7:1 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw 1 him making locusts just as the crops planted late 2 were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest. 3 ) 7:2 When they had completely consumed the earth’s vegetation, I said,
“Sovereign Lord, forgive Israel! 4
How can Jacob survive? 5
He is too weak!” 6
7:5 I said, “Sovereign Lord, stop!
How can Jacob survive? 10
He is too weak!” 11
“Look, I am about to place tin among my people Israel.
I will no longer overlook their sin. 16
Israel’s holy places will be in ruins.
I will attack Jeroboam’s dynasty with the sword.” 18
7:10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel 19 sent this message 20 to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is conspiring against you in the very heart of the kingdom of Israel! 21 The land cannot endure all his prophecies. 22 7:11 As a matter of fact, 23 Amos is saying this: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly be carried into exile 24 away from its land.’”
7:12 Amaziah then said to Amos, “Leave, you visionary! 25 Run away to the land of Judah! Earn your living 26 and prophesy there! 7:13 Don’t prophesy at Bethel 27 any longer, for a royal temple and palace are here!” 28
7:14 Amos replied 29 to Amaziah, “I was not a prophet by profession. 30 No, 31 I was a herdsman who also took care of 32 sycamore fig trees. 33 7:15 Then the Lord took me from tending 34 flocks and gave me this commission, 35 ‘Go! Prophesy to my people Israel!’ 7:16 So now listen to the Lord’s message! You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel! Don’t preach 36 against the family of Isaac!’
7:17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the streets 37
and your sons and daughters will die violently. 38
Your land will be given to others 39
and you will die in a foreign 40 land.
Israel will certainly be carried into exile 41 away from its land.’”
The sovereign Lord is speaking.
“There will be many corpses littered everywhere! 47 Be quiet!”
and do away with 49 the destitute in the land.
8:5 You say,
and to cheat the buyer with rigged scales! 56
a pair of sandals 58 for the needy!
We want to mix in some chaff with the grain!” 59
and all who live in it will mourn.
8:9 In that day,” says the sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun set at noon,
and make the earth dark in the middle of the day. 71
and all your songs into funeral dirges.
I will make everyone wear funeral clothes 73
and cause every head to be shaved bald. 74
I will make you mourn as if you had lost your only son; 75
when it ends it will indeed have been a bitter day. 76
“when I will send a famine through the land –
not a shortage of food or water
but an end to divine revelation! 79
and from the north around to the east.
They will wander about looking for a revelation from 82 the Lord,
but they will not find any. 83
But they will fall down and not get up again.”
Knock them down on the heads of all the people, 96
and I will kill the survivors 97 with the sword.
No one will be able to run away; 98
no one will be able to escape. 99
my hand would pull them up from there.
Even if they could climb up to heaven,
I would drag them down from there.
9:3 Even if they were to hide on the top of Mount Carmel,
I would hunt them down and take them from there.
Even if they tried to hide from me 101 at the bottom of the sea,
from there 105 I will command the sword to kill them.
I will not let them out of my sight;
they will experience disaster, not prosperity.” 106
He touches the earth and it dissolves; 108
all who live on it mourn.
He summons the water of the sea
and pours it out on the earth’s surface.
The Lord is his name.
“Certainly I brought Israel up from the land of Egypt,
and I will destroy it from the face of the earth.
But I will not completely destroy the family 121 of Jacob,” says the Lord.
9:9 “For look, I am giving a command
and I will shake the family of Israel together with all the nations.
It will resemble a sieve being shaken,
when not even a pebble falls to the ground. 122
9:10 All the sinners among my people will die by the sword –
the ones who say, ‘Disaster will not come near, it will not confront us.’
I will seal its 124 gaps,
repair its 125 ruins,
and restore it to what it was like in days gone by. 126
and all the nations subject to my rule.” 129
The Lord, who is about to do this, is speaking!
“when the plowman will catch up to the reaper 132
Juice will run down the slopes, 136
it will flow down all the hillsides. 137
They will plant vineyards and drink the wine they produce; 141
9:15 I will plant them on their land
and they will never again be uprooted from the 144 land I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.
1 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
2 sn The crops planted late (consisting of vegetables) were planted in late January-early March and sprouted in conjunction with the spring rains of March-April. For a discussion of the ancient Israelite agricultural calendar, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 31-44.
