TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Joel 1

1The word of Hashem that came to Yoel son of Petuel.

אדְּבַר־יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר הָיָה אֶל־יוֹאֵל בֶּן־פְּתוּאֵל׃

2Listen to this, O elders, Give ear, all inhabitants of the land. Has the like of this happened in your days Or in the days of your fathers?

בשִׁמְעוּ־זֹאת הַזְּקֵנִים וְהַאֲזִינוּ כֹּל יוֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ הֶהָיְתָה זֹּאת בִּימֵיכֶם וְאִם בִּימֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם׃

3Tell your children about it, And let your children tell theirs, And their children the next generation!

געָלֶיהָ לִבְנֵיכֶם סַפֵּרוּ וּבְנֵיכֶם לִבְנֵיהֶם וּבְנֵיהֶם לְדוֹר אַחֵר׃

4What the cutter has left, the locust has devoured; What the locust has left, the grub has devoured; And what the grub has left, the hopper has devoured.

YE-ter ha-ga-ZAM a-KHAL ha-ar-BEH v'-YE-ter ha-ar-BEH a-KHAL ha-YA-lek v'-YE-ter ha-YE-lek a-KHAL he-kha-SEEL

דיֶתֶר הַגָּזָם אָכַל הָאַרְבֶּה וְיֶתֶר הָאַרְבֶּה אָכַל הַיָּלֶק וְיֶתֶר הַיֶּלֶק אָכַל הֶחָסִיל׃

 1:4  What the cutter has left, the locust has devoured

A swarm of locusts over the town of Naveh, Israel

In Israel and the Middle East, swarms of locusts are not uncommon. The insects appear in the spring, sweeping across northern Africa into Egypt, and from there across the Sinai Peninsula into Israel. Today, we can predict their arrival and control the damage they cause, but in ancient times, they could wreak havoc and cause massive devastation, even destroying an entire year’s crop. In this verse, Yoel describes a plague of four different species of locusts, each one more destructive than the one that preceded it. Some commentators understand this prophecy literally. Others see it as a metaphor for the different enemy nations that attack the people in their land. Indeed, the prophet Amos writes about a plague of locusts devouring the crops of the northern kingdom (Amos 7:1-3). Either way, Yoel calls upon the people to wake up from their drunken stupor (verse 5) to meet the threat, recognizing that it is a result of their sins.

5Wake up, you drunkards, and weep, Wail, all you swillers of wine— For the new wine that is denied you!

ההָקִיצוּ שִׁכּוֹרִים וּבְכוּ וְהֵילִלוּ כָּל־שֹׁתֵי יָיִן עַל־עָסִיס כִּי נִכְרַת מִפִּיכֶם׃

6For a nation has invaded my land, Vast beyond counting, With teeth like the teeth of a lion, With the fangs of a lion's breed.

וכִּי־גוֹי עָלָה עַל־אַרְצִי עָצוּם וְאֵין מִסְפָּר שִׁנָּיו שִׁנֵּי אַרְיֵה וּמְתַלְּעוֹת לָבִיא לוֹ׃

7They have laid my vines waste And splintered my fig trees: They have stripped off their bark and thrown [it] away; Their runners have turned white.

זשָׂם גַּפְנִי לְשַׁמָּה וּתְאֵנָתִי לִקְצָפָה חָשֹׂף חֲשָׂפָהּ וְהִשְׁלִיךְ הִלְבִּינוּ שָׂרִיגֶיהָ׃

8Lament—like a maiden girt with sackcloth For the husband of her youth!

חאֱלִי כִּבְתוּלָה חֲגֻרַת־שַׂק עַל־בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ׃

9Offering and libation have ceased From the House of Hashem; The Kohanim must mourn Who minister to Hashem.

טהָכְרַת מִנְחָה וָנֶסֶךְ מִבֵּית יְהֹוָה אָבְלוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים מְשָׁרְתֵי יְהֹוָה׃

10The country is ravaged, The ground must mourn; For the new grain is ravaged, The new wine is dried up, The new oil has failed.

