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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Joel 1

Verses 1-20

The Message of the Book of Joel

Joel 1:1

The book of Joel, as we have it, consists of two parts.

I. A violent plague of locusts had visited the land, and from this destruction the Prophet saw nothing to save the people but repentance. In his call to repentance we notice four suggestions.

a. He discovers to the people the condition of affairs. He challenges them to say whether, in the memory of anyone living, a crisis of such importance had arisen.

b. He bids them wait for the desolation that covers the land. He calls in the nation to weep as a virgin mourning for the spouse of her youth.

c. He warns them that all that has happened is but the prelude of more awful judgments.

d. But having described to them the greatness of their danger, the Prophet goes on to tell them that from this danger they can only escape by genuine contrition and sincere repentance.

II. The Prophet's call to repentance had not been in vain, and to the humble and penitent nation Joel was sent to declare the Divine promise. In this we notice that it was:

a. A promise of Restoration. Very shortly after refreshing showers had fallen, and the country, bare, barren, and desolate, was once more showing signs of life.

b. A promise of Refreshment. Upon the nation penitent and restored, the gift of God's spirit was to fall, bringing with it a new revelation of God, and a new power to serve Him in the world.

c. A promise of Deliverance. The day of the Lord, which was certainly coming, was to be a day of salvation to the Lord's people by being a day of destruction to their enemies.

d. A promise of Rest. No more famine, no more scarcity, no more barrenness, no more conflict; but rest and peace and joy in favour of the Lord.

III. The story of the book of Joel is a story with a national bearing. The language of this book had a clear and definite meaning for those to whom it was spoken, and no doubt much in the book has been already fulfilled. But the fulfilment of the book as a whole belongs to the time of the millennial glory when Israel shall have received and enthroned as King her long rejected Messiah.

IV. But let us not lose sight of its individual bearing. It is a call to contrition and repentance. God bids us recognize, and that speedily, the sinfulness of our present lives, and bids us humble ourselves before Him because of that.

G. H. C. Macgergor, Messages of the Old Testament, p. 167.

References. II. 1. J. Keble, Sermons for Sundays After Trinity, part ii. p. 342. G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, pp. 163, 272.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Joel 1". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/joel-1.html. 1910.