3 tn Or “the mowings of the king.”
sn This royal harvest may refer to an initial mowing of crops collected as taxes by the royal authorities.
4 tn “Israel” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
5 tn Heb “stand” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).
6 tn Heb “small.”
7 tn Or “changed his mind about this.”
8 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
9 tc The Hebrew appears to read, “summoning to contend with fire,” or “summoning fire to contend,” but both are problematic syntactically (H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos [Hermeneia], 292; S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 230-31). Many emend the text to לרבב אשׁ, “(calling) for a shower of fire,” though this interpretation is also problematic (see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 746-47).
10 tn Heb “stand.”
11 tn Heb “small.”
12 tn Or “changed his mind about this.”
13 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
14 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here and in the following verse is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
15 tn The Hebrew word אֲנָךְ (’anakh, “tin”) occurs only in this passage (twice in this verse and twice in the following verse). (Its proposed meaning is based on an Akkadian cognate annaku.) The tin wall of the vision, if it symbolizes Israel, may suggest weakness and vulnerability to judgment. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 233-35. The symbolic significance of God holding tin in his hand and then placing tin among the people is unclear. Possibly the term אֲנָךְ in v. 8b is a homonym meaning “grief” (this term is attested in postbiblical Hebrew). In this case there is a wordplay, the אֲנָךְ (“tin”) of the vision suggesting the אֲנָךְ (“grief”) that judgment will bring upon the land. See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos (AB), 759. Another option is to maintain the meaning “tin” and understand that the Lord has ripped off a piece of the tin wall and placed it in front of all to see. Their citadels, of which the nation was so proud and confident, are nothing more than tin fortresses. The traditional interpretation of these verses (reflected in many English versions) understands the term אֲנָךְ to mean “lead,” and by extension, “plumb line.” In this case, one may translate: “I saw the sovereign one standing by a wall built true to plumb holding a plumb line in his hand. The
16 tn Heb “And I will no longer pass over him.”
17 tn Traditionally, “the high places” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “pagan shrines.”
18 tn Heb “And I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with a sword.”
20 tn The direct object of the verb translated “sent” is elided in the Hebrew text. The words “this message” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
21 tn Heb “in the middle of the house of Israel.”
22 tn Heb “words.”
23 tn Or “for.”
25 tn Traditionally, “seer.” The word is a synonym for “prophet,” though it may carry a derogatory tone on the lips of Amaziah.
26 tn Heb “Eat bread there.”
28 tn Heb “for it is a temple of a king and it is a royal house.” It is possible that the phrase “royal house” refers to a temple rather than a palace. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 243.
29 tn Heb “replied and said.” The phrase “and said” is pleonastic (redundant) and has not been included in the translation.
30 tn Heb “I was not a prophet nor was I the son of a prophet.” The phrase “son of a prophet” refers to one who was trained in a prophetic guild. Since there is no equative verb present in the Hebrew text, another option is to translate with the present tense, “I am not a prophet by profession.” In this case Amos, though now carrying out a prophetic ministry (v. 15), denies any official or professional prophetic status. Modern English versions are divided about whether to understand the past (JB, NIV, NKJV) or present tense (NASB, NEB, NRSV, NJPS) here.
31 tn Heb “for.”
32 tn Heb “gashed”; or “pierced.”
sn For a discussion of the agricultural background, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 128-29.
33 sn It is possible that herdsmen agreed to care for sycamore fig trees in exchange for grazing rights. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 116-17. Since these trees do not grow around Tekoa but rather in the lowlands, another option is that Amos owned other property outside his hometown. In this case, this verse demonstrates his relative wealth and is his response to Amaziah; he did not depend on prophecy as a profession (v. 13).
34 tn Heb “from [following] after.”
35 tn Heb “and the
36 tn The verb, which literally means “to drip,” appears to be a synonym of “to prophesy,” but it might carry a derogatory tone here, perhaps alluding to the impassioned, frenzied way in which prophets sometimes delivered their messages. If so, one could translate, “to drivel; to foam at the mouth” (see HALOT 694 s.v. נטף).
37 tn Heb “in the city,” that is, “in public.”
38 tn Heb “will fall by the sword.”
39 tn Heb “will be divided up with a [surveyor’s] measuring line.”
