and your numerous sins.
You 8 torment the innocent, you take bribes,
for it is an evil 13 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!
I get no pleasure 20 from your religious assemblies!
I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves. 22
I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments. 24
5:24 Justice must flow like torrents of water,
righteous actions 25 like a stream that never dries up.
1 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.
2 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.
3 tn Heb “they throw righteousness.”
4 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.
5 tn Or “for.”
6 tn Or “I know” (so most English versions).
8 tn Heb “Those who.”
9 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).
10 sn Legal disputes were resolved in the city gate, where the town elders met.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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).
16 tn Or “will show favor to.”
17 tn Or “the remnant of” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “what’s left of your people.”
18 sn Joseph (= Ephraim and Manasseh), as the most prominent of the Israelite tribes, represents the entire northern kingdom.
19 tn Heb “I hate”; “I despise.”
20 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.
21 tn Heb “burnt offerings and your grain offerings.”
22 tn Heb “Peace offering[s], your fattened calves, I will not look at.”
23 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.
24 tn The Hebrew word probably refers to “harps” (NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “lutes” (NEB).
25 tn Traditionally, “righteousness.”