New English Translation
A Call to Lament
8 Wail[a] like a young virgin[b] clothed in sackcloth,
lamenting the death of[c] her husband to be.[d]
9 No one brings grain offerings or drink offerings
to the temple[e] of the Lord anymore.[f]
So the priests, those who serve the Lord, are in mourning.
10 The crops of the fields[g] have been destroyed.[h]
The ground is in mourning because the grain has perished.
The fresh wine has dried up;
the olive oil languishes.
- Joel 1:8 sn The verb is feminine singular, raising a question concerning its intended antecedent. A plural verb would be expected here, the idea being that all the inhabitants of the land should grieve. Perhaps Joel is thinking specifically of the city of Jerusalem, albeit in a representative sense. The choice of the feminine singular verb form has probably been influenced to some extent by the allusion to the young widow in the simile of v. 8.
- Joel 1:8 tn Or “a young woman” (TEV, CEV). See the note on the phrase “husband to be” in the next line. The word בְּתוּלָה (betulah) can be used as a technical term for “virgin” but often just refers to a young woman, perhaps to a woman who has not had children.
- Joel 1:8 tn Heb “over the husband of her youth.” The death of the husband is implied by the wailing.
- Joel 1:8 sn Heb “the husband of her youth.” The woman described here may already be married, so the reference is to the death of a husband rather than a fiancé (a husband-to-be). Either way, the simile describes a painful and unexpected loss to which the national tragedy Joel is describing may be compared.
- Joel 1:9 tn Heb “house.” So also in vv. 13, 14, 16.
- Joel 1:9 tn Heb “grain offering and drink offering are cut off from the house of the Lord.”
- Joel 1:10 tn Heb “the field has been utterly destroyed.” The term “field,” a collective singular for “fields,” is a metonymy for crops produced by the fields.
- Joel 1:10 tn Joel uses intentionally alliterative language in the phrases שֻׁדַּד שָׂדֶה (shuddad sadeh, “the field is destroyed”) and אֲבְלָה אֲדָמָה (ʾavelah ʾadamah, “the ground is in mourning”).