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They trample[a] on the dirt-covered heads of the poor;[b]
they push the destitute away.[c]
A man and his father go to the same girl;[d]
in this way they show disrespect for[e] my moral purity.[f]
They stretch out on clothing seized as collateral;
they do so right[g] beside every altar!
They drink wine bought with the fines they have levied;
they do so right in the temple[h] of their God![i]
For Israel’s sake I destroyed the Amorites.[j]
They were as tall as cedars[k]
and as strong as oaks,
but I destroyed the fruit on their branches[l]
and their roots in the ground.[m]

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  1. Amos 2:7 tn Most scholars now understand this verb as derived from the root II שָׁאַף (shaʾaf, “to crush; to trample”), an alternate form of שׁוּף (shuf), rather than from I שָׁאַף (shaʾaf, “to pant, to gasp”; cf. KJV, ASV, NASB).
  2. Amos 2:7 tn Heb “those who stomp on the dirt of the ground on the head of the poor.” It is possible to render the line as “they trample the heads of the poor into the dust of the ground,” thereby communicating that the poor are being stepped on in utter contempt (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 79-80). The participial form הַשֹּׁאֲפִים (hashoʾafim) is substantival and stands in apposition to the pronominal suffix on מִכְרָם (mikhram, v. 6b).sn The picture of the poor having dirt-covered heads suggests their humiliation before their oppressors and/or their sorrow (see 2 Sam 1:2; 15:32).
  3. Amos 2:7 tn Heb “they turn aside the way of the destitute.” Many interpreters take “way” to mean “just cause” and understand this as a direct reference to the rights of the destitute being ignored. The injustice done to the poor is certainly in view, but the statement is better taken as a word picture depicting the powerful rich pushing the “way of the poor” (i.e., their attempt to be treated justly) to the side. An even more vivid picture is given in Amos 5:12, where the rich are pictured as turning the poor away from the city gate (where legal decisions were made, and therefore where justice should be done).
  4. Amos 2:7 tn Heb “go to the girl.” sn Most interpreters see some type of sexual immorality here (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT), even though the Hebrew phrase הָלַךְ אֶל (halakh ʾel, “go to”) never refers elsewhere to sexual intercourse. (The usual idiom is בוֹא אֶל [boʾ ʾel]. However, S. M. Paul (Amos [Hermeneia], 82) attempts to develop a linguistic case for a sexual connotation here.) The precise identification of the “girl” in question is not clear. Some see the referent as a cultic prostitute (cf. NAB; v. 8 suggests a cultic setting), but the term נַעֲרָה (naʿarah) nowhere else refers to a prostitute. Because of the contextual emphasis on social oppression, some suggest the exploitation of a slave girl is in view. H. Barstad argues that the “girl” is the hostess at a pagan מַרְזֵחַ (marzeakh) banquet (described at some length in 6:4-7). In his view the sin described here is not sexual immorality, but idolatry (see H. Barstad, The Religious Polemics of Amos [VTSup], 33-36). In this case, one might translate, “Father and son go together to a pagan banquet.” In light of this cultic context, F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman argue that this is a reference to a specific female deity (“the Girl”) and correlate this verse with 8:14 (Amos [AB], 318-19).
  5. Amos 2:7 tn Or “pollute”; “desecrate”; “dishonor.”
  6. Amos 2:7 tn Heb “my holy name.” Here “name” is used metonymically for God’s moral character or reputation, while “holy” has a moral and ethical connotation.
  7. Amos 2:8 tn The words “They do so right” are supplied twice in the translation of this verse for clarification.
  8. Amos 2:8 tn Heb “house.”
  9. Amos 2:8 tn Or “gods.” The Hebrew term אֱלֹהֵיהֶם (ʾelohehem) may be translated “their gods” (referring to pagan gods), “their god” (referring to a pagan god, cf. NAB, NIV, NLT), or “their God” (referring to the God of Israel, cf. NASB, NRSV).
  10. Amos 2:9 tn Heb “I destroyed the Amorites from before them.” The translation takes מִפְּנֵי (mippeney) in the sense of “for the sake of.” See BDB 818 s.v. פָּנֻה II.6.a and H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos (Hermeneia), 134. Another option is to take the phrase in a spatial sense, “I destroyed the Amorites, [clearing them out] from before them [i.e., Israel]” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
  11. Amos 2:9 tn Heb “whose height was like the height of cedars.”
  12. Amos 2:9 tn Heb “his fruit from above.”
  13. Amos 2:9 tn Heb “and his roots from below.”

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