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Like fire they devour everything in their path;[a]

a flame blazes behind them.
The land looks like the Garden of Eden[b] before them,
but behind them there is only a desolate wilderness—
for nothing escapes them![c]

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  1. Joel 2:3 tn Heb “a fire devours before it.”
  2. Joel 2:3 tn Heb “like the garden of Eden, the land is before them.” Gen 2:8-9 is clear that Eden is more of an orchard (“all kinds of trees”), but the translation retains “Garden of Eden” here because the phrase has now become a metaphor for the bounty, beauty, and fertility of the land, and as such is much more familiar to modern readers.
  3. Joel 2:3 tn Heb “and surely a survivor there is not for it.” The antecedent of the pronoun “it” is apparently עַם (ʿam, “people”) of v. 2, which seems to be a figurative way of referring to the locusts and describes ants and rock badgers in Prov 30:25-26. K&D 26:191-92 thought that the antecedent of this pronoun was “land,” but the masculine gender of the pronoun does not support this.