1:1 The following is a record of what Amos prophesied. 1 He 2 was one of the herdsmen from Tekoa. These prophecies about Israel were revealed to him 3 during the time of 4 King Uzziah of Judah and 5 King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 6
“The Lord comes roaring 8 out of Zion;
The shepherds’ pastures wilt; 11
1:3 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Damascus has committed three crimes 14 –
make that four! 15 – I will not revoke my
decree of judgment. 16
They ripped through Gilead like threshing sledges with iron teeth. 17
the one who holds the royal scepter from Beth Eden. 25
The people of Aram will be deported to Kir.” 26
The Lord has spoken!
1:6 This is what the Lord says:
fire 34 will consume her fortresses.
the one who holds the royal scepter from Ashkelon. 38
the rest of the Philistines will also die.” 41
The sovereign Lord has spoken!
1:9 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Tyre has committed three crimes 42 –
fire 50 will consume her fortresses.”
1:11 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Edom has committed three crimes 51 –
He chased his brother 54 with a sword;
he wiped out his allies. 55
In his anger he tore them apart without stopping to rest; 56
in his fury he relentlessly attacked them. 57
1:13 This is what the Lord says:
“Because the Ammonites have committed three crimes 61 –
They ripped open Gilead’s pregnant women 64
so they could expand their territory.
fire 67 will consume her fortresses.
War cries will be heard on the day of battle; 68
a strong gale will blow on the day of the windstorm. 69
The Lord has spoken!
2:1 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Moab has committed three crimes 74 –
They burned the bones of Edom’s king into lime. 77
and it will consume Kerioth’s 79 fortresses.
The Lord has spoken!
2:4 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Judah has committed three covenant transgressions 88 –
They rejected the Lord’s law; 91
they did not obey his commands.
Their false gods, 92
to which their fathers were loyal, 93
led them astray.
2:5 So I will set Judah on fire,
and it will consume Jerusalem’s fortresses.” 94
2:6 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Israel has committed three covenant transgressions 95 –
They sold the innocent 98 for silver,
the needy for a pair of sandals. 99
they push the destitute away. 102
A man and his father go to the same girl; 103
2:8 They stretch out on clothing seized as collateral;
they do so right 106 beside every altar!
They drink wine bought with the fines they have levied;
They were as tall as cedars 110
and as strong as oaks,
but I destroyed the fruit on their branches 111
and their roots in the ground. 112
2:10 I brought you up from the land of Egypt;
I led you through the wilderness for forty years
so you could take the Amorites’ land as your own.
2:11 I made some of your sons prophets
and some of your young men Nazirites. 113
Is this not true, you Israelites?”
The Lord is speaking!
you commanded the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy!’
2:13 Look! I will press you down,
like a cart loaded down with grain presses down. 115
strong men will have no strength left; 117
warriors will not be able to save their lives.
fast runners will not save their lives,
nor will those who ride horses. 120
The Lord is speaking!
3:1 Listen, you Israelites, to this message which the Lord is proclaiming against 122 you! This message is for the entire clan I brought up 123 from the land of Egypt: 3:2 “I have chosen 124 you alone from all the clans of the earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”
Does a young lion bellow from his den if he has not caught something?
3:5 Does a bird swoop down into a trap on the ground if there is no bait?
Does a trap spring up from the ground unless it has surely caught something?
3:7 Certainly the sovereign Lord does nothing without first revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
The sovereign Lord has spoken! Who can refuse to prophesy? 132
and in the fortresses in the land of Egypt.
“Gather on the hills around Samaria! 134
3:10 “They do not know how to do what is right.” (The Lord is speaking.)
He will take away your power; 142
your fortresses will be looted.”
3:12 This is what the Lord says:
“Just as a shepherd salvages from the lion’s mouth a couple of leg bones or a piece of an ear,
so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be salvaged. 143
They will be left with just a corner of a bed, 144
and a part 145 of a couch.”
The sovereign Lord, the God who commands armies, 149 is speaking!
The horns 155 of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.
The houses filled with ivory 157 will be ruined,
The Lord is speaking!
2 tn Heb “who.” Here a new sentence has been started in the translation for stylistic reasons.
3 tn Heb “which he saw concerning Israel.”
4 tn Heb “in the days of.”
5 tn The Hebrew text repeats, “and in the days of.” This phrase has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
6 sn This refers to a well-known earthquake that occurred during the first half of the 8th century
7 tn Heb “he;” the referent (Amos) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
10 tn Heb “gives his voice.”
11 tn Lexicographers debate whether there are two roots אָבַל (’aval), one signifying “mourn” and the other “be dry,” or simply one (“mourn”). The parallel verb (“withers”) might favor the first option and have the meaning “wilt away.” It is interesting to note, however, that the root appears later in the book in the context of lament (5:16; 8:8, 10; 9:5). Either 1:2 is a possible wordplay to alert the reader to the death that will accompany the judgment (the option of two roots), or perhaps the translation “mourns” is appropriate here as well (cf. KJV, NASB, NKJV, NJPS; see also D. J. A. Clines, “Was There an ’BL II ‘Be Dry’ in Classical Hebrew?” VT 42 : 1-10).
13 sn Loss of a land’s fertility is frequently associated with judgment in the OT and ancient Near Eastern literature.
14 tn Traditionally, “transgressions” or “sins.” The word refers to rebellion against authority and is used in the international political realm (see 1 Kgs 12:19; 2 Kgs 1:1; 3:5, 7; 8:22). There is debate over its significance in this context. Some relate the “rebellion” of the foreign nations to God’s mandate to Noah (Gen 9:5-7). This mandate is viewed as a treaty between God and humankind, whereby God holds humans accountable to populate the earth and respect his image as it is revealed in all people. While this option is a possible theological explanation of the message in light of the Old Testament as a whole, nothing in these oracles alludes to that Genesis passage. J. Barton suggests that the prophet is appealing to a common morality shared across the ancient Near East regarding the conduct of war since all of the oracles can be related to activities and atrocities committed in warfare (Amos’s Oracles against the Nations [SOTSMS], 39-61). The “transgression” then would be a violation of what all cultures would take as fundamental human decency. Some argue that the nations cited in Amos 1-2 had been members of the Davidic empire. Their crime would consist of violating the mutual agreements that all should have exhibited toward one another (cf. M. E. Polley, Amos and the Davidic Empire). This interpretation is connected to the notion that Amos envisions a reconstituted Davidic empire for Israel and the world (9:11-15). Ultimately, we can only speculate what lay behind Amos’ thinking. He does not specify the theological foundation of his universal moral vision, but it is clear that Amos believes that all nations are responsible before the Lord for their cruelty toward other human beings. He also assumes that even those who did not know his God would recognize their inhumane treatment of others as inherently wrong. The translation “crimes” is general enough to communicate that a standard (whether human or divine) has been breached. For a survey of the possible historical events behind each oracle, see S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia).
15 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Damascus, even because of four.”
sn The three…four style introduces each of the judgment oracles of chaps. 1-2. Based on the use of a similar formula in wisdom literature (see Prov 30:18-19, 29-31), one expects to find in each case a list of four specific violations. However, only in the eighth oracle (against Israel) does one find the expected fourfold list. Through this adaptation and alteration of the normal pattern the
16 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The pronominal object (1) refers to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 46-47. Another option (2) is to understand the suffix as referring to the particular nation mentioned in the oracle and to translate, “I will not take him [i.e., that particular nation] back.” In this case the
17 tn Heb “they threshed [or “trampled down”] Gilead with sharp iron implements” (NASB similar).
sn Like threshing sledges with iron teeth. A threshing sledge was made of wooden boards embedded with sharp stones or iron teeth. As the sledge was pulled over the threshing floor the stones or iron teeth would separate the grain from the stalks. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 64-65. Here the threshing metaphor is used to emphasize how violently and inhumanely the Arameans (the people of Damascus) had treated the people of Gilead (located east of the Jordan River).
18 tn “Hazael’s house” (“the house of Hazael”) refers to the dynasty of Hazael.
sn Hazael took the throne of Aram in 843
19 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
21 sn The bar on the city gate symbolizes the city’s defenses and security.
22 tn Heb “cut off.”
23 tn Heb “the one who sits.” Some English versions take the Hebrew term in a collective sense as “inhabitants” (e.g., KJV, NKJV, NASB, NRSV). The context and the parallel in the next clause (“the one who holds the royal scepter”), however, suggest that the royal house is in view. For this term (יוֹשֵׁב, yoshev), see N. K. Gottwald, The Tribes of Yahweh, 512-30.
24 tn Heb “valley of wickedness.” Though many English versions take the Hebrew phrase בִקְעַת־אָוֶן (biq’-at ’aven) as a literal geographical place name (“Valley of Aven,” so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), it appears to be a derogatory epithet for Damascus and the kingdom of Aram.
25 tn Many associate the name “Beth Eden” with Bit Adini, an Aramean state located near the Euphrates River, but it may be a sarcastic epithet meaning “house of pleasure.”
27 sn Gaza was one of the five major Philistine cities (along with Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gath). It was considered to mark the southern limit of Canaan at the point on the coast where it was located (Gen 10:19).
28 tn Traditionally, “transgressions” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV) or “sins” (NIV). For an explanation of the atrocities outlined in this oracle as treaty violations of God’s mandate to Noah in Gen 9:5-7, see the note on the word “violations” in 1:3.
29 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Gaza, even because of four.”
30 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
31 tn Heb “[group of] exiles.” A number of English translations take this as a collective singular and translate it with a plural (e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV).
32 tn Heb “in order to hand them over.”
33 sn The city wall symbolizes the city’s defenses and security.
34 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
35 tn Heb “cut off.”
36 tn Heb “the one who sits.” Some translations take this expression as a collective singular referring to the inhabitants rather than the ruler (e.g., NAB, NRSV, NLT).
37 sn Ashdod was one of the five major Philistine cities (along with Ashkelon, Ekron, Gaza, and Gath).
38 sn Ashkelon was one of the five major Philistine cities (along with Ashdod, Ekron, Gaza, and Gath).
39 sn Ekron was one of the five major Philistine cities (along with Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gaza, and Gath).
41 tn Heb “and the remnant of the Philistines will perish.” The translation above assumes that reference is made to other Philistines beside those living in the cities mentioned. Another option is to translate, “Every last Philistine will die.”
42 tn Traditionally, “transgressions” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV) or “sins” (NIV). For an explanation of the atrocities outlined in this oracle as treaty violations of God’s mandate to Noah in Gen 9:5-7, see the note on the word “violations” in 1:3.
43 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Tyre, even because of four.”
44 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
45 tn Heb “handed over.”
47 tn Heb “did not remember.”
48 sn A treaty of brotherhood. In the ancient Near Eastern world familial terms were sometimes used to describe treaty partners. In a treaty between superior and inferior parties, the lord would be called “father” and the subject “son.” The partners in a treaty between equals referred to themselves as “brothers.” For biblical examples, see 1 Kgs 9:13; 20:32-33.
49 sn The city wall symbolizes the city’s defenses and security.
50 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
51 tn Traditionally, “transgressions” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV) or “sins” (NIV). For an explanation of the atrocities outlined in this oracle as treaty violations of God’s mandate to Noah in Gen 9:5-7, see the note on the word “violations” in 1:3.
52 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Edom, even because of four.”
53 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
54 sn It is likely that “brother” refers here to a treaty partner (see the note on the word “brotherhood” in 1:9). However, it is possible, if Israel is in view, that Edom’s ancient blood relationship to God’s people is alluded to here. Cf. NCV, NLT “their relatives, the Israelites.”
55 tn Or “He stifled his compassion.” The Hebrew term רָחֲמָיו (rakhamayv) is better understood here (parallel to “brother/treaty partner”) as a reference to “allies” which Edom betrayed. An Aramaic cognate is attested (see DNWSI 2:1069-70). See M. Fishbane, “The Treaty Background of Amos 1:11 and Related Matters,” JBL 89 (1970): 313-18; idem, “Critical Note: Additional Remarks on rh£myw (Amos 1:11),” JBL 91 (1972): 391-93; and M. Barré, “Amos 1:11 reconsidered,” CBQ 47 (1985) 420-27. Some argue that the clause is best translated as “and destroyed his womenfolk.” רַחַם (rakham) means “womb”; the plural here would be a metonymy for “women” and could establish a parallel with the atrocity of 1:13. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 64-65.
56 tn Heb “his anger tore continually.” The Hebrew verb טָרַף (taraf, “tear apart”) is often used of an animal tearing apart its prey. The word picture here is that of a vicious predator’s feeding frenzy.
57 tn Traditionally, “he kept his fury continually.” The Hebrew term שְׁמָרָה (shÿmarah) could be taken as a Qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular with 3rd person feminine singular suffix (with mappiq omitted), “he kept it” (NASB, NKJV, NRSV). It is also possible in light of the parallelism that שָׁמַר (shamar) is a rare homonym cognate to an Akkadian verb meaning “to rage; to be furious.” Repointing the verb as שָׁמְרָה (shamÿrah, third person feminine singular), one could translate literally, “his fury raged continually” (NIV, NJPS).
58 sn Teman was an important region (or perhaps city) in Edom.
59 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
60 sn Bozrah was a city located in northern Edom.
61 tn Traditionally, “transgressions” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV) or “sins” (NIV). For an explanation of the atrocities outlined in this oracle as treaty violations of God’s mandate to Noah in Gen 9:5-7, see the note on the word “violations” in 1:3.
62 tn Heb “Because of three violations of the Ammonites, even because of four.”
On the three…four style that introduces each of the judgment oracles of chaps. 1-2 see the note on the word “four” in 1:3.
63 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
64 sn The Ammonites ripped open Gilead’s pregnant women in conjunction with a military invasion designed to expand their territory. Such atrocities, although repugnant, were not uncommon in ancient Near Eastern warfare.
65 sn Rabbah was the Ammonite capital.
66 sn The city wall symbolizes the city’s defenses and security.
67 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
68 tn Heb “with a war cry in the day of battle.”
69 tn Heb “with wind in the day of the windstorm.”
70 tn Heb “their”; the referent (Ammon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
71 tn Heb “will go into exile.”
72 tn Or “princes” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NLT); TEV “officers”; CEV “leaders.”
73 tn The words “will be carried off” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
74 tn Traditionally, “transgressions” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV) or “sins” (NIV). For an explanation of the atrocities outlined in this oracle as treaty violations of God’s mandate to Noah in Gen 9:5-7, see the note on the word “violations” in 1:3.
75 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Moab, even because of four.”
76 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
77 sn The Moabites apparently desecrated the tomb of an Edomite king and burned his bones into a calcined substance which they then used as plaster (cf. Deut 27:2, 4). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 72. Receiving a proper burial was very important in this culture. Desecrating a tomb or a deceased individual’s bones was considered an especially heinous act.
78 sn The destruction of Moab by fire is an example of a judgment in kind – as the Moabites committed the crime of “burning,” so the
80 tn Or “die” (KJV, NASB, NRSV, TEV); NAB “shall meet death.”
81 tn Or “in the tumult.” This word refers to the harsh confusion of sounds that characterized an ancient battle – a mixture of war cries, shouts, shrieks of pain, clashes of weapons, etc.
82 tn Heb “sound” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).
83 sn The ram’s horn (used as a trumpet) was blown to signal the approaching battle.
84 tn Heb “cut off” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); NAB “root out”; NCV “bring to an end.”
85 tn Heb “the leader [traditionally, “judge”] from her midst.”
86 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Moab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
87 tn Or “princes” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NLT); TEV, CEV “leaders.”
88 tn This is the same Hebrew term that is translated “crimes” in the previous oracles (see at 1:3). The change to “covenant transgressions” reflects the probability that the prophet is condemning the nation of Israel for violating stipulations of the Mosaic Law.
89 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Judah, even because of four.”
90 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
91 tn Or “instruction”; NCV “teachings.”
92 tn Heb “lies.” This may very well be a derogatory term for idols (perhaps also at Ps. 40:4 [Heb 40:5]). Elsewhere false gods are called “vanities” (Deut 32:21; 1 Kgs 16:13, 26) and a delusion (Isa 66:3). In no other prophetic passages, however, are they called “lies.” The term could refer to the deceptions of false prophets (note Ezek 13:6-9; cf. Hab 2:3). See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos (AB), 301-6.
93 tn Heb “after which their fathers walked.” The expression “to walk after” is an idiom meaning “to be loyal to.” See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 75-76.
sn Here the idolatry of the parents carried over to the children, who persisted in worshiping the idols to which their fathers were loyal.
96 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Israel, even because of four.”
sn On the three…four style that introduces each of the judgment oracles of chaps. 1-2 see the note on the word “four” in 1:3. Only in this last oracle against Israel does one find the list of four specific violations expected based on the use of a similar formula elsewhere in wisdom literature (see Prov 30:18-19, 29-31). This adaptation of the normal pattern indicates the
97 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
98 tn Or “honest” (CEV, NLT). The Hebrew word sometimes has a moral-ethical connotation, “righteous, godly,” but the parallelism (note “poor”) suggests a socio-economic or legal sense here. The practice of selling debtors as slaves is in view (Exod 21:2-11; Lev 25:35-55; Deut 15:12-18) See the note at Exod 21:8 and G. C. Chirichigno, Debt-Slavery in Israel and the Ancient Near East (JSOTSup). Probably the only “crime” the victim had committed was being unable to pay back a loan or an exorbitant interest rate on a loan. Some have suggested that this verse refers to bribery in legal proceedings: The innocent are “sold” in the sense that those in power pay off the elders or judges for favorable decisions (5:12; cf. Exod 23:6-7).
99 tn Perhaps the expression “for a pair of sandals” indicates a relatively small price or debt. Some suggest that the sandals may have been an outward token of a more substantial purchase price. Others relate the sandals to a ritual attached to the transfer of property, signifying here that the poor would be losing their inherited family lands because of debt (Ruth 4:7; cf. Deut 25:8-10). Still others emend the Hebrew form slightly to נֶעְלָם (ne’lam, “hidden thing”; from the root עָלַם, ’alam, “to hide”) and understand this as referring to a bribe.
100 tn Most scholars now understand this verb as derived from the root II שָׁאַף (sha’af, “to crush; to trample”), an alternate form of שׁוּף (shuf), rather than from I שָׁאַף (sha’af, “to pant, to gasp”; cf. KJV, ASV, NASB).
101 tn Heb “those who stomp on the dirt of the ground on the head of the poor.” It is possible to render the line as “they trample the heads of the poor into the dust of the ground,” thereby communicating that the poor are being stepped on in utter contempt (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 79-80). The participial form הַשֹּׁאֲפִים (hasho’afim) is substantival and stands in apposition to the pronominal suffix on מִכְרָם (mikhram, v. 6b).
sn The picture of the poor having dirt-covered heads suggests their humiliation before their oppressors and/or their sorrow (see 2 Sam 1:2; 15:32).
102 tn Heb “they turn aside the way of the destitute.” Many interpreters take “way” to mean “just cause” and understand this as a direct reference to the rights of the destitute being ignored. The injustice done to the poor is certainly in view, but the statement is better taken as a word picture depicting the powerful rich pushing the “way of the poor” (i.e., their attempt to be treated justly) to the side. An even more vivid picture is given in Amos 5:12, where the rich are pictured as turning the poor away from the city gate (where legal decisions were made, and therefore where justice should be done).
103 sn Most interpreters see some type of sexual immorality here (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT), even though the Hebrew phrase הָלַךְ אֶל (halakh ’el, “go to”) never refers elsewhere to sexual intercourse. (The usual idiom is בוֹא אֶל [bo’ ’el]. However, S. M. Paul (Amos [Hermeneia], 82) attempts to develop a linguistic case for a sexual connotation here.) The precise identification of the “girl” in question is not clear. Some see the referent as a cultic prostitute (cf. NAB; v. 8 suggests a cultic setting), but the term נַעֲרָה (na’arah) nowhere else refers to a prostitute. Because of the contextual emphasis on social oppression, some suggest the exploitation of a slave girl is in view. H. Barstad argues that the “girl” is the hostess at a pagan מַרְזֵחַ (marzeakh) banquet (described at some length in 6:4-7). In his view the sin described here is not sexual immorality, but idolatry (see H. Barstad, The Religious Polemics of Amos [VTSup], 33-36). In this case, one might translate, “Father and son go together to a pagan banquet.” In light of this cultic context, F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman argue that this is a reference to a specific female deity (“the Girl”) and correlate this verse with 8:14 (Amos [AB], 318-19).
104 tn Or “pollute”; “desecrate”; “dishonor.”
105 tn Heb “my holy name.” Here “name” is used metonymically for God’s moral character or reputation, while “holy” has a moral and ethical connotation.
106 tn The words “They do so right” are supplied twice in the translation of this verse for clarification.
107 tn Heb “house.”
108 tn Or “gods.” The Hebrew term אֱלֹהֵיהֶם (’elohehem) may be translated “their gods” (referring to pagan gods), “their god” (referring to a pagan god, cf. NAB, NIV, NLT), or “their God” (referring to the God of Israel, cf. NASB, NRSV).
109 tn Heb “I destroyed the Amorites from before them.” The translation takes מִפְּנֵי (mippÿney) in the sense of “for the sake of.” See BDB 818 s.v. פָּנֻה II.6.a and H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos (Hermeneia), 134. Another option is to take the phrase in a spatial sense, “I destroyed the Amorites, [clearing them out] from before them [i.e., Israel]” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
110 tn Heb “whose height was like the height of cedars.”
111 tn Heb “his fruit from above.”
112 tn Heb “and his roots from below.”
115 tn The precise meaning of this verse is unclear. Various suggested meanings have been proposed (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 94): (1) One option is to relate the verb to an Arabic verb, meaning “to hinder; to hamper,” and translate, “I am making you immobile, like a cart filled with grain is immobile.” In this case, the
116 tn Heb “and a place of refuge will perish from the swift.”
117 tn Heb “the strong will not increase his strength.”
118 tn Heb “the one who holds the bow.”
119 tn For the idiom of “holding [or “standing”] one’s ground” in battle, there is a similar phrase in Ezek 13:5; also related is the expression “to hold one’s own against” (or “to withstand”) in Judg 2:14; 2 Kgs 10:4; Dan 8:7 (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 97). Other options include “will not endure” or “will not survive.”
120 tn The last two lines read literally, “The one fast in his feet will not rescue [his life], and the rider of the horse will not rescue his life.” The phrase “his life” does double duty in the parallelism and should be understood in both lines.
121 tn Or “the most stouthearted” (NAB); NRSV “those who are stout of heart.”
122 tn Or “about.”
123 tn One might expect a third person verb form (“he brought up”), since the
124 tn Heb “You only have I known.” The Hebrew verb יָדַע (yada’) is used here in its covenantal sense of “recognize in a special way.”
125 sn The rhetorical questions in vv. 3-5 expect the answer, “No, of course not!” Those in v. 6 anticipate the answer, “Yes, of course they do/he is.” They all draw attention to the principle of cause and effect and lay the logical foundation for the argument in vv. 7-8. Also note the progression from a general question in v. 3 to the “meetings” of two animals (v. 4), to that of an animal and a human trap (v. 5), to a climax with the confrontation with the Lord (v. 6). Each of these meetings is disastrous.
126 tn Heb “without having prey [or “food”].”
127 tn Heb “If the ram’s horn is blown.”
128 tn Or “tremble” (NASB, NIV, NCV); or “shake.”
129 tn Heb “is in”; NIV, NCV, NLT “comes to.”
130 tn Heb “has the
131 sn The roar of the lion is here a metaphor for impending judgment (see 1:2; cf. 3:4, 12). Verses 7-8 justify Amos’ prophetic ministry and message of warning and judgment. The people should expect a prophetic message prior to divine action.
132 sn Who can refuse to prophesy? When a message is revealed, the prophet must speak, and the news of impending judgment should cause people to fear.
133 tn Heb “on” or “over” (also later in this verse).
134 sn Samaria might refer here both to the region and to the capital city (later known as Sebaste). On the other hand, there actually are hills that surround the mound upon which the city was built. The implication is that the nations can come and sit and see from those hills the sin of the capital city and its judgment.
135 tn The Hebrew noun carries the nuance of “panic” or “confusion.” Here it refers metonymically to the violent deeds that terrorize the oppressed.
136 tn Heb “in her midst” (so NAB, NASB); NIV “among her people.”
137 tn The translation assumes the form is an abstract plural (see Job 35:9; Eccl 4:1). Another option is to understand the form as a substantival passive participle and translate, “the oppressed” (so KJV).
138 tn Heb “within her.”
139 tn Heb “those who.”
140 tn Heb “violence and destruction.” The expression “violence and destruction” stand metonymically for the goods the oppressors have accumulated by their unjust actions.
141 tc The MT reads “an enemy and around the land.” It is also possible to take the MT as an exclamation (“an enemy, and all about the land!”; see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 118; NJPS; cf. NLT).Most scholars and versions emend the text to יְסוֹבֵב (yÿsovev, Polel imperfect), “will encircle.”
142 tn Heb “He will bring down your power from you.” Some emend the text to read “Your power will be brought down from you.” The shift, however, from an active to a passive sense also appears at 3:14 (“I will destroy Bethel’s altars. The horns of the altar will be cut off.”) The pronouns (“your…you”) are feminine singular, indicating that the personified city of Samaria is addressed here. Samaria’s “power” here is her defenses and/or wealth.
143 sn The verb translated salvaged, though often used in a positive sense of deliverance from harm, is here employed in a sarcastic manner. A shepherd would attempt to salvage part of an animal to prove that a predator had indeed killed it. In this way he could prove that he had not stolen the missing animal and absolve himself from any responsibility to repay the owner (see Exod 22:12-13).
144 tn Heb “with a corner of a bed.”
145 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word דְּמֶשֶׁק (dÿmesheq), which occurs only here, is uncertain. If not emended, it is usually related to the term ַדּמֶּשֶׂק (dammeseq) and translated as the “Damask linens” of the bed (cf. NASB “the cover”) or as “in Damascus” (so KJV, NJB, NIV). The differences in spelling (Damascus is spelled correctly in 5:27), historical considerations, and the word order make both of these derivations unlikely. Many emendations have been proposed (e.g., “a part from the foot [of a bed],” based on a different division of the Hebrew letters (cf. NEB, NRSV); “on the edge,” based on a Hebrew term not attested in the Bible (NKJV). Some suggest a resemblance to an Akkadian term which means “sideboard [of a bed],” which is sometimes incorrectly rendered “headboard” (NJPS; see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 121-22). Most likely another part of a bed or couch is in view, but it is difficult to be more specific.
146 tn Or “testify against.”
147 tn Heb “house.”
148 tn These words are spoken to either the unidentified heralds addressed at the beginning of v. 9, or to the Egyptians and Philistines (see v. 9b). Another possibility is that one is not to look for a specific addressee but rather appreciate the command simply as a rhetorical device to grab the attention of the listeners and readers of the prophetic message.
149 tn Traditionally, “the God of hosts.”
150 tn Heb “in the day.”
151 tn Heb “his.” With the referent “Israel” here, this amounts to a collective singular.
153 tn Heb “punish” (so NASB, NRSV).
155 sn The horns of an ancient altar projected upwards from the four corners and resembled an animal’s horns in appearance. Fugitives could seek asylum by grabbing hold of these corners (see Exod 21:14; 1 Kgs 1:50; 2:28). When the altar’s horns were cut off, there would be no place of asylum left for the
156 tn Heb “the winter house along with the summer house.”
sn Like kings, many in Israel’s wealthy class owned both winter and summer houses (cf. 1 Kgs 21:1,18; Jer 36:22). For a discussion of archaeological evidence relating to these structures, see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 64-65.
157 tn Heb “houses of ivory.” These houses were not made of ivory, but they had ivory panels and furniture decorated with ivory inlays. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 139-48.
158 tn Or “many,” cf. NAB “their many rooms.”
159 tn The translation assumes the form is from the Hebrew verb סָפָה (safah, “to sweep away”) rather than סוּף (suf, “to come to an end”), which is the choice of most versions. Either option effectively communicates the destruction of the structures.