The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel:
2 Hear this, you elders;
give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
or in the days of your fathers?
3 Tell your children of it,
and let your children tell their children,
and their children to another generation.
4 What the cutting locust left,
the swarming locust has eaten.
What the swarming locust left,
the hopping locust has eaten,
and what the hopping locust left,
the destroying locust has eaten.
5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep,
and wail, all you drinkers of wine,
because of the sweet wine,
for it is cut off from your mouth.
6 For a nation has come up against my land,
powerful and beyond number;
its teeth are lions’ teeth,
and it has the fangs of a lioness.
7 It has laid waste my vine
and splintered my fig tree;
it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down;
their branches are made white.
8 Lament like a virgin wearing sackcloth
for the bridegroom of her youth.
9 The grain offering and the drink offering are cut off
from the house of the Lord.
The priests mourn,
the ministers of the Lord.
10 The fields are destroyed,
the ground mourns,
because the grain is destroyed,
the wine dries up,
the oil languishes.
11 Be ashamed, O tillers of the soil;
wail, O vinedressers,
for the wheat and the barley,
because the harvest of the field has perished.
12 The vine dries up;
the fig tree languishes.
Pomegranate, palm, and apple,
all the trees of the field are dried up,
and gladness dries up
from the children of man.
13 Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests;
wail, O ministers of the altar.
Go in, pass the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
Because grain offering and drink offering
are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly.
Gather the elders
and all the inhabitants of the land
to the house of the Lord your God,
and cry out to the Lord.
15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near,
and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.
16 Is not the food cut off
before our eyes,
joy and gladness
from the house of our God?
17 The seed shrivels under the clods;
the storehouses are desolate;
the granaries are torn down
because the grain has dried up.
18 How the beasts groan!
The herds of cattle are perplexed
because there is no pasture for them;
even the flocks of sheep suffer.
19 To you, O Lord, I call.
For fire has devoured
the pastures of the wilderness,
and flame has burned
all the trees of the field.
20 Even the beasts of the field pant for you
because the water brooks are dried up,
and fire has devoured
the pastures of the wilderness.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider:
1. What is the purpose or theme of the book of Joel? Which genre of biblical literature (epistle, historical narrative, wisdom, etc.) is it? To whom was the book written? What do verses 2-3 indicate about the gravity of the situation the rest of the chapter describes?
2. What was the natural disaster that fell on the land? (4) Which crops were affected? (10-12) How were the land and livestock affected by the natural disaster in verse 4? (18-20) What does Joel 2:12-14 suggest might be the reason Israel is experiencing this hardship?
3. What were two major aspects of Israel’s life the famine was detrimental to? (16) How were “joy and gladness [cut off] from the house of our God”? (9) How might a natural disaster, war, or other major catastrophe affect your church? In what ways would worship be affected?
4. How was Israel to respond to the famine? (13-14, 19) Who was to lead the way in lamenting and crying out to God? What should our response be when trouble or disaster strikes? What are some ways pastors can lead the way when a catastrophic event impacts the church?
5. What does this chapter teach us about God’s sovereignty? His judgment? How does this chapter hint at the intensity and the dreadfulness of God’s final judgment on the earth?