ישֻׁדַּד שָׂדֶה אָבְלָה אֲדָמָה כִּי שֻׁדַּד דָּגָן הוֹבִישׁ תִּירוֹשׁ אֻמְלַל יִצְהָר׃

11Farmers are dismayed And vine dressers wail Over wheat and barley; For the crops of the field are lost.

יאהֹבִישׁוּ אִכָּרִים הֵילִילוּ כֹּרְמִים עַל־חִטָּה וְעַל־שְׂעֹרָה כִּי אָבַד קְצִיר שָׂדֶה׃

12The vine has dried up, The fig tree withers, Pomegranate, palm, and apple— All the trees of the field are sear. And joy has dried up Among men.

יבהַגֶּפֶן הוֹבִישָׁה וְהַתְּאֵנָה אֻמְלָלָה רִמּוֹן גַּם־תָּמָר וְתַפּוּחַ כָּל־עֲצֵי הַשָּׂדֶה יָבֵשׁוּ כִּי־הֹבִישׁ שָׂשׂוֹן מִן־בְּנֵי אָדָם׃

13Gird yourselves and lament, O Kohanim, Wail, O ministers of the mizbayach; Come, spend the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God For offering and libation are withheld From the House of your God.

יגחִגְרוּ וְסִפְדוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים הֵילִילוּ מְשָׁרְתֵי מִזְבֵּחַ בֹּאוּ לִינוּ בַשַּׂקִּים מְשָׁרְתֵי אֱלֹהָי כִּי נִמְנַע מִבֵּית אֱלֹהֵיכֶם מִנְחָה וָנָסֶךְ׃

14Solemnize a fast, Proclaim an assembly; Gather the elders—all the inhabitants of the land— In the House of Hashem your God, And cry out to Hashem.

ידקַדְּשׁוּ־צוֹם קִרְאוּ עֲצָרָה אִסְפוּ זְקֵנִים כֹּל יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְזַעֲקוּ אֶל־יְהֹוָה׃

15Alas for the day! For the day of Hashem is near; It shall come like havoc from Shaddai.

טואֲהָהּ לַיּוֹם כִּי קָרוֹב יוֹם יְהֹוָה וּכְשֹׁד מִשַׁדַּי יָבוֹא׃

16For food is cut off Before our very eyes, And joy and gladness From the House of our God.

טזהֲלוֹא נֶגֶד עֵינֵינוּ אֹכֶל נִכְרָת מִבֵּית אֱלֹהֵינוּ שִׂמְחָה וָגִיל׃

17The seeds have shriveled Under their clods. The granaries are desolate, Barns are in ruins, For the new grain has failed.

יזעָבְשׁוּ פְרֻדוֹת תַּחַת מֶגְרְפֹתֵיהֶם נָשַׁמּוּ אֹצָרוֹת נֶהֶרְסוּ מַמְּגֻרוֹת כִּי הֹבִישׁ דָּגָן׃

18How the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are bewildered Because they have no pasture, And the flocks of sheep are dazed.

יחמַה־נֶּאֶנְחָה בְהֵמָה נָבֹכוּ עֶדְרֵי בָקָר כִּי אֵין מִרְעֶה לָהֶם גַּם־עֶדְרֵי הַצֹּאן נֶאְשָׁמוּ׃

19To You, Hashem, I call. For fire has consumed The pastures in the wilderness, And flame has devoured All the trees of the countryside.

יטאֵלֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֶקְרָא כִּי אֵשׁ אָכְלָה נְאוֹת מִדְבָּר וְלֶהָבָה לִהֲטָה כָּל־עֲצֵי הַשָּׂדֶה׃

20The very beasts of the field Cry out to You; For the watercourses are dried up, And fire has consumed The pastures in the wilderness.

כגַּם־בַּהֲמוֹת שָׂדֶה תַּעֲרוֹג אֵלֶיךָ כִּי יָבְשׁוּ אֲפִיקֵי מָיִם וְאֵשׁ אָכְלָה נְאוֹת הַמִּדְבָּר׃