Joel introduces himself. He recalls the locust plague. Everyone should mourn. Joel calls them to repent.
Joel, the son of Pethuel. This is the only fact he gives us about himself.
VERSE 2. Hear this, you elders, And listen, all you inhabitants of the land. Has this ever happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers?
you elders. These were the were civil leaders who played a prominent part in the governmental and judicial systems.
VERSE 3. Tell your children about it, and have your children tell their children, and their children, another generation.
VERSE 4. What the swarming locust has left, the great locust has eaten. What the great locust has left, the grasshopper has eaten. What the grasshopper has left, the caterpillar has eaten.
the swarming locust. Joel refers to a massive invasion by locusts. They were a plague that swept over the land.
the great locust has eaten. The locusts ate up the agricultural produce of the land.
VERSE 5. Wake up, you drunkards, and weep! Wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the sweet wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
Wake up, you. Due to the destruction of the vineyards, there would be no more wine for them.
VERSE 6. For a nation has come up on my land, strong, and without number. His teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a lioness.
VERSE 7. He has laid my vine waste, and stripped my fig tree. He has stripped its bark, and thrown it away. Its branches are made white.
Mourn. This is probably addressing the land itself or Jerusalem. We think that because the grammatical form of this word is female singular. That is different than the grammatical form used to address:
- The drunkards in verse 5 above. They are addressed with masculine plural.
- The farmers in verse 11 below. They too are addressed with masculine plural.
VERSE 9. The meal offering and the drink offering are cut off from the LORD’s house. The priests, the LORD’s ministers, mourn.
VERSE 10. The field is laid waste. The land mourns, for the grain is destroyed, The new wine has dried up, and the oil languishes.
The new wine. Some translations say “must.”
VERSE 12. The vine has dried up, and the fig tree withered; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all of the trees of the field are withered; for joy has withered away from the sons of men.
NAB translation. The vine has dried up, the fig tree is withered; The pomegranate, the date palm also, and the apple, all the trees of the field are dried up; Yes, joy has withered away from among mankind.
Joy has withered away from among mankind. Let’s help people rediscover joy! How can we use our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible to help people find joy?
VERSE 13. Put on sackcloth and mourn, you priests! Wail, you ministers of the altar. Come, lie all night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God, for the meal offering and the drink offering are withheld from your God’s house.
VERSE 14. Sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders, and all the inhabitants of the land, to the house of the LORD, your God, and cry to the LORD.
VERSE 15. Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
NASB translation. Has not food been cut off before our eyes, Gladness and joy from the house of our God?
Gladness and joy from the house of our God? A sign that people have drifted away from God is that they no longer find joy in the things of God: prayer, worship, singing, praise, the Bible.
VERSE 17. The seeds rot under their clods. The granaries are laid desolate. The barns are broken down, for the grain has withered.
VERSE 18. How the animals groan! The herds of livestock are perplexed, because they have no pasture. Yes, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
VERSE 19. The LORD, I cry to you, For the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame has burned all the trees of the field.
VERSE 20. Yes, the animals of the field pant to you, for the water brooks have dried up, And the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.