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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.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

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.

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