Locusts in the Bible Meaning: Key KJV Scriptures & Commentary


Lord’s Library editors compiled this resource on locusts in the Bible meaning with key Scripture verses, for your edification.

Locusts in the Bible are mentioned in various contexts and symbolize different themes like God’s judgment, destruction, and renewal. Perhaps the most commonly understood mention of locusts in the Bible is when they are loosed as instruments of God’s wrath in the Book of Revelation. The locusts swarm the land and consume everything, demonstrating the severity of God’s judgment.

We see this in Exodus 10:1-20; locusts are one of the ten plagues sent to punish Pharaoh and Egypt for their stubbornness in not freeing the Israelites.

In the prophetic books, locusts often symbolize impending judgment due to sin. For example, in the book of Joel (Joel 1:4; 2:25) Joel describes a devastating locust plague as a punishment for sin, but also promises restoration and blessings, symbolizing God’s mercy:

  • Joel 1:4: “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”
  • Joel 2:25: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

Proverbs 30:27 offers a different perspective, using locusts to teach a lesson in wisdom and order: “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;” It notes that locusts have no king, yet they move in coordinated bands without a centralized authority.

The Gospel

Locusts in the Bible Meaning

In the New Testament, the appearance of locusts takes an apocalyptic turn. Revelation 9:3 describes a vision of locusts that are given the power to torment men: “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”

In many instances in the Bible, locust plagues serve as a warning, calling mankind to repentance. The locusts’ destructiveness reflects the seriousness of straying from God’s path according to the Scriptures.

Locusts in the Bible Meaning: Key Verses

Here is a comprehensive exploration of the mentions and meanings of locusts, using the King James Version:

The Plague of Locusts

See Exodus 10:1-20:

  • Exodus 10:1-20: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

Locusts represent one of the ten plagues to punish Pharaoh and Egypt for refusing to let the Israelites go. The locusts cover the land and devour everything. These things are meant to symbolize God’s judgment.

Dietary Laws

See Leviticus 11:21-22:

  • Leviticus 11:21-22: “Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.”

Among the insects, locusts are declared clean for consumption. This signifies the importance of discernment in following God’s Law.

Curses for Disobedience

See Deuteronomy 28:38-42:

  • Deuteronomy 28:38-42: “Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.”

Locusts here are a part of the curses that will befall the Israelites if they disobey God’s commandments. The swarming locusts devouring crops symbolize the consequences of turning away from God.

Midianites Compared to Locusts

See Judges 6:5, 7:12:

  • Judges 6:5: “For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.”
  • Judges 7:12: “And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.”

The Midianites, enemies of Israel, are compared to locusts in their vast numbers, representing overwhelming opposition but also the potential for God’s deliverance as seen in Gideon’s story.

Solomon’s Prayer

See 1 Kings 8:37:

  • 1 Kings 8:37: “If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;”

Solomon acknowledges locusts as a potential plague that might be sent by God, indicating recognition of divine judgment and the need for repentance.

Solomon’s Prayer for the People

See 2 Chronicles 6:28:

  • 2 Chronicles 6:28: “If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:”

Similar to 1 Kings, Solomon prays for deliverance from various calamities, including locust plagues; a good demonstration of dependence on God in times of trouble.

Recalling the Plague in Egypt

See Psalm 78:46, 105:34-35:

  • Psalm 78:46: “He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.”
  • Psalm 105:34-35: “He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number, And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.”

These Psalms recount the story of the plagues in Egypt, including locusts, as a reminder of God’s power and the importance of obedience.

The Wisdom of Locusts

See Proverbs 30:27:

  • Proverbs 30:27: “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;”

Locusts are used as an example of wisdom via collective action and order, moving in coordination without a king.

Locust Plagues as Divine Judgment and Restoration

See Joel 1:4, 2:25:

  • Joel 1:4: “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.”
  • Joel 2:25: “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

The book of Joel uses locust plagues as a metaphor for judgment and later restoration. The promise of restoring what the locusts have eaten symbolizes God’s ability to renew even after punishment.

The Destruction of Nineveh

See Nahum 3:15-17:

  • Nahum 3:15-17: “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. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away. Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.”

Locusts are used metaphorically to describe the destruction of Nineveh, signifying the transient nature of power and the certainty of judgment.

The Fifth Trumpet

See Revelation 9:3-10:

  • Revelation 9:3-10: “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.”

In Revelation, locusts symbolize a part of the end-times judgments. These locusts are not ordinary but are described as having the power to torment mankind.

Lord's Library is a Christian resource hub. Our  editors use a variety of internet research methods like search engines, audio and video, AI, consultations with ministry leaders in the field, and more. Lord's Library should never be a substitute for reading your Bible daily as the Scriptures are   to be our final authority on all matters.

Lord's Library participates in affiliate programs. We may make a small commission from products purchased through this resource.
Timothy Andrew
Follow Tim
Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

scroll to top