The burning garden of Eden (Joel 2:3-2:3)

“Fire devours

In front of them.

Behind them,

A flame burns.

Before them,

The land is

Like the garden of Eden.

But after them,

It is

Like a desolate wilderness.

Nothing escapes them.”

This fire or swarming grasshoppers was coming to devour everything. It was all around them. In front of them, it looked like the Garden of Eden, but after the locusts had hit them, it was like a desolate wilderness. Nothing escaped these swarming locusts.

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The locust plague (Joel 1:4-1:4)

“What the cutting locust left,

The swarming locust

Has eaten.

What the swarming locust left,

The hopping locust

Has eaten.

What the hopping locust left,

The destroying locust

Has eaten.”

The big event that Joel was talking about was a locust plague. Apparently, there were a series of locust attacks, a fairly common event in the ancient world. The mild-mannered grasshoppers would suddenly join in groups during times of drought and then attack the growing grain fields in droves. There must have been three separate attacks. Joel called them cutting locusts, swarming locusts, and hopping locusts. One came right after the other to destroy the field crops.