What you get:
- 13 high resolution 3D maps for immediate download as PDFs. Updates are free.
Sample map in the Joel Bible Atlas
Invaders are coming like a swarm of locusts
That’s God’s message, as told by a prophet named Joel.
A few nibbling grasshoppers aren’t much of a problem. But in the Middle East, an angry swarm of hungry grasshoppers can explode up out of the desert sand and morph into a dark cloud big enough to blacken the sky and pose for photos shot from space.
The biggest swarms come from African and Arabian deserts where there aren’t many critters with an appetite for grasshoppers. When conditions are perfect for grasshoppers to propagate, swarms can soar a mile high before dropping onto a green and brown patch of grain, fruit, and vegetables.
In modern times, swarms have been measured at 80 million locusts per square kilometer.
They can wipe out grain fields, vineyards, and olive orchards—along with most every other plant eaten by people, livestock, and wild animals. When wild animals begin starving, livestock and people begin looking tastier.
No wonder locusts show up on the kosher menu of the Hebrew ancestors of today’s Jewish people: “…locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. Eat any of them you like” (Leviticus 11:22).
Locusts, symbol for invaders
Joel used locusts to describe what invaders were going to do to the nation: Decimate it by stripping it bare to the bark. That’s a metaphor.
What locusts did to a farmer’s field, invaders would do to people, livestock, and cities in their path.
Joel warned that God was sending the invaders to punish the people for breaking their contract agreement to obey God in exchange for peace and prosperity.
“If you don’t follow the law and you refuse to do what the LORD your God says…You’re going to have some painful experiences in your families, fields, flocks, and herds” (Deuteronomy 28:15-17).
“You can do this”
Joel’s message in a paragraph:
“It’s not too late, the LORD says.
Come back to me
With all your heart,
With fasting, crying, and sorrow.
Don’t tear your clothes in grief, though.
Open your hearts instead.
Go back to the LORD. He’s your God.
He’s kind and full of mercy.
…His love won’t quit.
And the last thing he wants to do is punish” (2:12-13).
They didn’t listen
The most common educated guess among Bible scholars is that the people didn’t do what Joel said. So, God did what he didn’t want to do.
A nation, possibly Judah, got wiped off the map.
As the Bible tells Judah’s story, invaders left no leaders and few survivors. Most who survived the battles were killed or deported to what is now Iraq.
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