Author and His Times
Joel appears to be Jew. Dating and audience is difficult to determine. Some point to a post-exile time assuming that 3.2-3 references the exile, as well as the fact that no king or idolatry are mentioned.
I. (1) Immediate Disaster (Locust Plague)
II. (2.1-17) Future Disaster (God’s Judgment Army upon Israel likened to Locusts – Maybe Babylon?)
III. (2.18-32) God’s Response (Restoring Years the Locusts Ate; then the New Age of the Spirit)
IV. (3) Battle and Judgment on the Nations
Great book for repentance in general terms – Joel pushes repentance but hardly mentions the sins from which to repent. Also great for its rich picture of restoration – “restoring the years the locust have eaten.”
How to Read It
The “Day of the Lord” will be a time of destruction on Israel’s oppressors, yet as they were failing to consider, a day of destruction for Israel itself. Trying to interpret historical connections of Joel’s prophecy may be fun, yet also inclusive.