1The word of the Lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel.
An Invasion of Locusts
2Hear 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?
3Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
4What 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 locusts1:4 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain. have eaten.
5Wake 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.
6A nation has invaded my land,
a mighty army without number;
it has the teeth of a lion,
the fangs of a lioness.
7It has laid waste my vines
and ruined my fig trees.
It has stripped off their bark
and thrown it away,
leaving their branches white.
8Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth
grieving for the betrothed of her youth.
9Grain offerings and drink offerings
are cut off from the house of the Lord.
The priests are in mourning,
those who minister before the Lord.
10The fields are ruined,
the ground is dried up;
the grain is destroyed,
the new wine is dried up,
the olive oil fails.
11Despair, you farmers,
wail, you vine growers;
grieve for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field is destroyed.
12The vine is dried up
and the fig tree is withered;
the pomegranate, the palm and the apple1:12 Or possibly apricot tree—
all the trees of the field—are dried up.
Surely the people’s joy
is withered away.
A Call to Lamentation
13Put 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.
14Declare 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.
15Alas for that day!
For the day of the Lord is near;
it will come like destruction from the Almighty.1:15 Hebrew Shaddai
16Has not the food been cut off
before our very eyes—
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
17The seeds are shriveled
beneath the clods.1:17 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
The storehouses are in ruins,
the granaries have been broken down,
for the grain has dried up.
18How the cattle moan!
The herds mill about
because they have no pasture;
even the flocks of sheep are suffering.
19To you, Lord, I call,
for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness
and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.
20Even the wild animals pant for you;
the streams of water have dried up
and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.
1A message from the Lord came to Joel, the son of Pethuel. Here is what Joel said.
Locusts Attack the Land
2Elders, listen to me.
Pay attention, all you who live in the land.
Has anything like this ever happened in your whole life?
Did it ever happen to your people
who lived long ago?
3Tell your children about it.
Let them tell their children.
And let their children tell it
to those who live after them.
4The giant locusts have eaten
what the common locusts have left.
The young locusts have eaten
what the giant locusts have left.
And other locusts have eaten
what the young locusts have left.
5Get up and weep, you people who drink too much!
Cry, all you who drink wine!
Cry because the fresh wine
has been taken away from you.
6The locusts are like a mighty army
that has marched into our land.
There are so many of them
they can’t even be counted.
Their teeth are as sharp as a lion’s teeth.
They are like the fangs of a female lion.
7The locusts have completely destroyed our vines.
They have wiped out our fig trees.
They’ve stripped off the bark and thrown it away.
They’ve left the branches bare.
8My people, mourn like a virgin
who is dressed in the clothes of sadness.
She is sad because she has lost
the young man she was going to marry.
9No one brings grain offerings and drink offerings
to the Lord’s house anymore.
So the priests who serve the Lord
are filled with sorrow.
10Our fields are wiped out.
The ground is dried up.
The grain is destroyed.
The fresh wine is gone.
And there isn’t any more olive oil.
11Farmers, be sad.
Cry, you who grow vines.
Mourn because the wheat and barley are gone.
The crops in the fields are destroyed.
12The vines and fig trees are dried up.
The pomegranate, palm and apple trees
don’t have any fruit on them.
In fact, all the trees in the fields are dried up.
And my people’s joy has faded away.
A Call to Mourn
13Priests, put on the clothing of sadness and mourn.
Cry, you who serve at the altar.
Come, you who serve my God in the temple.
Spend the night dressed in the clothes of sadness.
Weep because no one brings grain offerings and drink offerings
to the house of your God anymore.
14Announce a holy fast.
Tell the people not to eat anything.
Gather them together for a special service.
Send for the elders
and all who live in the land.
Have them come to the house of the Lord your God.
And pray to him.
15The day of the Lord is near.
How sad it will be on that day!
The Mighty One is coming to destroy you.
16Our food has been taken away
right in front of our eyes.
There isn’t any joy or gladness
in the house of our God.
17The seeds have dried up in the ground.
The grain is also gone.
The storerooms have been destroyed.
The barns are broken down.
18Listen to the cattle groan!
The herds wander around.
They don’t have any grass to eat.
The flocks of sheep are also suffering.
19Lord, I call out to you.
Fire has burned up the desert grasslands.
Flames have destroyed all the trees in the fields.
20Even the wild animals cry out to you for help.
The streams of water have dried up.
Fire has burned up the desert grasslands.