienced, and all are called to take note so that the record of it may be handed down to remotest posterity. The land has suffered from a succession of disasters, the greatest that could befall an agricultural country, drought and locusts. The two are in fact inextricably connected, and the features of both are mixed up in the description of their effects. The extent of the disaster is vividly depicted by the singling out of the classes on whom the calamity has fallen, the drinkers of wine, the priests,
the vine-dressers, the husbandmen; and, toward the close of the chapter, the lower animals are pathetically introduced as making their mute appeal to heaven for succor (1:18-20). Specially to be noted is the manner in which the priests are introduced (1:9), and how with them is associated the climax of the affliction. The prophet had just said "my land" (1:6), "my vine" and "my fig-tree" (1:7); and, though many modern expositors take the pronoun as referring to the nation or people, it would appear more appropriate, since the people is objectively addressed, to regard the prophet as identifying himself with the God in whose name he is speaking. And then the transition to Joel 1:8 becomes intelligible, in which certainly the land is personified as a female: "Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth." The underlying idea seems to be the conception of the land as Yahweh's and of Yahweh as the ba`al "lord," or husband of people and land. This is the idea so much in evidence in the Book of Hosea, and so much perverted by the people whom he addressed, who ascribed their corn (grain) and wine and oil to the Canaanite Baals. The idea in its purer form is found in the "land Beulah," "married land" (Isaiah 62:4, 5). If it was this that was in Joel's mind, the mention of the priests comes naturally. The products of the land were Yahweh's gifts, and the acknowledgment of His lordship was made by offerings of the produce laid on His altar. But if nothing was given, nothing could be offered; the "cutting off" of the meal and drink offerings was the mark of the widowhood and destitution of the land. Hence, the pathetic longing (Joel 2:14) that at least so much may be left as to assure the famished land that the supreme calamity, the loss of God, has not fallen. Thus the visitation is set in a religious light: the graphic description is more than a poetic picture. It is the Lord's land that is wasted; hence, the summons (Joel 1:14) to "cry unto Yahweh," and in the verses that follow the supplication by man and beast for deliverance.
Joel 2 up to verse 17 seems to go over the same ground as Joel 1, and it has also two parts parallel respectively to two parts of that chapter: 2:1-11 is parallel to 1:2-12, and 2:12-17 to 1:13-20. The former part in both cases is chiefly descriptive of the calamity, while the latter part is more hortatory. Yet there is an advance; for, whereas in 1:2-12 the attention is fixed on the devastation, in 2:1-11 it is the devastator, the locust, that is particularly described; also, in 2:12-17 the tone is more intensely religious: "Rend your heart, and not your garments" (2:13). Finally it is to be noted that it is at the close of this portion that we get the first reference to external nations: "Give not thy heritage to reproach, that the nations should use a byword against them: wherefore should they say among the peoples, Where is their God?" (2:17 margin). If the view given above of 1:6-8 be correct, this is merely an expansion of the germinal idea there involved. And so it becomes a pivot on which the succeeding portion turns: "Then was Yahweh jealous for his land, and had pity on his people" (2:18).
There is a sharp turn at Joel 2:18, marked by the sudden variation of the verbal forms. Just as in Amos 7:10, in the midst of the prophet's discourse, we come upon the narration, "Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam," etc., so here we have obviously to take the narrative to be the sequence of the foregoing address, or, more properly speaking, we have to infer that what Joel had counseled had been done. The fast had been sanctified, the solemn assembly had been called, all classes or their representatives had been gathered to the house of the Lord, the supplication had been made, and "then was Yahweh jealous for his land, and had pity on his people." In point of fact, as the Hebrew student will perceive, all the verbs from 2:15 may be read, with a change of the points, as simple perfects, with the exception of the verbs for "weep" and "say" in 2:17, which might be descriptive imperfects. But no doubt the imperative forms are to be read, expressing as they do more graphically the doing of the thing prescribed. And, this sharp turn having been made, it will be noticed how the discourse proceeds on a higher gradient, forming a counterpart to the preceding context. Step by step, in inverse order, we pass the former points, beginning opposite what was last the "reproach among the nations" (2:19; compare 2:7), passing the destruction of the great army (2:20; compare 2:1-11), then touching upon the various kinds of vegetation affected (2:21-24; compare 1:12, 10, etc.), and ending with the reversal of the fourfold devastation with which the prophet began (2:25; compare 1:4). So that what at the outset was announced as a calamity unprecedented and unparalleled, now becomes a deliverance as enduring as God's presence with His people is forever assured.
