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He said:

The Lord roars from Zion,[a]
    and raises his voice from Jerusalem;
The pastures of the shepherds languish,
    and the summit of Carmel withers.(A)

II. Oracles Against the Nations[b]


Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Damascus, and now four—[c]
    I will not take it back—
Because they threshed Gilead
    with sledges of iron,
I will send fire upon the house of Hazael,
    and it will devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.[d](B)

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  1. 1:2 Significantly, the roar comes to the Northern Kingdom from Jerusalem. This verse, perhaps an editorial remark, sets the tone of Amos’s message.
  2. 1:3–2:16 All the nations mentioned here may have been part of the ideal empire of David-Solomon (cf. 1 Kgs 5:1; 2 Kgs 14:25). Certain standards of conduct were expected not only in their relations with Israel but also with one another.
  3. 1:3 For three crimes…and now four: this formula (n, n + 1) is frequent in poetry (e.g., Prv 6:16–19; 30:18–19). The progression “three” followed by “four” here suggests a climax. The fourth crime is one too many and exhausts the Lord’s forbearance.
  4. 1:4 Hazael…Ben-hadad: kings of the Arameans whose capital was Damascus (v. 5); they fought against Israel (2 Kgs 13:3) and had long occupied the region of Gilead (v. 3) in Transjordan.