they despise anyone who speaks honestly.
and exact a grain tax from them,
you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,
and your numerous sins.
You 9 torment the innocent, you take bribes,
for it is an evil 14 time.
5:14 Seek good and not evil so you can live!
Then the Lord, the God who commands armies, just might be with you,
as you claim he is.
1 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
2 sn In ancient Israelite culture, legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.
3 tn Traditionally, “because you trample on the poor” (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). The traditional view derives the verb from בּוּס (bus, “to trample”; cf. Isa. 14:25), but more likely it is cognate to an Akkadian verb meaning “to exact an agricultural tax” (see H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena [SBLDS], 49; S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 172-73).
4 tn Or “lovely”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “pleasant”; NAB “choice”; NIV “lush.”
5 tn Heb “Houses of chiseled stone you built, but you will not live in them. Fine vineyards you planted, but you will not drink their wine.”
6 tn Or “for.”
7 tn Or “I know” (so most English versions).
9 tn Heb “Those who.”
10 tn Heb “turn aside.” They “turn aside” the needy by denying them the justice they deserve at the city gate (where legal decisions were made, and therefore where justice should be done).
11 sn Legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.
12 tn Or “the wise”; or “the prudent.” Another option is to translate “the successful, prosperous” and understand this as a reference to the rich oppressors. See G. V. Smith, Amos, 169-70. In this case the following verb will also have a different nuance, that is, the wealthy remain silent before the abuses they perpetuate. See the note on the verb translated “keeps quiet” later in this verse.
13 tn Or “moans, laments,” from a homonymic verbal root. If the rich oppressors are in view, then the verb (whether translated “will be silenced” or “will lament”) describes the result of God’s judgment upon them. See G. V. Smith, Amos, 170.
14 tn If this is a judgment announcement against the rich, then the Hebrew phrase עֵת רָעָה (’et ra’ah) must be translated, “[a] disastrous time.” See G. V. Smith, Amos, 170.