Daily Bible Reading for September 5, 2014, with Commentary: Joel
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Author: Joel, a prophet of the Lord
Date: unknown, scholars debate a wide variety of dates, from shortly after the split of Judah and Israel, to the post-exilic period
Context: Nothing is known of Joel outside of the introduction given to him in the first verse. Following Joel’s brief introduction, old men, drunkards, the general audience, farmers, and priests are summoned to lament (2-14), followed by a prophetic lament (15-20). Many scholars believe that in chapter 2, the army of locusts is a physical army of men. Judgment against Israel is announced with the sounding of the alarm (1-2a), a description of the army (2b-9), and the signs of the Day of the Lord (10-11), followed by a call to repent. The Lord responds (18-20) and the proclamation that Israel will be forgiven and the land healed (21-27). In the Day of the Lord, the gift of the Spirit will be given (28-29), the signs are foretold (30-31), and salvation promised (32). Chapter 3 is the resolution. The Lord has come and all nations will be judged for their actions, the Valley of Jehoshaphat (1-3) and Tyre, Sidon, Philistia (4-8), before all nations are summoned (9-12). There will be signs of the Day of the Lord (13-16). The final verses of this book describe the final state, when the Lord has returned.