“In all the squares there will be wailing,
in all the streets they will mourn the dead. 3
They will tell the field workers 4 to lament
and the professional mourners 5 to wail.
and all who live in it will mourn.
and all your songs into funeral dirges.
I will make everyone wear funeral clothes 14
and cause every head to be shaved bald. 15
I will make you mourn as if you had lost your only son; 16
when it ends it will indeed have been a bitter day. 17
He touches the earth and it dissolves; 19
all who live on it mourn.
1 tn Heb “Therefore.” This logical connector relates back to the accusation of vv. 10-13, not to the parenthetical call to repentance in vv. 14-15. To indicate this clearly, the phrase “Because of Israel’s sins” is used in the translation.
2 tn Or “the Lord.” The Hebrew term translated “sovereign One” here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
3 tn Heb “they will say, ‘Ah! Ah!’” The Hebrew term הוֹ (ho, “ah, woe”) is an alternate form of הוֹי (hoy), a word used to mourn the dead and express outwardly one’s sorrow. See 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5. This wordplay follows quickly, as v. 18 begins with הוֹי (“woe”).
4 tn Or “farmers” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
5 tn Heb “those who know lamentation.”
6 tn Or “land” (also later in this verse).
7 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the
8 tn Heb “all of it.”
9 tc The MT reads “like the light” (כָאֹר, kha’or; note this term also appears in v. 9), which is commonly understood to be an error for “like the Nile” (כִּיאוֹר, ki’or). See the parallel line and Amos 9:5. The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity. If this emendation is correct, in the Hebrew of Amos “Nile” is actually spelled three slightly different ways.
sn The movement of the quaking earth is here compared to the annual flooding and receding of the River Nile.
10 tn Or “churn.”
11 tn Or “sink back down.” The translation assumes the verb שָׁקַע (shaqa’), following the Qere.
12 tn The entire verse is phrased in a series of rhetorical questions which anticipate the answer, “Of course!” (For example, the first line reads, “Because of this will the earth not quake?”). The rhetorical questions entrap the listener in the logic of the judgment of God (cf. 3:3-6; 9:7). The rhetorical questions have been converted to affirmative statements in the translation for clarity.
13 tn Heb “mourning.”
14 tn Heb “I will place sackcloth on all waists.”
sn Mourners wore sackcloth (funeral clothes) as an outward expression of grief.
15 tn Heb “and make every head bald.” This could be understood in a variety of ways, while the ritual act of mourning typically involved shaving the head (although occasionally the hair could be torn out as a sign of mourning).
16 tn Heb “I will make it like the mourning for an only son.”
17 tn Heb “and its end will be like a bitter day.” The Hebrew preposition כְּ (kaf) sometimes carries the force of “in every respect,” indicating identity rather than mere comparison.
18 tn The words “will do this” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
20 tn Heb “all of it.”
21 tn Heb “the Nile.” The word “River” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
22 tn Or “sinks back down.”