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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on Joel

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1.1 : Title.

The tone of the book may indicate that Joel was a temple prophet.

1.2–2.17 : The day of the LORD

(see 1.14–15 n. ). A terrible locust plague seems the end of the world, and the people need to muster all their religious resources to meet it.

1.4–2.17 : The locusts ruin the entire countryside,

and all elements of the population are summoned to lament and repent.

4 :

It is disputed whether the Heb. terms for locust, swarmer, hopper, and grub mean various kinds of locusts or successive stages of growth of one kind.

6–7 :

The description of the locusts' ravages is poetically powerful.

9 :

The gravity of the situation is indicated by the cessation of the regular sacrifices of the grain-offering and drink-offering.

12 :

The fall harvest was possibly the occasion for a religious festival expressing the people's joy.

14–15 :

The Pentateuch prescribes only one fast a year, the recurring Day of Atonement; see Lev. 23.27 . The day of the LORD was the future day of final judgment on the nations, and the purification and restoration of Israel as described in ch. 3 . Some see the plague of locusts as part of that future judgment, which is conceived of as already beginning to arrive.

2.1 :

The trumpet (Heb. shophar) was blown on the most solemn occasions, especially at the new year.

10 :

The plague of locusts in its density darkens the sun and moon which are the traditional conditions accompanying the day of the LORD in apocalyptic literature. See 2.30–31; Isa. 13.10 .

12–14 :

The LORD suggests the proper response, a genuine repentance (of the heart) and not merely an outward one (garments). For he is gracious: a frequent liturgical formula (compare Pss. 86.15; 103.8; 145.8 ). Repent: God frequently has a change of heart; see Gen. 6.6 . Blessing: usually a tangible evidence of divine favor.

15–17 :

The solemn ritual is proclaimed again. The altar stood in front of the temple. Byword: mockery (more generally, a sententious saying, like a proverb). If Israel is not spared, the Gentiles will infer that Israel's God is ineffectual.

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