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Amos 1:1

Context
Introduction

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 

Amos 9:1

Context

9:1 I saw the sovereign One 7  standing by the altar 8  and he said, “Strike the tops of the support pillars, 9  so the thresholds shake!

Knock them down on the heads of all the people, 10 

and I will kill the survivors 11  with the sword.

No one will be able to run away; 12 

no one will be able to escape. 13 

Amos 9:5

Context

9:5 The sovereign Lord who commands armies will do this. 14 

He touches the earth and it dissolves; 15 

all who live on it mourn.

The whole earth 16  rises like the River Nile, 17 

and then grows calm 18  like the Nile in Egypt. 19 

1 tn Heb “The words of Amos.” Among the prophetic books this opening phrase finds a parallel only at Jer 1:1 but is not that uncommon in other genres (note, e.g., Prov 30:1; 31:1; Eccl 1:1; Neh 1:1).

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 b.c. According to a generally accepted dating system, Uzziah was a co-regent with his father Amaziah from 792-767 b.c. and ruled independently from 767-740 b.c. Jeroboam II was a co-regent with his father Joash from 793-782 b.c. and ruled independently from 782-753 b.c. Since only Uzziah and Jeroboam are mentioned in the introduction it is likely that Amos’ mission to Israel and the earthquake which followed occurred between 767-753 b.c. The introduction validates the genuine character of Amos’ prophetic ministry in at least two ways: (1) Amos was not a native Israelite or a prophet by trade. Rather he was a herdsman in Tekoa, located in Judah. His mere presence in the northern kingdom as a prophet was evidence that he had been called by God (see 7:14-15). (2) The mighty earthquake shortly after Amos’ ministry would have been interpreted as an omen or signal of approaching judgment. The clearest references to an earthquake are 1:1 and 9:1, 5. It is possible that the verb הָפַךְ (hafakh, “overturn”) at 3:13-15, 4:11, 6:11, and 8:8 also refers to an earthquake, as might the descriptions at 2:13 and 6:9-10. Evidence of a powerful earthquake has been correlated with a destruction layer at Hazor and other sites. Its lasting impact is evident by its mention in Zech 14:5 and 2 Chr 26:16-21. Earthquake imagery appears in later prophets as well (cf. D. N. Freedman and A. Welch, “Amos’s Earthquake and Israelite Prophecy,” Scripture and Other Artifacts, 188-98). On the other hand, some of these verses in Amos could allude to the devastation that would be caused by the imminent military invasion.

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

8 sn The altar is perhaps the altar at Bethel.

9 tn Or “the capitals.” The Hebrew singular form is collective.

10 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.”

11 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.

12 tn Heb “a fugitive belonging to them will not run away.”

13 tn Heb “a survivor belonging to them will not escape.”

14 tn The words “will do this” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

15 tn Or “melts.” The verb probably depicts earthquakes and landslides. See v. 5b.

16 tn Heb “all of it.”

17 tn Heb “the Nile.” The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Or “sinks back down.”

19 sn See Amos 8:8, which is very similar to this verse.



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