Joel Intro

The exact date of the book of Joel is difficult to know, since it does not refer to the reign of any particular king. The specific occasion of the book, however, is very clear and Joel uses this occasion to deliver a powerful spiritual message.

The book begins by graphically describing how a swarm of locusts has overrun the land of Judah and eaten everything in sight. After calling for the people to repent in response to this disaster, the book offers a detailed description of the locust swarm itself. The locusts are like an invading army, with God at their head. Joel asserts that the day of the


—a day of judgment—has come. He renews his call for repentance through fasting, community prayer and heartfelt contrition. In response, he promises that God will not only drive the locusts away, but restore more than they have devoured. He foretells God’s defeat of all the nations that oppose his people, and how God will pour out his Spirit on the survivors in Judah. If the people return to the


with all of their hearts, they will see the return of their prosperity when the day of the




Joel 1

1 The word of theLordthat came to Joel son of Pethuel.

An Invasion of Locusts

2 Hear 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?

3 Tell it to your children,

and let your children tell it to their children,

and their children to the next generation.

4 What 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 locustshave eaten.

5 Wake 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.

6 A nation has invaded my land,

a mighty army without number;

it has the teeth of a lion,

the fangs of a lioness.

7 It has laid waste my vines

and ruined my fig trees.

It has stripped off their bark

and thrown it away,

leaving their branches white.

8 Mourn like a virgin in sackcloth

grieving for the betrothed of her youth.

9 Grain offerings and drink offerings

are cut off from the house of theLord.

The priests are in mourning,

those who minister before theLord.

10 The fields are ruined,

the ground is dried up;

the grain is destroyed,

the new wine is dried up,

the olive oil fails.

11 Despair, you farmers,

wail, you vine growers;

grieve for the wheat and the barley,

because the harvest of the field is destroyed.

12 The vine is dried up

and the fig tree is withered;

the pomegranate, the palm and the appletree—

all the trees of the field—are dried up.

Surely the people’s joy

is withered away.

A Call to Lamentation

13 Put 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.

14 Declare a holy fast;

call a sacred assembly.

Summon the elders

and all who live in the land

to the house of theLordyour God,

and cry out to theLord.

15 Alas for that day!

For the day of theLordis near;

it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

16 Has not the food been cut off

before our very eyes—

joy and gladness

from the house of our God?

17 The seeds are shriveled

beneath the clods.

The storehouses are in ruins,

the granaries have been broken down,

for the grain has dried up.

18 How the cattle moan!

The herds mill about

because they have no pasture;

even the flocks of sheep are suffering.

19 To you,Lord, I call,

for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness

and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.

20 Even the wild animals pant for you;

the streams of water have dried up

and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness.



Joel 2

An Army of Locusts

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;

sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble,

for the day of theLordis coming.

It is close at hand—

2 a day of darkness and gloom,

a day of clouds and blackness.

Like dawn spreading across the mountains

a large and mighty army comes,

such as never was in ancient times

nor ever will be in ages to come.

3 Before them fire devours,

behind them a flame blazes.

Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,

behind them, a desert waste—

nothing escapes them.

4 They have the appearance of horses;

they gallop along like cavalry.

5 With a noise like that of chariots

they leap over the mountaintops,

like a crackling fire consuming stubble,

like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

6 At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;

every face turns pale.

7 They charge like warriors;

they scale walls like soldiers.

They all march in line,

not swerving from their course.

8 They do not jostle each other;

each marches straight ahead.

They plunge through defenses

without breaking ranks.

9 They rush upon the city;

they run along the wall.

They climb into the houses;

like thieves they enter through the windows.

10 Before them the earth shakes,

the heavens tremble,

the sun and moon are darkened,

and the stars no longer shine.

11 TheLordthunders

at the head of his army;

his forces are beyond number,

and mighty is the army that obeys his command.

The day of theLordis great;

it is dreadful.

Who can endure it?

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares theLord,

“return to me with all your heart,

with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart

and not your garments.

Return to theLordyour God,

for he is gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and abounding in love,

and he relents from sending calamity.

14 Who knows? He may turn and relent

and leave behind a blessing—

grain offerings and drink offerings

for theLordyour God.

