Joel Chapter 1 describes a calamity. This story is told to Joel, a prophet, from God Himself and describes an infestation of locusts and other vermin along with a drought and a fire.
Joel Introduces His Message
Joel Chapter 1 opens with the prophet preparing the audience for what he is about to say. He told them to remember the story so they would be able to tell it to their children and grandchildren and so on through the generations.
Destruction by Locusts
Joel described how the land wasgoing to be tormented by swarms of locusts. There will be four types of locust causing destruction on the land: the cutting locusts, the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts and the destroying locusts.
When the locusts are finished, there is nothing left of the land. The vineyards had been decimated and the land was ravaged as a lion would ravage its prey.
The Effects of Destruction
Joel Chapter 1 describes the effects of the destruction by the locusts. For one thing, the branches of the fig trees have turned white and they have been stripped of their bark and discarded. Both offerings of meat and drink for the temple are gone and even the priests mourn.
Joel states that the very land seems to grieve because the crops are completely gone. Moreover, not only do the crops languish, but so does the joy that would be had from a good, plentiful crop.
Mourning for the Destruction
Joel told the ministers and the priests to put on sackcloth and lament. He told them to fast and to go to the temple with their people so they could call on the Lord.
The Animals Cry Out
The prophet Joel concluded the first chapter by repeating that the crops have been decimated, the seeds are rotting in the ground, and barns once full of corn have collapsed from lack of use.
He added that the cows and sheep are starving because there is no forage. The people cried to the Lord because in addition to the locusts and drought destroying the crops, there has also been a fire has burned everything to ash. Even the animals cry out to God for mercy.
Joel 1 (King James Version)
1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
2 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?
3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
4 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 caterpiller eaten.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
9 The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’S ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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,
15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
16 Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
17 The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 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.
20 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.