In the 1611 King James Bible, the Book of Joel is formed by three chapters: the second one has 32 verses, and it is equivalent to the union of the chapter 2 (with 26 verses) and chapter 3 (with 5 verses) of other editions of the Bible.
c. 520-500 BC, contemporary with the return of the exiles and the careers of Zechariah and Haggai.
The decades around 400 BC, during the Persian period (making him one of the latest writing prophets)
Evidence produced for these positions includes allusions in the book to the wider world, similarities with other prophets, and linguistic details. Some commentators, such as John Calvin, attach no great importance to the precise dating.
The Masoretic text places Joel between Hosea and Amos (the order inherited by the Tanakh and Old Testament), while the Septuagint order is Hosea-Amos-Micah-Joel-Obadiah-Jonah. The Hebrew text of Joel seems to have suffered little from scribal transmission, but is at a few points supplemented by the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate versions, or by conjectural emendation. While the book purports to describe a plague of locusts, some ancient Jewish opinion saw the locusts as allegorical interpretations of Israel's enemies. This allegorical interpretation was applied to the church by many church fathers. Calvin took a literal interpretation of chapter 1, but allegorical view of chapter 2, a position echoed by some modern interpreters. Most modern interpreters, however, see Joel speaking of a literal locust plague given a prophetic/ apocalyptic interpretation.
The traditional ascription of the whole book to the prophet Joel was challenged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by a theory of a three-stage process of composition: 1:1-2:27 were from the hand of Joel, and dealt with a contemporary issue; 2:28-3:21/3:1-4:21 were ascribed to a continuator with an apocalyptic outlook. Mentions in the first half of the book to the day of the Lord were also ascribed to this continuator. 3:4-8/4:4-8 could be seen as even later. Details of exact ascriptions differed between scholars.
This splitting of the book's composition began to be challenged in the mid-twentieth century, with scholars defending the unity of the book, the plausibility of the prophet combining a contemporary and apocalyptic outlook, and later additions by the prophet. The authenticity of 3:4-8 has presented more challenges, although a number of scholars still defend it.
Joel 3:10 / 4:10 is a variation of Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3's prophecy, "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.", instead commanding, "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears."
The table below represents some of the more explicit quotes and allusions between specific passages in Joel and passages from the Old and New Testaments.
^Kee, Howard Clark; Meyers, Eric M.; Rogerson, John; Levine, Amy-Jill; Saldarini, Anthony J. (2008). Chilton, Bruce (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to the Bible (2, revised ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 217. ISBN978-0521691406.
^Patterson, Richard D. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 7. Zondervan.
Price, Walter K. The Prophet Joel and the Day of the Lord. (Moody, 1976)
Prior, David. The Message of Joel, Micah, and Habakkuk: Listening to the Voice of God. The Bible Speaks Today. (Inter-Varsity Press, 1999)
Pohlig, James N. An Exegetical Summary of Joel. (SIL International, 2003)
Roberts, Matis (ed). Trei asar : The Twelve Prophets: a New Translation with a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic Sources. Vol. 1: Hosea. Joel. Amos. Obadiah. (Mesorah, 1995)
Robertson, O. Palmer. Prophet of the Coming Day of the Lord: the Message of Joel. Welwyn Commentary. (Evangelical Press, 1995)
Simkins, Ronald. Yahweh's Activity in History and Nature in the Book of Joel. Ancient Near Eastern Texts & Studies 10 (E. Mellen Press, 1991)
Simundson, Daniel J. Hosea-Micah. Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries. (Abingdon, 2005)