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Amos 1:5


1:5 I will break the bar 1  on the gate of Damascus.

I will remove 2  the ruler 3  from Wicked Valley, 4 

the one who holds the royal scepter from Beth Eden. 5 

The people of Aram will be deported to Kir.” 6 

The Lord has spoken!

Amos 9:7


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

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

but I also brought the Philistines from Caphtor 8  and the Arameans from Kir. 9 

1 sn The bar on the city gate symbolizes the city’s defenses and security.

2 tn Heb “cut off.”

3 tn Heb “the one who sits.” Some English versions take the Hebrew term in a collective sense as “inhabitants” (e.g., KJV, NKJV, NASB, NRSV). The context and the parallel in the next clause (“the one who holds the royal scepter”), however, suggest that the royal house is in view. For this term (יוֹשֵׁב, yoshev), see N. K. Gottwald, The Tribes of Yahweh, 512-30.

4 tn Heb “valley of wickedness.” Though many English versions take the Hebrew phrase בִקְעַת־אָוֶן (biq-ataven) as a literal geographical place name (“Valley of Aven,” so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), it appears to be a derogatory epithet for Damascus and the kingdom of Aram.

5 tn Many associate the name “Beth Eden” with Bit Adini, an Aramean state located near the Euphrates River, but it may be a sarcastic epithet meaning “house of pleasure.”

6 sn According to Amos 9:7, the Arameans originally came from Kir. The Lord threatens to reverse their history and send them back there.

7 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.

8 sn Caphtor may refer to the island of Crete.

9 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.

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