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Joel (prophet)

Fresco of the prophet Joel
Prophet Joel as imagined by Michelangelo (Fresco, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, 1508–1512).
Venerated in
Major shrineGush Halav, Israel
FeastOctober 19 (Orthodox)
Major worksBook of Joel

Joel (/ˈəl/; Hebrew: יוֹאֵלYōʾēl; Greek: ἸωήλIōḗl; Syriac: ܝܘܐܝܠYu'il) was an Israelite prophet, the second of the twelve minor prophets and according to the book itself the author of the Book of Joel. He is mentioned by name only once in the Hebrew Bible, in the introduction to that book, as the son of Pethuel (Joel 1:1). The name Joel combines the covenant name of God, YHWH (or Yahweh), and El (god), and has been translated as "YHWH is God" or "one to whom YHWH is God," that is, a worshiper of YHWH.[1] Scholars view Joel as having been completed in the Ptolemaic period (c. 301-201 BC) due to its use of earlier texts and perspective on Yahweh and the nations.[2]


Some commentators suggest that Joel lived in the 9th century BC,[1] whereas others assign him to the 5th or 4th century BC.[3] The dating of his book is similarly debated; there are no mentions of kings that might help locate it in time. The book's mention of Greeks[4] has not given scholars any help in dating the text since the Greeks were known to have had access to Judah from Mycenaean times (c. 1600–1100 BC).[5] However, the book's mention of Judah's suffering[6] and to the standing temple[7] have led some scholars to place the date of the book in the post-exilic period, after the construction of the Second Temple.[citation needed] Joel was originally from Judah/Judea, and, judging from its prominence in his prophecy, was quite possibly a prophet associated with the ritual of either Solomon's or the Second temple, depending on the date when he lived.[8]

According to a long-standing tradition, Joel was buried in Gush Halav.[9] In the western outskirts of the modern village, there is a structure that has long been considered Joel's tomb, which contains several ancient rock-cut tombs.[10]

In Christianity

On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, his feast day is 19 October.[11]

In the Roman Martyrology, the prophet is commemorated on 13 July.[12]

He is commemorated with the other minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on 31 July.

Joel's statement that "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" was applied by St Peter in his sermon at Pentecost to the events of that day.[13] Since then, other religious figures have interpreted the words as having special significance for their own time.[example needed]

According to the Eastern Orthodox Christian hymns, the ancient hymnographer Anatolius links Joel's prophecy to the birth of Christ. In Joel 2:30, he says that the blood refers to the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the fire to the Divinity of Christ, and the pillars of smoke to the Holy Spirit.[11]

In the Baha'i Faith

Joel is considered a minor prophet in the Baha'i Faith.[14] In the Kitab-i-Iqan, Baha'ullah states that previous prophecies by minor prophets such as Joel have symbolic meanings and significance and therefore should not be understood literally.[15]



  1. ^ a b "Commentary by A. R. Faussett". Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. ^ “Joel.” Hagedorn, Anselm C. The Oxford Handbook of the Minor Prophets. Edited by Julia M. O'Brien. pp. 411–423. “The book's engagement with earlier texts ( especially those relating to the ‘Day of Yahweh’) attests to its late origin, and its ending reflects late theological thinking about the relationship between Israel and the nations, portraying Yahweh as the ruler of the whole world…These theological debates point to a very late origin of Joel 2:28-3:21 [Heb. chaps. 3-4]. The universal judgment of the nations probably belongs to discourse of the late Persian period (Steck 1996), while the vision of Joel 2:28-32 [Heb. chap. 3] may best be understood during the relative peace of Ptolemaic times.”
  3. ^ Anderson 1968, p. 524.
  4. ^ Joel 3:6
  5. ^ Noegel & Wheeler 2010, p. 172.
  6. ^ Joel 3:19
  7. ^ Joel 1:14
  8. ^ Allen 1976, p. 31.
  9. ^ "Gush HaLav". Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  10. ^ Cinamon, G. (2013). Gush Halav. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel/חדשות ארכיאולוגיות: חפירות וסקרים בישראל.
  11. ^ a b "Prophet Joel in the Eastern Orthodox Church". Orthodox Church of America. Archived from the original on October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Roman Martyrology, Complete, July". Boston Catholic Journal. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  13. ^ Acts 2:16–21
  14. ^ McLean 1997, p. 32.
  15. ^ Esslemont 2006, p. 251.


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Joel (prophet)
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