The locust plague. Joel introduces the locust plague as one unparalleled in the living memory of his people (compare 2.2
The four terms for locust here and in
may refer to stages in the growth of the locust. The meanings of the Hebrew terms are unclear, and the translations, cutting locust, etc., are only suggestions.
The call to mourning. Joel summons three groups into mourning: consumers of wine (vv. 5–10
), farmers (vv. 11–12
), and priests (vv. 13–18
). Then he cries out to God himself (vv. 19–20
A nation has invaded my land begins an extended metaphor,
by which Joel compares the incoming locust swarms to an invading army (compare 2.2, 4–11, 25
Their branches have turned white: In this and other vivid details of decimated vegetation, Joel's description matches that of eyewitnesses of Jerusalem's last
great locust plague in 1915.
The day of the LORD
is a prophetic theme that reappears throughout Joel (
2.1, 11, 31; 3.14
Joel uses the metaphor of fire together with the metaphor of an army for the devouring locust (compare 2.3
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