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is contained in the book and comparing it with what is written elsewhere in the O.T.
However this can never be accurate and different opinions are possible.
Joel's prophecy may be undated because when the prophecy was written and the
situation at that time might not have been important. It may be undated because the
burden of the book is in the future, the time of the end, "the Day of the Lord". Thus the
prophecy took the people of Joel's day out of their present time and situation and focused
their mind on future events.
We could go into a lot of detail dealing with the different interpretations of the internal
evidence for the dating of the book but this does not seem profitable at this point. It is
perhaps worth noting that there are three main ideas:
Some think it was written very early either:
(a) in the days of Athaliah's usurpation (B.C.787-782), or
(b) in the days of King Jehoash (B.C.781-744), or
(c) in the days of King Uzziah (B.C.701-649).
Some think it was written in the last days of the kingdom of Judah, just before
the Temple was destroyed and the nation taken to Babylon (B.C.488-477).
Some think it was written in the days after the nation returned to the land
following the Babylonian captivity (B.C.444-345, probably B.C.400).
If the dating was important it would have been recorded for us (see Hosea 1: 1 and
Amos 1: 1) but as it was not we will say no more at this point. The above just
demonstrates that when there is not clear guidance from God men soon disagree!
With respect to the above dates we have followed the chronology given by
Dr. E. W. Bullinger in The Companion Bible. The dating of the kings and the prophets
is not easy and scholars do disagree but this is not the subject before us now and the
dating in The Companion Bible is more than sufficient for our study of Joel.
Where was Joel?
The nation of the Jews were united under their first three kings for most of the
120 years. Saul, David and Solomon each reigned for 40 years but at Solomon's death
the nation split into two. The northern kingdom of ten tribes was called Israel and its
capital was Samaria. The southern kingdom of two tribes was called Judah and
Jerusalem was its capital. From chapter 3: and verses 1, 6, 8, 18, 19, 20 we are left in
no doubt that Joel was concerned with Judah and, from 2: 32 and 3: 1, 6, 16, 17, 20,
Jerusalem. In chapter 1: 9 and 13, and in chapter 2: 17 the priesthood is indicated and
in 1: 9, 13 and 2: 4 the offerings are mentioned. Thus Joel seems to be right in the
centre of things dealing with events at the Temple of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah.
Although Israel was originally the name of the northern kingdom only, the term came
to be used of both parts. Similarly, the expression "the people of Israel" could refer to
either those of the northern kingdom or both kingdoms. The context would decide the