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Joel 2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Locusts and an Enemy Army

Sound the trumpet on Zion,
    the Lord’s sacred hill.
Warn everyone to tremble!
The judgment day of the Lord
    is coming soon.
It will be dark and gloomy
    with storm clouds overhead.
Troops will cover the mountains
    like thunderclouds.
No army this powerful
has ever been gathered before
    or will ever be again.
Fiery flames surround them;
    no one escapes.
Before they invaded,
the land was like Eden;
    now only a desert remains.

They look like horses
    and charge like cavalry.
They roar over mountains
    like noisy chariots,
or a mighty army
    ready for battle.
They are a forest fire
    that feasts on straw.
The very sight of them
    is frightening.[a]
They climb over walls
    like warriors;
they march in columns
    and never turn aside.
They charge straight ahead,
    without pushing each other;
even arrows and spears
    cannot make them retreat.
They swarm over city walls
    and enter our homes;
they crawl in through windows,
    just like thieves.

10 They make the earth tremble
    and the heavens shake;
the sun and moon turn dark,
    and stars stop shining.
11 The Lord God leads this army
of countless troops,
    and they obey his commands.
The day of his judgment
is so terrible
    that no one can stand it.

The Lord’s Invitation

12 The Lord said:

It isn’t too late.
You can still return to me
    with all your heart.
Start crying and mourning!
    Go without eating.
13 Don’t rip your clothes
    to show your sorrow.
Instead, turn back to me
    with broken hearts.
I am merciful, kind, and caring.
I don’t easily lose my temper,
    and I don’t like to punish.

14 I am the Lord your God.
Perhaps I will change my mind
    and treat you with mercy.
Then you will be blessed
with enough grain and wine
    for offering sacrifices to me.

15 Sound the trumpet on Zion!
    Call the people together.
Show your sorrow
    by going without food.
16 Make sure that everyone
    is fit to worship me.[b]
Bring adults, children, babies,
and even bring newlyweds
    from their festivities.

17 Tell my servants, the priests,
    to cry inside the temple
and to offer this prayer
    near the altar:[c]
“Save your people, Lord God!
Don’t let foreign nations
    make jokes about us.
Don’t let them laugh and ask,
    ‘Where is your God?’”

The Lord Will Bless the Land

18 The Lord was deeply concerned
about his land
    and had pity on his people.
19 In answer to their prayers
    he said,
“I will give you enough grain,
wine, and olive oil
    to satisfy your needs.
No longer will I let you
    be insulted by the nations.
20 An army attacked from the north,
but I will chase it
    into a scorching desert.
There it will rot and stink
from the Dead Sea
    to the Mediterranean.”

The Lord works wonders
21     and does great things.
So tell the soil to celebrate
22 and wild animals
    to stop being afraid.
Grasslands are green again;
fruit trees and fig trees
    are loaded with fruit.
Grapevines are covered
    with grapes.

23 People of Zion,[d]
celebrate in honor
    of the Lord your God!
He is generous and has sent
the autumn and spring rains
    in the proper seasons.[e]
24 Grain will cover
    your threshing places;
jars will overflow
    with wine and olive oil.

The Lord Will Rescue His People

25 I, the Lord your God,
will make up for the losses
    caused by those swarms
and swarms of locusts[f]
    I sent to attack you.
26 My people, you will eat
    until you are satisfied.
Then you will praise me
for the wonderful things
    I have done.
Never again will you
    be put to shame.

27 Israel, you will know
    that I stand at your side.
I am the Lord your God—
    there are no other gods.
Never again will you
    be put to shame.

The Lord Will Work Wonders

The Lord said:

28 Later, I will give my Spirit
    to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
    will prophesy.
Your old men
    will have dreams,
and your young men
    will see visions.
29 In those days I will even give
my Spirit to my servants,
    both men and women.

30 I will work wonders
in the sky above
    and on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
    and clouds of smoke.
31 The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
    will be as red as blood
before that great
and terrible day
    when I appear.

32 Then the Lord will save everyone who faithfully worships him. He has promised there will be survivors on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and among them will be his chosen ones.

Footnotes:

  1. 2.6 The very. . . frightening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 2.16 fit to worship me: This required going through certain kinds of ceremonies.
  3. 2.17 inside. . . altar: The Hebrew text has “between the porch and the altar,” which is the place where the priests usually prayed for the people.
  4. 2.23 Zion: Jerusalem.
  5. 2.23 in. . . seasons: Or “as he used to do.”
  6. 2.25 swarms. . . locusts: See the note at 1.4.

Joel 2 New International Version (NIV)

An Army of Locusts

Blow the trumpet in Zion;
    sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble,
    for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand
    a day of darkness and gloom,
    a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
    a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
    nor ever will be in ages to come.

Before them fire devours,
    behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
    behind them, a desert waste
    nothing escapes them.
They have the appearance of horses;
    they gallop along like cavalry.
With a noise like that of chariots
    they leap over the mountaintops,
like a crackling fire consuming stubble,
    like a mighty army drawn up for battle.

At the sight of them, nations are in anguish;
    every face turns pale.
They charge like warriors;
    they scale walls like soldiers.
They all march in line,
    not swerving from their course.
They do not jostle each other;
    each marches straight ahead.
They plunge through defenses
    without breaking ranks.
They rush upon the city;
    they run along the wall.
They climb into the houses;
    like thieves they enter through the windows.

10 Before them the earth shakes,
    the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened,
    and the stars no longer shine.
11 The Lord thunders
    at the head of his army;
his forces are beyond number,
    and mighty is the army that obeys his command.
The day of the Lord is great;
    it is dreadful.
    Who can endure it?

Rend Your Heart

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
    and leave behind a blessing
grain offerings and drink offerings
    for the Lord your God.

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
    declare a holy fast,
    call a sacred assembly.
16 Gather the people,
    consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
    gather the children,
    those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
    and the bride her chamber.
17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord,
    weep between the portico and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
    Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
    a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
    ‘Where is their God?’”

The Lord’s Answer

18 Then the Lord was jealous for his land
    and took pity on his people.

19 The Lord replied[a] to them:

“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
    enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
    an object of scorn to the nations.

20 “I will drive the northern horde far from you,
    pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
    and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
    its smell will rise.”

Surely he has done great things!
21     Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
    be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!
22     Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
    for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
    the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
23 Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

The Day of the Lord

28 “And afterward,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your old men will dream dreams,
    your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens
    and on the earth,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
    there will be deliverance,
    as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
    whom the Lord calls.[c]

Footnotes:

  1. Joel 2:19 Or Lord will be jealous … / and take pity … / 19 The Lord will reply
  2. Joel 2:25 The precise meaning of the four Hebrew words used here for locusts is uncertain.
  3. Joel 2:32 In Hebrew texts 2:28-32 is numbered 3:1-5.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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