Joel (prophet)

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Fresco of the prophet Joel
Prophet Joel as imagined by Michelangelo (Fresco, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, 1508-1512).
Died July 13
Venerated in Judaism
Major shrine Gush Halav, Israel
Feast October 19 (Orthodox)
Attributes Prophet
Major works Book of Joel

Joel (/ˈ.əl/; Hebrew: יואלYoel; Syriac: ܝܘܐܝܠYu'il) was a prophet of ancient Israel, the second of the twelve minor prophets and the author of the Book of Joel. He is mentioned by name only once in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, in the introduction to his own brief book, as the son of Pethuel (Joel 1:1). The name Joel combines the covenant name of God, YHWH (or Yahweh), and el (god), and has been translated as "one to whom YHWH is God," that is, a worshiper of YHWH.[1]

The dates of his life are unknown; he may have lived anywhere from the 9th century BCE to the 5th century BCE, depending on the dating of his book. The book's mention of Greeks[2] has not given scholars any help in dating the text since the Greeks were known to have had access to Judah from Mycenaean times.[3] However, the book's mention of Judah's suffering[4] and to the standing temple[5] has led some scholars to place the date of the book in the post-exilic period, after the construction of the Second Temple. Joel was originally from Judah/Judea, and, judging from its prominence in his prophecy, was quite possibly a prophet associated with the ritual of the Jerusalem temple.[6]

According to a long-standing tradition, Joel was buried in Gush Halav.[7]

In Christianity

On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar, his feast day is October 19. In the Roman Martyrology the prophet is commemorated on May 10.[8] He is commemorated with the other Minor prophets in the Calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31.

Joel's statement that "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" was applied by St Peter in his sermon at Pentecost to the events of that day. Since then other religious figures have interpreted the words as having special significance for their own time.

In the Baha'i Faith

Joel is considered a minor prophet in the Baha'i Faith.[9] In the Kitab-i-Iqan, Baha'ullah states that previous prophecies by minor prophets such as Joel are merely symbolical and should not be understood literally.[10] Yet the tradition of the veneration of Joel or Joelle the pilgrim is still observed by the minority of Baha'i followers in Lebanon on the 23rd of May every year, under the title of the "festivities of Joel the pilgrim (al hajj)".[citation needed]


  1. Commentary by A. R. Faussett
  2. Joel 3:6 in chapter divisions of English bibles, 4:6 in the Hebrew Bible
  3. A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, B. M. Wheeler, Joel
  4. Joel 3:19; 4:19 in the Hebrew Bible
  5. Joel 1:14
  6. Leslie C. Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), p.31
  7. Gush Halav
  9. Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on a Bahái̓́ Theology - Volume 8 - Page 32, J. A. McLean - 1997
  10. Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era: An Introduction to the Bahá'í Faith - Page 251, J. E. Esslemont - 2006

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