The Berean Expositor
Volume 50 - Page 122 of 185
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Who was Joel?
Before starting on a detailed study of the book it may be useful to know something
about the person God inspired to write it. Also it may be useful to know where he wrote
it, when he wrote it and what was the situation (political, economic, sociological as well
as religious) at the time he wrote. Also it may help to know why God inspired the book
to be written. If any of these (Who? When? Where? What? Why?) are important and if
any are essential to our understanding of the book then the relevant details will be
abundantly clear, but if any are of no importance then the details of such will be lacking.
So! Who was Joel? Well -- nothing is known of him other than what is contained in
this prophecy. Some think he might have been a priest but in Joel 1: 13 the expression
"ye priests" implies he is not one of them. Thus all we know is that he is the son of
Pethuel, Joel 1: 1, and we know nothing more about this Pethuel. In fact Pethuel is a
very unusual name and this name occurs nowhere else in the Bible.  The Greek
translation of the O.T., the Septuagint, puts the name as Bethuel.
Joel was relatively a common name, there are twelve different Joels in the O.T., and
"son of Pethuel" is added to the name so as to distinguish this Joel from any other. Thus
the people of his day would know which Joel it was who had given out this "word of the
Lord" but it is not important for us to know this. For us to understand what is written we
need know nothing about the inspired writer but we have been given his name.
The name Joel is an interesting name and like most Hebrew names it has a meaning.
We shall see that it is a most apt name for the prophet.
To try and describe fully the great God Who surpasses our comprehension is
impossible but in an attempt to let us have a glimpse of His magnificence He uses
different names, titles and descriptions of Himself. Two of the most common in the O.T.
are Elohim and Jehovah.
Elohim is the word used for God with respect to creation and Jehovah is the word used
for God with respect to the covenants He made with His people. Elohim is the great, all
powerful Creator in covenant relation with mankind, His creatures. Now El, the almighty
God, is a contraction of Elohim, and Jah is a contraction of Jehovah and is used to depict
Jehovah with respect to the special covenant of salvation.
Thus the name Joel is a mixture of these two names of God and means "Jehovah is
God". Another interesting name is Elijah which has these two names in reverse order and
means "My God is Jehovah". Two most appropriate names for two of God's prophets.
When was the Prophecy of Joel written?
Of the twelve Minor Prophets six are dated and six are not dated. Joel's prophecy is
undated but a clue to the date can be obtained by "internal evidence", that is noting what