Up to this point there has been an observable sequence and connection, so that, while the prophet has steadily progressed upward, we can look down from the point reached and see the whole course that has been traversed. But now in Joel 2:28-32 (Joel 3 in Hebrews) he passes abruptly to what "shall come to pass afterward." And yet no doubt there was a connection of thought in his mind, of which we obtain suggestions in the new features of the description. There is "the sound of abundance of rain" (1 Kings 18:41) in this pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh; in the sons and daughters, old men and young, servants and handmaidens, we seem to recognize the representative gathering of Joel 2:15, those engaged in the priestly function of, supplication here endued with prophetic gifts, "a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6), all the Lord's people become prophets (Numbers 11:29). Again we see the sky overcast and sun and moon darkened before the great and terrible day of the Lord, as if the prophet had said: There shall be greater things than these; a new era is coming in which God's hand will be laid more heavily upon the world, and His people will be quickened to a clearer vision of His working. The "day of Yahweh" has yet to come in a fuller sense than the locust plague suggested, and there will be a more effective deliverance than from drought and dearth; but then as now there will be found safety in Mt. Zion and Jerusalem. This, however, implies some danger with which Jerusalem has been threatened; a "remnant," an "escaped" portion involves a disaster or crisis out of which new life comes. And so the prophet goes on in Joel 3 (Joel 4 in Hebrews), still speaking of "those days" and "that time," to tell us of the greater deliverance from the greater trouble to which he has been alluding. There is nothing in the antecedent chapters to indicate what "that time" and "those days" are, or what the prophet means by bringing again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. These are questions of interpretation. In the meantime, we may note the general features of the scene now set before us. A great assize is to be held in the valley of Jehoshaphat, in which "all nations" there assembled by Divine summons will be judged for offenses against God's people and heritage (3:1-8). And again, just as in Joel 1; Joel 2 the prophet exhibited the plague of locusts in two pictures, so here in 3:9-21 the picture of the great assize is transformed into a bloody picture in the same valley, not so much of battle as of slaughter, a treading of the wine-press. There is a confused multitude in "the valley of decision"; sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining; the "day of Yahweh" has finally come; and, when the din is silenced and clear light again falls upon the scene, all is peace and prosperity, the last of the enemies destroyed, and the Lord dwelleth in Zion.
Thus the book forms a fairly intelligible and connected whole when we read in the literal sense of the language. That is to say: a time of continued drought combined with an unprecedented visitation of locusts gives occasion to the prophet to call his people to the recognition of the Divine hand and to earnest supplication that the threatened ruin of people and land may be averted. The removal of the calamity is interpreted as a mark of restored Divine favor and an assurance of prosperity based on God's unchangeable purpose of good to His people. But these great doings of Nature's God suggest yet greater deeds of Israel's God of a more spiritual kind, the outpouring, like copious showers, of Divine blessing, so that the whole community would be set on a higher level of spiritual apprehension. And thus the prophet is led on to speak of the "last things." Judah and Jerusalem, highly distinguished and signally protected, are bound up with a world-wide purpose; Israel, in a word, cannot be conceived apart from non-Israel. And as non-Israel had in the past been an opposing power, in the great "day of Yahweh," wrong should be at last righted, the nations judged, and Israel and Israel's God be glorified. No doubt the interpretation is not without difficulties. We may not be able to detect the motives of the sudden transitions, or to say how much of the purport of the latter part was in the prophet's mind when he was engaged on the former part. And the description of the locust is so highly poetical that there is a temptation to see in it a reference to a great invading army.
These considerations, combined with the undoubted eschatological strain of the closing part of the book, led early commentators (and they have had followers in modern times) to an allegorical interpretation of the locust, and to regard the whole book as pointing forward to future history. Thus, in Jerome's time, the 4 names of the locust in 1:4 were supposed to designate
(1) the Assyrians and Babylonians,
(2) the Medes and Persians,
(3) the Macedonians and Antiochus Epiphanes, and
(4) the Romans.
