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  Discovery Box

Joel 1:18-20

Context

1:18 Listen to the cattle groan! 1 

The herds of livestock wander around in confusion 2 

because they have no pasture.

Even the flocks of sheep are suffering.

1:19 To you, O Lord, I call out for help, 3 

for fire 4  has burned up 5  the grassy pastures, 6 

flames have razed 7  all the trees in the fields.

1:20 Even the wild animals 8  cry out to you; 9 

for the river beds 10  have dried up;

fire has destroyed 11  the grassy pastures. 12 

1 tn Heb “how the cattle groan!”

2 tn Heb “the herds of cattle are confused.” The verb בּוּךְ (bukh, “be confused”) sometimes refers to wandering aimlessly in confusion (cf. Exod 14:3).

3 tn The phrase “for help” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

4 sn Fire here and in v. 20 is probably not to be understood in a literal sense. The locust plague, accompanied by conditions of extreme drought, has left the countryside looking as though everything has been burned up (so also in Joel 2:3).

5 tn Heb “consumed.” This entire line is restated at the end of v. 20.

6 tn Heb “the pastures of the wilderness.”

7 tn Heb “a flame has set ablaze.” This fire was one of the effects of the drought.

8 tn Heb “beasts of the field.”

9 tn Heb “long for you.” Animals of course do not have religious sensibilities as such; they do not in any literal sense long for Yahweh. Rather, the language here is figurative (metonymy of cause for effect). The animals long for food and water (so BDB 788 s.v. עָרַג), the ultimate source of which is Yahweh.

10 tn Heb “sources of water.”

11 tn Heb “consumed.”

12 tn Heb “the pastures of the wilderness.”



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