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Amos 3:1--9:15

Every Effect has its Cause

3:1 Listen, you Israelites, to this message which the Lord is proclaiming against 1  you! This message is for the entire clan I brought up 2  from the land of Egypt: 3:2 “I have chosen 3  you alone from all the clans of the earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”

3:3 Do two walk together without having met? 4 

3:4 Does a lion roar in the woods if he has not cornered his prey? 5 

Does a young lion bellow from his den if he has not caught something?

3:5 Does a bird swoop down into a trap on the ground if there is no bait?

Does a trap spring up from the ground unless it has surely caught something?

3:6 If an alarm sounds 6  in a city, do people not fear? 7 

If disaster overtakes a 8  city, is the Lord not responsible? 9 

3:7 Certainly the sovereign Lord does nothing without first revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

3:8 A lion has roared! 10  Who is not afraid?

The sovereign Lord has spoken! Who can refuse to prophesy? 11 

Samaria Will Fall

3:9 Make this announcement in 12  the fortresses of Ashdod

and in the fortresses in the land of Egypt.

Say this:

“Gather on the hills around Samaria! 13 

Observe the many acts of violence 14  taking place within the city, 15 

the oppressive deeds 16  occurring in it.” 17 

3:10 “They do not know how to do what is right.” (The Lord is speaking.)

“They store up 18  the spoils of destructive violence 19  in their fortresses.

3:11 Therefore,” says the sovereign Lord, “an enemy will encircle the land. 20 

He will take away your power; 21 

your fortresses will be looted.”

3:12 This is what the Lord says:

“Just as a shepherd salvages from the lion’s mouth a couple of leg bones or a piece of an ear,

so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be salvaged. 22 

They will be left with just a corner of a bed, 23 

and a part 24  of a couch.”

3:13 Listen and warn 25  the family 26  of Jacob! 27 

The sovereign Lord, the God who commands armies, 28  is speaking!

3:14 “Certainly when 29  I punish Israel for their 30  covenant transgressions, 31 

I will destroy 32  Bethel’s 33  altars.

The horns 34  of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.

3:15 I will destroy both the winter and summer houses. 35 

The houses filled with ivory 36  will be ruined,

the great 37  houses will be swept away.” 38 

The Lord is speaking!

4:1 Listen to this message, you cows of Bashan 39  who live on Mount Samaria!

You 40  oppress the poor;

you crush the needy.

You say to your 41  husbands,

“Bring us more to drink!” 42 

4:2 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his own holy character: 43 

“Certainly the time is approaching 44 

when you will be carried away 45  in baskets, 46 

every last one of you 47  in fishermen’s pots. 48 

4:3 Each of you will go straight through the gaps in the walls; 49 

you will be thrown out 50  toward Harmon.” 51 

The Lord is speaking!

Israel has an Appointment with God

4:4 “Go to Bethel 52  and rebel! 53 

At Gilgal 54  rebel some more!

Bring your sacrifices in 55  the morning,

your tithes on 56  the third day!

4:5 Burn a thank offering of bread made with yeast! 57 

Make a public display of your voluntary offerings! 58 

For you love to do this, you Israelites.”

The sovereign Lord is speaking!

4:6 “But surely I gave 59  you no food to eat in any of your cities;

you lacked food everywhere you live. 60 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:7 “I withheld rain from you three months before the harvest. 61 

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

One field 62  would get rain, but the field that received no rain dried up.

4:8 People from 63  two or three cities staggered into one city to get 64  water,

but remained thirsty. 65 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:9 “I destroyed your crops 66  with blight and disease.

Locusts kept 67  devouring your orchards, 68  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. 69 

I killed your young men with the sword,

along with the horses you had captured.

I made the stench from the corpses 70  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 71  overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 72 

You were like a burning stick 73  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! 74 

4:13 For here he is!

He 75  formed the mountains and created the wind.

He reveals 76  his plans 77  to men.

He turns the dawn into darkness 78 

and marches on the heights of the earth.

The Lord, the God who commands armies, 79  is his name!”

Death is Imminent

5:1 Listen to this funeral song I am ready to sing about you, 80  family 81  of Israel:

5:2 “The virgin 82  Israel has fallen down and will not get up again.

She is abandoned on her own land

with no one to help her get up.” 83 

5:3 The sovereign Lord says this:

“The city that marches out with a thousand soldiers 84  will have only a hundred left;

the town 85  that marches out with a hundred soldiers 86  will have only ten left for the family of Israel.” 87 

5:4 The Lord says this to the family 88  of Israel:

“Seek me 89  so you can live!

5:5 Do not seek Bethel! 90 

Do not visit Gilgal!

Do not journey down 91  to Beer Sheba!

For the people of Gilgal 92  will certainly be carried into exile; 93 

and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds.” 94 

5:6 Seek the Lord so you can live!

Otherwise he will break out 95  like fire against Joseph’s 96  family; 97 

the fire 98  will consume

and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel. 99 

5:7 The Israelites 100  turn justice into bitterness; 101 

they throw what is fair and right 102  to the ground. 103 

5:8 (But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion;

he can turn the darkness into morning

and daylight 104  into night.

He summons the water of the seas

and pours it out on the earth’s surface.

The Lord is his name!

5:9 He flashes 105  destruction down upon the strong

so that destruction overwhelms 106  the fortified places.)

5:10 The Israelites 107  hate anyone who arbitrates at the city gate; 108 

they despise anyone who speaks honestly.

5:11 Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops 109 

and exact a grain tax from them,

you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,

nor will you drink the wine from the fine 110  vineyards you planted. 111 

5:12 Certainly 112  I am aware of 113  your many rebellious acts 114 

and your numerous sins.

You 115  torment the innocent, you take bribes,

and you deny justice to 116  the needy at the city gate. 117 

5:13 For this reason whoever is smart 118  keeps quiet 119  in such a time,

for it is an evil 120  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.

5:15 Hate what is wrong, love what is right!

Promote 121  justice at the city gate! 122 

Maybe the Lord, the God who commands armies, will have mercy on 123  those who are left from 124  Joseph. 125 

5:16 Because of Israel’s sins 126  this is what the Lord, the God who commands armies, the sovereign One, 127  says:

“In all the squares there will be wailing,

in all the streets they will mourn the dead. 128 

They will tell the field workers 129  to lament

and the professional mourners 130  to wail.

5:17 In all the vineyards there will be wailing,

for I will pass through 131  your midst,” says the Lord.

The Lord Demands Justice

5:18 Woe 132  to those who wish for the day of the Lord!

Why do you want the Lord’s day of judgment to come?

It will bring darkness, not light.

5:19 Disaster will be inescapable, 133 

as if a man ran from a lion only to meet a bear,

then escaped 134  into a house,

leaned his hand against the wall,

and was bitten by a poisonous snake.

5:20 Don’t you realize the Lord’s day of judgment will bring 135  darkness, not light –

gloomy blackness, not bright light?

5:21 “I absolutely despise 136  your festivals!

I get no pleasure 137  from your religious assemblies!

5:22 Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings, 138  I will not be satisfied;

I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves. 139 

5:23 Take away from me your 140  noisy songs;

I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments. 141 

5:24 Justice must flow like torrents of water,

righteous actions 142  like a stream that never dries up.

5:25 You did not bring me 143  sacrifices and grain offerings during the forty years you spent in the wilderness, family 144  of Israel.

