Locust and Armies in Joel 1-2


the book of Joel, locust invasion, fall of Samaria

How to Cite

Poniatowski, F. (2023). Locust and Armies in Joel 1-2: One More Possible Scenario. Old Testament Essays, 36(2), 512–527. Retrieved from


The purpose of this article is to analyse the descriptions of the locust (Joel 1) and the approaching army (Joel 2) in an attempt to reconstruct the scenario of events that could explain the maximum details of the text. Usually, scholars identify the locust and the army based on an assumed date of the book’s composition. This article suggests a different approach: first to identify the characters of Joel 1 and 2 based on the thorough analysis of the text and reconstruct the possible scenario of the events, before trying to define with which time frame this scenario better fits. The analysis arrived at the following conclusions: the author deliberately portrays the invasion of the locust (Joel 1) and the approaching army (Joel 2) as two events of a similar significance, scope and consequences. Both, the locust attack and the approaching army should be interpreted as pointing to the military vents. The description of the locust invasion is used as a metaphor for the destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria. The prophet invites the population of Judah to wail over the destruction of the sister-state but no one heeded the prophet’s invitation. Then Joel announces another calamity (Joel 2) that will hit Judah if the people do not repent.


Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).