4.0 Introduction _ Studies in Joel

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					4.0 Introduction &
  Studies in Joel
 Studies in the Scroll of
      the Twelve
        4.1 General Introduction
• "The fundamental problem of the book of Joel, and
  that on which its interpretation is based, is twofold:
  What is the character of the natural catastrophe
  described in the first two chapters? and What is the
  relationship of this catastrophe to the proclamation
  of the day of Yahweh? In other words, how does
  Yahweh's activity in human history relate to and
  involve the natural world in which it is set? This crux
  of the Book of Joel, therefore, is essentially a
  problem of ecology." [Simkins, "God, History, and
  the Natural World in the Book of Joel," CBQ, 55,
  (1993), 435]
        4.1 General Introduction
• "Underlying all aspects of the study of Joel is the
  fundamental issue of the book's unity. Though one of
  the shortest prophetic books in the canon, Joel
  contains two distinct parts...." [Hiebert, "Joel, Book
  of," ABD, III, 873-874]
• “The character of the book of Joel is not easy to
  define. Two particular elements stand out; on the
  one hand marked liturgical forms of speech
  (especially in 1.5-20; 2.12-17) and on the other hand
  large-scale eschatological descriptions (especially in
  2.1-11; 3f.). Both have been combined into an artistic
  composition.” [Rendtorff, The Old Testament: An
  Introduction, 218]
              4.2 The Text: MT
• "The MT is, in general, well preserved. An early
  witness to the textual tradition preserved by the
  Masoretes is a scroll of the Minor Prophets from the
  era of the Second Jewish Revolt which has been
  recovered from the Wadi Murabba'at (DJD 2). It
  contains portions of Joel 2.20-4.21 (Eng. 2.20-3.21).
  Fragments of the Hebrew text of Joel are now
  available from an even earlier manuscript of the
  Minor Prophets (75 B.C.E) discovered among the
  Qumran Scrolls (4QXII; DJD, 11:54-99). This
  manuscript, which contains portions of Joel 1.10-2.1,
  2.8-23, and 4.6-21 [Eng 3.6-21], stands in the same
  textual tradition as the MT and the versions. It
  relative affiliation with MT or OG cannot be
  determined." [Hiebert, ibid., 879]
          4.2 The Text: LXX

• "A unique feature of the Greek versions is their
  division of Joel into only three chapters instead
  of the four of the MT, a division followed in
  modern English Bibles. Joel 3.1-5 of the MT is
  affixed by G to Joel 2 as vv28-32. Joel 4.1-21 of
  the MT thus becomes Joel 3.1-21 in G."
  [Hiebert, ibid., 879]
       4.2 The Text: Verse Divisions
• “The verse divisions of the OT text originate in ancient
  Jewish tradition as it was written into the text by the
  Masoretes of Tiberias in the Middle Ages. However,
  the chapter divisions were given to the Vulgate text by
  Stephen Langton (ca. AD 1205). He subdivided the
  text of Joel into three chapters, a division that was
  introduced into the Septuagint and most other
  translations in the fourteenth century. That division
  was imposed even on the Hebrew Bible for a brief time,
  but in the second Rabbinic Bible of Jacob ben Hayyim
  (1524-1525) the text was redivided into four chapters,
  subdividing chapter 2 into chapters (2.1-32 became
  2.1-27 and 3.1-5). Thus the English versions and the
  Hebrew compare as follows . . . . [Bullock, An Introduction to
  the Old Testament Prophetic Books, 327]
4.2 Text: English vs. Hebrew