5:26 You will pick up your images 145  of Sikkuth, 146  your king, 147 

and Kiyyun, 148  your star god, which you made for yourselves,

5:27 and I will drive you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord.

He is called the God who commands armies!

The Party is over for the Rich

6:1 Woe 149  to those who live in ease in Zion, 150 

to those who feel secure on Mount Samaria.

They think of themselves as 151  the elite class of the best nation.

The family 152  of Israel looks to them for leadership. 153 

6:2 They say to the people: 154 

“Journey over to Calneh and look at it!

Then go from there to Hamath-Rabbah! 155 

Then go down to Gath of the Philistines!

Are they superior to our two 156  kingdoms?

Is their territory larger than yours?” 157 

6:3 You refuse to believe a day of disaster will come, 158 

but you establish a reign of violence. 159 

6:4 They lie around on beds decorated with ivory, 160 

and sprawl out on their couches.

They eat lambs from the flock,

and calves from the middle of the pen.

6:5 They sing 161  to the tune of 162  stringed instruments; 163 

like David they invent 164  musical instruments.

6:6 They drink wine from sacrificial bowls, 165 

and pour the very best oils on themselves. 166 

Yet they are not concerned over 167  the ruin 168  of Joseph.

6:7 Therefore they will now be the first to go into exile, 169 

and the religious banquets 170  where they sprawl on couches 171  will end.

6:8 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his very own life. 172 

The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking:

“I despise Jacob’s arrogance;

I hate their 173  fortresses.

I will hand over to their enemies 174  the city of Samaria 175  and everything in it.”

6:9 If ten men are left in one house, they too will die. 6:10 When their close relatives, the ones who will burn the corpses, 176  pick up their bodies to remove the bones from the house, they will say to anyone who is in the inner rooms of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” He will respond, “Be quiet! Don’t invoke the Lord’s name!” 177 

6:11 Indeed, look! The Lord is giving the command. 178 

He will smash the large house to bits,

and the small house into little pieces.

6:12 Can horses run on rocky cliffs?

Can one plow the sea with oxen? 179 

Yet you have turned justice into a poisonous plant,

and the fruit of righteous actions into a bitter plant. 180 

6:13 You are happy because you conquered Lo-Debar. 181 

You say, “Did we not conquer Karnaim 182  by our own power?”

6:14 “Look! I am about to bring 183  a nation against you, family 184  of Israel.”

The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking.

“They will oppress 185  you all the way from Lebo-Hamath 186  to the Stream of the Arabah.” 187 

Symbolic Visions of Judgment

7:1 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw 188  him making locusts just as the crops planted late 189  were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest. 190 ) 7:2 When they had completely consumed the earth’s vegetation, I said,

“Sovereign Lord, forgive Israel! 191 

How can Jacob survive? 192 

He is too weak!” 193 

7:3 The Lord decided not to do this. 194  “It will not happen,” the Lord said.

7:4 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw 195  the sovereign Lord summoning a shower of fire. 196  It consumed the great deep and devoured the fields.

7:5 I said, “Sovereign Lord, stop!

How can Jacob survive? 197 

He is too weak!” 198 

7:6 The Lord decided not to do this. 199  The sovereign Lord said, “This will not happen either.”

7:7 He showed me this: I saw 200  the sovereign One 201  standing by a tin 202  wall holding tin in his hand. 7:8 The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” I said, “Tin.” The sovereign One then said,

“Look, I am about to place tin among my people Israel.

I will no longer overlook their sin. 203 

7:9 Isaac’s centers of worship 204  will become desolate;

Israel’s holy places will be in ruins.

I will attack Jeroboam’s dynasty with the sword.” 205 

Amos Confronts a Priest

7:10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel 206  sent this message 207  to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is conspiring against you in the very heart of the kingdom of Israel! 208  The land cannot endure all his prophecies. 209  7:11 As a matter of fact, 210  Amos is saying this: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly be carried into exile 211  away from its land.’”

7:12 Amaziah then said to Amos, “Leave, you visionary! 212  Run away to the land of Judah! Earn your living 213  and prophesy there! 7:13 Don’t prophesy at Bethel 214  any longer, for a royal temple and palace are here!” 215 

7:14 Amos replied 216  to Amaziah, “I was not a prophet by profession. 217  No, 218  I was a herdsman who also took care of 219  sycamore fig trees. 220  7:15 Then the Lord took me from tending 221  flocks and gave me this commission, 222  ‘Go! Prophesy to my people Israel!’ 7:16 So now listen to the Lord’s message! You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel! Don’t preach 223  against the family of Isaac!’

7:17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:

‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the streets 224 

and your sons and daughters will die violently. 225 

Your land will be given to others 226 

and you will die in a foreign 227  land.

Israel will certainly be carried into exile 228  away from its land.’”

More Visions and Messages of Judgment

8:1 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw 229  a basket of summer fruit. 230 

8:2 He said, “What do you see, Amos?” I replied, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end 231  has come for my people Israel! I will no longer overlook their sins. 232 

8:3 The women singing in the temple 233  will wail in that day.”

The sovereign Lord is speaking.

“There will be many corpses littered everywhere! 234  Be quiet!”

8:4 Listen to this, you who trample 235  the needy,

and do away with 236  the destitute in the land.

8:5 You say,

“When will the new moon festival 237  be over, 238  so we can sell grain?

When will the Sabbath end, 239  so we can open up the grain bins? 240 

We’re eager 241  to sell less for a higher price, 242 

and to cheat the buyer with rigged scales! 243 

8:6 We’re eager to trade silver for the poor, 244 

a pair of sandals 245  for the needy!

We want to mix in some chaff with the grain!” 246 

8:7 The Lord confirms this oath 247  by the arrogance of Jacob: 248 

“I swear 249  I will never forget all you have done! 250 

8:8 Because of this the earth 251  will quake, 252 

and all who live in it will mourn.

The whole earth 253  will rise like the River Nile, 254 

it will surge upward 255  and then grow calm, 256  like the Nile in Egypt. 257 

8:9 In that day,” says the sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun set at noon,

and make the earth dark in the middle of the day. 258 

8:10 I will turn your festivals into funerals, 259 

and all your songs into funeral dirges.

I will make everyone wear funeral clothes 260 

and cause every head to be shaved bald. 261 

I will make you mourn as if you had lost your only son; 262 

when it ends it will indeed have been a bitter day. 263 

8:11 Be certain of this, 264  the time is 265  coming,” says the sovereign Lord,

“when I will send a famine through the land –

not a shortage of food or water

but an end to divine revelation! 266 

8:12 People 267  will stagger from sea to sea, 268 

and from the north around to the east.

They will wander about looking for a revelation from 269  the Lord,

but they will not find any. 270 

8:13 In that day your 271  beautiful young women 272  and your 273  young men will faint from thirst. 274  8:14 These are the ones who now take oaths 275  in the name of the sinful idol goddess 276  of Samaria.

They vow, 277  ‘As surely as your god 278  lives, O Dan,’ or ‘As surely as your beloved one 279  lives, O Beer Sheba!’

But they will fall down and not get up again.”

9:1 I saw the sovereign One 280  standing by the altar 281  and he said, “Strike the tops of the support pillars, 282  so the thresholds shake!

Knock them down on the heads of all the people, 283 

and I will kill the survivors 284  with the sword.

