Although there are several other Joel’s in the Bible, the prophet Joel is known only from this book. Because of statements about priesthood in the first and second chapters, Joel may have been a priest also.
There are no specific time references, so Joel’s time cannot be dated for certain. There is no mention of the northern kingdom or of kings. Joel also doesn’t refer to Assyria, Syria, or Babylon, perhaps because they have already been overthrown. Perhaps Joel’s message is all about “The day of the Lord.”
Verse 1 – The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Verse 2 – Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, or even the days of your fathers?
Verse 3 – Tell your children about it, let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
Joel is talking about a huge locust plague that had come to the land. It was so unusual that it served as a warning of two future events: a coming war and the Day of the Lord.
Verse 4 – What the chewing locusts left, the swarming locust have eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left the consuming locust has eaten.
A locust plague is as devastating as an invading army. They cover the land and devour every piece of vegetation, covering everything in their path.
Verse 5 – Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it has been cut off from your mouth.
Drinking wine causes people to be in a stupor. People become oblivious to sin after a time of dulling their senses with wine. Joel tells the people to “Wake-up” or everything will be destroyed.
Verse 6 – For a nation has come up against My land, strong and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion. And he has fangs of a fierce lion.
Verse 7 – He has laid waste My vine, and ruined My fig tree; he has stripped it bare and thrown it away; its branches are made white.
Grapevines and figs were two of the principle crops of the land. They were both damaged during a war or plague.
Verse 8 – Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
Verse 9 – The grain offering and the drink offering have been cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests mourn, who minister to the Lord.
Verse 10 – The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, the oils fail.
Verse 11 – Be ashamed, you farmers, wail, you vine-dressers, for the wheat and the barley; because the harvest of the field has perished.
Verse 12 – The vine has dried up, and the fig tree has withered; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree – all the trees of the field are withered; surely joy has withdrawn away from the sons of men.
Starvation is imminent when everything dries up. There are no crops for animals or humans when war comes or a plague of locust swarm the land. Our spiritual bodies can also dry up when they are not fed daily! Watch someone’s attitudes and motives change, for the worse, when they never feed their spirit with God’s word.
Verse 13 – Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; wail, you who minister before the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, you who minister to my God, for the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.
Not only were the offerings withheld during the time the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, but another time is coming when the third temple is built and the sacrifices and offering swill be no more because of the Antichrist.
Verse 14 – Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
This is a two-fold message: Either this was the time before the Babylonians destroyed the house of God or it could be now or during the time in which the third temple is built. It never hurts to fast and pray.
Verse 15 – Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand ; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty.
The “Day of the Lord,” always refers to extraordinary happenings, whether present events like a plague of locusts, or in the near future, like the destruction of the temple, or when God defeats all evil from the earth.
Verse 16 – Is not the food cut off before your eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
Verse 17 – The seed grain shrivels under clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down, for the grain has withered.
Verse 18 – How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are restless, because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer your punishment.
Verse 19 – O Lord, to You I cry out; for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field.
Verse 20 – The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures.
A nation or an individual who doesn’t have the true and living God, destruction is sure. Do you ever wonder why some nations look like they do with devastation and war all the time, people starving and still living in the rocks, tents, and make-shift houses?Its because they don’t worship the One and only Jehovah God. You can’t put a dead man in the place of worship and expect them to do anything! Dead is dead and can deliver nothing. God blesses those who call upon His Name.