“The word of Yahweh
Came to Joel,
The son of Pethuel.”
Like most prophets, the word of God came to Joel. The problem of dating when Joel was active as a prophet is difficult. Joel does not have a unique name, since it was a quite common name. He probably lived in Judah during the post-exilic Persian rule. He may have been a Temple prophet in the Second Temple times. Thus, putting him between 400-350 BCE does not seem out of place. His father was Pethuel, but this is the only time that his name appears in the biblical literature.
‘You are gods.
You are children of the Most High.
All of you are gods.
You shall die like mortals.
You will fall like any prince.’
Judge the earth!
All the nations belong to you!”
The temple prophet uses the words of God. He told the various other gods and world leaders that they were gods since they were children of the Most High God. However, they would all die like mortals and other earthly princes. Finally the psalm ends with the cry for God to arise and judge the earth since all nations belonged to God anyway.
“Give justice to the weak.
Give justice to the orphan.
Maintain the right of the lowly.
Maintain the right of the destitute.
Rescue the weak.
Rescue the needy.
From the hand of the wicked.”
The Temple prophet or priest spoke for God, saying that they should give justice to the weak and the orphans, a common theme in Israel. They had to maintain the lowly and the destitute. They had to rescue the weak and the needy from the hands of the wicked, which seemed to take advantage of them.
“‘But my people did not listen to my voice.
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts.
They followed their own counsels.
O that my people would listen to me!
O that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies.
I would turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate Yahweh
Would cringe toward him.
Their fate would last forever.
I would feed you with the finest of the wheat.
I would feed you with honey from the rock.
I would satisfy you.’”
This psalm ends with the Temple prophet speaking in the name of Yahweh. They would not listen to the voice of Yahweh. Israel did not submit to Yahweh because of their stubborn hearts. They followed their own counsel. They would not listen to Yahweh and walk in his ways. If they had, Yahweh could have quickly subdued their enemies. He would have turned against their foes. Those who hated Yahweh would cringe. Yahweh would have feed them with the finest wheat and honey that would have satisfied them.
O my people!,
I will admonish you!
If you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you.
You shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am Yahweh!
I brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide!
Then I will fill it.”
Yahweh speaks, probably through the Temple prophet. He wanted to admonish his people, Israel. If only they would listen to him. Very clearly he says that there should not be any strange gods among them. They were not to bow down to foreign gods. He was Yahweh, their God. He brought them out of Egypt. He wanted them to open their mouths wide so that he could fill them.