The Day of the Lord
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Joel
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Joel tells us his father’s name, but he says nothing about himself. Some students think that he wrote his book about 850 years before the birth of Jesus. Other students think that he wrote it about 330 years later than that. The really important thing is that Joel has a message from God.
Nearly all God’s people have forgotten to love God. And they have forgotten to obey him. So God allows bad things to happen. There is no rain. (Look at Joel 1:20.) The plants do not grow well and insects come to eat them (Joel 1:4). And these things are only a beginning.
Joel tells the people to think about these bad things. (Look at Joel 1:2-13, 15-20.) He tells the people to change their attitude to God (Joel 1:14; 2:12-17). He tells them that they should love God again, as they did before. And they should obey him again. If they do this, then God will do good things for them (Joel 2:18-20, 32). God will send his *Holy Spirit to them (Joel 2:28).
Joel then tells the people about a special day that is coming. He calls that day ‘the Day of the *Lord’. (Look at Joel 3:14.) On that day, great things will happen (Joel 2:28-32). God will punish his people’s enemies (Joel 3:1-21). Then God will give peace to his people again (Joel 3:16, 20).
1:1-12 *Locusts eat all the plants in *Israel
1:13-20 Joel tells people to *repent
2:1-11 The army of *locusts
2:12-17 Show to the *Lord that you are sorry
2:18-27 The *Lord’s answer
2:28-32 The Day of the *Lord
3:1-15 The *Lord *judges the nations
3:16-21 God will do good things for his people
Joel talks about an army of *locusts. In chapter 1, it seems that the *locusts are real *locusts. Later, Joel talks again about an army of *locusts. Many students think that, this time, he means an army of soldiers. So there is an army that consists of *locusts. And there is also an army that consists of soldiers. Both these armies come to make God’s people think. God’s people need to think about why these armies come. Joel explains it all in this book.
Joel wants everyone to think carefully about his message. It is God’s message.
The old people should notice, because this message is new and different. They have not heard it before. Old people should be wiser than young people. Old people should have learnt from their lives how to be wise.
Joel wants the children to give attention to the message.
Even children who are not yet born should hear the message. That shows us that Joel’s message is for everyone. It is not just for the people that Joel is speaking to. Also nowadays, God’s people can give attention to Joel’s message and they should do so. It is always time to give attention to God.
Joel wants people who have drunk too much *wine to wake up. He wants them to listen to the message, too.
Joel wants the farmers to understand why bad things are happening. (Look at verse 11.)
Joel wants the *priests to wake up. And he wants them to call the people back to God. (Look at verses 13 and 14.)
The *Hebrew in verse 6 is ‘A nation has come to fill my country’. But we think that it means an enormous number of *locusts.
The insects called *locusts destroy plants. When there is no food, God’s people will listen to him.
‘My country’ means God’s country. His country is special to him. But he allows *locusts to come and they damage it. He does that because he loves his people very much. So he does not want to let them go away from him.
The *priests should be the first people to act. They are God’s special servants. They should call everyone to God’s house. And they should tell them to come back to God.
The *priests cannot offer the usual meat and *wine to God, because they have none. That is why the ceremonies in God’s house have had to stop. The *priests should be very, very sad about it.
Other *prophets also speak about the Day of the *Lord. Those *prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah, and Zechariah. So God wants everyone to think about the special day that he will cause to happen. Joel also talks about that day in Joel 1:15; 2:1-2, 31 and 3:14. Now people should know how important it is.
Many of God’s people have stopped loving God. They are not trying to please him. They do not care about God’s laws or about his promises. And they think that God does not notice. So Joel now warns the people that God is their ruler. The Day of the *Lord is a day with great and awful troubles. God will bring that day if his people do not come back to him. That is the day that Joel is talking about. It is like the day in Revelation 6:16-17.
The animals have no grass to eat. So there can be no meat for the *priests to offer to God. The people will have no meat to eat either.
The people do not use those places because there is nothing to put in them.
Even the animals seem to know that it is a time to be sad. But God’s own people do not know why bad things are happening. They seem not to care.
See Genesis 2:8 for the garden in Eden.
For the Day of the *Lord, see note about Joel 1:15.
Joel speaks about *locusts. But now he may also mean armies of men. These armies may come when the armies of *locusts come. Or they may come after the *locusts come. However, in verse 7, he does say that they are ‘like soldiers’. He does not say that they are soldiers. God is using these armies or these *locusts to make his people think about Joel’s message.
In Chapter 1, Joel tells how dry the country is. Now, the *locusts come to eat up any plants that are left.
‘The sun and the moon are dark.’ Look also at Joel 3:15. We can read about something similar in Isaiah 13:10, Ezekiel 32:7-8 and Matthew 24:29.
It is very sad that God’s people do not listen to him. But he needs to make his own people think. For this, he must use people that do not love him. That is very sad, too.
God’s people sometimes tore their clothes. This showed that they were sorry. If they were really sorry, they would do more than that. They would love God and they would obey him. They would do what is right.
God does not change as human people do. He can send good things like a good harvest, and he can send troubles. He sees if we do good things in our lives. Then he sends what is best for us. Look at Joel 2:15-17.
God never changes. But we change. God knows what we need then. He really loves us. So he does whatever we really need. Perhaps at that time we do not appreciate what he does. But we must believe that he is helping us to be good people.
In verse 13, Joel uses words from Exodus 34:6. With these words, he reminds the people what God is really like.
The *Lord sends their enemies to make his people sorry. Now they are sorry. Joel says that the enemies have done ‘great things’. (Look at verse 20.) Next, God sends the enemies away because his people are ready to listen to him. That is the ‘great thing’ that the *Lord has done. (Look at verse 21.)
