The sovereign Lord, the God who commands armies, 4 is speaking!
The horns 10 of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.
The houses filled with ivory 12 will be ruined,
The Lord is speaking!
You were like a burning stick 17 snatched from the flames.
Still you did not come back to me.”
The Lord is speaking!
He will smash the large house to bits,
and the small house into little pieces.
and all who live in it will mourn.
1 tn Or “testify against.”
2 tn Heb “house.”
3 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.
4 tn Traditionally, “the God of hosts.”
5 tn Heb “in the day.”
6 tn Heb “his.” With the referent “Israel” here, this amounts to a collective singular.
8 tn Heb “punish” (so NASB, NRSV).
10 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
11 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.
12 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.
13 tn Or “many,” cf. NAB “their many rooms.”
14 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.
15 tn Several English versions substitute the first person pronoun (“I”) here for stylistic reasons (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
16 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.
17 tn Heb “like that which is burning.”
18 tn Or “is issuing the decree.”
19 tn Or “land” (also later in this verse).
20 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the
21 tn Heb “all of it.”
22 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.
23 tn Or “churn.”
24 tn Or “sink back down.” The translation assumes the verb שָׁקַע (shaqa’), following the Qere.
25 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.