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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Joel

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1.1 : Superscription.

Joel means “Yahweh is God.”

1.2–2.27 : The day of the locusts.

The prophet discerns the transcendent significance of an ecological catastrophe: Judah devastated by a swarm of the desert locust, an insect distantly related to the American grasshopper that can multiply very rapidly and suddenly appear in huge, dense swarms that will devour all of the crops in a wide area.

1.2–14 : A call to lament.

The entire community is called upon to express grief ritually.

2 :

The elders appear to be the chief leaders, as was the case in the postexilic era (Ezra 5.9; 6.8,14; 10.8,14 ). No king is mentioned.

4 :

For other references to locust plagues, see Ex 10.22; Ps 78.46; 105.34–35; Am 4.9 . For prophetic allusions to locust behavior, see Isa 33.4; Nah 3.15–16 .

6 :

Cf. Rev 9.7–8 , which draws on the imagery of Joel (see also 2.4n., 2.11n.).

8 :

Sackcloth, a mourning garment, woven from goat‐hair, black in color. A virginthe husband, the marriage betrothed but not consummated (cf. Deut 22.23 ).

9 :

Grain and drink offerings accompanied sacrifices (see, e.g., Num 29.12–16 ).

12 :

Joy withers away, in good times, harvests were occasions for festivals (Isa 9.3 ).

13 :

Withheld from the house of your God, echoing 1.9 , this refrain emphasizes the transcendent dimension of the crisis: Without grain and drink, a vital mediation, the daily offering is imperiled.

1.15–20 : A lament.

15 :

The day of the LORD, i.e., Zeph 1.14–18 ; for the concept, see Introduction to Amos.

20 :

The wild animals cry to you, Job 38.39–41 . The watercourses are dried up, this will be reversed at the end of the book ( 3.18 ).

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