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The Old Testament | The Books of the Minor Prophets


Things to know

Where does the book begin?

Joel wrote before most of the other prophets*. He wrote before Babylon became the enemy of Judah.

Places to go

The insects were coming
Joel 1:1-12

The day of the Lord* was coming
Joel 2:1-11

Return to the Lord*
Joel 2:12-17

The Lord* will restore you
Joel 2:25-27

Pour out the Spirit*
Joel 2:28-32

Where does the book end?

Joel ends with a blessing. We do not know how many years later.

People to know


The Story of Joel

Joel is the second book of the Minor Prophets*. We know very little about the prophet* Joel. Hosea and Amos told us things about their lives. But Joel did not. Because of the things he talked about, we think that he was one of the first prophets* to write a book.

Joel wrote his book to tell the people of Judah to turn back to God. A cloud of insects had come to Judah. The insects ate the food growing in the fields so the people could not eat it. At that time, it did not rain in Judah. The land was empty. People were hungry and had no water to drink.

Joel told the people that they should be sad. Then he called them to pray. He wanted the people to ask God for mercy* so the insects would leave and food would grow again. Joel called the hard days the people were living in a ‘day of the Lord*’. That small set of words (day of the Lord) is the idea Joel would talk about for the rest of his book.

Joel talked about the ‘day of the Lord*’ in two ways. Sometimes God judged* the bad people by making bad things happen to them. Joel said that God sent the insects to do that. He called this time a ‘day of the Lord*’. But Joel also said that, in the future, there would be another ‘day of the Lord*’. That would be a more serious day than any other day so far. That would be the last time God judged the wicked. Joel said that the final day of the Lord* would be a time of God’s wrath*. But he also said that it would be a time when God blessed* his people again. After God judged*, God would bless* the people he chose for himself.

Joel told the people to prepare for this day. He told them to listen to God and do what God told them to do. This day would come when people did not think it was coming. Things would happen so fast that no one would be ready for it. It would come as fast as an army to attack and as fast as a fire can burn. Many hard things would happen to the people in that day. God was the one who would make those things happen.

On that day, God would judge his enemies. No one would be able to run away from him. That day would be dark and many people would be afraid. God would send a great army to do his work.

So Joel told the people to pray and change their ways. When they did, God would stop and show them mercy*. In that day, God would pity his people. He would forgive* them and take away the shame they felt. He would make the rain fall and the fields grow. He would make Jerusalem his city again and the people would be holy.

Joel said that God would use the armies of the nations to punish Israel*. Then God would punish the nations for the wicked things they were doing. God would use both of these things to cause Israel* to remember their promises. They would remember the promises they made to God and the promises God made to them. In that day of the Lord*, God would ‘pour out his spirit*’ [1] and that would change everything. Then, God would make all things right again. This time, he would make it last for ever, like Daniel and Ezekiel said he would.

Joel was doing something many of the other prophets* did. He was telling people what God wanted them to know and to do. His message was for the people that heard him that day. But his message was also for people in the future. Long after Joel was dead, Joel’s words would speak to people. That is true for us as we read those words. But it will be true in a very special way for the people at the end of history who will be a part of the last ‘day of the Lord*’[2]


[1] Joel 2:28

[2] Joel 2:12:112:31

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