Joel, the second of the twelve Hebrew minor prophets, son of Pethuel. By some critics he is supposed to have prophesied in the reign of Uzziah, between about 800 and 780 B. C.; while according to Credner, Movers, Hitzig, and Meier, he lived in the early time of King Joash, and according to Hilgenfeld at the time of the Persian supremacy, shortly before the arrival of Ezra. The historical background seems, however, to determine the date of the prophecy. There is no mention of a king, and all is controlled by the ministers of religion, pointing to the minority of Joash under the guardianship of the high priest Je-hoiada, about 870; and the absence of Assyrians in the enumeration of foreign enemies favors this early date. The book of Joel begins with announcing an extraordinary plague of locusts accompanied by drought. This is followed by promises of the divine forgiveness, of the restoration of the land to its former fertility, of spiritual blessings, and of the divine vengeance on the enemies of the chosen people. His descriptions rank, in sublimity, vividness, and purity of style, among the finest passages of Hebrew poetry.

Among the more important commentators are Pocock (Oxford, 1691, and in Latin, Leipsic, 1695), Van Toll (Utrecht, 1700), Rosenmuller (Leipsic, 1836), Credner (Halle, 1831), Meier (Tubingen, 1841), and Umbreit (Hamburg, 1844); besides the works on the minor prophets by Henderson (London, 1845), Hitzig (1852), and Pu-sey (Oxford, 1861), and Ewald on the Old Testament prophets (2d ed., Gottingen, 1867).