1 This message came from the Lord to Joel, son of Pethuel:
2 Listen, you aged men of Israel! Everyone, listen! In all your lifetime, yes, in all your history, have you ever heard of such a thing as I am going to tell you? 3 In years to come, tell your children about it; pass the awful story down from generation to generation. 4 After the cutter-locusts finish eating your crops, the swarmer-locusts will take what’s left! After them will come the hopper-locusts! And then the stripper-locusts too!
5 Wake up and weep, you drunkards, for all the grapes are ruined, and all your wine is gone! 6 A vast army of locusts[a] covers the land. It is a terrible army too numerous to count, with teeth as sharp as those of lions! 7 They have ruined my vines and stripped the bark from the fig trees, leaving trunks and branches white and bare.
8 Weep with sorrow, as a virgin weeps whose fiancé is dead. 9 Gone are the offerings of grain and wine to bring to the Temple of the Lord; the priests are starving. Hear the crying of these ministers of God. 10 The fields are bare of crops. Sorrow and sadness are everywhere. The grain, the grapes, the olive oil are gone.
11 Well may you farmers stand so shocked and stricken; well may you vinedressers weep. Weep for the wheat and the barley, too, for they are gone. 12 The grapevines are dead; the fig trees are dying; the pomegranates wither; the apples shrivel on the trees; all joy has withered with them.
13 O priests, robe yourselves in sackcloth. O ministers of my God, lie all night before the altar, weeping. For there are no more offerings of grain and wine for you. 14 Announce a fast; call a solemn meeting. Gather the elders and all the people into the Temple of the Lord your God, and weep before him there.
15 Alas, this terrible day of punishment[b] is on the way. Destruction from the Almighty is almost here! 16 Our food will disappear before our eyes; all joy and gladness will be ended in the Temple of our God. 17 The seed rots in the ground; the barns and granaries are empty; the grain has dried up in the fields. 18 The cattle groan with hunger; the herds stand perplexed, for there is no pasture for them; the sheep bleat in misery.
19 Lord, help us! For the heat has withered the pastures and burned up all the trees. 20 Even the wild animals cry to you for help, for there is no water for them. The creeks are dry, and the pastures are scorched.