"And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved."
Who was Joel?
Joel, the son of Pethuel, prophesied to the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the 9th century B.C, while Hosea was prophesying to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. As a young man Joel would have been exposed to the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. Joel is one of the earliest of the written prophets. Joel means "Jehovah is my God." Joel focuses on the Holiness and Judgement of God.
The Historic Context
The books of 1 and 2 Kings provide the historic background for the ministry of Joel. While Joel refers to priests, there is no reference to a king. Between 841 to 835 B.C. Queen Athalaih ruled Judah. Athalaih had been the Queen Mother and when her son died she seized the throne and murdered all of her grandsons, except for Joash, who was hidden in the Temple, by the High Priest, to preserve the line of David. Athalaih was the daughter of the notorious Jezebel, the enemy of the prophet Elijah. Jezebel had wrought havoc in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. After Joel's prophecy calling for national repentance had been delivered, the people gained the courage to depose Athalaih and place 7-year-old Joash on the throne.
A Plague of Locusts
The prophecy of Joel begins with a natural disaster. A plague of locusts had devastated the country. Swarms of locusts of up to 600 million insects have been recorded, eating up to 80,000 tonnes of food a day, travelling at a speed of 16 kilometres a day and laying 5,000 eggs per square foot. In North Africa, where such swarms are common, they can blot out the sun and make midday seem like midnight. They can not only strip trees of their leaves but of their bark as well. "What the chewing locusts left, the swarming locusts have eaten; what the swarming locusts left the crawling locust has eaten; what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten." Joel 1:4. In Exodus 10 the 8th plague (of locusts) was sent by God on Egypt. In Deuteronomy 28 the Lord warned that one of the curses of disobedience would be plagues of locusts.