This month our Bible reading plan takes us to the Minor Prophets. To help us assemble these books and understand their message, here are a number of resources to Joel, the first book of The Twelve. You can find more information about the Minor Prophets here.
The Historical Context of Joel
While no definitive date can be assigned to Joel, the ESV Study Bible provides a helpful explanation for dating Joel after the exile.
Estimates for dating the book of Joel range from the ninth to the fourth centuries B.C. While no consensus has been reached, most scholars hold to a date after the exile (586 B.C.) for the following reasons: (1) the exile is treated as a past event (3:2–3); (2) the conquest of Jerusalem is mentioned (3:17); (3) no king is mentioned; (4) the temple plays a positive role, while there is no prophetic denunciation against the idolatry and syncretism mentioned in Hosea and Amos; and (5) the anger expressed toward Edom is best explained by its treatment of Judeans during the Babylonian conquest (Joel 3:19; Obad. 1–21). (p. 1643)
The Message of the Twelve (pp. 17–18, 51) dates Joel to 500 BC on the basis of the locust plague described in Joel 1:4 and the historical locust plague that occurred in 500 BC.
Joel and the Other Prophets
Another reason why many believe Joel is written after the exile is because of how many verses are quoted or alluded to by Joel. Here’s a list of connections with other Minor Prophets (The Message of the Twelve, 95), supplemented by passages found in the Major Prophets (The Bible Project).
Connections with the Minor Prophets
|Joel 1:15||Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7|
|Joel 2:2||Zephaniah 1:14–15|
|Joel 2:6||Nahum 2:10|
|Joel 2:13||Jonah 3:9; Micah 7:16–18; Nahum 1:3 (cf. Exodus 34:6–7)|
|Joel 2:31||Micah 4:5|
|Joel 2:32||Obadiah 17|
|Joel 3:5||Obadiah 15|
|Joel 3:10||Micah 4:3 (cf. Isaiah 2:4)|
|Joel 3:16||Amos 1:2|
|Joel 3:18||Amos 9:13|
 Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates, The Message of the Twelve, 95.
Connections with the Major Prophets
|God’s Spirit will fill all people (2:28–32)||
|God will confront evil among all nations (3:1–16)||
|God will renew all creation (3:17–21)||
An Outline of Joel
The ESV Study Bible
- The Judgment against Judah and the Day of the Lord (1:1–2:17)
- The Mercy of the Lord and Judgment against the Nations (2:18–3:21)
The Message of the Twelve
The Call for Repentance
in Light of the Day of the LORD
The Restoration of Israel
and the Final Day of the LORD
Call for Sacred Assembly to Lament
Focus on past judgment of locust plague
Call for Sacred Assembly to Repent
Focus on a coming judgment
Promise for the Near Future
Reversal of the Locust Plague
Promise for the Distant Future
Restoration of Israel and Judgment of the Nations
|“the Day of the LORD is near” (1:15)
“the Day of the LORD is coming” (2:1)
“the Day of the LORD is terrible and dreadful” (2:11)
|“the great and awe-inspiring Day of the LORD” (2:31)
“the Day of the LORD is near” (3:14)
“In that day . . .” (3:18)
 Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates, The Message of the Twelve, 97.
The Bible Project
- A Past Day of the LORD (1:1–20) — an announcement of disaster; a call to repentance; acts of repentance
- A Future Day of the LORD (2:1–17) — an announcement of disaster; a call to repentance; acts of repentance
- God’s Response (2:18–27)
- Defeat the Invaders (vv. 20–21)
- Restoration of the Devastated Land (vv. 22–26)
- Divine Presence among God’s People (v. 27)
- THE Future Day of the LORD (2:28–3:18)
- God’s Spirit will fill all people (2:28–32)
- God will confront evil among all nations (3:1–16)
- God will renew all creation (3:17–21)
Overview Sermons on Joel
- Who Will God Save? The Message of Joel by Mark Dever
- Major Points from Joel and Amos by
Sermon Series on Joel
- The Day of the Locusts (Joel 1)
- The Day of the Lord (Joel 2:1–17)
- The Day of Grace (Joel 2:18–32)
- The Day of Decision (Joel 3)
- Disasters and Our Response (Joel 1:1–2:17)
- Disasters and God’s Grace (Joel 2:18–27)
- God’s Spirit for All God’s People (Joel 2:28–32)
- God’s Judgment – Bad News and Good (Joel 3)
Books on Joel
- Hosea, Joel (New American Commentary) by Duane Garrett
- Joel (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament) by Joel Barker
- Joel and Obadiah: Disaster and Deliverance by Iwan Rhys Jones
Books on the Prophets in General
- Peter J. Gentry, How to Read and Understand the Prophets (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).
- O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Prophets (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2004).
- Aaron Chalmers, Interpreting the Prophets: Reading, Understanding and Preaching from the Worlds of the Prophets (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015)
Books on the Minor Prophets
- Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates, The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2016).
- Paul House, The Unity of the Twelve (New York: T & T Clark).
Soli Deo Gloria, ds