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  • Male gender
  • Use English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Bible
  • Scripts יוֹאֵל (Old Hebrew)
  • Pronounced JO-əl (English) JOL (English) kho-EHL (Spanish) zhoo-EHL (Portuguese) YO-ehl (Swedish, Finnish) 

Meaning and History

From the Hebrew name יוֹא (Yo’el) which means “YAHWEH is God”, from the elements יוֹ (yo) and ֵל (‘el), both refer to the Hebrew God. Yahweh is Elohim, or the Lord is God. Joel is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Joel, which describes a plague of locusts. In England, it was first used as a first name after the Protestant Reformation.

Female Forms

Joella, Joelle (English)

Other Languages and Cultures

Ioel (biblical Greek) Yoel (biblical Hebrew) Iohel (biblical Latin) Joël (Dutch) Joël (French) Xoel (Galician) Yoel (Hebrew) Gioele, Joele (Italian)

The Name of Joel in the Bible

The name Joel is one of the most popular in the Bible, but the most famous is, of course, the 8th century prophet Joel. His Book of Joel is one of the shortest in the Bible, but his image of the incessant swarm of locusts is one of the most disturbing and recognizable in the Bible Scriptures (Joel 1: 4).

In the New Testament, the prophet Joel is mentioned only once (spelled Ιωηλ, Ioel). The apostle Peter quotes Joel 2: 28-32 in his explanatory sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:16). In addition to the famous prophet, the following Joels are mentioned in the Bible:

  • The firstborn of Samuel and brother of Abijah (1 Samuel 8: 2).
  • Two Cohatite Levites (1 Chronicles 6:36 and 2 Chronicles 29:12).
  • A Gershonite Levite leader (1 Chronicles 15: 7).
  • A leader of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:35).
  • A chieftain of Reuben (1 Chronicles 5: 4).
  • A chieftain of Gad (1 Chronicles 5:12).
  • A chief of Issachar (1 Chronicles 7: 3).
  • A chief of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 27:20).
  • One of the powerful men of David (1 Chronicles 11:38).
  • A son of Nebo, who divorced his foreign wife during the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:43).
  •  A Benjaminite foreman (Nehemiah 11: 9).

Etymology of the Name Joel

Joel’s name is most commonly interpreted as a combination of two elements: 

The first element is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which is the commonly accepted short form of יהוה, which is YHWH, the Name of the Lord. This very short abbreviation of YHWH also occurs in the names Joab and Jochebed.

The second element of the name Joel is אל (Him), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name was applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the gender God.

Other Topics of Interest in ALPHAPEDIA

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