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Amos 5-9 Common English Bible (CEB)

A song of lament

Hear this word—a funeral song—that I am lifting up against you, house of Israel:

    Fallen, no more to rise,
        is virgin Israel,
    deserted on her land,
        with no one to raise her up.
    The Lord God proclaims:
    The city that marched out one thousand people
        will have one hundred left,
    and the city that marched out one hundred will have ten left in the house of Israel.

Words of encouragement

    The Lord proclaims to the house of Israel:
        Seek me and live.
    But don’t seek Bethel,
        don’t enter into Gilgal,
        or cross over to Beer-sheba;
    for Gilgal will go into exile,
        and Bethel will come to nothing.
    Seek the Lord and live,
        or else God might rush like a fire against the house of Joseph.
        The fire will burn up Bethel, with no one to put it out.

Words of doom

    Doom to you who turn justice into poison,
        and throw righteousness to the ground!
    The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
        and turns deep darkness into the morning,
        and darkens the day into night;
    who summons the waters of the sea,
        and pours them out on the surface of the earth—
        this one’s name is the Lord
    who causes destruction to flash out against the strong,
        so that destruction comes upon the fortress.

10 They hate the one who judges at the city gate,
        and they reject the one who speaks the truth.
11 Truly, because you crush the weak,
        and because you tax their grain,
    you have built houses of carved stone,
        but you won’t live in them;
    you have planted pleasant vineyards,
        but you won’t drink their wine.
12 I know how many are your crimes,
        and how numerous are your sins—
    afflicting the righteous,
        taking money on the side,
        turning away the poor who seek help.
13 Therefore, the one who is wise will keep silent in that time;
        it is an evil time.

Words of inspiration

14 Seek good and not evil,
        that you may live;
    and so the Lord, the God of heavenly forces,
        will be with you just as you have said.
15 Hate evil, love good,
        and establish justice at the city gate.
Perhaps the Lord God of heavenly forces
        will be gracious to what is left of Joseph.

Divine wrath anticipated

16 Truly, the Lord proclaims,
        the God of heavenly forces, the Lord:
    Crying will be heard in all the squares.
        In all the streets they will say, “Oh no! Oh no!”
    They will call upon the farmers to wail,
        and those skilled in mourning to lament.
17 In all the vineyards there will be bitter crying because
        I will pass through your midst,
says the Lord.

A statement of divine disgust

18 Doom to those who desire the day of the Lord!
        Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
19     as if someone fled from a lion,
        and was met by a bear;
    or sought refuge in a house,
        rested a hand against the wall,
        and was bitten by a snake.
20 Isn’t the day of the Lord darkness, not light;
        all dark with no brightness in it?

21 I hate, I reject your festivals;
    I don’t enjoy your joyous assemblies.
22 If you bring me your entirely burned offerings and gifts of food—
        I won’t be pleased;
    I won’t even look at your offerings of well-fed animals.
23 Take away the noise of your songs;
        I won’t listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
        and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
25 Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
        during the forty years in the wilderness, house of Israel?
26 You will take up Sakkuth your king,
        and Kaiwan your star-god,
            your images, which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore, I will take you away
        beyond Damascus, says the Lord,
            whose name is the God of heavenly forces.

Warnings to the self-satisfied

    Doom to those resting comfortably in Zion
        and those trusting in Mount Samaria,
    the chiefs of the nations,
        to whom the house of Israel comes!
    Cross over to Calneh and see;
        from there go to Hamath the great;
        then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
    Are you better than these kingdoms?
        Or is your territory greater than their territory?

    Doom to those who ignore the evil day
        and make violent rule draw near:
    who lie on beds of ivory,
        stretch out on their couches,
        eat lambs from the flock,
        and bull calves from the stall;
    who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
        and, like David, compose tunes on musical instruments;
    who drink bowls of wine,
        put the best of oils on themselves,
        but who aren’t grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
    Therefore, they will now be the first to be taken away,
        and the feast of those who lounged at the table will pass away.

    The Lord God has solemnly sworn,
    says the Lord, the God of heavenly forces:
    I reject the pride of Jacob.
        I hate his fortresses.
        I will hand over the city and all that is in it.
    If ten people remain in one house,
        then they will die.
10 If a relative, someone who burns the dead,
        picks up the body to bring it out of the house,
        and says to someone inside the house,
    “Is anyone else with you?”
        the answer will be, “No.”
    Then the relative will say,
        “Hush! We mustn’t mention the name of the Lord.”
11 Look, the Lord is giving an order;
        he will shatter the great house into bits
        and the little house into pieces.
12 Do horses run on rocks?
        Does one plow the sea with oxen?
    But you have turned justice into poison
        and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness—
13     you who rejoice in Lo-debar,
    who say, “Haven’t we by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?”
14 Indeed, I will raise up against you a nation, house of Israel, says the Lord God of heavenly forces,
    and they will oppress you from Lebo-hamath to the desert ravine.

A vision of locusts

This is what the Lord God showed me: The Lord God was forming locusts at the time the late grass began to sprout. (It was the late grass after the king’s harvest.) When they had finished eating the green plants of the land, I said,

        Lord God, please forgive!
        How can Jacob survive?
        He is so small!”
    The Lord relented concerning this:
        “It won’t take place,”
says the Lord.

