New International Version

Joel 1

1The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel.

An Invasion of Locusts

Hear this, you elders;
    listen, all who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your days
    or in the days of your ancestors?
Tell it to your children,
    and let your children tell it to their children,
    and their children to the next generation.
What the locust swarm has left
    the great locusts have eaten;
what the great locusts have left
    the young locusts have eaten;
what the young locusts have left
    other locusts[a] have eaten.

Wake up, you drunkards, and weep!
    Wail, all you drinkers of wine;
wail because of the new wine,
    for it has been snatched from your lips.
A nation has invaded my land,
    a mighty army without number;
it has the teeth of a lion,
    the fangs of a lioness.
It has laid waste my vines
    and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
    and thrown it away,
    leaving their branches white.

Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth
    grieving for the betrothed of her youth.
Grain offerings and drink offerings
    are cut off from the house of the Lord.
The priests are in mourning,
    those who minister before the Lord.
10 The fields are ruined,
    the ground is dried up;
the grain is destroyed,
    the new wine is dried up,
    the olive oil fails.

11 Despair, you farmers,
    wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,
    because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
12 The vine is dried up
    and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple[b] tree—
    all the trees of the field—are dried up.
Surely the people’s joy
    is withered away.

A Call to Lamentation

13 Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn;
    wail, you who minister before the altar.
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
    you who minister before my God;
for the grain offerings and drink offerings
    are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Declare a holy fast;
    call a sacred assembly.
Summon the elders
    and all who live in the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
    and cry out to the Lord.

15 Alas for that day!
    For the day of the Lord is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.[c]

16 Has not the food been cut off
    before our very eyes—
joy and gladness
    from the house of our God?
17 The seeds are shriveled
    beneath the clods.[d]
The storehouses are in ruins,
    the granaries have been broken down,
    for the grain has dried up.
18 How the cattle moan!
    The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;
    even the flocks of sheep are suffering.

19 To you, Lord, I call,
    for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness
    and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
20 Even the wild animals pant for you;
    the streams of water have dried up
    and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.

Footnotes

  1. Joel 1:4 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain.
  2. Joel 1:12 Or possibly apricot
  3. Joel 1:15 Hebrew Shaddai
  4. Joel 1:17 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

The Message

Joel 1

Get in Touch with Reality—and Weep!

11-3 God’s Message to Joel son of Pethuel:

Attention, elder statesmen! Listen closely,
    everyone, whoever and wherever you are!
Have you ever heard of anything like this?
    Has anything like this ever happened before—ever?
Make sure you tell your children,
    and your children tell their children,
And their children their children.
    Don’t let this message die out.

What the chewing locust left,
    the gobbling locust ate;
What the gobbling locust left,
    the munching locust ate;
What the munching locust left,
    the chomping locust ate.

5-7 Sober up, you drunks!
    Get in touch with reality—and weep!
Your supply of booze is cut off.
    You’re on the wagon, like it or not.
My country’s being invaded
    by an army invincible, past numbering,
Teeth like those of a lion,
    fangs like those of a tiger.
It has ruined my vineyards,
    stripped my orchards,
And clear-cut the country.
    The landscape’s a moonscape.

8-10 Weep like a young virgin dressed in black,
    mourning the loss of her fiancé.
Without grain and grapes,
    worship has been brought to a standstill
    in the Sanctuary of God.
The priests are at a loss.
    God’s ministers don’t know what to do.
The fields are sterile.
    The very ground grieves.
The wheat fields are lifeless,
    vineyards dried up, olive oil gone.

11-12 Dirt farmers, despair!
    Grape growers, wring your hands!
Lament the loss of wheat and barley.
    All crops have failed.
Vineyards dried up,
    fig trees withered,
Pomegranates, date palms, and apple trees—
    deadwood everywhere!
And joy is dried up and withered
    in the hearts of the people.

Nothing’s Going On in the Place of Worship

13-14 And also you priests,
    put on your robes and join the outcry.
You who lead people in worship,
    lead them in lament.
Spend the night dressed in gunnysacks,
    you servants of my God.
Nothing’s going on in the place of worship,
    no offerings, no prayers—nothing.
Declare a holy fast, call a special meeting,
    get the leaders together,
Round up everyone in the country.
    Get them into God’s Sanctuary for serious prayer to God.

15-18 What a day! Doomsday!
    God’s Judgment Day has come.
The Strong God has arrived.
    This is serious business!
Food is just a memory at our tables,
    as are joy and singing from God’s Sanctuary.
The seeds in the field are dead,
    barns deserted,
Grain silos abandoned.
    Who needs them? The crops have failed!
The farm animals groan—oh, how they groan!
    The cattle mill around.
There’s nothing for them to eat.
    Not even the sheep find anything.

19-20 God! I pray, I cry out to you!
    The fields are burning up,
The country is a dust bowl,
    forest and prairie fires rage unchecked.
Wild animals, dying of thirst,
    look to you for a drink.
Springs and streams are dried up.
    The whole country is burning up.