Old Testament

Wisdom and Poetical Books

What happens on the Day of the Lord in the book of Joel?

Most people agree that the first chapter in Joel is about an attack of locusts. The attack was a manifestation of God’s wrath: “Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near, and it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes—joy and gladness from the house of our God?” (NIV, Joel 1:15–16)

Opinions differ as to what happened on the Day of the Lord in Chapter 2. Joel filled the chapter with images of a military campaign: “Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.” (NRSV, Joel 2:1–2) Some people view this as a continuation of the first chapter. The great and powerful army refers to the locusts. Some people see the event as the coming of God, in which case the great and powerful army refers to the army of God.


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