Locusts are not common pests for those of us living outside of the Middle East, so we may not be as familiar with them. But because they are mentioned so frequently throughout the Bible, it's important to know what these bugs are, what they do, and what they symbolize.
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Locusts symbolize Multiplication (Nahum 3:15-16 King James Version) -- Wiersbe 15 "There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts. 16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and fleeth away." (Voted # 38 and # 41 in the most popular verses in Nahum--vv. 15 and 16 of chapter 3). Locusts symbolize Restoration (Wiersbe) (Joel 2:25 -- "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.” --NIV Wiersbe says that locusts symbolize Army (Judges 7:12 --New International Version "The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts [a figure called "a simile" (Lucas Hagen -- "What Do Locusts Symbolize in the Bible?" --https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-do-locusts-symbolize-in-the-bible.html).] "Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore." See further Judges 6:5. -In his Index of Biblical Images Wiersbe here says that “Locust” symbolizes Rejection- (PS 109:23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.) Locust symbolizes Robbery (Nahum 3:16 16You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky, but like locusts [another symbol, or figure of speech, commonly called a simile--Hagen] they strip the land and then fly away.) – NIV Each generation must take responsibility for its own moral and spiritual choices. So, finally, Locust symbolizes Abandoning Responsibility (Nahum 3:17, Among the most popular verses in Nahum is this verse -- “Your guardsmen are like the swarming locust. Your marshals are like hordes of grasshoppers Settling in the stone walls on a cold day. The sun rises and they flee, And the place where they are is not known.” They could not be found where they were, nor be called upon to do their duty. This last verse in the Book of Nahum was voted # 44 of the most popular verses in the book.
Locusts are commonly thought of in a Biblical context as an instrument of destruction (in a general or random sense) because of the damage that they can do to crops that would be needed for food, or as a specific instrument that God may choose to use for punishment (as He did, for example, in the case of the plague of locusts that He sent on the Egyptians to persuade them to free the nation of Israel from its slavery in Egypt (Exodus 10:1-20)). Interestingly, however, locusts were also spoken of positively in Proverbs 30:24-28 as being among creatures that are small but wise. Also, locusts are indicated as having served as food for John the Baptist during his ministry (Mark 1:6).
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