      English    Hebrew

    1.1-20      1.1-20

    2.1-27      2.1-27

    2.28-32     3.1-5

    3.1-21      4.1-21
        4.3 Date of Composition
• "The placement of Joel together with the 8th
  century prophets near the beginning of the Book of
  Twelve in both the Hebrew and Greek canons reflect
  a traditional understanding of Joel as preexilic
  prophet. This view is still common with estimate
  ranging from the late 9th century (Bic, 1960) to the
  early 6th century just before the fall of Jerusalem
  (Rudolph, Joel... KAT). Most scholars, however now
  place Joel in the postexilic period, somewhere
  between the late 6th (Ahlstrm, 1971: 129) and the
  early 4th centuries (Wolff, Joel and Amos,
  Hermeneia, 4-6)." [Hiebert, ibid., 878]
         4.3 Date of Composition
• "Ultimately...any dating of the book of Joel can be
  only inferential and speculative. It is on the basis of
  the conditions apparently reflected in the prophecy
  that one assigns a tentative date. . . . our assumption
  is that Joel is a unified work composed under the
  circumstances of an invasion against the city of
  Jerusalem (and thus, of course, Judah) by
  Mesopotamian enemy forces, either Assyria or
  Babylonia. If this admittedly speculative assessment
  is correct the words of the book would likely have
  been spoken on one of these occasions: the Assyrian
  invasion of the 701 BC, the Babylonian invasion of
  598, or the Babylonian invasion of 588." [Stuart,
  WBC: Hosea-Jonah, 226]
       4.3 Factors for Dating Joel
• Temple worship?
• Lack of the mention of a King
• The Apocalyptic portions in the last section
• The mention of Phoenicia and Philistia dealing with
  Greece = Persian era, @ 4th century BCE
• Canonical ordering, i.e., placing Joel between Hosea
  and Amos
• Quotations and parallels with other prophetic
  writings: “The reason for this evaluation (post-exilic
  or Persian period) turned on such evidence as Joel’s
  heavy dependence on earlier written prophets (Isa
  13; Oba 17, etc.).” [Childs, Introduction of the Old
  Testament as Scripture, 387]
           4.4 Unity & Diversity
• The text is thematically broken up: 1-2 (Eng 1.1-2.27)
  which focus on a Locust plague, its disastrous result,
  the solemn assembly, and God's deliverance; and 3-4
  (Eng 2.28-3.21) an apocalyptic presentation. These
  two sections have similarities of language, and
• Unity:
   – "The identification of both events with the day of
     Yahweh [1.15; 2.1, 11; 3.4 (Eng 2.31); 4.14 (Eng
     3.14)] links them together under a single concern:
     the ultimate vindication of Judah." [Hiebert, ibid.,
        4.4 Unity & Diversity
– “. . . H. W. Wolff has been highly successful in
  showing the literary unity of the book which is
  characterized by its striking symmetry. The
  lament (1.4-20) parallels the promise (2.21-27), the
  announcement of a catastrophe (2.1-11) matches
  the promise of better days (4.1-3, 9-17), and the
  summons to repentance (2.12-17) is set over
  against the promise of the spirit (3.1ff.). Such
  obvious paralleled expressions in 2.27 and 4.17
  (EVV 3.17) speaks against separating the first two
  chapters from the last.” [Childs, Introduction of
  the Old Testament as Scripture, 389]
       4.4 Unity & Diversity

