from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Book of the Twelve Prophets of the Tanakh Old Testament
Minor Prophets
Names after the ÖVBE

Joel refers to a prophet in the Tanakh and the scriptures written by him. It belongs to the book of the Twelve Prophets .

Author and origin

Joel, Parish Church Gramastetten (Upper Austria)

According to the book itself, Joel ( Hebrew יוֹאֵל' YHWH is God'), the son of Petuël, from Judah the author. When he lived and wrote his book is uncertain. Some exegetes see him as one of the oldest prophets, who lived in the 9th century BC. Others one of the youngest from the 5th century BC. So the dates diverge further than any other figure in the Bible.

In the New Testament , Joel is understood as an author when Peter quotes verbatim from Joel in the Acts of the Apostles . John Walvoord, Gleason Archer and Otto Eißfeldt also assume that Joel is the sole author of this book. Georg Fohrer contradicts uniformity and presents the critical opinions of other authors and scholars who doubt the uniformity of the book and suspect at least two different, unknown authors, one for chapters 1 and 2 and one for chapters 3 and 4. Many people think so Theologians assume that Chapters 1 and 2 are older than Chapters 3 and 4. Friedrich von Duhn takes z. E.g. for chapters 1 and 2 a poet and for chapters 3 and 4 a synagogal priest as author, who is said to have inserted the references to the day of the Lord in chapters 1 and 2. Many of these critical opinions are based on the problem of dating and the relationship to prophecies, because in the Book of Joel only the name of the author is mentioned, but no time of writing. Of course, even with Joel it cannot be clearly proven that Joel wrote this book himself or that someone else wrote down his words. However, very few theologians doubt that these are Joel's words.

The Hebrew words in Joel 1: 1 clearly identify Joel as a prophet, because the phrase "the word of God happened (to / to me)" can also be found in a similar form in other Old Testament prophets. The name Joel is found more often in the Old Testament , but it refers to other people there.

Completion time

There is a wide spectrum of opinions about the time of writing, dating from the 9th century BC. Until the 2nd century BC Chr. Range. An unequivocal dating is impossible with this book, since one can only make assumptions about the environment on the basis of utterances in the text. Many of these assumptions cannot be clearly proven or clearly refuted because they are based on circumstantial rather than solid evidence. One can divide the various opinions on Joel dating into four main groups:

Early pre-exilic period (late 9th century to mid 8th century BC)

One argument in favor of early pre-exilic writing is the naming of " Tire , Sidon , the Philistines , Egypt and Edom as enemies of the people" (Walvoord 489). The later enemies, the Assyrians , Chaldeans or Persians, are not named. Another argument in favor of this theory is the form of government described in Joel, in which no king is named and the elders and the priests seem to have responsibility. This leads to the conclusion that it was written at the time when Joasch became king, but at the age of seven he was still immature and therefore unable to rule. Great similarities between Amos and Joel are also cited as evidence for this early dating, as it appears in terms of content that Amos is quoting Joel rather than the other way round, and suggest that it was dated before Amos was composed (i.e. before 755 BC). According to Archer, the diction and grammatical constructions also indicate a pre-exilic drafting date. The best argument for such an early dating of the Joel Book is the position of Joel in the Book of Twelve Prophets (Dodecapropheton) of the Aramaic canon , which has also been adopted in the Vulgate up to our modern Bibles (above all Luther ) (cf. also p ). We can assume that the prophets were sorted on the basis of chronological aspects. So Joel must have been written before Amos (ie before 755 BC).

For this early pre-exilic dating, z. B. Archer and Kirkpatrick decided.

However, some objections can be raised against this. Walvoord writes e.g. B. "the position in the canon is not decisive, especially if one takes into account that the LXX classifies the book Joel differently" (Walvoord 489). However, this change seems to have taken place due to the sorting by scope, not chronology. The naming of the "enemies of the people" (cf. Joel 4,4) does not constitute solid evidence for Walvoord, as they are also mentioned by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel at the time of the Babylonian exile. It is also argued that Joel could not have been written until after the exile, since his utterances cannot be recognized as prophecy, but only as a representation of events after they have already happened.