42 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
43 sn The basket of summer fruit (also in the following verse) probably refers to figs from the summer crop, which ripens in August-September. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 115.
44 tn There is a wordplay here. The Hebrew word קֵץ (qets, “end”) sounds like קָיִץ (qayits, “summer fruit”). The summer fruit arrived toward the end of Israel’s agricultural year; Israel’s national existence was similarly at an end.
45 tn Heb “I will no longer pass over him.”
46 tn Or “palace” (NASB, NCV, TEV).
47 tn Heb “Many corpses in every place he will throw out.” The subject of the verb is probably impersonal, though many emend the active (Hiphil) form to a passive (Hophal): “Many corpses in every place will be thrown out.”
49 tn Or “put an end to”; or “exterminate.”
50 sn Apparently work was prohibited during the new moon festival, just as it was on the Sabbath.
51 tn Heb “pass by.”
52 tn The verb, though omitted in the Hebrew text, is supplied in the translation from the parallel line.
53 tn Heb “sell grain.” Here “grain” could stand by metonymy for the bins where it was stored.
55 tn Heb “to make small the ephah and to make great the shekel.” The “ephah” was a unit of dry measure used to determine the quantity purchased, while the “shekel” was a standard weight used to determine the purchase price. By using a smaller than standard ephah and a heavier than standard shekel, these merchants were able to increase their profit (“sell less for a higher price”) by cheating the buyer.
56 tn Heb “and to cheat with deceptive scales”; NASB, NIV “dishonest scales”; NRSV “false balances.”
sn Rigged scales may refer to bending the crossbar or shifting the center point of the scales to make the amount weighed appear heavier than it actually was, thus cheating the buyer.
57 tn Heb “to buy the poor for silver.”
sn The expression trade silver for the poor refers to the slave trade.
59 tn Heb “The chaff of the grain we will sell.”
60 tn Or “swears.”
61 sn In an oath one appeals to something permanent to emphasize one’s commitment to the promise. Here the
62 tn The words “I swear” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation because a self-imprecation is assumed in oaths of this type.
63 tn Or “I will never forget all your deeds.”
64 tn Or “land” (also later in this verse).
65 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the
66 tn Heb “all of it.”
67 tc The MT reads “like the light” (כָאֹר, kha’or; note this term also appears in v. 9), which is commonly understood to be an error for “like the Nile” (כִּיאוֹר, ki’or). See the parallel line and Amos 9:5. The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity. If this emendation is correct, in the Hebrew of Amos “Nile” is actually spelled three slightly different ways.
sn The movement of the quaking earth is here compared to the annual flooding and receding of the River Nile.
68 tn Or “churn.”
69 tn Or “sink back down.” The translation assumes the verb שָׁקַע (shaqa’), following the Qere.
70 tn The entire verse is phrased in a series of rhetorical questions which anticipate the answer, “Of course!” (For example, the first line reads, “Because of this will the earth not quake?”). The rhetorical questions entrap the listener in the logic of the judgment of God (cf. 3:3-6; 9:7). The rhetorical questions have been converted to affirmative statements in the translation for clarity.
71 tn Heb “in a day of light.”
72 tn Heb “mourning.”
73 tn Heb “I will place sackcloth on all waists.”
sn Mourners wore sackcloth (funeral clothes) as an outward expression of grief.
74 tn Heb “and make every head bald.” This could be understood in a variety of ways, while the ritual act of mourning typically involved shaving the head (although occasionally the hair could be torn out as a sign of mourning).
75 tn Heb “I will make it like the mourning for an only son.”
76 tn Heb “and its end will be like a bitter day.” The Hebrew preposition כְּ (kaf) sometimes carries the force of “in every respect,” indicating identity rather than mere comparison.
77 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
78 tn Heb “the days are.”
79 tn Heb “not a hunger for food or a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the
80 tn Heb “they”; the referent (people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
81 tn That is, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east – that is, across the whole land.
82 tn Heb “looking for the word of.”
83 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the
84 tn Heb “the.”
85 tn Or “virgins.”
86 tn Heb “the.”
87 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the
88 tn Heb “those who swear.”