• Diversity:
  – This view takes the Locust plague and the
    apocalyptic material and argue that the
    Locust plague had already occurred and the
    people had sensed God's deliverance in it,
    while the apocalyptic material pointed to a
    impending threat that the people look back
    on the locust incident as paradigmatic for
    handling this new enemy.
          4.5 The Prophet, Joel
1. Name lawy
  – "His name contains a confession of faith, Yahweh
    is God! and may reflect the piety of his parents.
    But there is not the challenge in the historical
    situation that there is in the similar name Elijah,
    My God is Yahweh! For there is no trace that the
    people of his day were idolators, and our prophet
    was not the first bearer of this rather frequent
    name." [Brewer, ICC, 67]
  – The name Joel was not uncommon in ancient
    Israel. It appears, for example, as Samuel's oldest
    son (1 Sam 8.2) and as one of David's heroes (1
    Chr 11.38). The occurrence of the name Joel
    chiefly in the Chronicler's History is regarded by
   4.5 The Prophet, Joel
Wolff (Joel and Amos, Hermeneia, 24-25) as
evidence of its popularity in the postexilic
period, and an indication of the postexilic
date of the prophet. Its use in the
Deuteronomistic History, however, makes
this argument inconclusive (1 Sam 8.2)."
[Hiebert, ibid., 878]
4.5 The Prophet, Joel
 4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
1. Cult-Prophet Theory:
  –   "A popular theory. . . , describes Joel as a cult
      prophet, an official related to the temple in
      Jerusalem.     Especially      prominent    among
      Scandinavian scholars (Kapelrud, 1948: 176;
      Ahlstöm 1971: 130-37), this theory is based on
      the fact that Joel calls the people to a community
      ceremony of repentance at the Temple (2.15-17)
      and employs features of temple prayers to call
      the people to lament (1.5-10). In fact Kapelrud
      has argued that the book of Joel represents a
      unified Temple liturgy designed for communal
      worship (1948: 3-9)." [Hiebert, ibid., 878]
4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
 – “His avid interest in Jerusalem, particularly the
   temple (1.9, 13f., 16; 2.14-17, 32 [MT 3.5]; 3 [MT 4]:1,
   6, 16f.), suggests that he... was a resident. His stress on
   priestly ceremonies and religious festivities supports
   the theory that he was a temple prophet.” [La Sor,
   Hubbard & Bush, Old Testament Survey, 438]
 – “Was he... a ‘cult-prophet’? It is difficult to give a sure
   answer to this question, since in the postexilic period
   the prophets generally, and Malachi in particular,
   regarded the cult as very important. It seem in fact
   that Joel’s ministry was not too far removed in time
   from that of Malachi - around 400 or in the fourth
   century BC.” [Schmidt, Old Testament Introduction,
4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
 – “Judging the disposition of the Temple prophets
   by the political coalition the priests and prophets
   had formed during Jeremiah’s time (Jer 29.24-
   32), then Joel was not a Temple prophet. If more
   honest, less politicized Temple prophets existed
   in OT times, then we may entertain the notion
   that Joel belonged among them. However, the
   respect and sympathy that he bore toward the
   Temple and priesthood are more likely the
   healthy side of the prophets’ view of the cult, a
   side we rarely see in the pre-exilic prophets, but
   which become evident among the post-exilic
   prophets, especially Haggai and Zechariah.”
   [Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament
   Prophetic Books, 325]
 4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
2. Arguments against the Cult-Prophet Theory:
  – "Many features of the book, however, argue to the
    contrary: Joel's authority and stance toward
    society derived not from his official status in the
    cult but from the personal reception of divine
    revelation which marked out prophetic figures in
    Israel (1.1a). Prophets in Israel commonly
    delivered speeches as religious sanctuaries (e.g.,
    Jeremiah 7; Amos 7.10-17) and even came from
    priestly families (e.g., Jeremiah 1.1; Ezekiel 1.3),
    yet they do not appear to be professional members
    of Israel's religious institutions. They spoke on the
    basis of their own charismatic gifts (e.g., Amos
    7.14-15). Joel addresses the priests not as part of
4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
   his own social group, but as one sector of society
   which must respond to the crisis. Furthermore, his
   own words heavily reflect prophetic forms of
   speech (1.1-4; 2.18-27), and his language makes use
   of traditional prophetic phraseology (e.g., 1.5 and
   Isa 13.6; 2.2 and Zeph 1.15-16). Thus the common
   characterization of Joel as a cult prophet is by no
   means assured. He may well have found his place
   among prophetic circles who represented an
   institution in Israelite society distinct form the
   cult." [Hiebert, ibid., 878]
 – "The prophet has made heavy use of earlier
   prophetic books, and whole sayings and phrases
   are sometimes quoted in Joel's work. The major
   citations come from the writings of Judean
4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
    prophets (Oba 17 = Joel 3.5; Isa 13.6; Eze
    30.2-3 = Joel 1.15; Amos 1.2 = Joel 4.16;
    Zeph 1.14-15 = Joel 2.1-2), but Ephraimite
    influences can also be seen in Joel's theology
    and vocabulary." [Wilson, Prophecy and
    Society in Ancient Israel, 290]
 4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
