1 The word of the Lord that came to [a]Joel, the son of Pethuel.
The Devastation of Locusts
Hear this, O elders,
Listen closely, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing as this occurred in your days,
Or even in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children about it,
And let your children tell their children,
And their children the next generation.
What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten;
And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten;
And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten [in judgment of Judah].
Awake [from your intoxication], you drunkards, and weep;
Wail, all you drinkers of wine,
Because of the [fresh] sweet wine
That is cut off from your mouth.
For a [pagan and hostile] nation has invaded My land [like locusts],
Mighty and without number;
Its teeth are the teeth of a lion,
And it has the fangs of a lioness.(A)
It has made My vine (My people) a waste and object of horror,
And splintered and broken My fig tree.
It has stripped them completely bare and thrown them away;
Their branches have become white.(B)
Wail like a virgin [bride] clothed with [b]sackcloth
For the bridegroom of her youth [who has died].
The [daily] grain offering and the drink offering are cut off
From the house of the Lord;
The priests mourn
Who minister to the Lord.
The field is ruined,
The ground mourns;
For the grain is ruined,
The new wine is dried up,
The fresh oil fails.
Be ashamed, O farmers;
Wail, O vinedressers,
For the wheat and for the barley,
Because the harvest of the field has perished.
The vine dries up
And the fig tree fails;
The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree,
All the trees of the field dry up,
Indeed, joy dries up and withdraws
From the sons of men.
Clothe yourselves with sackcloth
And lament (cry out in grief), O priests;
Wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth [and pray without ceasing],
O ministers of my God,
For the grain offering and the drink offering
Are withheld from the house of your God.
Starvation and Drought
Consecrate a fast,
Proclaim a solemn assembly,
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
To the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord [in penitent pleadings].
Alas for the day!
For the [judgment] day of the Lord is at hand,
And it will come [upon the nation] as a destruction from the [c]Almighty.(C)
Has not the food been cut off before our eyes,
Joy and gladness from the house of our God?
The seeds [of grain] shrivel under the clods,
The storehouses are desolate and empty,
The barns are in ruins
Because the grain is dried up.
How the animals groan!
The herds of cattle are bewildered and wander aimlessly
Because they have no pasture;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer.
O Lord, I cry out to You,
For fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness,
And the flame has burned up all the trees of the field.
Even the wild animals pant [in longing] for You;
For the water brooks are dried up
And fire has consumed the pastures of the wilderness.
- Joel 1:1 Joel was a prophet of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, and possibly a contemporary of Elisha. After the united kingdom divided, the Kingdom of Judah consisted primarily of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Judah continued to be ruled by the kings of the Davidic line. Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah. The name “Joel” means “The Lord is God.”
- Joel 1:8 A coarse cloth made from goat’s hair. It was worn as a sign of mourning or as an act of penitence.
- Joel 1:15 Heb Shaddai.