This book was written by Joel, a prophet, who was an eyewitness of the things he writes about. Based on what he writes it would appear that he knew the Judah area personally as well as Jerusalem. He is pleading with the people to repent in their hearts because he thought that the locust plague was a result of God's judgement on them.
The plague of locust that was so destructive is what formed the occasion for the word of the Lord to come to Joel. The plague was followed by a drought which inevitably led to a famine. He addresses the elders mainly because they had seen many plagues in their time. They are to warn their sons and the following generations about these plagues. This particular plague was bad because the locust kept coming in waves, eating what the others had left behind.
In verse 5 Joel urges the drunkards to wake up so that they will know what is going on around them. The plague was big that there wasn't a number to be put on it. They were so destructive the locust were compared to lions teeth and fangs. In verse 7 he describes the outcome of the fig tree and wine branches which can be compared the outcome of Judah. Verse 8 the image of a bride wailing is mentioned. The distress caused by the plague is compared to a virgin bride who has suddenly lost her future husband and now has wrapped herself in a black sackcloth made out of goat's hair. The remainder of the verse speak on the land and the people who work it.Once again Joel urges the people to repent and turn to the Lord.
Joel strongly believes that all that has happened with the plague was an omen from the Lord. When he said that the day of the Lord was near he was talking about the judgement that would come upon them. Before their eyes lands were dried up, no food was in the sheds, and animals were dying off. The people had lost their gladness and joy. It should have been obvious the lessons that were in front of them.
Joel cries out to the Lord because both man and beast were suffering. In verse 20 it says that even the wild animals of the field pant for God. At that point everything was destroyed by fire and they had nothing else to turn to but God.
* Here in the south, we have had an outbreak of cicadas and now we are going days sometimes weeks without rain. In no way are we suffering like the people of Judah but we are getting a taste of what it might have been like for them during their plague and droughts. I pray that we see what the Lord is trying to teach us so that we may bring Him praise.