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Locusts Invade like an Army

Sound the trumpet in Jerusalem[a]!
    Raise the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let everyone tremble in fear
    because the day of the Lord is upon us.
It is a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of thick clouds and deep blackness.
Suddenly, like dawn spreading across the mountains,
    a great and mighty army appears.
Nothing like it has been seen before
    or will ever be seen again.

Fire burns in front of them,
    and flames follow after them.
Ahead of them the land lies
    as beautiful as the Garden of Eden.
Behind them is nothing but desolation;
    not one thing escapes.
They look like horses;
    they charge forward like warhorses.[b]
Look at them as they leap along the mountaintops.
    Listen to the noise they make—like the rumbling of chariots,
like the roar of fire sweeping across a field of stubble,
    or like a mighty army moving into battle.

Fear grips all the people;
    every face grows pale with terror.
The attackers march like warriors
    and scale city walls like soldiers.
Straight forward they march,
    never breaking rank.
They never jostle each other;
    each moves in exactly the right position.
They break through defenses
    without missing a step.
They swarm over the city
    and run along its walls.
They enter all the houses,
    climbing like thieves through the windows.
10 The earth quakes as they advance,
    and the heavens tremble.
The sun and moon grow dark,
    and the stars no longer shine.

11 The Lord is at the head of the column.
    He leads them with a shout.
This is his mighty army,
    and they follow his orders.
The day of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing.
    Who can possibly survive?

A Call to Repentance

12 That is why the Lord says,
    “Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
    Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
    but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
    He is eager to relent and not punish.
14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve,
    sending you a blessing instead of this curse.
Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine
    to the Lord your God as before.

15 Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem!
    Announce a time of fasting;
call the people together
    for a solemn meeting.
16 Gather all the people—
    the elders, the children, and even the babies.
Call the bridegroom from his quarters
    and the bride from her private room.
17 Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence,
    stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar.
Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord!
    Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery.
Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say,
    ‘Has the God of Israel left them?’”

The Lord’s Promise of Restoration

18 Then the Lord will pity his people
    and jealously guard the honor of his land.
19 The Lord will reply,
“Look! I am sending you grain and new wine and olive oil,
    enough to satisfy your needs.
You will no longer be an object of mockery
    among the surrounding nations.
20 I will drive away these armies from the north.
    I will send them into the parched wastelands.
Those in the front will be driven into the Dead Sea,
    and those at the rear into the Mediterranean.[c]
The stench of their rotting bodies will rise over the land.”

Surely the Lord has done great things!
21     Don’t be afraid, O land.
Be glad now and rejoice,
    for the Lord has done great things.
22 Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field,
    for the wilderness pastures will soon be green.
The trees will again be filled with fruit;
    fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more.
23 Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem!
    Rejoice in the Lord your God!
For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness.
    Once more the autumn rains will come,
    as well as the rains of spring.
24 The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain,
    and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil.

25 The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost
    to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts,
the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.[d]
    It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.
26 Once again you will have all the food you want,
    and you will praise the Lord your God,
who does these miracles for you.
    Never again will my people be disgraced.
27 Then you will know that I am among my people Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other.
    Never again will my people be disgraced.

The Lord’s Promise of His Spirit

28 [e]“Then, after doing all those things,
    I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your old men will dream dreams,
    and your young men will see visions.
29 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
    even on servants—men and women alike.
30 And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth—
    blood and fire and columns of smoke.
31 The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will turn blood red
    before that great and terrible[f] day of the Lord arrives.
32 But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
    will be saved,
for some on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will escape,
    just as the Lord has said.
These will be among the survivors
    whom the Lord has called.

Footnotes

  1. 2:1 Hebrew Zion; also in 2:15, 23.
  2. 2:4 Or like charioteers.
  3. 2:20 Hebrew into the eastern sea, . . . into the western sea.
  4. 2:25 The precise identification of the four kinds of locusts mentioned here is uncertain.
  5. 2:28 Verses 2:28-32 are numbered 3:1-5 in Hebrew text.
  6. 2:31 Greek version reads glorious.

