The Devastation of Locusts
2 Hear this, you aged men, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing as this occurred in your days or even in the days of your fathers? 3 Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
4 What the crawling locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; and what the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten; and what the hopping locust left, the stripping locust has eaten. 5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep; wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the [fresh] sweet juice [of the grape], for it is cut off and removed from your mouth. 6 For a [heathen and hostile] nation [of locusts, illustrative of a human foe] has invaded My land, mighty and without number; its teeth are the teeth of a lion, and it has the jaw teeth of a lioness. 7 It has laid waste My vine [symbol of God's people] and barked and broken My fig tree; it has made them completely bare and thrown them down; their branches are made white.
8 Lament like a virgin [bride] girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth [who has died]. 9 The meal or cereal offering and the drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's ministers, mourn. 10 The field is laid waste, the ground mourns; for the grain is destroyed, the new juice [of the grape] is dried up, the oil fails. 11 Be ashamed, O you tillers of the soil; wail, O you vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley, because the harvest of the field has perished. 12 The vine is dried up and the fig tree fails; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple or quince tree, even all the trees of the field are withered, so that joy has withered and fled away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; wail, you ministers of the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, you ministers of my [Joel's] God, for the cereal or meal offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.
Starvation and Drought
14 Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land in the house of the Lord, your God, and cry to the Lord [in penitent pleadings]. 15 Alas for the day! For the day of [the judgment of] the Lord is at hand, and as a destructive tempest from the Almighty will it come. 16 Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seed [grain] rots and shrivels under the clods, the garners are desolate and empty, the barns are in ruins because the grain has failed. 18 How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed and huddle together because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment (are forsaken and made wretched). 19 O Lord, to You will I cry, for the fire has devoured the pastures and folds of the plain and the wilderness, and flame has burned all the trees of the field. 20 Even the wild beasts of the field pant and cry to You, for the water brooks are dried up and fire has consumed the pastures and folds of the wilderness and the plain.