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Chapter 2


Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Moab, and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because he burned to ashes[a]
    the bones of Edom’s king,
I will send fire upon Moab,
    and it will devour the strongholds of Kerioth;
Moab shall meet death amid uproar,
    battle cries and blasts of the ram’s horn.
I will cut off the ruler from its midst,
    and all the princes I will slay with him, says the Lord.


[b]Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Judah, and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because they spurned the instruction of the Lord,(A)
    and did not keep his statutes;
Because the lies[c] which their ancestors followed
    have led them astray,
I will send fire upon Judah,
    and it will devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.


Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Israel,[d] and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because they hand over the just for silver,
    and the poor for a pair of sandals;(B)
They trample the heads of the destitute
    into the dust of the earth,
    and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father sleep with the same girl,[e]
    profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
    they recline beside any altar.[f](C)
Wine at treasury expense
    they drink in their temples.
Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them,
    who were as tall as cedars,
    and as strong as oak trees.
I destroyed their fruit above
    and their roots beneath.(D)
10 It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt,
    and who led you through the desert for forty years,
    to occupy the land of the Amorites;
11 I who raised up prophets among your children,
    and nazirites[g] among your young men.
Is this not so, Israelites?—
    oracle of the Lord.
12 But you made the nazirites drink wine,
    and commanded the prophets, “Do not prophesy!”(E)
13 Look, I am groaning beneath you,
    as a wagon groans when laden with sheaves.
14 Flight shall elude the swift,
    and the strong shall not retain strength;(F)
The warrior shall not save his life,
15     nor shall the archer stand his ground;
The swift of foot shall not escape,
    nor shall the horseman save his life.
16 And the most stouthearted of warriors
    shall flee naked on that day—
    oracle of the Lord.


  1. 2:1 He burned to ashes: to the peoples of the Near East, burning the bones of the dead was a particularly heinous crime, as it was believed to cause the spirits of these dead to wander without any hope of interment in their graves, where they could rest in peace.
  2. 2:4–8, 12 Unlike the crimes of the nations detailed in this section, which are wrongs against other nations, those of Judah and Israel named here are violations of the Lord’s demands.
  3. 2:4 The lies: false gods worshiped by the Judahites.
  4. 2:6 Israel: Amos’s audience would applaud his condemnation of foreign kingdoms in the foregoing seven oracles, especially of Judah. But now he adds an eighth, unexpected oracle—against Israel itself. This is the real “punch line” of this whole section, to which the preceding oracles serve mainly as introduction.
  5. 2:7 Son and father sleep with the same girl: the crime condemned here may be the misuse of power by the rich who take unfair advantage of young women from the ranks of the poor and force themselves on them, thus adding oppression to the sin of impurity.
  6. 2:8 Upon garments…any altar: creditors kept the garments taken as pledges from the poor instead of returning them to their owners before nightfall as the law commanded (Ex 22:25; cf. Dt 24:12). Wine…in their temples: lavish feasts for the rich, serving the finest wines in great abundance (see 6:4–7) and funded by the treasuries of local temples (e.g., at Dan and Bethel). The Hebrew in this verse is difficult. Another possible translation would be: “And the wine of those who have been fined / they drink in the house of their god.”
  7. 2:11 Nazirites: see note on Nm 6:2–21. Oracle of the Lord: a phrase used extensively in prophetic books to indicate divine speech.