No one will be able to run away; 285 

no one will be able to escape. 286 

9:2 Even if they could dig down into the netherworld, 287 

my hand would pull them up from there.

Even if they could climb up to heaven,

I would drag them down from there.

9:3 Even if they were to hide on the top of Mount Carmel,

I would hunt them down and take them from there.

Even if they tried to hide from me 288  at the bottom of the sea,

from there 289  I would command the Sea Serpent 290  to bite them.

9:4 Even when their enemies drive them into captivity, 291 

from there 292  I will command the sword to kill them.

I will not let them out of my sight;

they will experience disaster, not prosperity.” 293 

9:5 The sovereign Lord who commands armies will do this. 294 

He touches the earth and it dissolves; 295 

all who live on it mourn.

The whole earth 296  rises like the River Nile, 297 

and then grows calm 298  like the Nile in Egypt. 299 

9:6 He builds the upper rooms of his palace 300  in heaven

and sets its foundation supports 301  on the earth. 302 

He summons the water of the sea

and pours it out on the earth’s surface.

The Lord is his name.

9:7 “You Israelites are just like the Ethiopians in my sight,” 303  says the Lord.

“Certainly I brought Israel up from the land of Egypt,

but I also brought the Philistines from Caphtor 304  and the Arameans from Kir. 305 

9:8 Look, the sovereign Lord is watching 306  the sinful nation, 307 

and I will destroy it from the face of the earth.

But I will not completely destroy the family 308  of Jacob,” says the Lord.

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. 309 

9:10 All the sinners among my people will die by the sword –

the ones who say, ‘Disaster will not come near, it will not confront us.’

The Restoration of the Davidic Dynasty

9:11 “In that day I will rebuild the collapsing hut 310  of David.

I will seal its 311  gaps,

repair its 312  ruins,

and restore it to what it was like in days gone by. 313 

9:12 As a result they 314  will conquer those left in Edom 315 

and all the nations subject to my rule.” 316 

The Lord, who is about to do this, is speaking!

9:13 “Be sure of this, 317  the time is 318  coming,” says the Lord,

“when the plowman will catch up to the reaper 319 

and the one who stomps the grapes 320  will overtake 321  the planter. 322 

Juice will run down the slopes, 323 

it will flow down all the hillsides. 324 

9:14 I will bring back my people, Israel; 325 

they will rebuild the cities lying in rubble 326  and settle down. 327 

They will plant vineyards and drink the wine they produce; 328 

they will grow orchards 329  and eat the fruit they produce. 330 

9:15 I will plant them on their land

and they will never again be uprooted from the 331  land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

1 tn Or “about.”

2 tn One might expect a third person verb form (“he brought up”), since the Lord apparently refers to himself in the third person in the preceding sentence. This first person form, however, serves to connect this message to the earlier indictment (2:10) and anticipates the words of the following verse.

3 tn Heb “You only have I known.” The Hebrew verb יָדַע (yada’) is used here in its covenantal sense of “recognize in a special way.”

4 sn The rhetorical questions in vv. 3-5 expect the answer, “No, of course not!” Those in v. 6 anticipate the answer, “Yes, of course they do/he is.” They all draw attention to the principle of cause and effect and lay the logical foundation for the argument in vv. 7-8. Also note the progression from a general question in v. 3 to the “meetings” of two animals (v. 4), to that of an animal and a human trap (v. 5), to a climax with the confrontation with the Lord (v. 6). Each of these meetings is disastrous.

5 tn Heb “without having prey [or “food”].”

6 tn Heb “If the ram’s horn is blown.”

7 tn Or “tremble” (NASB, NIV, NCV); or “shake.”

8 tn Heb “is in”; NIV, NCV, NLT “comes to.”

9 tn Heb “has the Lord not acted?”

10 sn The roar of the lion is here a metaphor for impending judgment (see 1:2; cf. 3:4, 12). Verses 7-8 justify Amos’ prophetic ministry and message of warning and judgment. The people should expect a prophetic message prior to divine action.

11 sn Who can refuse to prophesy? When a message is revealed, the prophet must speak, and the news of impending judgment should cause people to fear.

12 tn Heb “on” or “over” (also later in this verse).

13 sn Samaria might refer here both to the region and to the capital city (later known as Sebaste). On the other hand, there actually are hills that surround the mound upon which the city was built. The implication is that the nations can come and sit and see from those hills the sin of the capital city and its judgment.

map For location of the city see Map2 B1; Map4 D3; Map5 E2; Map6 A4; Map7 C1.

14 tn The Hebrew noun carries the nuance of “panic” or “confusion.” Here it refers metonymically to the violent deeds that terrorize the oppressed.

15 tn Heb “in her midst” (so NAB, NASB); NIV “among her people.”

16 tn The translation assumes the form is an abstract plural (see Job 35:9; Eccl 4:1). Another option is to understand the form as a substantival passive participle and translate, “the oppressed” (so KJV).

17 tn Heb “within her.”

18 tn Heb “those who.”

19 tn Heb “violence and destruction.” The expression “violence and destruction” stand metonymically for the goods the oppressors have accumulated by their unjust actions.

20 tc The MT reads “an enemy and around the land.” It is also possible to take the MT as an exclamation (“an enemy, and all about the land!”; see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 118; NJPS; cf. NLT).Most scholars and versions emend the text to יְסוֹבֵב (yÿsovev, Polel imperfect), “will encircle.”

21 tn Heb “He will bring down your power from you.” Some emend the text to read “Your power will be brought down from you.” The shift, however, from an active to a passive sense also appears at 3:14 (“I will destroy Bethel’s altars. The horns of the altar will be cut off.”) The pronouns (“your…you”) are feminine singular, indicating that the personified city of Samaria is addressed here. Samaria’s “power” here is her defenses and/or wealth.

22 sn The verb translated salvaged, though often used in a positive sense of deliverance from harm, is here employed in a sarcastic manner. A shepherd would attempt to salvage part of an animal to prove that a predator had indeed killed it. In this way he could prove that he had not stolen the missing animal and absolve himself from any responsibility to repay the owner (see Exod 22:12-13).

23 tn Heb “with a corner of a bed.”

24 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word דְּמֶשֶׁק (dÿmesheq), which occurs only here, is uncertain. If not emended, it is usually related to the term ַדּמֶּשֶׂק (dammeseq) and translated as the “Damask linens” of the bed (cf. NASB “the cover”) or as “in Damascus” (so KJV, NJB, NIV). The differences in spelling (Damascus is spelled correctly in 5:27), historical considerations, and the word order make both of these derivations unlikely. Many emendations have been proposed (e.g., “a part from the foot [of a bed],” based on a different division of the Hebrew letters (cf. NEB, NRSV); “on the edge,” based on a Hebrew term not attested in the Bible (NKJV). Some suggest a resemblance to an Akkadian term which means “sideboard [of a bed],” which is sometimes incorrectly rendered “headboard” (NJPS; see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 121-22). Most likely another part of a bed or couch is in view, but it is difficult to be more specific.

25 tn Or “testify against.”

26 tn Heb “house.”

27 tn These words are spoken to either the unidentified heralds addressed at the beginning of v. 9, or to the Egyptians and Philistines (see v. 9b). Another possibility is that one is not to look for a specific addressee but rather appreciate the command simply as a rhetorical device to grab the attention of the listeners and readers of the prophetic message.

