I. Superscription (1:1)

At the very beginning of his oracle Joel identifies the sources of his prophetic compulsion as the word of the Lord. This conception precedes Joel by several centuries. It appears in Isa 6:5-9; Jer 1:7, 9; Am 7:15-16. The claim of being pressed by the word of the Lord was more than merely claiming that their utterances were inspired. They were saying that all of the power of God himself was resident within that which they spoke and that it was certain to come to pass, guaranteed by the ability of God to control history (cf. Isa 55:11). The prophet in such a situation became an extension of God's power to accomplish the divine will (see further on the power of the Word, such works as Pedersen, 167ff.; Scott, 90ff.). The coming of the word of the Lord did not result in the prophet losing awareness of himself or his surroundings. Rather all of his senses were heightened and his understanding of spiritual matters and meanings was immensely expanded. In the words of Micah he became

filled with power,

with the Spirit of the Lord,

and with justice and might,

to declare to Jacob his transgression,

to Israel his sin. (3:8)