The Locust | To Devour The Devourer

“Has anything like this happened in your days
Or in your fathers’ days?”

Joel 1:2

The Book of Joel begins with a metaphor that is seen earlier in the Biblical narrative of Exodus. The locusts, in all their various cycles, have eaten and ‘the field is ruined; the land mourns’. This speaks to the aspects of our existence that eat into the wealth that we have worked hard to attain.

Since prehistory, locusts have formed pervasive plagues and the ancient ones–from the Egyptians to the Greeks and the Indians–knew, and sometimes even lamented, of their existence.

Locust swarms were known to devastate crops, which in in turn would cause famine and human migration. In recent times, changes in agricultural practices have allowed control measures to be implemented at an early stage, thereby reducing the chances of a locust plague considerably.

Historically, however, people could do little to protect their land and their crops from locusts. It seems, then, that eating the insects may have offered some respite and compensation from their woes. Eating swarming locusts was a widespread practice wherever plagues occurred. Plagues were an ancient challenge that many communities addressed by turning them into food.

Locusts can be prepared in many ways. They are usually fried, smoked or dried. In the Bible, it is said that John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey while he lived in the wilderness.

Was it ‘revenge’ or a practical way to kill two birds with one stone? Research has found that locusts yield about five times more edible protein per unit of fodder than cattle and produce lower levels of greenhouse gases in the process.

Locust symbolism tends to portend for a turbulent time when we do not know what is going to happen. However, locust symbolism is also an indicator that we can prepare preemptively for such a strike before it occurs. We shouldn’t be caught off guard or unprepared.

When it comes to business, as a pursuit, it is all about taking risks. Relationships are risky because there are never any guarantees. If a guarantee is what we’re waiting for, we will never plant those seeds for future success. With the locust, it’s important to remember that we need to make commitments wisely.

If we find our wealth swarming with locusts, we’re often the reason why they have appeared on the scene. We possess wealth and they want to eat it. It seems ironic, then, that we ended up eating them instead.


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