28 tn Traditionally, “the God of hosts.”

29 tn Heb “in the day.”

30 tn Heb “his.” With the referent “Israel” here, this amounts to a collective singular.

31 tn Traditionally, “transgressions, sins,” but see the note on the word “crimes” in 1:3.

32 tn Heb “punish” (so NASB, NRSV).

33 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

34 sn The horns of an ancient altar projected upwards from the four corners and resembled an animal’s horns in appearance. Fugitives could seek asylum by grabbing hold of these corners (see Exod 21:14; 1 Kgs 1:50; 2:28). When the altar’s horns were cut off, there would be no place of asylum left for the Lord’s enemies.

35 tn Heb “the winter house along with the summer house.”

sn Like kings, many in Israel’s wealthy class owned both winter and summer houses (cf. 1 Kgs 21:1,18; Jer 36:22). For a discussion of archaeological evidence relating to these structures, see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 64-65.

36 tn Heb “houses of ivory.” These houses were not made of ivory, but they had ivory panels and furniture decorated with ivory inlays. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 139-48.

37 tn Or “many,” cf. NAB “their many rooms.”

38 tn The translation assumes the form is from the Hebrew verb סָפָה (safah, “to sweep away”) rather than סוּף (suf, “to come to an end”), which is the choice of most versions. Either option effectively communicates the destruction of the structures.

39 sn The expression cows of Bashan is used by the prophet to address the wealthy women of Samaria, who demand that their husbands satisfy their cravings. The derogatory language perhaps suggests that they, like the livestock of Bashan, were well fed, ironically in preparation for the coming slaughter. This phrase is sometimes cited to critique the book’s view of women.

40 tn Heb “the ones who” (three times in this verse).

41 tn Heb “their.”

42 sn Some commentators relate this scene to the description of the marzeah feast of 6:3-6, in which drinking played a prominent part (see the note at 6:6).

43 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 Lord’s own holy character.

44 tn Heb “Look, certainly days are coming upon you”; NRSV “the time is surely coming upon you.”

45 tn Heb “one will carry you away”; NASB “they will take you away.”

46 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.

47 tn Or “your children”; KJV “your posterity.”

48 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.

49 tn Heb “and [through the] breaches you will go out, each straight ahead.”

50 tn The Hiphil verb form has no object. It may be intransitive (F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 425), though many emend it to a Hophal.

51 tn The meaning of this word is unclear. Many understand it as a place name, though such a location is not known. Some (e.g., H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos [Hermeneia[, 204) emend to “Hermon” or to similarly written words, such as “the dung heap” (NEB, NJPS), “the garbage dump” (NCV), or “the fortress” (cf. NLT “your fortresses”).

52 sn Bethel and Gilgal were important formal worship centers because of their importance in Israel’s history. Here the Lord ironically urges the people to visit these places so they can increase their sin against him. Their formal worship, because it was not accompanied by social justice, only made them more guilty in God’s sight by adding hypocrisy to their list of sins. Obviously, theirs was a twisted view of the Lord. They worshiped a god of their own creation in order to satisfy their religious impulses (see 4:5: “For you love to do this”). Note that none of the rituals listed in 4:4-5 have to do with sin.

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

53 tn The Hebrew word translated “rebel” (also in the following line) could very well refer here to Israel’s violations of their covenant with God (see also the term “crimes” in 1:3 [with note] and the phrase “covenant transgressions” in 2:4 [with note]; 3:14).

54 sn See the note on Bethel earlier in this verse.

55 tn Or “for.”

56 tn Or “for.”

57 sn For the background of the thank offering of bread made with yeast, see Lev 7:13.

58 tn Heb “proclaim voluntary offerings, announce.”

59 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).

60 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.

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

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

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

64 tn Heb “to drink.”

65 tn Or “were not satisfied.”

66 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.

67 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).

68 tn Or “gardens.”

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

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

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

72 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.

73 tn Heb “like that which is burning.”

74 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.

75 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.

76 tn Or “declares” (NAB, NASB).

77 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.

78 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 mss, as well as the LXX, add the conjunction (“and”) between the two nouns. (2) “He turns darkness into glimmering dawn” (NJPS). See S. M. Paul (Amos [Hermeneia], 154), who takes שָׁחַר (shakhar) as “blackness” rather than “dawn” and עֵיפָה (’efah) as “glimmering dawn” rather than “darkness.”

79 tn Traditionally, “God of hosts.”

80 tn Heb “Listen to this word which I am about to take up against you, a funeral song.”

81 tn Heb “house.”

82 tn Or “young lady.” The term “Israel” is an appositional genitive.

83 tn Or “with no one to lift her up.”

84 tn The word “soldiers” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

85 tn Heb “The one.” The word “town” has been used in the translation in keeping with the relative sizes of the armed contingents sent out by each. It is also possible that this line is speaking of the same city of the previous line. In other words, the contingent sent by that one city would have suffered a ninety-nine percent casualty loss.

86 tn The word “soldiers” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

87 tn Heb “for/to the house of Israel.” The translation assumes that this is a graphic picture of what is left over for the defense of the nation (NEB, NJB, NASB, NKJV). Others suggest that this phrase completes the introductory formula (“The sovereign Lord says this…”; see v. 4a; NJPS). Another option is that the preposition has a vocative force, “O house of Israel” (F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 476). Some simply delete the phrase as dittography from the following line (NIV).

88 tn Heb “house.”

89 sn The following verses explain what it meant to seek the Lord. Israel was to abandon the mere formalism and distorted view of God and reality that characterized religious activity at the worship sites, as well as the social injustice that permeated Israelite society. Instead the people were to repent and promote justice in the land. This call to seek the Lord echoes the challenge in 4:13 to prepare to meet him as he truly is.

90 sn Ironically, Israel was to seek after the Lord, but not at Bethel (the name Bethel means “the house of God” in Hebrew).

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

91 tn Heb “cross over.”

sn To worship at Beer Sheba, northern worshipers had to journey down (i.e., cross the border) between Israel and Judah. Apparently, the popular religion of Israel for some included pilgrimage to holy sites in the South.

92 tn Heb “For Gilgal.” By metonymy the place name “Gilgal” is used instead of referring directly to the inhabitants. The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

93 tn In the Hebrew text the statement is emphasized by sound play. The name “Gilgal” sounds like the verb גָּלָה (galah, “to go into exile”), which occurs here in the infinitival + finite verb construction (גָּלֹה יִגְלֶה, galoh yigleh). The repetition of the “ג” (g) and “ל” (l) sounds draws attention to the announcement and suggests that Gilgal’s destiny is inherent in its very name.

sn That the people of Gilgal would be taken into exile is ironic, for Gilgal was Israel’s first campsite when the people entered the land under Joshua and the city became a symbol of Israel’s possession of the promised land.

94 tn Heb “disaster,” or “nothing”; NIV “Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”

sn Again there is irony. The name Bethel means “house of God” in Hebrew. How surprising and tragic that Bethel, the “house of God” where Jacob received the inheritance given to Abraham, would be overrun by disaster.

95 tn Heb “rush.” The verb depicts swift movement.

96 sn Here Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh), as the most prominent of the Israelite tribes, represents the entire northern kingdom.

97 tn Heb “house.”

