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Amos 6:4-7


6:4 They lie around on beds decorated with ivory, 1 

and sprawl out on their couches.

They eat lambs from the flock,

and calves from the middle of the pen.

6:5 They sing 2  to the tune of 3  stringed instruments; 4 

like David they invent 5  musical instruments.

6:6 They drink wine from sacrificial bowls, 6 

and pour the very best oils on themselves. 7 

Yet they are not concerned over 8  the ruin 9  of Joseph.

6:7 Therefore they will now be the first to go into exile, 10 

and the religious banquets 11  where they sprawl on couches 12  will end.

1 tn Heb “beds of ivory.”

2 tn The meaning of the Hebrew verb פָּרַט (parat), which occurs only here in the OT, is unclear. Some translate “strum,” “pluck,” or “improvise.”

3 tn Heb “upon the mouth of,” that is, “according to.”

4 sn The stringed instruments mentioned here are probably harps (cf. NIV, NRSV) or lutes (cf. NEB).

5 tn The meaning of the Hebrew phrase חָשְׁבוּ לָהֶם (khoshvu lahem) is uncertain. Various options include: (1) “they think their musical instruments are like David’s”; (2) “they consider themselves musicians like David”; (3) “they esteem musical instruments highly like David”; (4) “they improvise [new songs] for themselves [on] instruments like David”; (5) “they invent musical instruments like David.” However, the most commonly accepted interpretation is that given in the translation (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 206-7).

6 sn Perhaps some religious rite is in view, or the size of the bowls is emphasized (i.e., bowls as large as sacrificial bowls).

7 tn Heb “with the best of oils they anoint [themselves].”

8 tn Or “not sickened by.”

9 sn The ruin of Joseph may refer to the societal disintegration in Israel, or to the effects of the impending judgment.

10 tn Heb “they will go into exile at the head of the exiles.”

11 sn Religious banquets. This refers to the מַרְזֵחַ (marzeakh), a type of pagan religious banquet popular among the upper class of Israel at this time and apparently associated with mourning. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 137-61; J. L. McLaughlin, The “Marzeah” in the Prophetic Literature (VTSup). Scholars debate whether at this banquet the dead were simply remembered or actually venerated in a formal, cultic sense.

12 tn Heb “of the sprawled out.” See v. 4.

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