But, apart from the consideration that the analogy of prophecy would lead us to look for some actual situation or occurrence of his time as the starting-point of Joel's discourse, a close observation and acquaintance with the habits of the locust confirm the prophet's description, albeit highly figurative and poetical, as minutely accurate in all its details. It is to be observed that, though spoken of as an army (and at the present day the Oriental calls the locust the "army of God"), there is no mention of bloodshed. The designation "the northern one," which has been considered inappropriate because the locust comes from the parched plain of the eastern interior, need not cause perplexity; for the Hebrew, while it has names for the 4 cardinal points of the compass, has none for the intermediate points: Judea might be visited by locusts coming from the Northeast, or, coming from the East, they might strike the country at a point to the North of Palestine and travel southward. So the wind which destroys the locust (Joel 2:20) would be a northwesterly wind, driving the forepart into the Dead Sea and the hinder part into the Mediterranean.
4. Indications of Date:
The Book of Joel has been assigned by different authorities to very various dates, ranging over 4 or 5 centuries; but, as will appear in the sequel, it comes to be a question whether the book is very early or very late, in fact, whether Joel is perhaps the very earliest or the very last or among the last of the writing prophets. This diversity of opinion is due to the fact that there are no direct indications of date in the book itself, and that such indirect indications as it affords are held to be capable of explanation on the one view or the other. It will be noticed also that, to add to the uncertainty, many of the arguments adduced are of a negative kind, i.e. consideration of what the prophet does not mention or refer to, and the argument from silence is notoriously precarious. It will, therefore, be convenient to specify the indications available, and to note the arguments drawn from them in support of the respective dates.
(1) Place in the Canon.
An argument for a very early date is based upon the place of the book in the, collection of the "twelve" minor prophets.
It stands, in the Hebrew Bible, between Hosea and Amos, who are usually spoken of as the earliest "writing prophets." It is true that, in the Septuagint collection, the order is different, namely, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah; which may indicate that as early as the time of the formation of the Canon of the Prophets there was uncertainty as to the place of Joel, Obadiah, and Jon, which contain no direct indication of their dates. But, seeing that there has evidently been a regard to some chronological order, the books being arranged according to the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian periods, it cannot be without significance that Joel has found a place so high up in the collection. The three indisputably post-exilian books stand together at the end. If Joel is late, it must be as late as the latest of these, possibly a great deal later. But if that is so, there was the greater likelihood of its date being known to the collectors. It would be a very hazardous assumption that prophetical books were not read or copied from the time of their first composition till the time they were gathered into a Canon. And, if they were so read and copied, surely the people who handled them took some interest in preserving the knowledge of their origin and authorship.
In this connection, attention is directed to the resemblances to the Book of Am before which Joel stands. These are regarded by Reuss as favoring the early date. That large and beautiful passage with which the Book of Amos opens dwells upon the thought that the threatenings, which had formerly been uttered against the nations, are about to receive their fulfillment, and that Yahweh could not take back His word. Now it is just such a threatening that fills the last part of the Book of Joel. Indeed Amos begins his book with the very phrase in which Joel opens his closing address, "Yahweh will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerus" (Amos 1:2 Joel 3:16). At the end of Amos also the happy fertility of Canaan is described in similar terms to those in Joel (Amos 9:13 Joel 3:18). Reuss, moreover, draws attention to the remarkable expression found in Joel, and also, though in modified terms, in two Prophets of the Assyrian period: "Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears," says Joel (3:10), whereas we have the oracle in Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks"; and it is suggested that, if these were current phrases, they were more likely to have been coined in the form employed by Joel in earlier and less settled times, when sudden alarms of war called the peaceful husbandman to the defense of his fields and flocks. Further, it is pointed out that Amos reproaches the people of his day for impenitence, although Yahweh had given them "cleanness of teeth" and "want of bread" and had "withholden the rain.... when there were yet three months to the harvest," and smitten them with blasting and mildew and the palmer worm (Amos 4:6-9); and all this is the more striking because Joel represents the distress of his day as unprecedented in magnitude.
To all this, advocates of the late date reply that we cannot determine the date of a book by its place in the Canon; for that the collectors were guided by other considerations. As to the resemblances to Amos, it may have been on the strength of these very resemblances that the Book of Joel, bearing no date in itself, was placed beside that of Amos. Moreover, it is maintained, as we shall see presently, that Joel has resemblances to other prophets, some of them confessedly of late date, proving that he was acquainted with writings of a very late time.
(2) Language and Style.
Another argument for an early date is based upon the purity of the language and character of the style. The book is written in what may be described as classical Hebrew, and shows no trace of decadence of language. It is no doubt true that "the style is the man," as is strikingly illustrated in the very different styles of Amos and Hosea, who were practically contemporaneous; so that arguments of this kind are precarious. Still, it is to be noted, that though there is nothing archaic in the style of Joel, neither is there anything archaic in the style of Amos, who would, by the exclusion of Joel, be our earliest example of written prophecy.
