Who was the author? Joel, son of Pethuel, is presumably the person the Holy Spirit inspired to write the book.
What is the book? The book of Joel appears to contain prophecies God had him speak to Judah and Jerusalem, warning of their coming devastation, calling them to repent, and promising their restoration and blessing.
Where was it written? Given Joel's concern with Judah and Jerusalem, it seems likely that he lived in or near the nation's capital and probably wrote the book there.
When was it written? The book of Joel does not refer to any historical events that we can reliably date, and so the book is variously dated in the ninth or sixth centuries B.C. If we take its placement between Hosea and Amos as chronological, then we would take the earlier date, and there is a good case for doing so.
Why? The people of Judah and Jerusalem were increasingly unfaithful and were fooling themselves into thinking that the coming day of the Lord would bring judgment only to the other nations and that they would receive deliverance and blessing. Joel tells them that their unfaithfulness would be punished, too, and that their restoration and blessing would come only after their repentance.
How? Dr. Luther contrasts Joel's pleading and lamenting with other prophets' denouncing and rebuking, but Dr. Luther also observes how the people's reactions to Joel's work was similar to how they reacted to the other prophets: they did not believe him and regarded him as a fool.
For further reading on the book of Joel:
- Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume X: Minor Prophets, translated by James Martin and published as two volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1986. (There are some 64 pages on Joel.)
- Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 6 pages on Joel.)