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Amos 7:10-17

Amos Confronts a Priest

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.’”

1 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

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.”

6 tn See the note on the word “exile” in 5:5.

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.”

9 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

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 Lord said to me.”

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.”

22 tn Heb “[an] unclean”; or “[an] impure.” This fate would be especially humiliating for a priest, who was to distinguish between the ritually clean and unclean (see Lev 10:10).

23 tn See the note on the word “exile” in 5:5.

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