Eißfeldt considers this dating to be irrelevant, since he does not consider it to be reliably provable, and Fohrer rejects this dating without giving any arguments for it.

Late pre-exilic period (c. 590 BC)

For a date between 597 and 587 BC. There are some very good reasons for this. One could easily connect Joel 4: 2 with the deportation of ten thousand men of Judah by the Babylonians. Also the mention of the temple, which was not built until 586 BC. Was destroyed is no proof (cf. 1.2.3), but at least one possibility of interpretation in favor of this dating. Walvoord also writes:

At the same time this would mean that in Joel 1.15 and 2.1–11 the final destruction of Jerusalem is indicated (which happened in 586 BC; cf. 2 Kings 25.1–21). (Walvoord 490)

The mention of the slave trade between Greeks and Phoenicians in Joel 4, 6 can also be taken as an indication of this dating. B. Kapelrud has shown that the Greek (or Ionic ) trade as early as the seventh and sixth centuries BC. BC flourished. Representatives of this dating are z. B. Kapelrud, Rudolph and Mohn.

However, the resulting problems with regard to Joel 2: 18–19 speak against this dating, because “this section seems to speak of God's grace to the generation of Joels and to indicate that it is really the other way around” (Walvoord 490). This contradicts the reports about the last days of Judah and cannot be reconciled with 2 Kings 23: 26f.

Early post-exilic period (approx. 500 BC)

For example, the interpretation that Joel 4: 1–2 and Joel 4:17 refer to the time of exile and the destruction of Jerusalem speaks in favor of writing shortly after the time of exile . The mention of the temple in Joel 1,9 and Joel 1,13 is justified by the fact that it is the second temple, which dates back to 515 BC. Was built by the returned Jews. The absence of a king and the apparent rule of the elders (Joel 1: 2 and Joel 2:16) would also support this dating. Joel also seems to quote Ezekiel several times. The slave trade with the Greeks mentioned in Joel 4: 6 also seems to be an indication of the post-exilic period. Furthermore, no pagan cults are mentioned; Although this is not proof either, it would be best suited to the post-exilic period. Representatives of this dating are z. B. Arnold / Beyer , Augé and Myers.

This dating is anything but reliable, as one can also raise objections to the arguments for this dating. So you can z. B. only guess whether this is the first or the second temple, as the text does not allow a clear determination. Even if a king is not mentioned, it cannot be said with certainty that there was none at that time, and the elders have always had a special place among the people and were highly respected. Neither is the omission of cults a clear proof that there were none. And the argument of the slave trade is not proof either, since Kapelrud already dated it to the 7th and 6th centuries BC. Dated.

Late post-exilic period (approx. 300 BC)

Many theologians take the view that Joel was only born around 330 BC. Was written because the Greeks are named in the text, and in their opinion this is justified only by the conquests of Alexander the Great . The failure to name the northern empire , a king or the sacrificial heights also seem to provide clues for this dating. However, the strongest argument in favor of dating to the late post-exilic period is the doubt about the unity of the Book of Joel. Many theologians assume that chapters 1 + 2 are older than chapters 3 + 4. This is justified by the prophecies (which in their eyes cannot be), and by the partially apocalyptic style, which is considered typical of the time around 200 BC. Looks at. Duhn, Oesterley and Robinson go e.g. B. from a drafting of chapters 1 + 2 in the post-exilic period, and chapters 3 + 4 around 200 BC. Chr. From. Other theologians, e.g. B. Sellin and Rost date somewhat differently, but retain the principle of a two-part or even three-part drafting. The last argument is the linguistic style with "relatively many aramaisms " (Eißfeldt 481). Representatives of this dating are the RGG as well as Oesterley, Robinson, Treves, Jensen and Eißfeldt.