98 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fire mentioned in the previous line) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

99 tn Heb “to/for Bethel.” The translation assumes that the preposition indicates advantage, “on behalf of.” Another option is to take the preposition as vocative, “O Bethel.”

100 tn Heb “Those who”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity. In light of vv. 11-13, it is also possible that the words are directed at a more limited group within the nation – those with social and economic power.

101 tn There is an interesting wordplay here with the verb הָפַךְ (hafakh, “overturn, turn”). Israel “turns” justice into wormwood (cf. 6:12), while the Lord “turns” darkness into morning (v. 8; cf. 4:11; 8:10). Israel’s turning is for evil, whereas the Lord’s is to demonstrate his absolute power and sovereignty.

102 tn Heb “they throw righteousness.”

103 sn In v. 7 the prophet begins to describe the guilty Israelites, but then interrupts his word picture with a parenthetical, but powerful, description of the judge they must face (vv. 8-9). He resumes his description of the sinners in v. 10.

104 tn Heb “darkens the day into night.”

105 tn The precise meaning of the Hebrew verb בָּלַג (balag, translated here “flashes”) is uncertain.

106 tn Heb “comes upon.” Many prefer to repoint the verb as Hiphil and translate, “he brings destruction upon the fortified places.”

107 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

108 sn In ancient Israelite culture, legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.

109 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).

110 tn Or “lovely”; KJV, NASB, NRSV “pleasant”; NAB “choice”; NIV “lush.”

111 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.”

112 tn Or “for.”

113 tn Or “I know” (so most English versions).

114 tn Or “transgressions,” “sins.” See the note on the word “crimes” in 1:3 and on the phrase “covenant violations” in 2:4.

115 tn Heb “Those who.”

116 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).

117 sn Legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.

118 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.

119 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.

120 tn If this is a judgment announcement against the rich, then the Hebrew phrase עֵת רָעָה (’et raah) must be translated, “[a] disastrous time.” See G. V. Smith, Amos, 170.

121 tn Heb “set up, establish.” In the ancient Near East it was the responsibility especially of the king to establish justice. Here the prophet extends that demand to local leaders and to the nation as a whole (cf. 5:24).

122 sn Legal disputes were resolved in the city gate (see the note in v. 12). This repetition of this phrase serves to highlight a deliberate contrast to the injustices cited in vv. 11-13.

123 tn Or “will show favor to.”

124 tn Or “the remnant of” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “what’s left of your people.”

125 sn Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh), as the most prominent of the Israelite tribes, represents the entire northern kingdom.

126 tn Heb “Therefore.” This logical connector relates back to the accusation of vv. 10-13, not to the parenthetical call to repentance in vv. 14-15. To indicate this clearly, the phrase “Because of Israel’s sins” is used in the translation.

127 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

128 tn Heb “they will say, ‘Ah! Ah!’” The Hebrew term הוֹ (ho, “ah, woe”) is an alternate form of הוֹי (hoy), a word used to mourn the dead and express outwardly one’s sorrow. See 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5. This wordplay follows quickly, as v. 18 begins with הוֹי (“woe”).

129 tn Or “farmers” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

130 tn Heb “those who know lamentation.”

sn Professional mourners are referred to elsewhere in the OT (2 Chr 35:25; Jer 9:17) and ancient Near Eastern literature. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 180.

131 sn The expression pass through your midst alludes to Exod 12:12, where the Lord announced he would “pass through” Egypt and bring death to the Egyptian firstborn.

132 tn The term הוֹי (hoy, “woe”) was used when mourning the dead (see the note on the word “dead” in 5:16). The prophet here either engages in role playing and mourns the death of the nation in advance or sarcastically taunts those who hold to this misplaced belief.

133 tn The words “Disaster will be inescapable” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

134 tn Heb “went” (so KJV, NRSV).

135 tn Heb “Will not the day of the Lord be.”

136 tn Heb “I hate”; “I despise.”

137 tn Heb “I will not smell.” These verses are full of vivid descriptions of the Lord’s total rejection of Israelite worship. In the first half of this verse two verbs are used together for emphasis. Here the verb alludes to the sense of smell, a fitting observation since offerings would have been burned on the altar ideally to provide a sweet aroma to God (see, e.g., Lev 1:9, 13, 17; Num 29:36). Other senses that are mentioned include sight and hearing in vv. 22-23.

138 tn Heb “burnt offerings and your grain offerings.”

139 tn Heb “Peace offering[s], your fattened calves, I will not look at.”

140 tn In this verse the second person suffixes are singular and not plural like they are in vv. 21-22 and vv. 25-27. Some have suggested that perhaps a specific individual or group within the nation is in view.

141 tn The Hebrew word probably refers to “harps” (NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “lutes” (NEB).

142 tn Traditionally, “righteousness.”

143 tn Heb “Did you bring me…?” This rhetorical question expects a negative answer. The point seems to be this: Since sacrifices did not characterize God’s relationship with Israel during the nation’s formative years, the people should not consider them to be so fundamental. The Lord places a higher priority on justice than he does on empty ritual.

sn Like Jer 7:22-23, this passage seems to contradict the Pentateuchal accounts that indicate Israel did offer sacrifices during the wilderness period. It is likely that both Amos and Jeremiah overstate the case to emphasize the relative insignificance of sacrifices in comparison to weightier matters of the covenant. See R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 428.

144 tn Heb “house.”

145 tn This word appears in an awkward position in the Hebrew, following “Kiyyun.” It is placed here for better sense.

146 tn The Hebrew term סִכּוּת (sikkut) apparently refers to Sakkuth, a Mesopotamian star god identified with Ninurta in an Ugaritic god list. The name is vocalized in the Hebrew text after the pattern of שִׁקוּץ (shiqquts, “detestable thing”). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 195-96. Some English versions, following the LXX, translate as “tent” or “shrine” (NEB, NIV), pointing the term as סֻכַּת (sukkat; cf. 9:11).

147 tc LXX, Vulgate, and Acts 7:43 read “Moloch” (cf. KJV). The Hebrew consonants are the same for both “king” and “Moloch” (מֹלֶךְ; molekh).

148 tn The Hebrew term כִּיּוּן (kiyyun) apparently refers to the Mesopotamian god Kayamanu, or Saturn. The name, like “Sikkuth” in the previous line, is vocalized in the Hebrew text after the pattern of שִׁקוּץ (shiqquts, “detestable thing”). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 195-96. Some versions translate as “pedestal” (NEB, NIV), relating the term to the root כּוּן (kun).

149 tn On the Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy; “ah, woe”) as a term of mourning, see the notes in 5:16, 18.

150 sn Zion is a reference to Jerusalem.

151 tn The words “They think of themselves as” are supplied in the translation for clarification. In the Hebrew text the term נְקֻבֵי (nÿquvey; “distinguished ones, elite”) is in apposition to the substantival participles in the first line.

152 tn Heb “house.”

153 tn Heb “comes to them.”

