Joel 2

The LORD Sends an Army of Locusts

1 Priests, blow the trumpets in Zion. Give a warning on my holy mountain. Let everyone who lives in the land tremble with fear. The day of the LORD is coming. It is very near.
2 That day will be dark and sad. It will be black and cloudy. A huge army of locusts is coming. They will spread across the mountains like the sun when it rises. There has never been an army like it. And there will never be another for all time to come.
3 Like fire they eat up everything in their path. Behind them it looks as if flames have burned the land. In front of them the land is like the Garden of Eden. Behind them it is a dry and empty desert. Nothing escapes them.
4 They look like horses. Like war horses they charge ahead.
5 They sound like chariots as they leap over the mountaintops. They crackle like fire burning up dry weeds. They are like a mighty army that is ready for battle.
6 When people see them, they tremble with fear. All of their faces turn pale.
7 The locusts charge ahead like warriors. They climb over walls like soldiers. All of them march in line. They don't turn to the right or the left.
8 They don't bump into one another. Each of them marches straight ahead. They charge through everything that tries to stop them. But they still stay in line.
9 They attack a city. They run along its wall. They climb into houses. They enter through windows like robbers.
10 As they march forward, the earth shakes. The sky trembles as they approach. The sun and moon grow dark. And the stars stop shining.
11 The LORD thunders with his mighty voice as he leads his army. He has so many forces they can't even be counted. Those who obey his commands are great in number. The day of the LORD is great and terrifying. Who can live through it?

Let Your Hearts Be Broken

12 The Lord announces to his people, "Return to me with all your heart. There is still time. Do not eat any food. Sob and cry."
13 Don't just tear your clothes to show how sad you are. Let your hearts be broken. Return to the LORD your God. He is gracious. He is tender and kind. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love. He takes pity on you. He won't destroy you.
14 Who knows? He might turn toward you and have pity on you. He might even give you his blessing. Then you can bring grain offerings and drink offerings to the LORD your God.
15 Priests, blow the trumpets in Zion. Announce a holy fast. Tell the people not to eat anything. Gather them together for a special service.
16 Bring them together. Set all of them apart to me. Bring together the elders. Gather the children and the babies who are still nursing. Let the groom leave his bedroom. Let the bride leave their marriage bed.
17 Let the priests who serve the LORD sob. Let them cry between the temple porch and the altar. Let them say, "Lord, spare your people. Don't let others make fun of them. Don't let the nations laugh at them. Don't let them tease your people and say, 'Where is their God?' "

The LORD Answers the Prayer of His People

18 Then the LORD will show concern for his land. He will take pity on his people.
19 He will reply, "I will send you grain, olive oil and fresh wine. It will be enough to satisfy you completely. I will never allow other nations to make fun of you again.
20 "I will drive far away from you the army that comes from the north. I will send some of its forces into a dry and empty land. Those in front will be pushed into the Dead Sea. The ones in back will be driven into the Mediterranean Sea. Their dead bodies will give off a bad smell." The LORD has done great things.
21 Land, don't be afraid. Be glad and full of joy. The LORD has done great things.
22 Wild animals, don't be afraid. The grasslands are turning green again. The trees are bearing their fruit. The vines and fig trees are producing rich crops.
23 People of Zion, be glad. Be joyful because of what the LORD your God has done. He has given you the right amount of rain in the fall. He has sent you plenty of showers. He has sent fall and spring rains alike, just as he did before.
24 Your threshing floors will be covered with grain. Olive oil and fresh wine will spill over from the places where they are stored.
25 The LORD says, "I sent a great army of locusts to attack you. They included common locusts, giant locusts, young locusts and other locusts. I will make up for the years they ate your crops.
26 You will have plenty to eat. It will satisfy you completely. Then you will praise me. I am the LORD your God. I have done wonderful miracles for you. My people will never be put to shame again.
27 You will know that I am with you in Israel. I am the LORD your God. There is no other God. So my people will never be put to shame again.

The Day of the LORD Is Coming

28 "After that, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will have dreams. Your young men will have visions.
29 In those days I will pour out my Spirit on those who serve me, men and women alike.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth. There will be blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
31 The sun will become dark. The moon will turn red like blood. It will happen before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
32 Everyone who calls out to me will be saved. On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem some of my people will be left alive. I have chosen them. That is what I have promised.

Images for Joel 2

Joel 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

God's judgments. (1-14) Exhortations to fasting and prayer; blessings promised. (15-27) A promise of the Holy Spirit, and of future mercies. (28-32)

Verses 1-14 The priests were to alarm the people with the near approach of the Divine judgments. It is the work of ministers to warn of the fatal consequences of sin, and to reveal the wrath from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The striking description which follows, shows what would attend the devastations of locusts, but may also describe the effects from the ravaging of the land by the Chaldeans. If the alarm of temporal judgments is given to offending nations, how much more should sinners be warned to seek deliverance from the wrath to come! Our business therefore on earth must especially be, to secure an interest in our Lord Jesus Christ; and we should seek to be weaned from objects which will soon be torn from all who now make idols of them. There must be outward expressions of sorrow and shame, fasting, weeping, and mourning; tears for trouble must be turned into tears for the sin that caused it. But rending the garments would be vain, except their hearts were rent by abasement and self-abhorrence; by sorrow for their sins, and separation from them. There is no question but that if we truly repent of our sins, God will forgive them; but whether he will remove affliction is not promised, yet the probability of it should encourage us to repent.

Verses 15-27 The priests and rulers are to appoint a solemn fast. The sinner's supplication is, Spare us, good Lord. God is ready to succour his people; and he waits to be gracious. They prayed that God would spare them, and he answered them. His promises are real answers to the prayers of faith; with him saying and doing are not two things. Some understand these promises figuratively, as pointing to gospel grace, and as fulfilled in the abundant comforts treasured up for believers in the covenant of grace.

Verses 28-32 The promise began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and it was continued in the converting grace and miraculous gifts conferred on both Jews and Gentiles. The judgments of God upon a sinful world, only go before the judgment of the world in the last day. Calling on God supposes knowledge of him, faith in him, desire toward him, dependence on him, and, as evidence of the sincerity of all this, conscientious obedience to him. Those only shall be delivered in the great day, who are now effectually called from sin to God, from self to Christ, from things below to things above.

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries