Joel Chapter 1 The word of the lord that came to Joel son of Pethuel

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without number. A phrase used to describe the locusts in the plague in Egypt (see Ps 105:34; see also Ex 10:4–6, 12–15). (CSB)
teeth. Joel’s comparison of the locusts’ teeth to lions’ teeth is reflected in Rev 9:8. (CSB)
Owing to their immense numbers, these locusts’ teeth are far more destructive than the fangs of a lion. (TLSB)
1:7 my. The personal pronouns here and elsewhere in Joel (vv. 6, 13–14; 2:13–14, 17–18, 23, 26–27; 3:2–5, 17) offer a hint of hope, since they indicate that the people belong to the Lord (cf. Jos 22:19). (CSB)
THEIR BARK – This was by the complete removal of the bark. This being the condition in which the land was left after the visit of the locusts, the prophet now urges his countrymen to mourn. (Kretzmann)
1:8 virgin. The community is addressed. In Israel, when a woman was pledged to be married to a man, he was called her husband and she his wife, though she was still a virgin (see Dt 22:23–24). This verse refers to such a husband who died before the marriage was consummated. (CSB)
sackcloth. See v. 13; Ge 37:34 and note. (CSB)
1:9 offerings. The locusts have left nothing that can be offered as sacrifice. The grain offering (Lev 2:1–2) and the drink offering, which was a libation of wine (Lev 23:13), were part of the daily offering (Ex 29:40; Nu 28:5–8). (CSB)
These were regularly used in thanksgiving for God’s provision (Lv 2; 6:14-23), and with daily sacrifices (Ex 29:40-41), with the first fruit offering (Lv 23:13), and with other sacrifices (Nu 15:5-7, 10). The famine produced by the locust invasion would threaten to put an end to these sacrifices and the blessings they provided. (TLSB)
PRIESTS…MOURNING – These were the priests serving in God’s house would mourn the cessation of the grain and drink offerings because of the loss of their own substance and also because the people’s fellowship with the Lord would be broken. (TLSB)
1:10 dried up. The destruction caused by the locusts was intensified by drought. (CSB)
As with Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen 3:17), and again in the days of Noah (Gen 6:13), so also here the earth is depicted as suffering the consequences of human wickedness (cf Rm 8:20-23). (TLSB)
grain … new wine … oil. An important OT triad, related to the agriculture of that day (see 2:19) (CSB)
According to the law, grain offerings in the form of fine flour mixed with oil and incese, or bread baked without yeast, or crushed and roasted heads of new grain were to be salted and offered on the altar. A grain offering and a quart or more of wine as a drink offering were to accompany all burnt offerings (Nu 15:1-12). (PBC)
1:11 DESPAIR…FARMERS – As those responsible for the agricultural production of the land, framers will be especially grieved by the impending locust plague and resultant famine. (TLSB)
1:12 ARE DRIED UP – There could be no rejoicing over a bountiful harvest, as usual. Cp. Ps. 4, 7; Is. 9, 3. The description of the swarming grasshoppers and the desolation following in their wake is one of the most powerful in all literature, and the picture is rightly regarded as one which ought to call all men to repentance. (Kretzmann)

A Call to Repentance
13 Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. 15 Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 16 Has not the food been cut off before our very eyes— joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17 The seeds are shriveled beneath the clods. The storehouses are in ruins, the granaries have been broken down, for the grain has dried up. 18 How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering. 19 To you, O LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the open pastures and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. 20 Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the open pastures.

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