7:10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel 1 sent this message 2 to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is conspiring against you in the very heart of the kingdom of Israel! 3 The land cannot endure all his prophecies. 4 7:11 As a matter of fact, 5 Amos is saying this: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly be carried into exile 6 away from its land.’”
7:12 Amaziah then said to Amos, “Leave, you visionary! 7 Run away to the land of Judah! Earn your living 8 and prophesy there! 7:13 Don’t prophesy at Bethel 9 any longer, for a royal temple and palace are here!” 10
7:14 Amos replied 11 to Amaziah, “I was not a prophet by profession. 12 No, 13 I was a herdsman who also took care of 14 sycamore fig trees. 15 7:15 Then the Lord took me from tending 16 flocks and gave me this commission, 17 ‘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 18 against the family of Isaac!’
7:17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the streets 19
and your sons and daughters will die violently. 20
Your land will be given to others 21
and you will die in a foreign 22 land.
Israel will certainly be carried into exile 23 away from its land.’”
2 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.
3 tn Heb “in the middle of the house of Israel.”
4 tn Heb “words.”
5 tn Or “for.”
7 tn Traditionally, “seer.” The word is a synonym for “prophet,” though it may carry a derogatory tone on the lips of Amaziah.
8 tn Heb “Eat bread there.”
10 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.
11 tn Heb “replied and said.” The phrase “and said” is pleonastic (redundant) and has not been included in the translation.
12 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.
13 tn Heb “for.”
14 tn Heb “gashed”; or “pierced.”
sn For a discussion of the agricultural background, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 128-29.
15 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).
16 tn Heb “from [following] after.”
17 tn Heb “and the
18 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).
19 tn Heb “in the city,” that is, “in public.”
20 tn Heb “will fall by the sword.”
21 tn Heb “will be divided up with a [surveyor’s] measuring line.”