3. Apocalyptic Social Dynamics:
  – "The apocalyptic orientation seems to arise
    especially among members of prophetic schools
    who have been excluded from current power
    structures and have lost hope of achieving
    salvation within the status quo. The loss of status,
    power, and wealth was a common experience of
    the Jews following the destruction of Jerusalem
    and the fall of the monarchy. The experience of
    disenfranchisement may have been even more
    acute as Hanson (1975) has argued, among
    particular groups within postexilic society who
    found themselves outside the restructured temple
    hierarchy and its vision for a restored Judah."
    [Hiebert, ibid., 878]
4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
 – "The book of Joel reflects a fairly long history of
   development, throughout which the eschatological
   dimension of prophetic Yahwism was preserved
   and deepened. In its present form, the book
   presents a powerful protest against the claims of
   the Zadokite hierocracy in a manner reminiscent
   of Ezekiel 38-39. Whereas the Zadokites
   responded to the historical crises of the postexilic
   period as challenges that could be met
   successfully through renewed commitment within
   the context of the existing sacral institutions, the
   book of Joel interprets them as the final out break
   of evil leading to a fearsome battle in which only
   the Divine Warrior could prevail (1.15; 2.1-2, 11,
4.5 The Prophet, Joel: Social Role
  27). According to this eschatological view, what the
  people were witnessing were not events with which
  Judah's institutions and its leaders could cope but
  the prelude to a final confrontation between God
  and all the evil forces of the world, in which that
  latter would be judged definitively. Thus, while
  Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicler represent an
  ideology emphasizing continuity with the past, and
  a claim to the absolute authority of existing
  institutional structures, the Book of Joel espouses
  the model of discontinuity we associate with the
  apocalyptic eschatology of postexilic dissident
  groups." [Hanson, The People Called: The Growth
  of Community in the Bible, 313]
                 4.6 Structure
• “Two popular divisions of the book are found in the
  literature, each dividing the book into the book into
  two major parts. The one, based mainly upon content,
  insists that part I deals with the present reality of a
  locust plague (1.1-2.27), and Part II presents the
  future realities of the eschatological age (2.28-3.21).
  The other division, based upon literary form, views
  part I to be a lament (1.2-2.17) and Part II Yahweh’s
  response to the lamentation (2.18-3.21). The later
  partition seems more satisfactory, for a Hans W.
  Wolff observes, 2.19b-20 already tells about the
  reversal of the disaster. Thus 2.18 becomes the hinge;
  ‘Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and will
  have pity on His people.’” [Bullock, An Introduction
  to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, 326]
          4.6 Structure: Wolff
1. 1.1-2.17
   1.1 Lament over scarcity 1.1-20
   1.2 Announcement of Catastrophe 2.1-11
   1.3 A call to Repentance 2.12-17
2. 2.18-4.21 [Eng 2.18-3.21]
   2.1 Promise of economic restoration 2.21-27
   2.2 Promise of Jerusalem's salvation 4.1-3, 9-
     17 [Eng 3.1-3, 9-17]
   2.3 Promise of the Spirit 3.1-5 [Eng 2.28-32]
                    4.7 Style
1. Major Catchwords and word groups that unite
   chapters 1-2 and 3-4 [Wolff, Joel and Amos,
   Hermeneia, 8]:
  1.1 wvdq cf. 1.14 and 4.9
  1.2 hwhy ~wy       bwrq yk cf. 1.15 and 2.1bb-
    2aa with 4.14
  1.3 hwhy    ~wy awb cf. 2.1ba and 3.4b
  1.4 $vx cf. 2.2 and 3.4
  1.5 hjylp   hyht "to be one who escapes" cf. 2.3
    and 3.5
  1.6 #raw ~ymv wv[r "the heavens and the
    earth quake" cf. 2.10a and 4.16ab
                 4.7 Style
1.7 ~hgn   wpsa ~ybkwkw wrdq xryw
 fmv "the sun and the moon are darkened and
 the brightness of the stars is extinguished" cf.
 2.10b and 4.15
1.8 wlwq !tn hwhyw "and Yahweh gives
  forth his voice" cf. 2.11a and 4.16aa
1.9 arwnhw lwdgh hwhy ~wy "the great
  and terrible Day of Yahweh" cf. 2.11b and 3.4b
1.10 wcbq "gather" cf. 2.16 and 4.(2), 11
1.11 ~ywgh... ytlxnw ym[ "the nations...
  my people and my heritage" cf. 2.17 and 4.2
                    4.7 Style
2. Grammatical Emphasis:
  2.2 “The impact of Joel’s literary style is further
    seen in the numerous imperatives with which his
    book is punctuated. Some forty-five occurrences
    of the imperative mood declare the urgency of his
    message.” [Bullock, An Introduction to the Old
    Testament Prophetic Books, 326]
3. Variations on a Theme:
  3.1 "Joel's style is especially characterized... by
    variations on a theme. In chap. 1, for example, he
    effectively portrays the need for universal
    lamentation by demanding consideration of this
    action form a series of disparate types including,
    on the one hand drunks (1.5, an imaginative way
                    4.7 Style
to begin a lament call) and, on the other, temple priest
(1.13). Or in his awesome portrait of Yahweh's invading
army (2.1-11), the constant unstoppable progress of the
enemy toward and against Jerusalem courses along in a
series of images from that of specks of movement visible
on the crests of faraway hills (v2) to the feel and sound of
the foe right on top of the defenders (vv9-11). Likewise,
Joel's description of the democratization of the Holy
Spirit (3.1-5 [Eng 2.28-32]) is perhaps the most
comprehensive elaboration of this doctrine anywhere in
