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Amos 9:9-15

Context

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. 1 

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 2  of David.

I will seal its 3  gaps,

repair its 4  ruins,

and restore it to what it was like in days gone by. 5 

9:12 As a result they 6  will conquer those left in Edom 7 

and all the nations subject to my rule.” 8 

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

9:13 “Be sure of this, 9  the time is 10  coming,” says the Lord,

“when the plowman will catch up to the reaper 11 

and the one who stomps the grapes 12  will overtake 13  the planter. 14 

Juice will run down the slopes, 15 

it will flow down all the hillsides. 16 

9:14 I will bring back my people, Israel; 17 

they will rebuild the cities lying in rubble 18  and settle down. 19 

They will plant vineyards and drink the wine they produce; 20 

they will grow orchards 21  and eat the fruit they produce. 22 

9:15 I will plant them on their land

and they will never again be uprooted from the 23  land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

1 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).

2 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).

3 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.

4 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.

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

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

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

8 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.

9 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

10 tn Heb “the days are.”

11 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.

12 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.

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

14 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.

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

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

17 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).

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

19 tn Or “and live [in them].”

20 tn Heb “drink their wine.”

21 tn Or “gardens.”

22 tn Heb “eat their fruit.”

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



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