The advocates of the very late date reply that the style of Joel is too good to be archaic; and that his admittedly classic style is to be explained by the supposition that, living at a late time, he was a diligent student of earlier prophetic literature, and molded his style upon the classical.
Here, therefore, must be mentioned an argument much relied on by the advocates of a very late date. It is said that there are so many resemblances in thought and expression to other Old Testament books that it is incredible that so many writers posterior to the early date claimed for Joel should have quoted from this little book or expanded thoughts contained in it. A very elaborate comparison of Joel with late writers has been made by Holzinger in ZATW, 1889, 89-131; his line of argument being that, while resemblances to undoubtedly early writers may be explained as the work of a writer in the Renaissance imitating older models, the resemblances to others known to be late, such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, II Isaiah, Psalms, Nehemiah, Chronicles, etc., cannot be so explained if Joel is taken to be early. The principal passages in question are given in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, "Book of Joel," by Professor Driver, who also takes the view that Joel is late.
The list is not, perhaps, so formidable as its length would imply. Both writers confess that from several of the passages no conclusion of any value can be drawn, and that there is always a difficulty in determining priority when similarities in diction are found. Many of the expressions quoted look as if they might have been commonplaces of the prophetical literature; and, if it was possible for a very late writer to quote from so many antecedent writings, it was as possible and much easier for a number of late writers to go back to the very earliest prophets, especially if their words were memorable and germinal. We have heard of the man who objected to Shakespeare because he was full of quotations; and there is perhaps not a line of Gray's "Elegy" that has not been quoted somewhere, while some of his lines have become household words. But the strongest objection to this argument is this: if Joel had the minute acquaintance with antecedent writers and followed them so closely as is implied, he not only varies from them in essential particulars, but falls below them, as we shall see, in his anticipations of the future.
(4) The Situation.
We have now to look at features of a more concrete and tangible character, which promise to give more positive results. It is maintained by the advocates of the late date that the situation and immediate outlook of the prophet are not only consistent with the late date but preclude any preexilian date altogether. The elements of the situation are these: Whereas all the prophets before the downfall of Samaria (722 B.C.), and even Jeremiah and Ezekiel, mention the Northern Kingdom, it is not once named or referred to in Joel; for the occurrence of the name "Israel" in 2:27; 3:2, 16 cannot support this sense. Judah and Jerusalem fill our prophet's actual horizon (2:1, 32; 3:6, 16 f.20); no king is mentioned or implied, but the elders with the priests seem to be the prominent and ruling class. Further, the temple and its worship are central (1:14; 2:15) and so important that the cutting off of the meal offering and drink offering is tantamount to national ruin (1:9, 13, 16; 2:14). Again, there is no mention of the prevailing sins of preexilian times, the high places with their corrupt worship, or indeed of any specific sin for which the people were to humble themselves, while fasting and putting on sackcloth seem to have a special virtue. All the circumstances, it is held, conform exactly to the time of the post-exilian temple and to no other time. The Northern Kingdom was no more, there was no king in Jerusalem, the temple was the center and rallying-point of national life, its ritual the pledge and guarantee of God's presence and favor; the period of legalism had set in. It is confidently averred that at no period prior to the regime inaugurated by Ezra and Nehemiah was there such a conjunction of circumstances.
In reply, it is urged in favor of the early date that there was a period in preexilian time when such a situation existed, namely, the early years of the reign of Joash, when that prince was still an infant; for Jehoiada the priest acted practically as regent after the death of Athaliah, 836 B.C. (2 Kings 11:1-17). This would sufficiently account for the absence of mention of a king in the book. At such a time the priesthood must have held a prominent position, and the temple would overshadow the palace in importance. The omission of the Northern Kingdom may be accounted for by the fact that at that time the two kingdoms were on friendly terms; for the two royal houses were connected by marriage, and the kingdoms were in alliance (2 Kings 3:6; 8:28). Or the omission may have no more significance than the fact that Joel was concerned with an immediate and near present distress and had no occasion to mention the Northern Kingdom. To show how unsafe it is to draw conclusions from such silence, it may be observed that throughout the first 5 chapters of Isaiah, larger in bulk than the whole Book of Joel, only Judah and Jerusalem are mentioned; and, even if it should be maintained that a part or the whole of these chapters dates from after the deportation of the ten tribes, still it is noteworthy that, when the prophet could have made as good use of a reference to the event as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he does not do so.
