Joel 2:1-5

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 the LORD is 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.

Joel 2:1-5 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JOEL 2

In this chapter a further account is given of the judgment of the locusts and caterpillars, or of those who are designed by them, Joe 2:1-11; the people of the Jews are called to repentance, humiliation, and fasting, urged from the grace and goodness of God, his jealousy and pity for his people, and the answer of prayer that might he expected from him upon this, even to the removal of the calamity, Joe 2:12-20; a prophecy of good things, both temporal and spiritual, in the times of the Messiah, is delivered out as matter and occasion of great joy, Joe 2:21-27; and another concerning the effusion of the Spirit, which was fulfilled an the day of Pentecost, Joe 2:28-29; and the chapter is concluded with the judgments and desolations that should come upon the land of Judea after this, for their rejection of Christ, though the remnant according to the election of grace should be delivered and saved from the general destruction, Joe 2:30-32.

Joel 2:1-5 In-Context

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 the LORD is 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.

Cross References 18

  • 1. S Numbers 10:2,7; Jeremiah 4:5
  • 2. ver 15
  • 3. S Exodus 15:17
  • 4. S Joel 1:15; Zephaniah 1:14-16
  • 5. S Ezekiel 12:23; S Ezekiel 30:3; Obadiah 1:15
  • 6. ver 10,31; S Job 9:7; S Isaiah 8:22; S Isaiah 13:10; Amos 5:18
  • 7. S Daniel 9:12; S Matthew 24:21
  • 8. S Ezekiel 34:12
  • 9. S Ezekiel 38:9
  • 10. Zephaniah 1:15; Revelation 9:2
  • 11. S Joel 1:6
  • 12. Joel 1:2
  • 13. S Psalms 97:3; S Isaiah 1:31
  • 14. S Genesis 2:8
  • 15. Exodus 10:12-15; Psalms 105:34-35; S Isaiah 14:17
  • 16. Revelation 9:7
  • 17. Revelation 9:9
  • 18. Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 30:30