1:1 The following is a record of what Amos prophesied. 1 He 2 was one of the herdsmen from Tekoa. These prophecies about Israel were revealed to him 3 during the time of 4 King Uzziah of Judah and 5 King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 6
2 tn Heb “who.” Here a new sentence has been started in the translation for stylistic reasons.
3 tn Heb “which he saw concerning Israel.”
4 tn Heb “in the days of.”
5 tn The Hebrew text repeats, “and in the days of.” This phrase has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
6 sn This refers to a well-known earthquake that occurred during the first half of the 8th century
7 tn Heb “replied and said.” The phrase “and said” is pleonastic (redundant) and has not been included in the translation.
8 tn Heb “I was not a prophet nor was I the son of a prophet.” The phrase “son of a prophet” refers to one who was trained in a prophetic guild. Since there is no equative verb present in the Hebrew text, another option is to translate with the present tense, “I am not a prophet by profession.” In this case Amos, though now carrying out a prophetic ministry (v. 15), denies any official or professional prophetic status. Modern English versions are divided about whether to understand the past (JB, NIV, NKJV) or present tense (NASB, NEB, NRSV, NJPS) here.
9 tn Heb “for.”
10 tn Heb “gashed”; or “pierced.”
sn For a discussion of the agricultural background, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 128-29.
11 sn It is possible that herdsmen agreed to care for sycamore fig trees in exchange for grazing rights. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 116-17. Since these trees do not grow around Tekoa but rather in the lowlands, another option is that Amos owned other property outside his hometown. In this case, this verse demonstrates his relative wealth and is his response to Amaziah; he did not depend on prophecy as a profession (v. 13).