Welcome to the book of Joel! As the last days approach, less and less people are going to worship G-d. In this prophecy, there is an emphasis upon “The day of the L -rd”. This is a term of judgement, and it refers to the wrath of G-d.
For this study we are going to be reading out of the NKJV.
v1: Joel: Most scholars believe this name is simply a reference to the L-rd G-d.
v2: Hear: To listen in order to respond.
· Land: In this context it doesn’t refer to the whole world. In a unique way, Joel is addressing those who dwell in the Land of Israel.
· Has anything like this happened?: The emphasis here is that something is about to happen that has never been seen before. It is unique/different.
v3: Tell your children: This prophecy needs to be taught in every generation – until the last one. It has relevance for (up to and including) this last generation.
v4: Four different types of locusts are mentioned. The rabbinical commentators say each one does greater damage, than the one before it.
· Consuming: They eat up everything so that there is absolutely nothing left. The idea of these locusts has to do with the all-consuming judgment of G-d. G-d is going to act in the last days to bring about emptiness (lack of provision or blessing), due to the insufficient worship of His covenant (old and new) people.
v5: Awake: One epoch of time is coming to an end, something else is about to begin.
· Drunkards: They have a desire to find pleasure from the things of this world, rather than finding joy in the L-rd. Joel is warning them to stop this.
· New wine: The future wine – speaks of a future “joy”. Joel is warning that a time is coming when those who find pleasure in this world will no longer be able to find any happiness or joy in it.
v6: A nation: A group of people who have no covenantal relationship with G-d – i.e. They are an enemy.
· Without number: They are so numerous that they cannot be counted.
· Fangs: Strong and sharp teeth
· Fierce lion: This nation (that is going to come up against Israel) is like a young, strong, angry lion.
v7: In the last days, Israel is going to be far removed from G-d, and He is not going to be pleased with them. He is going to place punishment upon them, but it is a punishment intended to bring about repentance. (Heb 12v6, Heb 12v11)
· Vine…fig tree: A reference to G-d’s Old Covenant people – Israel (Hosea 9v10).
· White: Instead of showing signs of life they will be white – like death.
In the last days Israel should be seen as heading toward spiritual and physical death.
v8: Virgin…husband: Death has separated these two who should have rightfully been together.
Because of spiritual death there is a separation between G-d the Father (the husband of Israel) and His people.
v9: Grain…Drink: Two different (additional/”optional extra”) types of offerings made to G-d (See Numbers 28v2-8). People made these offerings as they wanted more from G-d.
· Cut off: Either these offerings are not being done as the people are not interested in offering thanks to G-d anymore, or, because of His judgment, there is nothing to offer Him.
· The priests: The leadership should be able to glean, from the events, what is going on. They should be able to read the spiritual condition of the people. G-d is calling them to lead by example – as they mourn the people will be encouraged to mourn because of their state of affairs.
v10: Grain, wine and oil are often repeated in prophecy. If G-d is pleased with the people the harvest is good. If G-d is displeased with the people the harvest is poor or non-existent. The yield in the field reflected the spiritual condition of the people. When there was no yield it was an indication that the people were not worshiping G-d.
v11: Wheat and barley: These are the spring crops. Their season concludes with the Feast of Shavuot or Pentecost (i.e. A time of celebration for G-d’s provision – Leviticus 23v15-22). This verse is telling us that there is not going to be any provision/outcome/harvest. The favour of G-d is not upon these people.
v12: Israel (the vine…the fig – seev7) has dried up and withered – in a state of decay, displaying a lack of fruitfulness.
· Palm tree: Usually bears dates.
· All the trees of the field: I.e. relates to the nations of the world. When Israel is not right with G-d neither are the nations right with Him. When Israel repents and gets right with G-d the trees of the field (the nations) clap, rejoice, praise and worship (Isaiah 55v12, see also Zechariah 8v23)
· Joy: A natural joy that cannot be contained. It is a joy that comes from the intimacy, blessings and presence of G-d with His people. This is absent.
· Sons of men: All of humanity.