Outline of Joel
1. Editorial Introduction (Joel 1:1)
The only information given about Joel is the name of his father, Pethuel. There is nothing to place him in a particular historical time period. He is not dated to the reign of a specific king.
2. The Locust Plague and Deliverance (Joel 1:2-2:27)
A. Description of the Terror Brought by Locusts are a type of grasshopper (which, along with wild honey, comprised John the Baptist’s diet). A swarm of locusts is the eighth plague before the Jews left Egypt in Exodus. The book of Joel takes place in the aftermath of a plague of locusts,… More and the Call to Lament and Repentance is a central biblical teaching. All people are sinful and God desires that all people repent of their sins. The Hebrew word for repent means to “turn away” from sin. The Greek word for repentance means to “change on’e mind,” more specifically, it means… More (Joel 1:2-2:17)
Joel takes the locust infestation as a sign that God is displeased. The first response is a cry of lament. Joel urges the people to go beyond lament to a genuine repentance, though it is not clear what great sin has brought on this catastrophe. Perhaps God, who is gracious and merciful, may turn away from the punishing (2:12-14).
B. God Hears and Responds Favorably (Joel 2:18-27)
God takes pity on the people and promises removal of the locusts, fertility of the soil, relief for the animals, abundant crops, and assurance that the people will never again be put to shame. The abrupt transition from despair and lament to assurance that good times will return is typical of the movement one sees in the psalms of lament.
3. God Will Act on the The Day of the Lord, in prophetic writing, is the day of judgment when God will intervene directly in world affairs. As described in Zephaniah, for instance, God will sweep everything away. In Matthew’s gospel God is described as gathering the elect on the day… More (Joel 2:28-3:21)
The book now moves from what was likely an actual event (the locust plague) and begins to speculate on what the Day of the Lord, God’s final judgment, will be like. On that day, God will act to bring justice to the world. There will be signs in the heavens and battles on earth. It will be a bad day for nations who have opposed the Lord and caused pain for God’s people (3:9-15, 19). For the people of Israel it will be a time of vindication (3:16-18, 20-2l).