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Asbury Bible Commentary – II. Unity—Literary Style
II. Unity—Literary Style

II. Unity—Literary Style

Questions about the unity of Joel result from the difference between 1:2-2:27, which deals with the locust invasion and drought as present events, and 2:28-3:21, which is concerned with a “day of the Lord” that lies in the future. The unity of Joel was attacked in the late nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century. The assumption was that it was not likely, perhaps even impossible, for one man to describe both a present and a future judgment of God upon his people. In more recent years it has been recognized that there is no overriding reason for dividing the book into segments and attributing them to separate authors. The comment of R. H. Pfeiffer is typical: “Since both parts of the book seem to have been written about the same time, there is no compelling reason for attributing them to different authors” (p. 575).

Joel's style has been described as “fluent and clear” (G. A. Smith, 397). It is further observed that “the lyrical quality of some of his lines places them among the best of their kind in the OT, while his graphic, terse descriptions are exceedingly effective” (Bewer, 68). J. A. Thompson affirms that Joel's style is characterized by the use of rhythm, concrete details, similes and metaphors, repetition, drawing of parallels, contrast, and alliteration (pp. 730-31). Joel clearly takes a favored place among the poet-prophets of Judah.