Joel mentions ‘the army that comes from the north’. *Locusts do not come from the north. But the armies in Daniel 11 and Revelation 9 do. So students say that real *locusts ate the plants. But real armies from the north came against God’s people.
Zion was the place where the *Israelites built the *Lord’s *temple. Sometimes the people in Jerusalem called themselves ‘Zion’.
In verse 27, the *Lord is reminding his people that he has been with them all the time. The *Lord’s people have not remembered that. Now they must remember the Covenant (agreement) that the *Lord has with his people. Look at Exodus 19:5-6.
Joel says that the *Holy Spirit will come ‘after that’. We now call that day ‘Pentecost’. Look at Acts 2, but look especially at Acts 2:17-21. Look also at Acts 3:18-26. There, Peter told the people about ‘great things’ that will come. Peter was thinking about Joel 2:30-32 as he was speaking.
Joel mentions blood and darkness. This seems to mean an unusual time, when the sun and moon will not give their light. It will make people very afraid. (Look also at Joel 3:15.)
Joel has told God’s people about the good things that God intends to do (verses 21-29). So the terrible things in verse 31 will not happen to them. Joel explains about God’s people in verse 32. He says more about those terrible things in Chapter 3.
God’s call here is a call to love him and to obey him. His promise is one that he gives to all his people. God has called them.
The *Philistines and the people in Sidon did not love the true God. And they did not obey him. They also did bad things to God’s people. But now they have to learn that God loves his people. He will punish anyone who fights against his people. Look also at Joel 3:19 and Matthew 25:31-46.
In verses 4 and 5, God speaks like a human person. He wants to help us to understand. But God does not need *silver and gold. He has made all the silver and gold. His silver and gold are not for false gods.
Verse 8: This did happen later. An army from Persia was fighting against the *Philistines then. And an army from Greece was fighting against the people in Tyre.
The Valley of Decision (verse 14) is a special name for the valley called Jehoshaphat (verses 2 and 12). In this valley, God will carry out his decision.
Verse 15: Look also at Joel 2:10, 30-31.
God is ready to be kind to his people now because they have changed their attitude. And they have started to obey him again. He will protect *Jerusalem. And he will protect the people who live there.
There will be many places on the mountains where they grow *grapes. From those *grapes, people will be able to make a lot of *wine. On the hills, there will be cows and goats that produce a lot of milk.
At that time, God will send to his people all that they need. He will send water to make things grow. He will even send water to the Valley of Acacias and other such places. That valley was a dry valley where trees called acacias grew. It was right on the edge of the country called *Judah. In this way, the writer is saying that plants will be able to grow everywhere in *Judah.
*Judah’s people had done nothing wrong to Egypt’s people or *Edom’s people. But people from Egypt and *Edom had killed many people who lived in *Judah.
Joel mentions ‘innocent people’. The people in *Judah had done wrong things against God’s law. But they had not done wrong things against the people in Egypt and *Edom.
altar ~ a place where people burned animals or other things as gifts to God.
Edom ~ a country near *Israel.
fig ~ sweet fruit that grows on a tree.
grace ~ good gifts that God gives to people who believe him. They get these gifts free, not because they are good people!
grape ~ a fruit that people make a drink from.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Israelites spoke.
holy ~ very, very good; only God is really holy; the place where he lives with his people is also holy because he is there.
Holy Spirit ~ God consists of 3 persons. The Holy Spirit is one person of the three persons who are God. The Holy Spirit comes to give power to people. Because of this power, people are able to do what God wants.
Israel ~ the country where the *Israelites (God’s people) live; or, sometimes the north part of that country.
Israelites ~ people who live in *Israel; people who come from Jacob’s family.
Jehovah ~ a special name for God. People say it like that in some languages. But in the original *Hebrew language this name is Yahweh.
Jerusalem ~ the city where God’s *temple was.
Judah ~ after *Israel split into two nations, the south part was called Judah.
judge ~ to say what is good or bad.
locust ~ an insect that moves in big groups. It is always very hungry and it eats all green plants.
Lord ~ a name that we call God when we obey him.
Philistines ~ a group of people who lived to the west of *Israel. Often, they were enemies of the *Israelites.
priest ~ a man who gave gifts and burned animals as gifts to God for the *Israelites; a man whom God chose to serve him and to do special work for him.
prophet ~ a person who tells God’s message to people. That person can sometimes say what will happen in the future.
rejoice ~ to be very happy and to say good things about God.
repent ~ to be sorry about a wrong deed and to try to correct that wrong thing.
silver ~ a shiny white metal with great value.
sin ~ when people do bad things against God.
temple ~ a building where people *worship their god and they say good things about him.
thirsty ~ when a person or animal wants something to drink.
trumpet ~ a bent metal pipe that people blow through to make a loud noise.
vine ~ a plant that climbs. People make *wine from its fruits.
weapon ~ something to fight people with.
wine ~ a drink that people make from *grapes.
winepress ~ a very big basket. People begin to make *wine from *grapes in this basket.
worship ~ to love someone more than anything else; and to say how very good that person is; to work very loyally for someone and to consider that person more important than anything or anyone else.
Zion ~ a hill where the *Israelites built the *Lord’s *temple at *Jerusalem. Sometimes the people in *Jerusalem called themselves ‘Zion’.
God’s Word Bible ~ World Publishing
Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible ~ Banner of Truth
Calvin’s Commentaries ~ Banner of Truth
Henry Froude ~ The Companion Bible, Part 4 ~ Oxford University Press
© 1997-2005 Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
Visit our website: