Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) September 29
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Amos 4:1--6:14

Context

4:1 Listen to this message, you cows of Bashan 1  who live on Mount Samaria!

You 2  oppress the poor;

you crush the needy.

You say to your 3  husbands,

“Bring us more to drink!” 4 

4:2 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his own holy character: 5 

“Certainly the time is approaching 6 

when you will be carried away 7  in baskets, 8 

every last one of you 9  in fishermen’s pots. 10 

4:3 Each of you will go straight through the gaps in the walls; 11 

you will be thrown out 12  toward Harmon.” 13 

The Lord is speaking!

Israel has an Appointment with God

4:4 “Go to Bethel 14  and rebel! 15 

At Gilgal 16  rebel some more!

Bring your sacrifices in 17  the morning,

your tithes on 18  the third day!

4:5 Burn a thank offering of bread made with yeast! 19 

Make a public display of your voluntary offerings! 20 

For you love to do this, you Israelites.”

The sovereign Lord is speaking!

4:6 “But surely I gave 21  you no food to eat in any of your cities;

you lacked food everywhere you live. 22 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:7 “I withheld rain from you three months before the harvest. 23 

I gave rain to one city, but not to another.

One field 24  would get rain, but the field that received no rain dried up.

4:8 People from 25  two or three cities staggered into one city to get 26  water,

but remained thirsty. 27 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:9 “I destroyed your crops 28  with blight and disease.

Locusts kept 29  devouring your orchards, 30  vineyards, fig trees, and olive trees.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:10 “I sent against you a plague like one of the Egyptian plagues. 31 

I killed your young men with the sword,

along with the horses you had captured.

I made the stench from the corpses 32  rise up into your nostrils.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:11 “I overthrew some of you the way God 33  overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 34 

You were like a burning stick 35  snatched from the flames.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel.

Because I will do this to you,

prepare to meet your God, Israel! 36 

4:13 For here he is!

He 37  formed the mountains and created the wind.

He reveals 38  his plans 39  to men.

He turns the dawn into darkness 40 

and marches on the heights of the earth.

The Lord, the God who commands armies, 41  is his name!”

Death is Imminent

5:1 Listen to this funeral song I am ready to sing about you, 42  family 43  of Israel:

5:2 “The virgin 44  Israel has fallen down and will not get up again.

She is abandoned on her own land

with no one to help her get up.” 45 

5:3 The sovereign Lord says this:

“The city that marches out with a thousand soldiers 46  will have only a hundred left;

the town 47  that marches out with a hundred soldiers 48  will have only ten left for the family of Israel.” 49 

5:4 The Lord says this to the family 50  of Israel:

“Seek me 51  so you can live!

5:5 Do not seek Bethel! 52 

Do not visit Gilgal!

Do not journey down 53  to Beer Sheba!

For the people of Gilgal 54  will certainly be carried into exile; 55 

and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds.” 56 

5:6 Seek the Lord so you can live!

Otherwise he will break out 57  like fire against Joseph’s 58  family; 59 

the fire 60  will consume

and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel. 61 

5:7 The Israelites 62  turn justice into bitterness; 63 

they throw what is fair and right 64  to the ground. 65 

5:8 (But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion;

he can turn the darkness into morning

and daylight 66  into night.

He summons the water of the seas

and pours it out on the earth’s surface.

The Lord is his name!

5:9 He flashes 67  destruction down upon the strong

so that destruction overwhelms 68  the fortified places.)

5:10 The Israelites 69  hate anyone who arbitrates at the city gate; 70 

they despise anyone who speaks honestly.

5:11 Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops 71 

and exact a grain tax from them,

you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,

nor will you drink the wine from the fine 72  vineyards you planted. 73 

5:12 Certainly 74  I am aware of 75  your many rebellious acts 76 

and your numerous sins.

You 77  torment the innocent, you take bribes,

and you deny justice to 78  the needy at the city gate. 79 

5:13 For this reason whoever is smart 80  keeps quiet 81  in such a time,

for it is an evil 82  time.

5:14 Seek good and not evil so you can live!

Then the Lord, the God who commands armies, just might be with you,

as you claim he is.

5:15 Hate what is wrong, love what is right!

Promote 83  justice at the city gate! 84 

Maybe the Lord, the God who commands armies, will have mercy on 85  those who are left from 86  Joseph. 87 

5:16 Because of Israel’s sins 88  this is what the Lord, the God who commands armies, the sovereign One, 89  says:

“In all the squares there will be wailing,

in all the streets they will mourn the dead. 90 

They will tell the field workers 91  to lament

and the professional mourners 92  to wail.

5:17 In all the vineyards there will be wailing,

for I will pass through 93  your midst,” says the Lord.

The Lord Demands Justice

5:18 Woe 94  to those who wish for the day of the Lord!

Why do you want the Lord’s day of judgment to come?

It will bring darkness, not light.

5:19 Disaster will be inescapable, 95 

as if a man ran from a lion only to meet a bear,

then escaped 96  into a house,

leaned his hand against the wall,

and was bitten by a poisonous snake.

5:20 Don’t you realize the Lord’s day of judgment will bring 97  darkness, not light –

gloomy blackness, not bright light?

5:21 “I absolutely despise 98  your festivals!

I get no pleasure 99  from your religious assemblies!

5:22 Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings, 100  I will not be satisfied;

I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves. 101 

5:23 Take away from me your 102  noisy songs;

I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments. 103 

5:24 Justice must flow like torrents of water,

righteous actions 104  like a stream that never dries up.

5:25 You did not bring me 105  sacrifices and grain offerings during the forty years you spent in the wilderness, family 106  of Israel.

5:26 You will pick up your images 107  of Sikkuth, 108  your king, 109 

and Kiyyun, 110  your star god, which you made for yourselves,

5:27 and I will drive you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord.

He is called the God who commands armies!

The Party is over for the Rich

6:1 Woe 111  to those who live in ease in Zion, 112 

to those who feel secure on Mount Samaria.

They think of themselves as 113  the elite class of the best nation.

The family 114  of Israel looks to them for leadership. 115 

6:2 They say to the people: 116 

“Journey over to Calneh and look at it!

Then go from there to Hamath-Rabbah! 117 

Then go down to Gath of the Philistines!

Are they superior to our two 118  kingdoms?

Is their territory larger than yours?” 119 

6:3 You refuse to believe a day of disaster will come, 120 

but you establish a reign of violence. 121 

6:4 They lie around on beds decorated with ivory, 122 

and sprawl out on their couches.

They eat lambs from the flock,

and calves from the middle of the pen.

6:5 They sing 123  to the tune of 124  stringed instruments; 125 

like David they invent 126  musical instruments.

6:6 They drink wine from sacrificial bowls, 127 

and pour the very best oils on themselves. 128 

Yet they are not concerned over 129  the ruin 130  of Joseph.

6:7 Therefore they will now be the first to go into exile, 131 

and the religious banquets 132  where they sprawl on couches 133  will end.

6:8 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his very own life. 134 

The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking:

“I despise Jacob’s arrogance;

I hate their 135  fortresses.

I will hand over to their enemies 136  the city of Samaria 137  and everything in it.”

6:9 If ten men are left in one house, they too will die. 6:10 When their close relatives, the ones who will burn the corpses, 138  pick up their bodies to remove the bones from the house, they will say to anyone who is in the inner rooms of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” He will respond, “Be quiet! Don’t invoke the Lord’s name!” 139 

6:11 Indeed, look! The Lord is giving the command. 140 

He will smash the large house to bits,

and the small house into little pieces.

6:12 Can horses run on rocky cliffs?

Can one plow the sea with oxen? 141 

Yet you have turned justice into a poisonous plant,

and the fruit of righteous actions into a bitter plant. 142 

6:13 You are happy because you conquered Lo-Debar. 143 

You say, “Did we not conquer Karnaim 144  by our own power?”

6:14 “Look! I am about to bring 145  a nation against you, family 146  of Israel.”

The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking.

“They will oppress 147  you all the way from Lebo-Hamath 148  to the Stream of the Arabah.” 149 

1 sn The expression cows of Bashan is used by the prophet to address the wealthy women of Samaria, who demand that their husbands satisfy their cravings. The derogatory language perhaps suggests that they, like the livestock of Bashan, were well fed, ironically in preparation for the coming slaughter. This phrase is sometimes cited to critique the book’s view of women.

2 tn Heb “the ones who” (three times in this verse).

3 tn Heb “their.”

4 sn Some commentators relate this scene to the description of the marzeah feast of 6:3-6, in which drinking played a prominent part (see the note at 6:6).

5 tn Heb “swears by his holiness.”

sn The message that follows is an unconditional oath, the fulfillment of which is just as certain as the Lord’s own holy character.

6 tn Heb “Look, certainly days are coming upon you”; NRSV “the time is surely coming upon you.”

7 tn Heb “one will carry you away”; NASB “they will take you away.”

8 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word translated “baskets” is uncertain. The translation follows the suggestion of S. M. Paul (Amos [Hermeneia], 128), who discusses the various options (130-32): “shields” (cf. NEB); “ropes”; “thorns,” which leads to the most favored interpretation, “hooks” (cf. NASB “meat hooks”; NIV, NRSV “hooks”); “baskets,” and (derived from “baskets”) “boats.” Against the latter, it is unlikely that Amos envisioned a deportation by boat for the inhabitants of Samaria! See also the note on the expression “fishermen’s pots” later in this verse.

9 tn Or “your children”; KJV “your posterity.”

10 tn The meaning of the Hebrew expression translated “in fishermen’s pots” is uncertain. The translation follows that of S. M. Paul (Amos [Hermeneia], 128), who discusses the various options (132-33): “thorns,” understood by most modern interpreters to mean (by extension) “fishhooks” (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV); “boats,” but as mentioned in the previous note on the word “baskets,” a deportation of the Samaritans by boat is geographically unlikely; and “pots,” referring to a container used for packing fish (cf. NEB “fish-baskets”). Paul (p. 134) argues that the imagery comes from the ancient fishing industry. When hauled away into exile, the women of Samaria will be like fish packed and transported to market.

sn The imagery of catching fish in connection with the captivity of Israel is also found in Jer 16:16 and Hab 1:14.

11 tn Heb “and [through the] breaches you will go out, each straight ahead.”

12 tn The Hiphil verb form has no object. It may be intransitive (F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 425), though many emend it to a Hophal.

13 tn The meaning of this word is unclear. Many understand it as a place name, though such a location is not known. Some (e.g., H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos [Hermeneia[, 204) emend to “Hermon” or to similarly written words, such as “the dung heap” (NEB, NJPS), “the garbage dump” (NCV), or “the fortress” (cf. NLT “your fortresses”).

14 sn Bethel and Gilgal were important formal worship centers because of their importance in Israel’s history. Here the Lord ironically urges the people to visit these places so they can increase their sin against him. Their formal worship, because it was not accompanied by social justice, only made them more guilty in God’s sight by adding hypocrisy to their list of sins. Obviously, theirs was a twisted view of the Lord. They worshiped a god of their own creation in order to satisfy their religious impulses (see 4:5: “For you love to do this”). Note that none of the rituals listed in 4:4-5 have to do with sin.

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

15 tn The Hebrew word translated “rebel” (also in the following line) could very well refer here to Israel’s violations of their covenant with God (see also the term “crimes” in 1:3 [with note] and the phrase “covenant transgressions” in 2:4 [with note]; 3:14).

16 sn See the note on Bethel earlier in this verse.

17 tn Or “for.”

18 tn Or “for.”

19 sn For the background of the thank offering of bread made with yeast, see Lev 7:13.

20 tn Heb “proclaim voluntary offerings, announce.”

21 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic (pronoun + verb). It underscores the stark contrast between the judgments that the Lord had been sending with the God of blessing Israel was celebrating in its worship (4:4-5).

22 tn Heb “But I gave to you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of food in all your places.” The phrase “cleanness of teeth” is a vivid way of picturing the famine Israel experienced.

23 sn Rain…three months before the harvest refers to the rains of late March-early April.

24 tn Heb “portion”; KJV, ASV “piece”; NASB “part.” The same word occurs a second time later in this verse.

25 tn The words “people from” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

26 tn Heb “to drink.”

27 tn Or “were not satisfied.”

28 tn Heb “you.” By metonymy the crops belonging to these people are meant. See the remainder of this verse, which describes the agricultural devastation caused by locusts.

29 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct is taken adverbially (“kept”) and connected to the activity of the locusts (NJPS). It also could be taken with the preceding sentence and related to the Lord’s interventions (“I kept destroying,” cf. NEB, NJB, NIV, NRSV), or it could be understood substantivally in construct with the following nouns (“Locusts devoured your many orchards,” cf. NASB; cf. also KJV, NKJV).

30 tn Or “gardens.”

31 tn Heb “in the manner [or “way”] of Egypt.”

32 tn Heb “of your camps [or “armies”].”

33 tn Several English versions substitute the first person pronoun (“I”) here for stylistic reasons (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

34 tn Heb “like God’s overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah.” The divine name may be used in an idiomatic superlative sense here, in which case one might translate, “like the great [or “disastrous”] overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

sn The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is described in Gen 19:1-29.

35 tn Heb “like that which is burning.”

36 tn The Lord appears to announce a culminating judgment resulting from Israel’s obstinate refusal to repent. The following verse describes the Lord in his role as sovereign judge, but it does not outline the judgment per se. For this reason F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman (Amos [AB], 450) take the prefixed verbal forms as preterites referring to the series of judgments detailed in vv. 6-11. It is more likely that a coming judgment is in view, but that its details are omitted for rhetorical effect, creating a degree of suspense (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 149-50) that will find its solution in chapter 5. This line is an ironic conclusion to the section begun at 4:4. Israel thought they were meeting the Lord at the sanctuaries, yet they actually had misunderstood how he had been trying to bring them back to himself. Now Israel would truly meet the Lord – not at the sanctuaries, but face-to-face in judgment.

37 tn Heb “For look, the one who.” This verse is considered to be the first hymnic passage in the book. The others appear at 5:8-9 and 9:5-6. Scholars debate whether these verses were originally part of a single hymn or three distinct pieces deliberately placed in each context for particular effect.

38 tn Or “declares” (NAB, NASB).

39 tn Or “his thoughts.” The translation assumes that the pronominal suffix refers to God and that divine self-revelation is in view (see 3:7). If the suffix refers to the following term אָדַם (’adam, “men”), then the expression refers to God’s ability to read men’s minds.

40 tn Heb “he who makes dawn, darkness.” The meaning of the statement is unclear. The present translation assumes that allusion is made to God’s approaching judgment, when the light of day will be turned to darkness (see 5:20). Other options include: (1) “He makes the dawn [and] the darkness.” A few Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX, add the conjunction (“and”) between the two nouns. (2) “He turns darkness into glimmering dawn” (NJPS). See S. M. Paul (Amos [Hermeneia], 154), who takes שָׁחַר (shakhar) as “blackness” rather than “dawn” and עֵיפָה (’efah) as “glimmering dawn” rather than “darkness.”

41 tn Traditionally, “God of hosts.”

42 tn Heb “Listen to this word which I am about to take up against you, a funeral song.”

43 tn Heb “house.”

44 tn Or “young lady.” The term “Israel” is an appositional genitive.

45 tn Or “with no one to lift her up.”

46 tn The word “soldiers” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

47 tn Heb “The one.” The word “town” has been used in the translation in keeping with the relative sizes of the armed contingents sent out by each. It is also possible that this line is speaking of the same city of the previous line. In other words, the contingent sent by that one city would have suffered a ninety-nine percent casualty loss.

48 tn The word “soldiers” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

49 tn Heb “for/to the house of Israel.” The translation assumes that this is a graphic picture of what is left over for the defense of the nation (NEB, NJB, NASB, NKJV). Others suggest that this phrase completes the introductory formula (“The sovereign Lord says this…”; see v. 4a; NJPS). Another option is that the preposition has a vocative force, “O house of Israel” (F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 476). Some simply delete the phrase as dittography from the following line (NIV).

50 tn Heb “house.”

51 sn The following verses explain what it meant to seek the Lord. Israel was to abandon the mere formalism and distorted view of God and reality that characterized religious activity at the worship sites, as well as the social injustice that permeated Israelite society. Instead the people were to repent and promote justice in the land. This call to seek the Lord echoes the challenge in 4:13 to prepare to meet him as he truly is.

52 sn Ironically, Israel was to seek after the Lord, but not at Bethel (the name Bethel means “the house of God” in Hebrew).

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

53 tn Heb “cross over.”

sn To worship at Beer Sheba, northern worshipers had to journey down (i.e., cross the border) between Israel and Judah. Apparently, the popular religion of Israel for some included pilgrimage to holy sites in the South.

54 tn Heb “For Gilgal.” By metonymy the place name “Gilgal” is used instead of referring directly to the inhabitants. The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

55 tn In the Hebrew text the statement is emphasized by sound play. The name “Gilgal” sounds like the verb גָּלָה (galah, “to go into exile”), which occurs here in the infinitival + finite verb construction (גָּלֹה יִגְלֶה, galoh yigleh). The repetition of the “ג” (g) and “ל” (l) sounds draws attention to the announcement and suggests that Gilgal’s destiny is inherent in its very name.

sn That the people of Gilgal would be taken into exile is ironic, for Gilgal was Israel’s first campsite when the people entered the land under Joshua and the city became a symbol of Israel’s possession of the promised land.

56 tn Heb “disaster,” or “nothing”; NIV “Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”

sn Again there is irony. The name Bethel means “house of God” in Hebrew. How surprising and tragic that Bethel, the “house of God” where Jacob received the inheritance given to Abraham, would be overrun by disaster.

57 tn Heb “rush.” The verb depicts swift movement.

58 sn Here Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh), as the most prominent of the Israelite tribes, represents the entire northern kingdom.

59 tn Heb “house.”

60 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

61 tn Heb “to/for Bethel.” The translation assumes that the preposition indicates advantage, “on behalf of.” Another option is to take the preposition as vocative, “O Bethel.”

62 tn Heb “Those who”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity. In light of vv. 11-13, it is also possible that the words are directed at a more limited group within the nation – those with social and economic power.

63 tn There is an interesting wordplay here with the verb הָפַךְ (hafakh, “overturn, turn”). Israel “turns” justice into wormwood (cf. 6:12), while the Lord “turns” darkness into morning (v. 8; cf. 4:11; 8:10). Israel’s turning is for evil, whereas the Lord’s is to demonstrate his absolute power and sovereignty.

64 tn Heb “they throw righteousness.”

65 sn In v. 7 the prophet begins to describe the guilty Israelites, but then interrupts his word picture with a parenthetical, but powerful, description of the judge they must face (vv. 8-9). He resumes his description of the sinners in v. 10.

66 tn Heb “darkens the day into night.”

67 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew verb בָּלַג (balag, translated here “flashes”) is uncertain.

68 tn Heb “comes upon.” Many prefer to repoint the verb as Hiphil and translate, “he brings destruction upon the fortified places.”

69 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

70 sn In ancient Israelite culture, legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.

71 tn Traditionally, “because you trample on the poor” (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). The traditional view derives the verb from בּוּס (bus, “to trample”; cf. Isa. 14:25), but more likely it is cognate to an Akkadian verb meaning “to exact an agricultural tax” (see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 49; S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 172-73).

72 tn Or “lovely”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “pleasant”; NAB “choice”; NIV “lush.”

73 tn Heb “Houses of chiseled stone you built, but you will not live in them. Fine vineyards you planted, but you will not drink their wine.”

74 tn Or “for.”

75 tn Or “I know” (so most English versions).

76 tn Or “transgressions,” “sins.” See the note on the word “crimes” in 1:3 and on the phrase “covenant violations” in 2:4.

77 tn Heb “Those who.”

78 tn Heb “turn aside.” They “turn aside” the needy by denying them the justice they deserve at the city gate (where legal decisions were made, and therefore where justice should be done).

79 sn Legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.

80 tn Or “the wise”; or “the prudent.” Another option is to translate “the successful, prosperous” and understand this as a reference to the rich oppressors. See G. V. Smith, Amos, 169-70. In this case the following verb will also have a different nuance, that is, the wealthy remain silent before the abuses they perpetuate. See the note on the verb translated “keeps quiet” later in this verse.

81 tn Or “moans, laments,” from a homonymic verbal root. If the rich oppressors are in view, then the verb (whether translated “will be silenced” or “will lament”) describes the result of God’s judgment upon them. See G. V. Smith, Amos, 170.

82 tn If this is a judgment announcement against the rich, then the Hebrew phrase עֵת רָעָה (’et raah) must be translated, “[a] disastrous time.” See G. V. Smith, Amos, 170.

83 tn Heb “set up, establish.” In the ancient Near East it was the responsibility especially of the king to establish justice. Here the prophet extends that demand to local leaders and to the nation as a whole (cf. 5:24).

84 sn Legal disputes were resolved in the city gate (see the note in v. 12). This repetition of this phrase serves to highlight a deliberate contrast to the injustices cited in vv. 11-13.

85 tn Or “will show favor to.”

86 tn Or “the remnant of” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “what’s left of your people.”

87 sn Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh), as the most prominent of the Israelite tribes, represents the entire northern kingdom.

88 tn Heb “Therefore.” This logical connector relates back to the accusation of vv. 10-13, not to the parenthetical call to repentance in vv. 14-15. To indicate this clearly, the phrase “Because of Israel’s sins” is used in the translation.

89 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

90 tn Heb “they will say, ‘Ah! Ah!’” The Hebrew term הוֹ (ho, “ah, woe”) is an alternate form of הוֹי (hoy), a word used to mourn the dead and express outwardly one’s sorrow. See 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5. This wordplay follows quickly, as v. 18 begins with הוֹי (“woe”).

91 tn Or “farmers” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

92 tn Heb “those who know lamentation.”

sn Professional mourners are referred to elsewhere in the OT (2 Chr 35:25; Jer 9:17) and ancient Near Eastern literature. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 180.

93 sn The expression pass through your midst alludes to Exod 12:12, where the Lord announced he would “pass through” Egypt and bring death to the Egyptian firstborn.

94 tn The term הוֹי (hoy, “woe”) was used when mourning the dead (see the note on the word “dead” in 5:16). The prophet here either engages in role playing and mourns the death of the nation in advance or sarcastically taunts those who hold to this misplaced belief.

95 tn The words “Disaster will be inescapable” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

96 tn Heb “went” (so KJV, NRSV).

97 tn Heb “Will not the day of the Lord be.”

98 tn Heb “I hate”; “I despise.”

99 tn Heb “I will not smell.” These verses are full of vivid descriptions of the Lord’s total rejection of Israelite worship. In the first half of this verse two verbs are used together for emphasis. Here the verb alludes to the sense of smell, a fitting observation since offerings would have been burned on the altar ideally to provide a sweet aroma to God (see, e.g., Lev 1:9, 13, 17; Num 29:36). Other senses that are mentioned include sight and hearing in vv. 22-23.

100 tn Heb “burnt offerings and your grain offerings.”

101 tn Heb “Peace offering[s], your fattened calves, I will not look at.”

102 tn In this verse the second person suffixes are singular and not plural like they are in vv. 21-22 and vv. 25-27. Some have suggested that perhaps a specific individual or group within the nation is in view.

103 tn The Hebrew word probably refers to “harps” (NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “lutes” (NEB).

104 tn Traditionally, “righteousness.”

105 tn Heb “Did you bring me…?” This rhetorical question expects a negative answer. The point seems to be this: Since sacrifices did not characterize God’s relationship with Israel during the nation’s formative years, the people should not consider them to be so fundamental. The Lord places a higher priority on justice than he does on empty ritual.

sn Like Jer 7:22-23, this passage seems to contradict the Pentateuchal accounts that indicate Israel did offer sacrifices during the wilderness period. It is likely that both Amos and Jeremiah overstate the case to emphasize the relative insignificance of sacrifices in comparison to weightier matters of the covenant. See R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 428.

106 tn Heb “house.”

107 tn This word appears in an awkward position in the Hebrew, following “Kiyyun.” It is placed here for better sense.

108 tn The Hebrew term סִכּוּת (sikkut) apparently refers to Sakkuth, a Mesopotamian star god identified with Ninurta in an Ugaritic god list. The name is vocalized in the Hebrew text after the pattern of שִׁקוּץ (shiqquts, “detestable thing”). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 195-96. Some English versions, following the LXX, translate as “tent” or “shrine” (NEB, NIV), pointing the term as סֻכַּת (sukkat; cf. 9:11).

109 tc LXX, Vulgate, and Acts 7:43 read “Moloch” (cf. KJV). The Hebrew consonants are the same for both “king” and “Moloch” (מֹלֶךְ; molekh).

110 tn The Hebrew term כִּיּוּן (kiyyun) apparently refers to the Mesopotamian god Kayamanu, or Saturn. The name, like “Sikkuth” in the previous line, is vocalized in the Hebrew text after the pattern of שִׁקוּץ (shiqquts, “detestable thing”). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 195-96. Some versions translate as “pedestal” (NEB, NIV), relating the term to the root כּוּן (kun).

111 tn On the Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy; “ah, woe”) as a term of mourning, see the notes in 5:16, 18.

112 sn Zion is a reference to Jerusalem.

113 tn The words “They think of themselves as” are supplied in the translation for clarification. In the Hebrew text the term נְקֻבֵי (nÿquvey; “distinguished ones, elite”) is in apposition to the substantival participles in the first line.

114 tn Heb “house.”

115 tn Heb “comes to them.”

116 tn The words “They say to the people” are interpretive and supplied in the translation for clarification. The translation understands v. 2 as the boastful words, which the leaders (described in v. 1) spoke to those who came to them (v. 1b). Some interpret v. 2 differently, understanding the words as directed to the leaders by the prophet. Verse 2b would then be translated: “Are you (i.e., Israel and Judah) better than these kingdoms (i.e., Calneh, etc.)? Is your border larger than their border?” (This reading requires an emendation of the Hebrew text toward the end of the verse.) In this case the verse is a reminder to Judah/Israel that they are not superior to other nations, which have already fallen victim to military conquest. Consequently Judah/Israel should not expect to escape the same fate. Following this line of interpretation, some take v. 2 as a later addition since the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser III conquered Calneh, Hamath, and Gath after the time of Amos’ ministry. However, this conclusion is not necessary since the kingdoms mentioned here had suffered military setbacks prior to Amos’ time as well. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 201-4.

117 tn Or “Great Hamath” (cf. NIV); or “Hamath the great” (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); the word “rabbah” means “great” in Hebrew.

118 tn Heb “to these,” referring to Judah and Israel (see v. 1a).

119 tn Both rhetorical questions in this verse expect the answer “no.” If these words do come from the leaders, then this verse underscores their self-delusion of power (compare 6:13). The prophet had no such mistaken sense of national grandeur (7:2, 5).

120 tn Heb “those who push away a day of disaster.”

121 tn Heb “you bring near a seat of violence.” The precise meaning of the Hebrew term שֶׁבֶת (shevet, “seat, sitting”) is unclear in this context. The translation assumes that it refers to a throne from which violence (in the person of the oppressive leaders) reigns. Another option is that the expression refers not to the leaders’ oppressive rule, but to the coming judgment when violence will overtake the nation in the person of enemy invaders.

122 tn Heb “beds of ivory.”

123 tn The meaning of the Hebrew verb פָּרַט (parat), which occurs only here in the OT, is unclear. Some translate “strum,” “pluck,” or “improvise.”

124 tn Heb “upon the mouth of,” that is, “according to.”

125 sn The stringed instruments mentioned here are probably harps (cf. NIV, NRSV) or lutes (cf. NEB).

126 tn The meaning of the Hebrew phrase חָשְׁבוּ לָהֶם (khoshvu lahem) is uncertain. Various options include: (1) “they think their musical instruments are like David’s”; (2) “they consider themselves musicians like David”; (3) “they esteem musical instruments highly like David”; (4) “they improvise [new songs] for themselves [on] instruments like David”; (5) “they invent musical instruments like David.” However, the most commonly accepted interpretation is that given in the translation (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 206-7).

127 sn Perhaps some religious rite is in view, or the size of the bowls is emphasized (i.e., bowls as large as sacrificial bowls).

128 tn Heb “with the best of oils they anoint [themselves].”

129 tn Or “not sickened by.”

130 sn The ruin of Joseph may refer to the societal disintegration in Israel, or to the effects of the impending judgment.

131 tn Heb “they will go into exile at the head of the exiles.”

132 sn Religious banquets. This refers to the מַרְזֵחַ (marzeakh), a type of pagan religious banquet popular among the upper class of Israel at this time and apparently associated with mourning. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 137-61; J. L. McLaughlin, The “Marzeah” in the Prophetic Literature (VTSup). Scholars debate whether at this banquet the dead were simply remembered or actually venerated in a formal, cultic sense.

133 tn Heb “of the sprawled out.” See v. 4.

134 tn Heb “swears by his life”; or “swears by himself.”

135 tn Heb “his,” referring to Jacob, which stands here for the nation of Israel.

136 tn The words “to their enemies” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

137 tn Heb “the city”; this probably refers to the city of Samaria (cf. 6:1), which in turn, by metonymy, represents the entire northern kingdom.

138 tn The translation assumes that “their relatives” and “the ones who will burn the corpses” are in apposition. Another option is to take them as distinct individuals, in which case one could translate, “When their close relatives and the ones who will burn the corpses pick up…” The meaning of the form translated “the ones who burn the corpses” is uncertain. Another option is to translate, “the ones who prepare the corpses for burial” (NASB “undertaker”; cf. also CEV). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 215-16.

139 tn This verse is notoriously difficult to interpret. The Hebrew text literally reads, “And he will lift him up, his uncle, and the one burning him, to bring out bones from the house. And he will say to the one who is in the inner parts of the house, ‘Is there [anyone] still with you?’ And he will say, ‘Be quiet for not to invoke the name of the Lord.’” The translation assumes that the singular pronominal and verbal forms throughout the verse are collective or distributive. This last sentence has been interpreted in several ways: a command not to call on the name of the Lord out of fear that he might return again in judgment; the realization that it is not appropriate to seek a blessing in the Lord’s name upon the dead in the house since the judgment was deserved; an angry refusal to call on the Lord out of a sense that he has betrayed his people in allowing them to suffer.

140 tn Or “is issuing the decree.”

141 tc Heb “Does one plow with oxen?” This obviously does not fit the parallelism, for the preceding rhetorical question requires the answer, “Of course not!” An error of fusion has occurred in the Hebrew, with the word יָם (yam, “sea”) being accidentally added as a plural ending to the collective noun בָּקָר (baqar, “oxen”). A proper division of the consonants produces the above translation, which fits the parallelism and also anticipates the answer, “Of course not!”

142 sn The botanical imagery, when juxtaposed with the preceding rhetorical questions, vividly depicts and emphasizes how the Israelites have perverted justice and violated the created order by their morally irrational behavior.

143 tn Heb “those who rejoice over Lo-Debar.”

sn Lo-Debar was located across the Jordan River in Gilead, which the Israelite army had conquered. However, there is stinging irony here, for in Hebrew the name Lo-Debar means “nothing.” In reality Israel was happy over nothing of lasting consequence.

144 sn Karnaim was also located across the Jordan River. The name in Hebrew means “double horned.” Since an animal’s horn was a symbol of strength (see Deut 33:17), the Israelites boasted in this victory over a town whose very name symbolized military power.

145 tn Or “raise up” (KJV, NASB); NIV “stir up.”

146 tn Heb “house.”

147 sn Once again there is irony in the divine judgment. The oppressive nation itself will suffer oppression. The verb “oppress” (לָחַץ, lakhats) in this verse is not the same as that used in 4:1 (עָשַׁק, ’ashaq).

148 tn Or “from the entrance to Hamath.” The Hebrew term לְבוֹא (lÿvo’) can either be translated or considered a part of the place name.

149 sn Lebo-Hamath refers to the northern border of Israel, the Stream of the Arabah to its southern border. See 2 Kgs 14:25. Through this invader the Lord would reverse the victories and territorial expansion Israel experienced during the reign of Jeroboam II.



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