There is no clear evidence for this dating either, since the results are based on assumptions that are only logical because of the results that can be deduced from them ( circular reasoning ). The unity of the book with external evidence cannot be refuted, and even the failure to name a king or the northern empire does not constitute evidence that they did not exist at the time. The apocalyptic style argument is also no evidence that Joel (or parts of it) did not appear until around 200 BC. Were drafted only because many apocalyptic documents date from this time. The inconsistency is mainly represented by allegedly stylistically inappropriate passages, which on the one hand is very subjective and on the other hand is vehemently denied by others. For example, B. Meißner relies on Prinsloo's evidence and emphasizes the uniformity due to Prinsloo's division of the book into eight sections, "which build on each other in stages through constant references and keyword combinations and reach their climax in the last section through a gradual increase" (Meißner 46). Kapelrud also documents the slave trade between Greeks and Phoenicians in a very early period around the 7th and 6th centuries BC. BC, which is why one does not have to assume that the mention of the Greeks would only have been due to the deeds of Alexander the Great around 330 BC. Can happen.

Composition location

Almost nothing is reported in the literature about the place where Joel was written. However, if one looks at who is the addressee of the book, one can surmise that it was written in Judah. Ultimately, however, this cannot be proven.


The addressee of the Joel book seems to be the people of Judah. This would be supported by the fact that no king is mentioned in the text, because if one agrees with the opinion of an early pre-exilic composition, it is likely that Joel was speaking to the people of Judah at a time when Ataliah was illegally on the throne of Judah . Young also advocates that Joel is mainly addressing Judah here, even if Joel uses the name "Israel" in three places. But at these points it remains unclear whether he means only the southern kingdom, only the northern kingdom or all twelve tribes with this term.

Cultural situation

At the time it was adopted (841–835 BC) the Israelite people had been divided into two states for almost a hundred years; the state of Israel in the north and the state of Judah in the south. Both were ruled independently by different kings. In foreign policy Judah also had some enemies (Tire, Sidon, the Philistines, Edom and Egypt). The year 841 BC BC was a very important year for Judah, as in that year the rulers in Judah and Israel changed.

In Israel, Jehu came to power "who founded the most enduring dynasty that the northern kingdom should have (841–753)" ( Merrill 532). Jehu killed Ahaziah , and Ahaziah's mother Ataliah seized power in Judah by killing all possible heirs to the throne of Ahaziah or the Davidic line. Only Joasch, who was not yet a year old, was spared because his aunt hid him in the temple with the high priest Jojada . Jojada raised Joasch and instructed him so that one day he could exercise his rightful claim to the throne. Joasch succeeded in doing this in 835 BC. When Atalja was overthrown and publicly executed. At that time, however, Joasch was still very young, which is why the priest Jojada was able to exert a great influence on the government.

Not too much is known from Atalja's time, but conclusions can be drawn from what happened in Judah after Atalja's death. It seems that other gods were worshiped in Judah, especially Baal , because Joash swore an oath of allegiance to God and had the images of the gods and altars destroyed and the Baal priest killed. At the same time, he also made sure that temple service was restored in accordance with the Mosaic Law. However, this progressed rather hesitantly, considering that with the repair of the temple only about 813 BC. Was started.

If you keep this scenario in mind, the assumption of Joel's work before 835 BC is reasonable. More than likely because this fits exactly to the situation of the people of Judah described in Joel.

Subject of the book

The theme of the book of Joel can be summarized relatively simply in a single sentence: Joel prophesies God's judgment, which will come like a plague of locusts, and God's grace; both in his lifetime and in the future, on the day of the Lord, God's final judgment.