154 tn The words “They say to the people” are interpretive and supplied in the translation for clarification. The translation understands v. 2 as the boastful words, which the leaders (described in v. 1) spoke to those who came to them (v. 1b). Some interpret v. 2 differently, understanding the words as directed to the leaders by the prophet. Verse 2b would then be translated: “Are you (i.e., Israel and Judah) better than these kingdoms (i.e., Calneh, etc.)? Is your border larger than their border?” (This reading requires an emendation of the Hebrew text toward the end of the verse.) In this case the verse is a reminder to Judah/Israel that they are not superior to other nations, which have already fallen victim to military conquest. Consequently Judah/Israel should not expect to escape the same fate. Following this line of interpretation, some take v. 2 as a later addition since the Assyrians under Tiglath-pileser III conquered Calneh, Hamath, and Gath after the time of Amos’ ministry. However, this conclusion is not necessary since the kingdoms mentioned here had suffered military setbacks prior to Amos’ time as well. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 201-4.

155 tn Or “Great Hamath” (cf. NIV); or “Hamath the great” (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); the word “rabbah” means “great” in Hebrew.

156 tn Heb “to these,” referring to Judah and Israel (see v. 1a).

157 tn Both rhetorical questions in this verse expect the answer “no.” If these words do come from the leaders, then this verse underscores their self-delusion of power (compare 6:13). The prophet had no such mistaken sense of national grandeur (7:2, 5).

158 tn Heb “those who push away a day of disaster.”

159 tn Heb “you bring near a seat of violence.” The precise meaning of the Hebrew term שֶׁבֶת (shevet, “seat, sitting”) is unclear in this context. The translation assumes that it refers to a throne from which violence (in the person of the oppressive leaders) reigns. Another option is that the expression refers not to the leaders’ oppressive rule, but to the coming judgment when violence will overtake the nation in the person of enemy invaders.

160 tn Heb “beds of ivory.”

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

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

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

164 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).

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

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

167 tn Or “not sickened by.”

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

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

170 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.

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

172 tn Heb “swears by his life”; or “swears by himself.”

173 tn Heb “his,” referring to Jacob, which stands here for the nation of Israel.

174 tn The words “to their enemies” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

175 tn Heb “the city”; this probably refers to the city of Samaria (cf. 6:1), which in turn, by metonymy, represents the entire northern kingdom.

176 tn The translation assumes that “their relatives” and “the ones who will burn the corpses” are in apposition. Another option is to take them as distinct individuals, in which case one could translate, “When their close relatives and the ones who will burn the corpses pick up…” The meaning of the form translated “the ones who burn the corpses” is uncertain. Another option is to translate, “the ones who prepare the corpses for burial” (NASB “undertaker”; cf. also CEV). See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 215-16.

177 tn This verse is notoriously difficult to interpret. The Hebrew text literally reads, “And he will lift him up, his uncle, and the one burning him, to bring out bones from the house. And he will say to the one who is in the inner parts of the house, ‘Is there [anyone] still with you?’ And he will say, ‘Be quiet for not to invoke the name of the Lord.’” The translation assumes that the singular pronominal and verbal forms throughout the verse are collective or distributive. This last sentence has been interpreted in several ways: a command not to call on the name of the Lord out of fear that he might return again in judgment; the realization that it is not appropriate to seek a blessing in the Lord’s name upon the dead in the house since the judgment was deserved; an angry refusal to call on the Lord out of a sense that he has betrayed his people in allowing them to suffer.

178 tn Or “is issuing the decree.”

179 tc Heb “Does one plow with oxen?” This obviously does not fit the parallelism, for the preceding rhetorical question requires the answer, “Of course not!” An error of fusion has occurred in the Hebrew, with the word יָם (yam, “sea”) being accidentally added as a plural ending to the collective noun בָּקָר (baqar, “oxen”). A proper division of the consonants produces the above translation, which fits the parallelism and also anticipates the answer, “Of course not!”

180 sn The botanical imagery, when juxtaposed with the preceding rhetorical questions, vividly depicts and emphasizes how the Israelites have perverted justice and violated the created order by their morally irrational behavior.

181 tn Heb “those who rejoice over Lo-Debar.”

sn Lo-Debar was located across the Jordan River in Gilead, which the Israelite army had conquered. However, there is stinging irony here, for in Hebrew the name Lo-Debar means “nothing.” In reality Israel was happy over nothing of lasting consequence.

182 sn Karnaim was also located across the Jordan River. The name in Hebrew means “double horned.” Since an animal’s horn was a symbol of strength (see Deut 33:17), the Israelites boasted in this victory over a town whose very name symbolized military power.

183 tn Or “raise up” (KJV, NASB); NIV “stir up.”

184 tn Heb “house.”

185 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).

186 tn Or “from the entrance to Hamath.” The Hebrew term לְבוֹא (lÿvo’) can either be translated or considered a part of the place name.

187 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.

188 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

189 sn The crops planted late (consisting of vegetables) were planted in late January-early March and sprouted in conjunction with the spring rains of March-April. For a discussion of the ancient Israelite agricultural calendar, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 31-44.

190 tn Or “the mowings of the king.”

sn This royal harvest may refer to an initial mowing of crops collected as taxes by the royal authorities.

191 tn “Israel” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

192 tn Heb “stand” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

193 tn Heb “small.”

194 tn Or “changed his mind about this.”

195 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

196 tc The Hebrew appears to read, “summoning to contend with fire,” or “summoning fire to contend,” but both are problematic syntactically (H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos [Hermeneia], 292; S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 230-31). Many emend the text to לרבב אשׁ, “(calling) for a shower of fire,” though this interpretation is also problematic (see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 746-47).

197 tn Heb “stand.”

198 tn Heb “small.”

199 tn Or “changed his mind about this.”

200 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

201 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here and in the following verse is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

202 tn The Hebrew word אֲנָךְ (’anakh, “tin”) occurs only in this passage (twice in this verse and twice in the following verse). (Its proposed meaning is based on an Akkadian cognate annaku.) The tin wall of the vision, if it symbolizes Israel, may suggest weakness and vulnerability to judgment. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 233-35. The symbolic significance of God holding tin in his hand and then placing tin among the people is unclear. Possibly the term אֲנָךְ in v. 8b is a homonym meaning “grief” (this term is attested in postbiblical Hebrew). In this case there is a wordplay, the אֲנָךְ (“tin”) of the vision suggesting the אֲנָךְ (“grief”) that judgment will bring upon the land. See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos (AB), 759. Another option is to maintain the meaning “tin” and understand that the Lord has ripped off a piece of the tin wall and placed it in front of all to see. Their citadels, of which the nation was so proud and confident, are nothing more than tin fortresses. The traditional interpretation of these verses (reflected in many English versions) understands the term אֲנָךְ to mean “lead,” and by extension, “plumb line.” In this case, one may translate: “I saw the sovereign one standing by a wall built true to plumb holding a plumb line in his hand. The Lord said to me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ I said, ‘A plumb line.’ The sovereign one then said, ‘Look, I am about to place a plumb line among my people…’” According to this view, the plumb line symbolizes God’s moral standards by which he will measure Israel to see if they are a straight or crooked wall.

203 tn Heb “And I will no longer pass over him.”

204 tn Traditionally, “the high places” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “pagan shrines.”

205 tn Heb “And I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with a sword.”

206 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

207 tn The direct object of the verb translated “sent” is elided in the Hebrew text. The words “this message” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

208 tn Heb “in the middle of the house of Israel.”

209 tn Heb “words.”

210 tn Or “for.”

211 tn See the note on the word “exile” in 5:5.

212 tn Traditionally, “seer.” The word is a synonym for “prophet,” though it may carry a derogatory tone on the lips of Amaziah.

213 tn Heb “Eat bread there.”

