That which the palmerworm hath left — hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left — hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left — hath the caterpiller eaten. Joel 1:4
“The whole face of the mountain was black with them. On they came like a living deluge. We dug trenches and kindled fires, and beat and burnt to death heaps upon heaps, but the effort was utterly useless. They rolled up the mountain-side, and poured over rocks, walls, ditches, and hedges, those behind covering up and passing over the masses already killed.” Expositor’s
“After eating up the corn, they fell upon the vines, the pulse, the willows, and even the hemp, notwithstanding its great bitterness.” “The bark of figs, pomegranates, and oranges, bitter, hard, and corrosive, escaped not their voracity.” “They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees; these they strip of every leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons with bare branches.” “For eighty or ninety miles they devoured every green herb and every blade of grass.” Expositors.
Locusts are voracious, unquenchable, unappeasable and gluttonous. “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” Proverbs 30:27, Agreed?
Does each of the four species of locusts in Joel 1 represent the exact number of years that each empire (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome), oppressed, until they had deprived the Jews of all their glory?
J. C. Reichardt says yes. “Gazare, the first, the palmerworm,” represents the 50 years of Babylon’s oppression, to Babylon’s overthrow by Cyrus (538 B.C.). Arbeh, the second, “the locust,” represents Persia’s 208 years’ sway over the Jews, from 538 to 330 B.C.” “Yelequ, the third, “the cankerworm,” represents 140 years of the Graeco-Macedonian oppression, from 330 to 190 B.C,” the caterpillar,” the fourth, represents the 108 years of the Romans’ oppression, 38 B.C., and ending A.D. 70.
What does it all mean? We must think of the message of Joel; it was a devouring, a fading, a gradual wiping out. Of what? — Of a government, a dispensation, a client nation, a mode of God’s revealing Himself to mankind. It was the decline of an era, the dimming of a testament, the vanishing of an age.
Similar had happened at the fall of Adam, and again at the flood. After the scattering of languages of Nimrod’s time, Abraham’s promises ushered in a new age of hope to men. Moses got the Law later and it brought about another change. So, this locust plague well describes an end of a world, of a dynasty, of an epoch of human history.
Fellows, the locusts are coming again! So too, the Day of the Lord. We saw locusts in Exodus 10 and then Locusts were the hyperbole of Old Testament’s end. In 1948 we witnessed the opposition of the M22 Locust tank against Israel. In 2013 locusts swarmed Israeli territory by the millions.