Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Joel 1

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-20


Effects of the plague (1:1-20)

So devastating is the current locust plague, that even the oldest people cannot remember anything like it. The whole countryside has been stripped bare. Joel tells the people to pass the story of the plague on to their children and grandchildren, so that it will not be forgotten (1:1-4). Those who have greedily lived for their own pleasure are punished. They will no longer get drunk with wine, because the locusts have destroyed the vineyards (5-7).
The people mourn as a young bride mourns when she has lost her bridegroom. She had looked forward to happiness, but instead she has misery (8). The priests mourn, because with the destruction of the fields and vineyards the people cannot bring their cereal and wine offerings (9). The ground mourns, because it cannot fulfil its natural purpose of producing grain, wine and oil (10). And the farmers mourn, because their crops have been ruined (11-12).
Joel now reveals that the locust plague is not an accident; it is a direct judgment from God. The priests therefore must lead the nation in repentance. First they must show their own repentance, then they must gather the leaders and people together to cry to the Lord for mercy (13-14).
The people must acknowledge that this disaster is from God. It is a foretaste of the great day of the Lord when he intervenes in judgment in the affairs of the human race. They have the evidence before their eyes in the form of hungry people, ruined crops and starving animals. Surely, they must see that this is God’s judgment upon them (15-18). Therefore, God is the one to whom the prophet cries; he alone can save the nation from total ruin (19-20).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Joel 1". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/joel-1.html. 2005.
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