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The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.
Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it is cut off from your mouth.
For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD'S ministers, mourn.
The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD.
Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

Introduction to Joel

Joel (meaning “Jehovah is God”) was a prophet in Judah, probably one of the earliest of her writing prophets. However, the date of his prophecy is uncertain, since there are no contemporary kings or other chronological data given.

Nothing is known about Joel personally except that he probably lived in Jerusalem and that his father’s name was Pethuel (Joel 1:1). Indications that his prophecy was one of the earliest are that there is little condemnation of the sins of the people and no warning of impending invasion by either Assyria or Babylonia. Nor is there any mention of the northern kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, Joel speaks much of the coming “day of the LORD” (Joel 1:15) and God’s judgment on the nations, looking far ahead to the end times. A recent devastating plague of locusts was taken by Joel as a type of the day of the Lord.

One significant confirmation of Joel’s authorship of the book is the fact that the Apostle Peter used a portion of it in his famous sermon on the day of Pentecost, attributing it to Joel (Acts 2:16-21, citing Joel 2:28-32), and noting that a portion of this significant prophecy had been fulfilled in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the early church.

1:1 Joel. Joel (a name combining Jehovah, or Yahweh, and Elohim, thus carrying the meaning “Jehovah is God”) is the name of about fourteen men listed in the Old Testament. The prophet Joel lived in Judah, probably during the reign of Joash, and his warnings of coming judgment were aimed primarily at those in the southern kingdom.

1:4 palmerworm. It is probable that the four invaders mentioned here are all different species, or possibly different life stages, of the locust.

1:4 the locust. Much of Joel’s prophecy draws on the imagery suggested by a recent plague of locusts and other insects that had devastated the land of Judah. He uses these as a type of the ultimate “day of the LORD”—a phrase occurring five times in Joel’s prophecy.

1:14 cry unto the LORD. The terrible locust plague had been sent by God as a warning of a much more severe judgment yet to come, and was used by Joel as an incentive to repent, both then and now.

1:15 day of the LORD. “The day of the LORD,” in contrast to “man’s day,” refers to a coming time of judgment. The Lord will take strong control of the world and its inhabitants in severe judgment, after a long time of patient forbearance. This will be followed by cleansing and blessing. Such prophecies often refer to a current situation, such as the plague of locusts, then leap over the centuries to the future end-time judgments, the former being a type of the latter. Sometimes it refers to the entire period of judgment, sometimes to the specific day on which that period will begin. In the prophets, it occurs first in Isaiah 2:12, last in Malachi 4:5. There are other phrases that are used synonymously—“the day of wrath,” “the day of God,” “that day,” etc.

1:19 fire hath devoured. This statement, occurring in both these verses, depicts a scene more awesome than even a plague of locusts could produce. All the trees of the field and all the pastures of the wilderness are scorched with devastating fires. Evidently Joel’s vision at this point carries him forward to the ultimate day of the Lord, the future tribulation period, when there will be a worldwide three and one-half year drought, with no rains and no winds (Revelation 11:3,6; 7:1). The drought will cause global famines (Revelation 6:5,6), and then “hail and fire mingled with blood,…and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (Revelation 8:7).

1:20 dried up. Eventually in this time of great judgment, all the rivers “are dried up,” even “the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up” (Revelation 16:12). Undoubtedly lakes will also dry up and even sea level will drop, under great solar heat (Revelation 16:8).

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