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Amos 4:6-12

Context

4:6 “But surely I gave 1  you no food to eat in any of your cities;

you lacked food everywhere you live. 2 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:7 “I withheld rain from you three months before the harvest. 3 

I gave rain to one city, but not to another.

One field 4  would get rain, but the field that received no rain dried up.

4:8 People from 5  two or three cities staggered into one city to get 6  water,

but remained thirsty. 7 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:9 “I destroyed your crops 8  with blight and disease.

Locusts kept 9  devouring your orchards, 10  vineyards, fig trees, and olive trees.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:10 “I sent against you a plague like one of the Egyptian plagues. 11 

I killed your young men with the sword,

along with the horses you had captured.

I made the stench from the corpses 12  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 13  overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 14 

You were like a burning stick 15  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! 16 

1 tn The Hebrew construction is emphatic (pronoun + verb). It underscores the stark contrast between the judgments that the Lord had been sending with the God of blessing Israel was celebrating in its worship (4:4-5).

2 tn Heb “But I gave to you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of food in all your places.” The phrase “cleanness of teeth” is a vivid way of picturing the famine Israel experienced.

3 sn Rain…three months before the harvest refers to the rains of late March-early April.

4 tn Heb “portion”; KJV, ASV “piece”; NASB “part.” The same word occurs a second time later in this verse.

5 tn The words “people from” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

6 tn Heb “to drink.”

7 tn Or “were not satisfied.”

8 tn Heb “you.” By metonymy the crops belonging to these people are meant. See the remainder of this verse, which describes the agricultural devastation caused by locusts.

9 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct is taken adverbially (“kept”) and connected to the activity of the locusts (NJPS). It also could be taken with the preceding sentence and related to the Lord’s interventions (“I kept destroying,” cf. NEB, NJB, NIV, NRSV), or it could be understood substantivally in construct with the following nouns (“Locusts devoured your many orchards,” cf. NASB; cf. also KJV, NKJV).

10 tn Or “gardens.”

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

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

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

14 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.

15 tn Heb “like that which is burning.”

16 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.



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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