Style of the book

The book of Joel is clearly a prosaic work, the style of which is clearly exhortatory. Starting with a very graphic description of a plague of locusts, Joel repeatedly calls for repentance and conversion. He admonishes the people by telling them about God's coming judgment and clearly showing them the consequences of this for their lives. To this end, Joel not only uses rhetorical questions, but also a striking number of imperatives with which he draws the people's attention to the urgency of repentance and tries to get them to act.

But many other literary forms can also be found in the Book of Joel, as is generally typical of the Old Testament prophets. In addition to many admonitions and calls to reverse, there are also some words of complaint, court announcements and announcements of salvation.

See also




  • Hans Walter Wolff : Joel and Amos. Biblical Commentary Old Testament 14.2. Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 4th edition 2004, ISBN 3-7887-2026-3 .
  • Jean Calvin : A Commentary on the Twelve Minor Prophets. Part 2: Joel, Amos & Obadiah. A Geneva Series Commentary. 1986, ISBN 0-85151-474-X .
  • Martin Luther : All Writings. Edited by Joh. Georg Walch. Part 6: Interpretation of the Old Testament. Interpretation on the great and some of the minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel and Amos. 1987, ISBN 3-922534-79-1 .
  • Richard R. Deutsch, Graham S. Ogden: A Promise of Hope - a Call to Obedience. A Commentary on the Books of Joel and Malachi . International Theological Commentary. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids et al. 1987, ISBN 0-8028-0093-9 .
  • David Allan Hubbard: Joel and Amos. An Introduction and Commentary. The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester Repr. 1990, ISBN 0-85111-642-6 .
  • Karl Heinen : The books Malachi, Joel and Jona. Spiritual reading 13th Patmos Verl., Düsseldorf 1991, ISBN 3-491-77169-2 .
  • Martin Holland : The prophets Joel, Amos and Obadja. In: Wuppertaler Studienbibel.AT. Brockhaus, Wuppertal et al. 1991, ISBN 3-417-25320-9 (generally understandable , application-oriented).
  • Alfons Deissler : Twelve prophets. Hosea, Joël, Amos. The New Real Bible. 4th Echter-Verl., Würzburg 3rd edition 1992, ISBN 3-429-00744-5 .
  • Edmond Jacob, Carl-A. Keller, Samuel Amsler: Osée, Joël, Abdias, Jonas, Amos. Commentaire de l'Ancien Testament 11a. Delachaux et Niestlé, Neuchâtel et al. 3rd edition 1992, ISBN 2-8309-0664-0 .
  • Rex Mason: Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Joel. In: Old Testament Guides. JSOT Press, Sheffield 1994, ISBN 1-85075-718-6 .
  • James L. Crenshaw: Joel. A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. In: The Anchor Bible 24C. Doubleday, New York et al. 1995, ISBN 0-385-41205-3 .
  • Winfried Meißner: Books Joel and Obadja. Edition C Biblical Commentary Old Testament 36, Hänssler, Holzgerlingen 2000, ISBN 3-7751-3354-2 (generally understandable , application-oriented).
  • Richard James Coggins: Joel and Amos. New Century Bible Commentary. Academic Press, Sheffield 2000, ISBN 1-84127-095-4 .
  • Ulrich Dahmen, Gunther Fleischer: The books Joel and Amos. New Stuttgart Commentary AT 23.2. Verl. Kath. Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-460-07232-6 .
  • John Barton : Joel and Obadiah. A Commentary. (The Old Testament Library). Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville KY 2001, ISBN 0-664-21966-7 .
  • John F. Walvoord and Roy F. Zuck (eds.): The Old Testament explained and interpreted. Volume 3: Isaiah - Malachi. Hänssler, Neuhausen / Stuttgart 1991

