Joel 2

The army of locusts

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion.

Tell the people on the Lord's hill that they must watch for trouble.

All the people who live in this country will be afraid.

They will be afraid because the day of the Lord is coming.

It is very near.

2 That day will be sad and dark.

There will be dark clouds.

A great big army is coming.

It comes across the sky like light in the morning.

A great army like this has never come before.

And it will never come again in future years.

3 Fire goes in front of the army.

2:3This army is an army of locusts.

It burns everything behind them.

The land in front of them is like the Garden of Eden.

2:3See Genesis 2:8 for the Garden of Eden.

Behind them it is like a desert.

They leave nothing behind them.

4 They look like horses.

And they run fast to the war.

5 Their noise is like the noise of many feet.

They jump over the mountains

as fast as fire burns dry grass.

They are like a great army ready for a fight.

6 Nations that see them are very afraid.

Every face changes colour.

7 They run together like an army into a fight.

They climb walls like soldiers.

They march on in a straight line.

They do not turn away.

8 They do not push each other away.

Each one of them goes straight on.

You can put weapons in their path

but they go straight on.

9 They run towards the city.

They run along the wall.

They climb into houses.

They go through the windows like robbers.

10 The earth in front of them moves.

The sky itself moves.

The sun and moon are dark

and the stars do not give any light.

11 The Lord shouts aloud

as he leads his army.

We cannot count his soldiers.

Those who obey him are very strong.

The day of the Lord is powerful.

It makes us afraid.

Not many of us will be alive after it has gone.

2:11Joel is telling Israel that the Lord will send a great number of locusts. The locusts will eat the food that is growing in their fields. The insects will march together like an army.

Show the Lord that you are sorry

12 ‘Even now,’ the Lord says,

‘return to me and put me first.

Eat no food. Cry and be very sad.

13 Stop pulling your clothes to pieces. That does not help.

Show me instead that you are really sorry.’

Return to the Lord, your God.

He is kind and full of grace.

He does not quickly become angry, and he is full of love.

He is sad that he had to cause troubles for you.

14 Perhaps he will change his mind and he will be sorry.

He may send you blessings of food and drink.

Then you can offer gifts to the Lord your God.

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion.

Tell the people that they must not eat any food.

Tell the people that they must all come to worship him.

16 Tell the people that they must all come.

Make them all ready to serve the Lord.

Bring the old people together.

Bring the children – even the smallest ones.

Every new husband must leave his room.

Every wife must leave her secret room.

17 There are priests who go in front of the Lord.

They must cry as they go from the temple door to the altar.

They must say to the Lord, ‘Do not hurt your people.

Do not let the people in other countries laugh at your own people.

They will point at them. And they will say that they have no value.

They will say that we have no God.’

The Lord's answer

18 Then the Lord will be careful for his land.

He will be kind to his people.

19 He will answer them and he will say,

‘I am giving you new wine and food and oil.

You will have enough to fill you up.

I will never again let people in other countries laugh about you.

20 I will send the army from the north far from you.

I will push it into empty land where nothing grows.

I will make the front of it go into the sea on the east.

And I will make the back of it go into the sea on the west.

I will make its smell rise up high

because it has done great things.’

21 Do not be afraid, my own land!

Be very happy.

Be sure that the Lord has done great things.

22 Do not be afraid, wild animals.

The fields in the wilderness are becoming green.

Fruit is growing on the trees.

The fig tree and the vine are giving much fruit.

23 Shout with joy, people in Zion!

Be very happy because of the things that the Lord your God has done.

He has given you just enough autumn rain.

He has given you the winter rain,

and the summer rain, as before.

24 He will fill your stores with seeds to make bread.

And he will fill your jars with new wine and oil.

25 ‘I will give you back the years that the locusts have eaten.

I will give you all that the great locust and the young locust,

and other locusts and their groups have eaten.

All that my great army has eaten I will give you.

2:25The Lord will give back to his people as much food as the locusts had eaten.

26 You will have plenty to eat. You will be full.

You will praise the name of the Lord your God.

He has done great things for you.

My people will never again be ashamed.

27 Then you will know that I am in Israel.

You will know that I am the Lord your God.

And you will know that there is no other God.

My people will never again be ashamed.’

The day of the Lord

28 After that, I will pour out my Holy Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will be prophets.

Your old men will dream and

your young men will see pictures in their minds. (The Lord will send these to them.)

29 I will pour out my Spirit on all my servants,

on men and on women in those days.

2:29God gives the Spirit of the Lord to his servants. He can make us more like him.

30 I will do strange things in the sky and on the earth.

I will send blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

31 The sun will become dark and the moon will become red.

Then the great and frightening day of the Lord will come.

32 Everyone who asks the Lord for help will be safe.

They will be safe if they believe in his name.

The Lord will save the people on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.

2:32Zion was the place where the Israelites built the temple of the Lord. Sometimes the people who lived in Jerusalem called themselves ‘Zion’.

He has promised this to those people whom he has asked to come to him.