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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

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The Scripture account of the locusts is to be closely attended to, in order to aright apprehension. The locusts of Egypt, it is more than probable, differed widely from the locusts which John the Baptist ate for food in the wilderness. The former appear to have been instruments of God for man's punishment. The latter, the gracious gift of God for man's food. Joel, the prophet, speaks of the same destructive creature, as the Lord's army. It should seem to have been an innumerable host of little insects, so little that a man might tread at one time many of them under his feet; but yet from the vast swarms, the destruction of thousands brought no relief, for the millions remaining were enough for the accomplishment of ruin wherever they came. What a solemn lesson this taught, when a creature so contemptible had power from the Lord to humble the haughtiness of man! If the reader will compare what Joel hath said Joel 1:6-7 and Joel 2:3-11 with Revelation 9:1-12, he will find large scope for meditation. Whether the latter is figurative of some great and awful events yet remaining to be fulfilled in the earth; or whether the locusts, described by the beloved apostle John in this chapter, be altogether different from the locusts of Egypt, or those mentioned by the prophet Joel, I stay not to enquire. It will be sufficient for the great purposes of improvement from such Scripture, to consider how terrible the Lord's judgments are, who can, from causes so apparently trifling and insignificant, throw down the props of all human comforts. The reflection of the prophet on the subject is uncommonly striking and impressive. "Therefore also now saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth, if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meat offering, and a drink offering, unto the Lord your God!" (Joel 2:12-14)

I cannot dismiss this article, without making a farther observation on the different relations of the sacred writers on the subject of locusts; that they should seem to justify the opinion, that they differed very widely from each other. The locusts of Egypt, formidable as they were, and so numerous as to cover the face of the whole earth, and to darken the land, it should seem, must have been of the caterpillar kind; for their destruction, we are told, was directed to the herbs and trees, and every thing green in the land. (See Exodus 10:14-15) Such, in like manner, were the locusts which Joel describes, in their destruction of food; but from certain peculiarities with which he describes them also, it should seem that they very probably were a species of much larger kind than the locusts of Egypt. Indeed, in relation to the locusts of Egypt, we are told, that "before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them should be such." (Exodus 10:14) The locusts, described by Joel, are said to be as "the appearance of horses, and as horsemen, shall they run. Like the noise of Chariots, on tops of mountains; like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble." They are said, moreover, to march in such a regular way, that they shall not break their ranks, nor thrust one another in their path. Whereas the multitude of the smaller species of insects are in clusters, for the most part, and their movements in the most irregular manner. And if we turn to the account in the Book of the Revelations, we are informed of another kind of locusts, apparently still more formidable. These are said to be of the scorpion kind. Their shapes are said to be like unto horses prepared for battle. In Proverbs 30:27, the locusts are said to have no king. But the locusts John describes, are said to have a king over them, which is "the angel of the bottomless pit." (Revelation 9:11) So that upon the whole, it should seem the Scripture relates, under the general name of locusts, different species of them, but all ministers and instruments of the Lord for destruction; and most awful each and all of them are. Profane writers describe the locusts of Africa and some parts of Asia, as sometimes swarming to such a degree, as to darken the face of the sun. The locusts of Palestine certainly differed from those, in that they were not unfrequently used for food. And such it was, most probably, John the Baptist made his sustenance, with the wild honey of the desert. (Matthew 3:4)

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Locusts'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​pmd/​l/locusts.html. London. 1828.
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