3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east would attack them. 4 They invaded the land and devoured its crops all the way to Gaza. They left nothing for the Israelites to eat, and they took away the sheep, oxen, and donkeys. 5 When they invaded with their cattle and tents, they were as thick as locusts. Neither they nor their camels could be counted. They came to devour the land. 6 Israel was so severely weakened by Midian that the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help. 7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help because of Midian,
2 Lord, be merciful to us! We wait for you. Give us strength each morning. Deliver us when distress comes. 3 The nations run away when they hear a loud noise; the nations scatter when you spring into action! 4 Your plunder disappears as if locusts were eating it; they swarm over it like locusts. 5 The Lord is exalted, indeed, he lives in heaven; he fills Zion with justice and fairness. 6 He is your constant source of stability; he abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; he gives all this to those who fear him.
Notes and References
"... There are numerous texts within the Hebrew Bible that use locusts to symbolize strength and power. Often this is done by emphasizing the massive amount of locusts contained within a swarm. An example of this can be seen in Judges, where the author describes the Midianites, who oppressed the people of Israel for seven years. In the description, the author notes that “they and their livestock would come up” against the people of Israel to fight them, “and they would even bring their tents, as thick as locusts.” Later in the narrative, the author notes that “the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the people of the East lay along the valley as thick as locusts.” As Niditch notes, “the image of the invading enemy as numerous as locusts is common” in the Hebrew Bible. The author utilizes a metaphor with locusts here to draw upon the dense nature of a locust swarm and thus to emphasize the great size of the armies that fought against the people of Israel. This implies that the foreign armies are to be feared due to their size and might. In at least the larger context of the example from Judges, this is necessary in order to construct a narrative that points to the “manifestation of God’s glory” and emphasizes the sovereignty of God in overcoming the threat ..."
Scott, Kevin M. Locust Imagery and the Problem of Genre in the Book of Joel (p. 115) Wake Forest University, 2014