An Army of Locusts

Blow the trumpet(A) in Zion;(B)
    sound the alarm on my holy hill.(C)

Let all who live in the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord(D) is coming.
It is close at hand(E)
    a day of darkness(F) and gloom,(G)
    a day of clouds(H) and blackness.(I)
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
    a large and mighty army(J) comes,
such as never was in ancient times(K)
    nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire(L) devours,
    behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,(M)
    behind them, a desert waste(N)
    nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;(O)
    they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots(P)
    they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire(Q) consuming stubble,
    like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;(R)
    every face turns pale.(S)
They charge like warriors;(T)
    they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,(U)
    not swerving(V) from their course.
They do not jostle each other;
    each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
    without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
    they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;(W)
    like thieves they enter through the windows.(X)

10 Before them the earth shakes,(Y)
    the heavens tremble,(Z)
the sun and moon are darkened,(AA)
    and the stars no longer shine.(AB)
11 The Lord(AC) thunders(AD)
    at the head of his army;(AE)
his forces are beyond number,
    and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great;(AF)
    it is dreadful.
    Who can endure it?(AG)

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return(AH) to me with all your heart,(AI)
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart(AJ)
    and not your garments.(AK)
Return(AL) to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,(AM)
slow to anger and abounding in love,(AN)
    and he relents from sending calamity.(AO)
14 Who knows? He may turn(AP) and relent(AQ)
    and leave behind a blessing(AR)
grain offerings and drink offerings(AS)
    for the Lord your God.

15 Blow the trumpet(AT) in Zion,(AU)
    declare a holy fast,(AV)
    call a sacred assembly.(AW)
16 Gather the people,
    consecrate(AX) the assembly;
bring together the elders,(AY)
    gather the children,
    those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom(AZ) leave his room
    and the bride her chamber.
17 Let the priests, who minister(BA) before the Lord,
    weep(BB) between the portico and the altar.(BC)
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
    Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,(BD)
    a byword(BE) among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?(BF)’”

The Lord’s Answer

18 Then the Lord was jealous(BG) for his land
    and took pity(BH) on his people.

19 The Lord replied[a] to them:

“I am sending you grain, new wine(BI) and olive oil,(BJ)
    enough to satisfy you fully;(BK)
never again will I make you
    an object of scorn(BL) to the nations.

20 “I will drive the northern horde(BM) far from you,
    pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
    and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench(BN) will go up;
    its smell will rise.”

Surely he has done great things!
21     Do not be afraid,(BO) land of Judah;
    be glad and rejoice.(BP)
Surely the Lord has done great things!(BQ)
22     Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
    for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.(BR)
The trees are bearing their fruit;
    the fig tree(BS) and the vine(BT) yield their riches.(BU)
23 Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice(BV) in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.(BW)
He sends you abundant showers,(BX)
    both autumn(BY) and spring rains,(BZ) as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow(CA) with new wine(CB) and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts(CC) have eaten(CD)
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]
my great army(CE) that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,(CF)
    and you will praise(CG) the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders(CH) for you;
never again will my people be shamed.(CI)
27 Then you will know(CJ) that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord(CK) your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.(CL)

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit(CM) on all people.(CN)
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,(CO)
    your old men will dream dreams,(CP)
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants,(CQ) both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.(CR)
30 I will show wonders in the heavens(CS)
    and on the earth,(CT)
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness(CU)
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.(CV)
32 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord(CW) will be saved;(CX)
for on Mount Zion(CY) and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,(CZ)
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors(DA)
    whom the Lord calls.[c](DB)

Footnotes

  1. Joel 2:19 Or Lord will be jealous … / and take pity … / 19 The Lord will reply
  2. Joel 2:25 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain.
  3. Joel 2:32 In Hebrew texts 2:28-32 is numbered 3:1-5.

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