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Amos 4:4-5

Israel has an Appointment with God

4:4 “Go to Bethel 1  and rebel! 2 

At Gilgal 3  rebel some more!

Bring your sacrifices in 4  the morning,

your tithes on 5  the third day!

4:5 Burn a thank offering of bread made with yeast! 6 

Make a public display of your voluntary offerings! 7 

For you love to do this, you Israelites.”

The sovereign Lord is speaking!

Amos 5:21-23


5:21 “I absolutely despise 8  your festivals!

I get no pleasure 9  from your religious assemblies!

5:22 Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings, 10  I will not be satisfied;

I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves. 11 

5:23 Take away from me your 12  noisy songs;

I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments. 13 

1 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.

2 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).

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

4 tn Or “for.”

5 tn Or “for.”

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

7 tn Heb “proclaim voluntary offerings, announce.”

8 tn Heb “I hate”; “I despise.”

9 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.

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

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

12 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.

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

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