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,

declare a holy fast,

call a sacred assembly.

16 Gather the people,

consecrate the assembly;

bring together the elders,

gather the children,

those nursing at the breast.

Let the bridegroom leave his room

and the bride her chamber.

17 Let the priests, who minister before theLord,

weep between the portico and the altar.

Let them say, “Spare your people,Lord.

Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,

a byword among the nations.

Why should they say among the peoples,

‘Where is their God?’ ”

The Lord’s Answer

18 Then theLordwas jealous for his land

and took pity on his people.

19 TheLordrepliedto them:

“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,

enough to satisfy you fully;

never again will I make you

an object of scorn to the nations.

20 “I will drive the northern horde far from you,

pushing it into a parched and barren land;

its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea

and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.

And its stench will go up;

its smell will rise.”

Surely he has done great things!

21 Do not be afraid, land of Judah;

be glad and rejoice.

Surely theLordhas done great things!

22 Do not be afraid, you wild animals,

for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.

The trees are bearing their fruit;

the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.

23 Be glad, people of Zion,

rejoice in theLordyour God,

for he has given you the autumn rains

because he is faithful.

He sends you abundant showers,

both autumn and spring rains, as before.

24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;

the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—

the great locust and the young locust,

the other locusts and the locust swarm—

my great army that I sent among you.

26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,

and you will praise the name of theLordyour God,

who has worked wonders for you;

never again will my people be shamed.

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,

that I am theLordyour God,

and that there is no other;

never again will my people be shamed.

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your old men will dream dreams,

your young men will see visions.

29 Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

30 I will show wonders in the heavens

and on the earth,

blood and fire and billows of smoke.

31 The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and dreadful day of theLord.

32 And everyone who calls

on the name of theLordwill be saved;

for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem

there will be deliverance,

as theLordhas said,

even among the survivors

whom theLordcalls.



Joel 3

The Nations Judged

1 “In those days and at that time,

when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,

2 I will gather all nations

and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

There I will put them on trial

for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel,

because they scattered my people among the nations

and divided up my land.

3 They cast lots for my people

and traded boys for prostitutes;

they sold girls for wine to drink.

4 “Now what have you against me, Tyre and Sidon and all you regions of Philistia? Are you repaying me for something I have done? If you are paying me back, I will swiftly and speedily return on your own heads what you have done.

5 For you took my silver and my gold and carried off my finest treasures to your temples.

6 You sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, that you might send them far from their homeland.

7 “See, I am going to rouse them out of the places to which you sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done.

8 I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, a nation far away.” TheLordhas spoken.

9 Proclaim this among the nations:

Prepare for war!

Rouse the warriors!

Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.

10 Beat your plowshares into swords

and your pruning hooks into spears.

Let the weakling say,

“I am strong!”

11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side,

and assemble there.

Bring down your warriors,Lord!

12 “Let the nations be roused;

let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat,

for there I will sit

to judge all the nations on every side.

13 Swing the sickle,

for the harvest is ripe.

Come, trample the grapes,

for the winepress is full

and the vats overflow—

so great is their wickedness!”

14 Multitudes, multitudes

in the valley of decision!

For the day of theLordis near

in the valley of decision.

15 The sun and moon will be darkened,

and the stars no longer shine.

16 TheLordwill roar from Zion

and thunder from Jerusalem;

the earth and the heavens will tremble.

But theLordwill be a refuge for his people,

a stronghold for the people of Israel.

Blessings for God’s People

17 “Then you will know that I, theLordyour God,

dwell in Zion, my holy hill.

Jerusalem will be holy;

never again will foreigners invade her.

18 “In that day the mountains will drip new wine,

and the hills will flow with milk;

all the ravines of Judah will run with water.

A fountain will flow out of theLord’s house

and will water the valley of acacias.

19 But Egypt will be desolate,

Edom a desert waste,

because of violence done to the people of Judah,

in whose land they shed innocent blood.

20 Judah will be inhabited forever

and Jerusalem through all generations.

21 Shall I leave their innocent blood unavenged?

No, I will not.”

TheLorddwells in Zion!