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What do the locusts signify in the book of Joel?


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.  Joel 1:4
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.  Joel 2:25
            Scholars believe an actual swarm of locusts decimated the crops in Israel.  God spoke through Joel using those locusts as symbolism for a bigger problem they faced—sin—which was eating up the hearts of the people and leaving nothing but stubble.
            Other armies would one day invade the land, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians, much like locusts, consuming everything in their path.  They were punishment for Israel's sins.  But God wanted the people to know that their sins caused the attacks.
            God didn’t want to leave the people hurting and promised to the restore the land one day.  He would repay the damages if the people repented and asked.