Individual studies

  • Siegfried Bergler: Joel as a writer . Contributions to the study of the Old Testament and ancient Judaism 16. Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1988 ISBN 3-8204-0289-6
  • Ronald Simkins: Yahweh's Activity in History and Nature in the Book of Joel . Ancient Near Eastern Texts and Studies 10. Mellen, Lewiston et al. 1991 ISBN 0-7734-9683-1
  • Larry R. McQueen: Joel and the Spirit. The Cry of a Prophetic Hermeneutic . Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Supplement Series 8. Academic Press, Sheffield 1995 ISBN 1-85075-736-4
  • Marie-Theres Wacker : God's grudge, God's goodness and God's justice according to the Joel book . In: Ruth Scoralick (ed.): The drama of God's mercy. Studies on the biblical talk of God and its history of impact in Judaism and Christianity . Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 183rd Verl. Kath. Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 2000, pp. 107–124 ISBN 3-460-04831-X
  • Arndt Meinhold: On the role of the YHWH day poem Joel 2,1-11 in the XII Prophet Book . In: Axel Graupner, Holger Delkurt, Alexander B. Ernst (Ed.): Connection lines. Festschrift for Werner H. Schmidt on his 65th birthday . Neukirchener Verl., Neukirchen-Vluyn 2000, pp. 207-223 ISBN 3-7887-1813-7
  • Jörg Jeremias : The "day of Yahweh" in Isa 13 and Joel 2 . In: Reinhard G. Kratz, Thomas Krüger, Konrad Schmid (eds.): Scripture interpretation in scripture. Festschrift for Odil Hannes Steck on his 65th birthday . Supplements to the Journal for Old Testament Science 300. de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2000, pp. 129–138 ISBN 3-11-016902-9
  • Jörg Jeremias: learned prophecy. Observations on Joel and Deuterosacharya . In: Christoph Bultmann, Walter Dietrich, Christoph Levin (eds.): Verification of the Old Testament. Contributions to Biblical Hermeneutics. FS Rudolf Smend . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, pp. 97–111 ISBN 3-525-53621-6
  • Ruth Scoralick: “Even now” (Joel 2,12a). On the peculiarity of the Joel script and its function in the context of the Book of the Twelve Prophets . In: Erich Zenger (ed.): "Word of Yhwh, that happened ..." (Hos 1,1). Studies on the Book of the Twelve Prophets. Herder's Biblical Studies 35. Herder, Freiburg i. Br. U. a. 2002, pp. 47-69 ISBN 3-451-27493-0
  • Marvin A. Sweeney: The Place and Function of Joel in the Book of the Twelve . In: Paul L. Redditt, Aaron Schart (Eds.): Thematic Threads in the Book of the Twelve . Supplements to the journal for Old Testament science 325. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2003, pp. 133-154 ISBN 3-11-017594-0
  • James R. Linville: The Day of Yahweh and the Mourning of the Priests in Joel . In: Lester L. Grabbe, Alice Ogden Bellis (Eds.): The Priests in the Prophets. The Portrayal of Priests, Prophets, and Other Religious Specialists in the Latter Prophets . JSOTSup 408. T. & T. Clark, London et al. 2004, pp. 98-114 ISBN 0-567-08166-4
  • Martin Roth: Israel and the Nations in the Book of the Twelve Prophets. An investigation into the books Joel, Jona, Micha and Nahum . FRLANT 210. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2005 (pp. 56–109) ISBN 3-525-53074-9 Table of contents

General introductions to the OT

  • Gleason L. Archer : Introduction to the Old Testament. Vol. 2. In 2 volumes, Verlag der Liebenzeller Mission, Bad Liebenzell 1987
  • Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer (eds.): Study book Old Testament. Wuppertal: R.Brockhaus, 2001
  • Otto Eißfeldt: Introduction to the Old Testament. 2. rework. Ed., J. C. B. Mohr, Tübingen 1956
  • Stanley A. Ellisen: From Adam to Malachi. Understand the Old Testament. 3rd edition Dillenburg: Christliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1996.
  • Georg Fohrer: Introduction to the Old Testament. 12. revised and exp. Ed., Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1979
  • Eugene H. Merrill: The History of Israel. Hänssler, Holzgerlingen 2001

Web links