The Role of God’s Mighty Acts in Joel : The Book of Joel as an Example of Trauma Literature

Ibolya Balla

Pápa Reformed Theological Seminary , Węgry


The Book of Joel abounds in the descriptions of God’s mighty acts, including his interventions in the workings of nature and the unfolding historical events in the life of Israel and the so-called heathen nations. It has long been recognized that these acts are important in structuring the book as a whole. They can be labelled as negative or positive for the life of Israel, depending on which part of the book we interpret. In the final form of the work there is a centreline between its two major parts (1:1–2:17; 2:19–4:21), separating the descriptions of divine punishment and lament from the accounts of restoration and joy when it comes to the relationship of the covenant community with God: “Then the Lord became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people” (Joel 2:18). This verse also serves as an introduction to 2:19–4:21. What has not yet been examined in detail, however, is that the descriptions of God’s working in the nations’ history and in nature can help read the book from the viewpoint of trauma/crisis and tenacity. In the midst of crises Israel’s only hope is to repent and turn to the Lord to have mercy. In repentance, the prophet’s resilience and compassion is also significant; his words are handed down to us in a form that resembles the terminology, mood and theological teaching of certain lament psalms of the Hebrew Bible, yet representing the tradition of the day of the Lord especially important in prophetic literature. This paper aims at investigating the Book of Joel from the perspec­tive of trauma and tenacity with a view to the scriptural allusions the author employs.


Słowa kluczowe:

Joel, Trauma, Tenacity, Resilience, Day of the Lord, Mighty Acts

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Balla, I. (2021). The Role of God’s Mighty Acts in Joel : The Book of Joel as an Example of Trauma Literature. The Biblical Annals, 11(1), 63–78.

Ibolya Balla 
Pápa Reformed Theological Seminary


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