214 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

215 tn Heb “for it is a temple of a king and it is a royal house.” It is possible that the phrase “royal house” refers to a temple rather than a palace. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 243.

216 tn Heb “replied and said.” The phrase “and said” is pleonastic (redundant) and has not been included in the translation.

217 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.

218 tn Heb “for.”

219 tn Heb “gashed”; or “pierced.”

sn For a discussion of the agricultural background, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 128-29.

220 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).

221 tn Heb “from [following] after.”

222 tn Heb “and the Lord said to me.”

223 tn The verb, which literally means “to drip,” appears to be a synonym of “to prophesy,” but it might carry a derogatory tone here, perhaps alluding to the impassioned, frenzied way in which prophets sometimes delivered their messages. If so, one could translate, “to drivel; to foam at the mouth” (see HALOT 694 s.v. נטף).

224 tn Heb “in the city,” that is, “in public.”

225 tn Heb “will fall by the sword.”

226 tn Heb “will be divided up with a [surveyor’s] measuring line.”

227 tn Heb “[an] unclean”; or “[an] impure.” This fate would be especially humiliating for a priest, who was to distinguish between the ritually clean and unclean (see Lev 10:10).

228 tn See the note on the word “exile” in 5:5.

229 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

230 sn The basket of summer fruit (also in the following verse) probably refers to figs from the summer crop, which ripens in August-September. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 115.

231 tn There is a wordplay here. The Hebrew word קֵץ (qets, “end”) sounds like קָיִץ (qayits, “summer fruit”). The summer fruit arrived toward the end of Israel’s agricultural year; Israel’s national existence was similarly at an end.

232 tn Heb “I will no longer pass over him.”

233 tn Or “palace” (NASB, NCV, TEV).

234 tn Heb “Many corpses in every place he will throw out.” The subject of the verb is probably impersonal, though many emend the active (Hiphil) form to a passive (Hophal): “Many corpses in every place will be thrown out.”

235 tn See the note on the word “trample” in 2:7.

236 tn Or “put an end to”; or “exterminate.”

237 sn Apparently work was prohibited during the new moon festival, just as it was on the Sabbath.

238 tn Heb “pass by.”

239 tn The verb, though omitted in the Hebrew text, is supplied in the translation from the parallel line.

240 tn Heb “sell grain.” Here “grain” could stand by metonymy for the bins where it was stored.

241 tn Here and in v. 6 the words “we’re eager” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

242 tn Heb “to make small the ephah and to make great the shekel.” The “ephah” was a unit of dry measure used to determine the quantity purchased, while the “shekel” was a standard weight used to determine the purchase price. By using a smaller than standard ephah and a heavier than standard shekel, these merchants were able to increase their profit (“sell less for a higher price”) by cheating the buyer.

243 tn Heb “and to cheat with deceptive scales”; NASB, NIV “dishonest scales”; NRSV “false balances.”

sn Rigged scales may refer to bending the crossbar or shifting the center point of the scales to make the amount weighed appear heavier than it actually was, thus cheating the buyer.

244 tn Heb “to buy the poor for silver.”

sn The expression trade silver for the poor refers to the slave trade.

245 tn See the note on the word “sandals” in 2:6.

246 tn Heb “The chaff of the grain we will sell.”

247 tn Or “swears.”

248 sn In an oath one appeals to something permanent to emphasize one’s commitment to the promise. Here the Lord sarcastically swears by the arrogance of Jacob, which he earlier had condemned (6:8), something just as enduring as the Lord’s own life (see 6:8) or unchanging character (see 4:2). Other suggestions include that the Lord is swearing by the land, his most valuable possession (cf. Isa 4:2; Ps 47:4 [47:5 HT]); that this is a divine epithet analogous to “the Glory of Israel” (1 Sam 15:29); or that an ellipsis should be understood here, in which case the meaning is the same as that of 6:8 (“The Lord has sworn [by himself] against the arrogance of Jacob”).

249 tn The words “I swear” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation because a self-imprecation is assumed in oaths of this type.

250 tn Or “I will never forget all your deeds.”

251 tn Or “land” (also later in this verse).

252 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the Lord or the prophet.

253 tn Heb “all of it.”

254 tc The MT reads “like the light” (כָאֹר, khaor; note this term also appears in v. 9), which is commonly understood to be an error for “like the Nile” (כִּיאוֹר, kior). See the parallel line and Amos 9:5. The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity. If this emendation is correct, in the Hebrew of Amos “Nile” is actually spelled three slightly different ways.

sn The movement of the quaking earth is here compared to the annual flooding and receding of the River Nile.

255 tn Or “churn.”

256 tn Or “sink back down.” The translation assumes the verb שָׁקַע (shaqa’), following the Qere.

257 tn The entire verse is phrased in a series of rhetorical questions which anticipate the answer, “Of course!” (For example, the first line reads, “Because of this will the earth not quake?”). The rhetorical questions entrap the listener in the logic of the judgment of God (cf. 3:3-6; 9:7). The rhetorical questions have been converted to affirmative statements in the translation for clarity.

258 tn Heb “in a day of light.”

259 tn Heb “mourning.”

260 tn Heb “I will place sackcloth on all waists.”

sn Mourners wore sackcloth (funeral clothes) as an outward expression of grief.

261 tn Heb “and make every head bald.” This could be understood in a variety of ways, while the ritual act of mourning typically involved shaving the head (although occasionally the hair could be torn out as a sign of mourning).

sn Shaving the head or tearing out one’s hair was a ritual act of mourning. See Lev 21:5; Deut 14:1; Isa 3:24; 15:2; Jer 47:5; 48:37; Ezek 7:18; 27:31; Mic 1:16.

262 tn Heb “I will make it like the mourning for an only son.”

263 tn Heb “and its end will be like a bitter day.” The Hebrew preposition כְּ (kaf) sometimes carries the force of “in every respect,” indicating identity rather than mere comparison.

264 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

265 tn Heb “the days are.”

266 tn Heb “not a hunger for food or a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Lord.”

267 tn Heb “they”; the referent (people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

268 tn That is, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east – that is, across the whole land.

269 tn Heb “looking for the word of.”

270 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the Lord or the prophet.

271 tn Heb “the.”

272 tn Or “virgins.”

273 tn Heb “the.”

274 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the Lord or the prophet.

275 tn Heb “those who swear.”

276 tn Heb “the sin [or “guilt”] of Samaria.” This could be a derogatory reference to an idol-goddess popular in the northern kingdom, perhaps Asherah (cf. 2 Chr 24:18, where this worship is labeled “their guilt”), or to the golden calf at the national sanctuary in Bethel (Hos 8:6, 10:8). Some English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV, CEV) repoint the word and read “Ashimah,” the name of a goddess worshiped in Hamath in Syria (see 2 Kgs 17:30).

277 tn Heb “say.”

278 sn Your god is not identified. It may refer to another patron deity who was not the God of Israel, a local manifestation of the Lord that was worshiped by the people there, or, more specifically, the golden calf image erected in Dan by Jeroboam I (see 1 Kgs 12:28-30).