Scripture. And his vision of the valley of judgment (4.1-
16) is one of the OT's most graphic assurances of the
eventual defeat of the enemies of God's people, portrayed
via a thorough, repetitious attention to the "nations" and
their just desert." [Stuart, ibid., 227]
        4.8 The Theology of Joel
1. The Day of Yahweh [1.15; 2.1, 11; 3.4 [Eng
  2.31]; 4.14 [Eng 3.14]:
  – “More than the locust invasion, the Day of the
    Lord is the true message to Joel. By his time the
    tradition that had developed into a complex form.
    Basically two-sided, a time of judgment and
    subsequent blessing for Israel and judgment for
    the nations, since the fall of Jerusalem the thought
    of the nation’s portion of the Day of the Lord had
    been a troublesome pondering for the prophets....
    Yet Joel saw another potential dimension in the
    tradition, that Israel’s Day of the Lord could strike
    again if he did not repent and humble himself
    before his God.” [Bullock, An Introduction to the
    Old Testament Prophetic Books, 332-33]
          4.8 The Theology of Joel
• "In general the day of Yahweh is used by biblical writers
  for a decisive divine intervention in human affairs (Everson
  1974: 335-37). In the earliest actual occurrence of the
  phrase, Amos 5.18-20, the prophet Amos employs it for an
  act of divine judgment when Israel will experience defeat
  and disaster (cf. Eze 7.1-20; 13.1-5; Zeph 1). Amos implies,
  however, that his audience thinks of the day of Yahweh as a
  day of salvation and good fortune rather than a day of
  punishment, a fact which has led scholars to the conclusion
  that the phrase traditionally had a positive meaning,
  describing either a victory of Yahweh on Israel's behalf in a
  holy war (von Rad, 1959) or the enthronement of Yahweh
  in Israel's cult (Mowinckel, 1961: 2.229). This positive use of
  the concept is in fact revived among apocalyptic authors
  following the exile who apply it to the anticipated
  restoration of Judah and judgment of its enemies (e.g., Zech
  14.1-9, Oba 15-21, Isa 63.1-4)." [Hiebert, ibid., 876]
       4.8 The Theology of Joel
2. Joel and the Covenant:
  – ". . . Joel depended on the Mosaic covenant of the
    Pentateuch for the basic points of his message: the
    covenant's curses must come as a result of
    national disobedience; but after a period of
    chastisement, God will restore his people and bless
    them in ways they had not yet experienced."
    [Stuart, ibid., 228]
  – The parallels between 1.1-2.27 and Deut 32.
        4.8 The Theology of Joel
3. Joel and Yahweh's Sovereignty:
  – ". . . Joel is notable for (1) its routine, generalized
    reference to "the nations" (1.6; 2.17, 19; 4.2, 9, 11
    12 [Eng 3.2, 9, 11, 12]; only Obadiah has
    proportionately as many references), especially in
    contexts of Yahweh’s judgment against them; (2)
    its extensive prediction that all the nation will be
    required to assemble for a final, decisive, cosmic
    battle of judgment in which Yahweh will punish
    the nations "all around" (3.12 [4.12]); and (3) its
    insistence that moving at his command (2.11, 25)
    in fulfillment of the punishment due his people via
    the Day of Yahweh." [Stuart, ibid. 229]
      4.8 The Theology of Joel
– “. . . Joel teaches some valuable lessons about
  God’s complete control of nature. Nowhere does
  Joel hint that anyone or anything else is
  responsible for the locusts: they are God’s army
  (2.11), dispatched and withdrawn by (v. 20). No
  dualism which would seek to attribute calamities
  to forces outside God’s authority and no
  pantheism which would identify God with his
  creation find a niche here. God is Lord over all yet
  active in all.” [La Sor, Hubbard & Bush, Old
  Testament Survey, 442]
       4.8 The Theology of Joel
4. The Democratization of the Spirit:
  – “The lawgiver himself had once wished that all
    God’s people were prophets (Num 11.29). Joel
    finally envisions that society, open to the voice of
    God in oracle, dream, and vision, with every social
    rank of society responsive to His revelation (2.28-
    29). It is another form of the recognition formula,
    another way of declaring that finally the covenant
    people would recognize their God, acknowledge
    Him alone as Sovereign Lord, and submit to His
    commands (cf. 2.27; 3.17).” [Bullock, An
    Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books,
       4.8 The Theology of Joel
5. The General Nature of the Distress:
  – “. . . it is generally agreed that a real plague of
    locust is envisaged. However, the prophet’s
    conception are interesting. Joel is clearly
    dependent on traditional and, to a greater or
    lessor degree, conventional, prophetic concepts
    for the vivid way in which he illustrates the
    distress; that is to say, on concepts which he only
    secondarily relates to the distress itself. He
    equates the locusts with the armies of the Day of
    Yahweh marching into battle, and is thus able to
    draw on the whole ranger of war concepts
    connected with the Day of Yahweh.” [von Rad,
    Old Testament Theology, Volume II, 121]
        4.8 The Theology of Joel
6. Eschatology and Silence on Judah's Sins:
  – “Joel also has been contrasted with Israel’s great
    prophets because he makes not mention of the sins
    which precipitated the calamity. However, where
    they look forward to impending doom, Joel stands
    in the midst of it. Solution, no cause, is the pressing
    problem....” [La Sor, Hubbard & Bush, Old
    Testament Survey, 441-42]

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