This message came from the Lord to Joel, the son of Phatuel.
Citizens, hear and heed, ruler and commoner alike! Tell me, what happenings are these, in your days and in your fathers’ days unmatched,
a tale you must needs hand on to your children, and they to theirs, and theirs to a fresh generation yet?
That locusts, breed upon breed of them, so ravage yonder country-side, Swarmer devouring what Spoiler, Ruin-all what Gnaw-all has left?✻
Weep they and wail, the tipplers that must be ever at their cups, for the sweet wine they drank, and shall drink no more!
Alas, my country, how valiant an enemy is this, in number past all counting, that comes to invade thee; lion nor lion’s whelp has teeth can grind so pitilessly.
Spoiled thy vineyards lie, stripped of the very bark thy fig-trees; bare and blanched and ruinous every bough.
Weep bitterly, then, as maid that goes clad in sackcloth, untimely widowed;
in the Lord’s house, bread nor wine is offered now; for the priests, the Lord’s own ministers, no office now but tears.
Desolate the land lies, every field forlorn; crops ravaged, the vine thirsty, strengthless the oil.
Alas, for husbandman’s labour lost, for vintage-song turned to lament! Alas for harvest perished,
for vineyard withered, and drooping fig-tree! Pomegranate, and palm, and apple, no tree in the wood but fades there; what wonder? Has not joy faded in human hearts?
Mourn, priests, and lament; in mourners’ garb go about your work at the altar; ministers of God, to his presence betake you, and there, in sackcloth, keep vigil; your God’s house, that offering of bread and wine has none!
Then proclaim a fast, assemble the folk together, ruler and commoner alike summon to the temple, and there for the Lord’s help cry lustily.
Woe betide us this day! The day of the Lord is coming; his the dominion, his the doom.
Here in our sight, here in the temple of our God, the festal cheer abolished, all the contentment, all the rejoicing!
Beast on dung-heap rots; barn-wall gapes, and store-house lies in ruin, the hope of harvest gone;
echoes byre with lowing of bewildered cattle, that pasture have none; even the flocks dwindle.
What help, Lord, but thine? Parched are the upland meadows, every tree scorched in the forest;
to thee even the wild beasts make their dumb appeal, from dry river-beds, from upland pastures laid bare.
The Holy Bible