89 tn Heb “the sin [or “guilt”] of Samaria.” This could be a derogatory reference to an idol-goddess popular in the northern kingdom, perhaps Asherah (cf. 2 Chr 24:18, where this worship is labeled “their guilt”), or to the golden calf at the national sanctuary in Bethel (Hos 8:6, 10:8). Some English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV, CEV) repoint the word and read “Ashimah,” the name of a goddess worshiped in Hamath in Syria (see 2 Kgs 17:30).
90 tn Heb “say.”
91 sn Your god is not identified. It may refer to another patron deity who was not the God of Israel, a local manifestation of the Lord that was worshiped by the people there, or, more specifically, the golden calf image erected in Dan by Jeroboam I (see 1 Kgs 12:28-30).
92 tc The MT reads, “As surely as the way [to] Beer Sheba lives,” or “As surely as the way lives, O Beer Sheba.” Perhaps the term דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “the way”) refers to the pilgrimage route to Beersheba (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 272) or it may be a title for a god. The notion of pilgrimage appears elsewhere in the book (cf. 4:4-5; 5:4-5; 8:12). The translation above assumes an emendation to דֹּדְךְ (dodÿkh, “your beloved” or “relative”; the term also is used in 6:10) and understands this as referring either to the Lord (since other kinship terms are used of him, such as “Father”) or to another deity that was particularly popular in Beer Sheba. Besides the commentaries, see S. M. Olyan, “The Oaths of Amos 8:14” Priesthood and Cult in Ancient Israel, 121-49.
93 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
94 sn The altar is perhaps the altar at Bethel.
95 tn Or “the capitals.” The Hebrew singular form is collective.
96 tn Heb “cut them off on the head of all of them.” The translation assumes the objective suffix on the verb refers to the tops of the pillars and that the following prepositional phrase refers to the people standing beneath. Another option is to take this phrase as referring to the pillars, in which case one could translate, “Knock all the tops of the pillars off.”
97 tn Heb “the remnant of them.” One could possibly translate, “every last one of them” (cf. NEB “to the last man”). This probably refers to those who survive the collapse of the temple, which may symbolize the northern kingdom.
98 tn Heb “a fugitive belonging to them will not run away.”
99 tn Heb “a survivor belonging to them will not escape.”
100 tn Heb “into Sheol” (so ASV, NASB, NRSV), that is, the land of the dead localized in Hebrew thought in the earth’s core or the grave. Cf. KJV “hell”; NCV, NLT “the place of the dead”; NIV “the depths of the grave.”
101 tn Heb “from before my eyes.”
102 tn Or perhaps simply, “there,” if the מ (mem) prefixed to the adverb is dittographic (note the preceding word ends in mem).
103 sn If the article indicates a definite serpent, then the mythological Sea Serpent, symbolic of the world’s chaotic forces, is probably in view. See Job 26:13 and Isa 27:1 (where it is also called Leviathan). Elsewhere in the OT this serpent is depicted as opposing the
104 tn Heb “Even if they go into captivity before their enemies.”
105 tn Or perhaps simply, “there,” if the מ (mem) prefixed to the adverb is dittographic (note the preceding word ends in mem).
106 tn Heb “I will set my eye on them for disaster, not good.”
107 tn The words “will do this” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
109 tn Heb “all of it.”
110 tn Heb “the Nile.” The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
111 tn Or “sinks back down.”
113 tc The MT reads “his steps.” If this is correct, then the reference may be to the steps leading up to the heavenly temple or the throne of God (cf. 1 Kgs 10:19-20). The prefixed מ (mem) may be dittographic (note the preceding word ends in mem). The translation assumes an emendation to עֲלִיָּתוֹ (’aliyyato, “his upper rooms”).
114 tn Traditionally, “vault” (so ASV, NAB, NRSV). The precise meaning of this word in this context is unclear. Elsewhere it refers to objects grouped or held together. F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman (Amos [AB], 845-46) suggest the foundational structure of a building is in view.
116 tn The Hebrew text has a rhetorical question, “Are you children of Israel not like the Cushites to me?” The rhetorical question has been converted to an affirmative statement in the translation for clarity. See the comment at 8:8.
sn Though Israel was God’s special covenant people (see 3:2a), the Lord emphasizes they are not inherently superior to the other nations subject to his sovereign rule.
117 sn Caphtor may refer to the island of Crete.
