Summary: The Sound of the Locusts! Overview of the book of Joel – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(1). Who wrote the book?

(2). When was it written?

(3). What's the big idea?

(4). So what?



• Locusts trivia:

• Locust are insects that rub their legs and wings against their body,

• To make a humming sound.

• They can hear this hum and a range of other sounds;

• Through ears on their abdomens.

• Adults grow to 7 cm (3 in) long,

• They eating the equivalent of their own weight in a day.

• Locusts are larger than grasshoppers and have transparent wings.

• They can fly for 15 hours at a time.

• When a lot of locusts come together,

• They change colour and form a swarm that can be miles wide;

• Blotting out the sun and devouring every plant in its path.


• New Planet Earth 2 footage (YouTube: );

• Captured one of the biggest plagues of locusts ever witnessed caught on camera.

• Billions of individual insects made up the mega-swarm;

• That stretched across 300 square kilometres (116 square miles);

• And munched its way through 40,000 tonnes of food a day.

• The presenter Sir David Attenborough sounds astounded;

• As he reveals how the battalions of crawling insects,

• Become even more devastating;

• As they suddenly start sprouting wings and turn into voracious whirlwind.

• TRANSITION: Locusts. Locusts everywhere.

• A devastating swarm had come to Judah, the Southern Kingdom.

• This was no small infestation; the people had never seen anything like it:

• Chapter 1 verse 4:

“What the locust swarm has left

the great locusts have eaten;

what the great locusts have left

the young locusts have eaten;

what the young locusts have left

other locusts have eaten.”

• The crops were gone.

• The people were hungry.

• The cattle were hungry.

• Question: What was happening—and why?

• Answer: The day of the Lord was upon them.

• When God was delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt,

• He sent a plague of locusts on the Egyptians’ crops.

• Now, hundreds of years later,

• He was judging His people with the same kind of plague for straying from Him.

• Now before we go much further;

• Let’s just pause and fill in some background information.

(1). Who wrote the book?


• This short book was written by ‘Yo’el’ (Hebrew “Yahweh Is God.”),

• The Greek equivalent is ‘Ioel’, and the Latin & English is ‘Joel’.

• Twelve other men in the Old Testament have this name,

• But none of them can be identified with the author of this book.

• We know almost nothing about him.

• Just the name of his father, who is identified ‘Pethuel’,

• And even the name of his father is not mentioned elsewhere in the OT.


• He preached to the people of Judah (Southern Kingdom),

• And expressed a great deal of interest in Jerusalem.


• Joel makes frequent references to Zion and the house of the Lord;

• He comments on the priests and the temple,

• (1:9, 13–14; 2:15–17, 23, 32; 3:1, 5–6, 16–17, 20–21),

• This would suggest that he probably lived not far from Jerusalem.

• Some commentators think Joel was a priest as well as a prophet.

(2). When was it written?

• Most scholars agree that dating this short book is a very difficult task,

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