The fact that there is no mention of specific national sins, and particularly of the worship of the high places, of which preexilian prophets have so much to say, is made much of by advocates of the late date, Dr. A.B. Davidson, e.g., declaring it to be "doubtful whether such a state of things existed at any time prior to the restoration from exile" (Expos, March, 1888); but perhaps this argument proves too much. If we are to deduce the state of religion in Joel's day from, what he does not say on the subject, it may be doubted whether at any time, either before or after the exile, such a condition prevailed. The post-exilian prophets certainly knew of sins in their time, sins, too, which restrained the rain and blasted the wine and oil and corn (Haggai 1:11). For all that Joel says on the subject, the condition of things implied is as consistent with the time of Jehoiada as with that of Nehemiah. And what shall we say of Isaiah's positive description of the condition of Jerusalem before his time: "the faithful city.... she that was full of justice! righteousness lodged in her" (Isaiah 1:21)? When was that? So also his promise: "I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called The city of righteousness, a faithful town" (Isaiah 1:26). Higher praise could scarcely be bestowed, and there is nothing in the Book of Joel to imply that he assumed so much.
Too much has been made of the references to ritual, as if they necessarily implied a post-exilian date. It is not legitimate here to assume that the idea of centralization of worship originated in Josiah's days, and that the priestly legislation is post-exilic. The mention of "old men" or "elders" is no such indication. Wellhausen himself maintains that the expression everywhere in Joel means nothing more than "old men"; and, even if it had an official connotation, the official elders are an old tribal institution in Israel. It may be noted here again that in the first 5 chapters of Isaiah elders also are mentioned, and more indubitably in an official sense, although the time was that of the monarchy (Isaiah 3:2, 14). And as to the sanctity of the temple, it will hardly be denied that in the time of Jehoiada the Jerusalem temple was a place of far more importance than any supposed local shrine, and especially when there was a call to a united national supplication (see 2 Kings 11). In point of fact the alleged references to ritual are very few and in most general terms. The "fast" is not denoted by the phrases in the legal codes, and was evidently on the footing of such observances as are common and instinctive at all times and among all persons (Judges 20:26 1 Samuel 7:6 2 Samuel 1:12 Jonah 3:5). And where in any law-code are priests enjoined to lie all night in sackcloth (Joel 1:13)? Or what prescription in any code requires young and old, bridegroom and bride, to press together into the temple (Joel 2:16)? And why should not any or all of these things have been done in face of a sudden emergency threatening the ruin of an agricultural people? Moreover, Joel, so far from ascribing virtue to these outward marks of humiliation in a legalistic spirit, immediately after mentioning them says: "Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto Yahweh your God" (Joel 2:13).
The only ritual references are to the meal offering and the drink offering (Joel 1:9, 13; Joel 2:14), and these were not characteristically post-exilian. Indeed, they may be regarded as primitive forms of offering, the produce of the ground without which, among an agricultural people, we can hardly imagine a system of offerings to exist. They are both ancient.
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Joel (22 Occurrences)
Acts 2:16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 8:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abijah: they were judges in Beersheba. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 4:35 and Joel, and Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 5:4 The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 5:8 and Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who lived in Aroer, even to Nebo and Baal Meon: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 5:12 Joel the chief, and Shapham the second, and Janai, and Shaphat in Bashan. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 6:28 The sons of Samuel: the firstborn Joel, and the second Abijah. (WEB ASV BBE NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 6:33 These are those who waited, and their sons. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 6:36 the son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 7:3 The sons of Uzzi: Izrahiah. The sons of Izrahiah: Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Isshiah, five; all of them chief men. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 11:38 Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar the son of Hagri, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:7 of the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, and his brothers one hundred thirty; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:11 David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 15:17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brothers, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brothers, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 23:8 The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, and Zetham, and Joel, three. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 26:22 The sons of Jehieli: Zetham, and Joel his brother, over the treasures of the house of Yahweh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 27:20 of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Chronicles 29:12 Then the Levites arose, Mahath, the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehallelel; and of the Gershonites, Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezra 10:43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Iddo, and Joel, Benaiah. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Nehemiah 11:9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezekiel 44:11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house, and ministering in the house: they shall kill the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. Joel (WEB)
Joel 1:1 The Word of Yahweh that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)