4:2 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his own holy character: 1
“Certainly the time is approaching 2
when you will be carried away 3 in baskets, 4
every last one of you 5 in fishermen’s pots. 6
4:13 For here he is!
He 7 formed the mountains and created the wind.
He reveals 8 his plans 9 to men.
He turns the dawn into darkness 10
and marches on the heights of the earth.
The Lord, the God who commands armies, 11 is his name!”
6:11 Indeed, look! The Lord is giving the command. 12
He will smash the large house to bits,
and the small house into little pieces.
6:14 “Look! I am about to bring 13 a nation against you, family 14 of Israel.”
The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking.
“They will oppress 15 you all the way from Lebo-Hamath 16 to the Stream of the Arabah.” 17
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. 18
1 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
2 tn Heb “Look, certainly days are coming upon you”; NRSV “the time is surely coming upon you.”
3 tn Heb “one will carry you away”; NASB “they will take you away.”
4 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.
5 tn Or “your children”; KJV “your posterity.”
6 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.
7 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.
8 tn Or “declares” (NAB, NASB).
9 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.
10 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
11 tn Traditionally, “God of hosts.”
12 tn Or “is issuing the decree.”
13 tn Or “raise up” (KJV, NASB); NIV “stir up.”
14 tn Heb “house.”
15 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).
16 tn Or “from the entrance to Hamath.” The Hebrew term לְבוֹא (lÿvo’) can either be translated or considered a part of the place name.
17 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.
18 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).