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 shrivelled
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.