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What’s in the Book: the Twelve Prophets – Joel

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The Book of Joel is a mere four chapters long. The prophet Joel lived in the Kingdom of Judea and prophesied during the reign of the wicked King Manasseh (c. 600 B.C.E.).

Joel’s prophecy compares the coming destruction of Judea to the destruction caused by a great swarm of locust. (“For a people has come up upon my land, mighty, and without pity … He has laid waste to my vine and blasted my fig-tree…” – 1:6-7).

Joel called upon the Israelites to repent, and promised that God is willing to receive their repentance. He told of the day when the priests will weep and say: “Spare, O Lord, Your people, and give not Your heritage to shame, for nations to rule over them! Why should they say among the people. ‘Where is their G-d?’” (2:17).

The Book of Joel also foretells the coming of the Messiah. The Messianic era will be a time of great wonders, as well as a time when all of Israel will know God (“… your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” – 3:1.)

The Messianic era will also be a time of great terror for the nations that oppressed Israel in the name of God, pretending that they were committing their heinous acts as part of God’s will. (“If you render retribution on My behalf, swiftly and speedily will I return your retribution upon your own head. …. You have sold the children of Judah and Jerusalem to the sons of Yevanim, that you might remove them far from their border; behold, I will stir them up out of the place where you have sold them, and will return your retribution upon your own head” – 4:4-7).Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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