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Amos 4:10-12

Context

4:10 “I sent against you a plague like one of the Egyptian plagues. 1 

I killed your young men with the sword,

along with the horses you had captured.

I made the stench from the corpses 2  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 3  overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 4 

You were like a burning stick 5  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! 6 

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

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

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

4 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.

5 tn Heb “like that which is burning.”

6 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.



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