118 tn The second half of v. 7 is also phrased as a rhetorical question in the Hebrew text, “Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and Aram from Kir?” The translation converts the rhetorical question into an affirmation for clarity.
119 tn Heb “the eyes of the sovereign
120 tn Or “kingdom.”
121 tn Heb “house” (also in the following verse).
122 tn Heb “like being shaken with a sieve, and a pebble does not fall to the ground.” The meaning of the Hebrew word צְרוֹר (tsÿror), translated “pebble,” is unclear here. In 2 Sam 17:13 it appears to refer to a stone. If it means “pebble,” then the sieve described in v. 6 allows the grain to fall into a basket while retaining the debris and pebbles. However, if one interprets צְרוֹר as a “kernel of grain” (cf. NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT) then the sieve is constructed to retain the grain and allow the refuse and pebbles to fall to the ground. In either case, the simile supports the last statement in v. 8 by making it clear that God will distinguish between the righteous (the grain) and the wicked (the pebbles) when he judges, and will thereby preserve a remnant in Israel. Only the sinners will be destroyed (v. 10).
123 tn The phrase translated “collapsing hut” refers to a temporary shelter (cf. NASB, NRSV “booth”) in disrepair and emphasizes the relatively weakened condition of the once powerful Davidic dynasty. Others have suggested that the term refers to Jerusalem, while still others argue that it should be repointed to read “Sukkoth,” a garrison town in Transjordan. Its reconstruction would symbolize the rebirth of the Davidic empire and its return to power (e.g., M. E. Polley, Amos and the Davidic Empire, 71-74).
124 tc The MT reads a third feminine plural suffix, which could refer to the two kingdoms (Judah and Israel) or, more literally, to the breaches in the walls of the cities that are mentioned in v. 4 (cf. 4:3). Some emend to third feminine singular, since the “hut” of the preceding line (a feminine singular noun) might be the antecedent. In that case, the final nun (ן) is virtually dittographic with the vav (ו) that appears at the beginning of the following word.
125 tc The MT reads a third masculine singular suffix, which could refer back to David. However, it is possible that an original third feminine singular suffix (יה-, yod-hey) has been misread as masculine (יו-, yod-vav). In later Hebrew script a ה (he) resembles a יו- (yod-vav) combination.
126 tn Heb “and I will rebuild as in days of antiquity.”
127 sn They probably refers to the Israelites or to the Davidic rulers of the future.
128 tn Heb “take possession of the remnant of Edom”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “possess the remnant of Edom.”
sn This verse envisions a new era of Israelite rule, perhaps patterned after David’s imperialistic successes (see 2 Sam 8-10). At the same time, however, the verse does not specify how this rule is to be accomplished. Note that the book ends with a description of peace and abundance, and its final reference to God (v. 15) does not include the epithet “the Lord who commands armies,” which has militaristic overtones. This is quite a different scene than what the book began with: nations at war and standing under the judgment of God.
130 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
131 tn Heb “the days are.”
132 sn The plowman will catch up to the reaper. Plowing occurred in October-November, and harvesting in April-May (see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 109.) But in the future age of restored divine blessing, there will be so many crops the reapers will take all summer to harvest them, and it will be time for plowing again before the harvest is finished.
133 sn When the grapes had been harvested, they were placed in a press where workers would stomp on them with their feet and squeeze out the juice. For a discussion of grape harvesting technique, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 110-12.
134 tn The verb is omitted here in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation from the parallel line.
135 sn The grape harvest occurred in August-September, planting in November-December (see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 109). But in the future age described here there will be so many grapes the workers who stomp them will still be working when the next planting season arrives.
136 tn Or “hills,” where the vineyards were planted.
137 tn Heb “and all the hills will melt.”
138 tn This line can also be translated “I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel” and is a common idiom (e.g., Deut 30:3; Jer 30:3; Hos 6:11; Zeph 3:20). This rendering is followed by several modern English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV, NJPS).
139 tn Or “the ruined [or “desolate”] cities.”
140 tn Or “and live [in them].”
141 tn Heb “drink their wine.”
142 tn Or “gardens.”
143 tn Heb “eat their fruit.”
144 tn Heb “their.” The pronoun was replaced by the English definite article in the translation for stylistic reasons.