279 tc The MT reads, “As surely as the way [to] Beer Sheba lives,” or “As surely as the way lives, O Beer Sheba.” Perhaps the term דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “the way”) refers to the pilgrimage route to Beersheba (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 272) or it may be a title for a god. The notion of pilgrimage appears elsewhere in the book (cf. 4:4-5; 5:4-5; 8:12). The translation above assumes an emendation to דֹּדְךְ (dodÿkh, “your beloved” or “relative”; the term also is used in 6:10) and understands this as referring either to the Lord (since other kinship terms are used of him, such as “Father”) or to another deity that was particularly popular in Beer Sheba. Besides the commentaries, see S. M. Olyan, “The Oaths of Amos 8:14Priesthood and Cult in Ancient Israel, 121-49.

280 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

281 sn The altar is perhaps the altar at Bethel.

282 tn Or “the capitals.” The Hebrew singular form is collective.

283 tn Heb “cut them off on the head of all of them.” The translation assumes the objective suffix on the verb refers to the tops of the pillars and that the following prepositional phrase refers to the people standing beneath. Another option is to take this phrase as referring to the pillars, in which case one could translate, “Knock all the tops of the pillars off.”

284 tn Heb “the remnant of them.” One could possibly translate, “every last one of them” (cf. NEB “to the last man”). This probably refers to those who survive the collapse of the temple, which may symbolize the northern kingdom.

285 tn Heb “a fugitive belonging to them will not run away.”

286 tn Heb “a survivor belonging to them will not escape.”

287 tn Heb “into Sheol” (so ASV, NASB, NRSV), that is, the land of the dead localized in Hebrew thought in the earth’s core or the grave. Cf. KJV “hell”; NCV, NLT “the place of the dead”; NIV “the depths of the grave.”

288 tn Heb “from before my eyes.”

289 tn Or perhaps simply, “there,” if the מ (mem) prefixed to the adverb is dittographic (note the preceding word ends in mem).

290 sn If the article indicates a definite serpent, then the mythological Sea Serpent, symbolic of the world’s chaotic forces, is probably in view. See Job 26:13 and Isa 27:1 (where it is also called Leviathan). Elsewhere in the OT this serpent is depicted as opposing the Lord, but this text implies that even this powerful enemy of God is ultimately subject to his sovereign will.

291 tn Heb “Even if they go into captivity before their enemies.”

292 tn Or perhaps simply, “there,” if the מ (mem) prefixed to the adverb is dittographic (note the preceding word ends in mem).

293 tn Heb “I will set my eye on them for disaster, not good.”

294 tn The words “will do this” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

295 tn Or “melts.” The verb probably depicts earthquakes and landslides. See v. 5b.

296 tn Heb “all of it.”

297 tn Heb “the Nile.” The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

298 tn Or “sinks back down.”

299 sn See Amos 8:8, which is very similar to this verse.

300 tc The MT reads “his steps.” If this is correct, then the reference may be to the steps leading up to the heavenly temple or the throne of God (cf. 1 Kgs 10:19-20). The prefixed מ (mem) may be dittographic (note the preceding word ends in mem). The translation assumes an emendation to עֲלִיָּתוֹ (’aliyyato, “his upper rooms”).

301 tn Traditionally, “vault” (so ASV, NAB, NRSV). The precise meaning of this word in this context is unclear. Elsewhere it refers to objects grouped or held together. F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman (Amos [AB], 845-46) suggest the foundational structure of a building is in view.

302 sn Verse 6a pictures the entire universe as a divine palace founded on the earth and extending into the heavens.

303 tn The Hebrew text has a rhetorical question, “Are you children of Israel not like the Cushites to me?” The rhetorical question has been converted to an affirmative statement in the translation for clarity. See the comment at 8:8.

sn Though Israel was God’s special covenant people (see 3:2a), the Lord emphasizes they are not inherently superior to the other nations subject to his sovereign rule.

304 sn Caphtor may refer to the island of Crete.

305 tn The second half of v. 7 is also phrased as a rhetorical question in the Hebrew text, “Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and Aram from Kir?” The translation converts the rhetorical question into an affirmation for clarity.

306 tn Heb “the eyes of the sovereign Lord are on.”

307 tn Or “kingdom.”

308 tn Heb “house” (also in the following verse).

309 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).

310 tn The phrase translated “collapsing hut” refers to a temporary shelter (cf. NASB, NRSV “booth”) in disrepair and emphasizes the relatively weakened condition of the once powerful Davidic dynasty. Others have suggested that the term refers to Jerusalem, while still others argue that it should be repointed to read “Sukkoth,” a garrison town in Transjordan. Its reconstruction would symbolize the rebirth of the Davidic empire and its return to power (e.g., M. E. Polley, Amos and the Davidic Empire, 71-74).

311 tc The MT reads a third feminine plural suffix, which could refer to the two kingdoms (Judah and Israel) or, more literally, to the breaches in the walls of the cities that are mentioned in v. 4 (cf. 4:3). Some emend to third feminine singular, since the “hut” of the preceding line (a feminine singular noun) might be the antecedent. In that case, the final nun (ן) is virtually dittographic with the vav (ו) that appears at the beginning of the following word.

312 tc The MT reads a third masculine singular suffix, which could refer back to David. However, it is possible that an original third feminine singular suffix (יה-, yod-hey) has been misread as masculine (יו-, yod-vav). In later Hebrew script a ה (he) resembles a יו- (yod-vav) combination.

313 tn Heb “and I will rebuild as in days of antiquity.”

314 sn They probably refers to the Israelites or to the Davidic rulers of the future.

315 tn Heb “take possession of the remnant of Edom”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “possess the remnant of Edom.”

316 tn Heb “nations over whom my name is proclaimed.” The Hebrew idiom indicates ownership, sometimes as a result of conquest. See 2 Sam 12:28.

sn This verse envisions a new era of Israelite rule, perhaps patterned after David’s imperialistic successes (see 2 Sam 8-10). At the same time, however, the verse does not specify how this rule is to be accomplished. Note that the book ends with a description of peace and abundance, and its final reference to God (v. 15) does not include the epithet “the Lord who commands armies,” which has militaristic overtones. This is quite a different scene than what the book began with: nations at war and standing under the judgment of God.

317 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

318 tn Heb “the days are.”

319 sn The plowman will catch up to the reaper. Plowing occurred in October-November, and harvesting in April-May (see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 109.) But in the future age of restored divine blessing, there will be so many crops the reapers will take all summer to harvest them, and it will be time for plowing again before the harvest is finished.

320 sn When the grapes had been harvested, they were placed in a press where workers would stomp on them with their feet and squeeze out the juice. For a discussion of grape harvesting technique, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 110-12.

321 tn The verb is omitted here in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation from the parallel line.

322 sn The grape harvest occurred in August-September, planting in November-December (see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 109). But in the future age described here there will be so many grapes the workers who stomp them will still be working when the next planting season arrives.

323 tn Or “hills,” where the vineyards were planted.

324 tn Heb “and all the hills will melt.”

325 tn This line can also be translated “I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel” and is a common idiom (e.g., Deut 30:3; Jer 30:3; Hos 6:11; Zeph 3:20). This rendering is followed by several modern English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV, NJPS).

326 tn Or “the ruined [or “desolate”] cities.”

327 tn Or “and live [in them].”

328 tn Heb “drink their wine.”

329 tn Or “gardens.”

330 tn Heb “eat their fruit.”

331 tn Heb “their.” The pronoun was replaced by the English definite article in the translation for stylistic reasons.

TIP #07: Use the Discovery Box to further explore word(s) and verse(s). [ALL]
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