A vision of fire

This is what the Lord God showed me: The Lord God was calling for judgment with fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up part of the land. Then I said,

        Lord God, I beg you, stop!
        How can Jacob survive?
        He is so small!”
    The Lord relented concerning this:
        “This also won’t take place,”
says the Lord God.

A vision of a plumb line

This is what the Lord showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall, with a plumb line in his hand. The Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A plumb line,” I said.
Then the Lord said,
“See, I am setting a plumb line
    in the middle of my people Israel.
        I will never again forgive them.
The shrines of Isaac will be made desolate,
            and the holy places of Israel will be laid waste,
            and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

Exchange between Amaziah, Jeroboam, and Amos

10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, reported to Israel’s King Jeroboam, “Amos has plotted against you within the house of Israel. The land isn’t able to cope with everything that he is saying. 11 Amos has said, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will be forced out of its land.’”

12 Amaziah said to Amos, “You who see things, go, run away to the land of Judah, eat your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s holy place and his royal house.”

14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I am[a] not a prophet, nor am I a prophet’s son; but I am a shepherd, and a trimmer of sycamore trees. 15 But the Lord took me from shepherding the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

16 “Now then hear the Lord’s word.
    You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel, and don’t preach
        against the house of Isaac.’
17 “Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
    ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
        and your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword,
        and your land will be measured and divided up;
    you yourself will die in an unclean land,
        and Israel will surely be taken away from its land.’”

A vision of summer fruit

This is what the Lord God showed me: a basket of summer fruit. He said, “Amos, what do you see?”

I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”

Then the Lord said to me,

    “The end has come upon my people Israel;
        I will never again forgive them.
    On that day, the people will wail the temple songs,”
        says the Lord God;
    “there will be many corpses,
    thrown about everywhere.[b]

Judgment on oppressors and hypocrites

    Hear this, you who trample on the needy and destroy
        the poor of the land,
    “When will the new moon
        be over so that we may sell grain,
        and the Sabbath
        so that we may offer wheat for sale,
        make the ephah smaller, enlarge the shekel,
        and deceive with false balances,
        in order to buy the needy for silver
        and the helpless for sandals,
        and sell garbage as grain?”

    The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
        Surely I will never forget what they have done.
    Will not the land tremble on this account,
        and all who live in it mourn,
    as it rises and overflows like the Nile,
        and then falls again, like the River of Egypt?[c]

    On that day, says the Lord God,
        I will make the sun go down at noon,
        and I will darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your feasts into sad affairs
        and all your singing into a funeral song;
    I will make people wear mourning clothes
        and shave their heads;
    I will make it like the loss of an only child,
        and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 The days are surely coming, says the Lord God,
        when I will send hunger and thirst on the land;
    neither a hunger for bread, nor a thirst for water,
        but of hearing the Lord ’s words.
12 They will wander from sea to sea,
        and from north to east;
    they will roam all around, seeking the Lord’s word,
        but they won’t find it.
13 On that day the beautiful young women and the young men
        will faint with thirst.
14 Those who swear by the guilt of Samaria,
        and say, “As your god lives, Dan,”
    and, “As the way of Beer-sheba lives”—
        even they will fall and never rise again.

Description of Israel’s fate

    I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and the Lord said:
    Strike the pillars until the foundations shake,
        shatter them on the heads of all the people.
    With the sword, I will kill the last of them;
        not one of them will flee,
        not one of them will escape.
    If they dig through into the underworld,[d]
        from there my hand will take them.
    If they climb up to the heavens,
        from there I will bring them down.
    If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
        I will search for them there and remove them.
    If they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
        I will give an order to the sea serpent, and it will bite them.
    If they are forced from their homes before their enemies,
        there I will give an order to the sword, and it will kill them.
    I will fix my eyes on them
        for harm and not for good.

A divine confession

    The Lord, God of heavenly forces,
        touches the earth and it melts,
        and all who live in it are sick to death.
    All of it[e] rises up like the Nile
        and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt.
    It is the Lord who builds his upper rooms in the heavens
        and establishes his residence upon the earth;
    who summons the waters of the sea,
        and pours them out upon the face of the earth—
            the Lord is his name.

Divine address to the Israelites

    Aren’t you like the Cushites to me,
        people of Israel?
says the Lord.
    Haven’t I brought Israel up from the land of Egypt,
        and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?
    Look, the Lord God is eyeing the sinful kingdom,
        and I will destroy it from the face of the earth.
    However, I won’t destroy fully the house of Jacob,
says the Lord.

Warning to the house of Israel

    Look, I am giving orders,
        and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations
    as one sifts dirt with a screen,
        but no pebble will fall to the ground.
10 All the sinners of my people will die by the sword,
        those who say,
    “Evil won’t overtake or meet us.”

Divine promise of restoration

11 On that day I will raise up
        the meeting tent of David that has fallen,
    and repair its broken places.
        I will raise up its ruins,
    and I will rebuild it like a long time ago;
12 so that they may possess what is left of Edom,
        as well as all the nations who are called by my name,
says the Lord who will do this.
13 The days are surely coming, says the Lord,
        when the one who plows
        will overtake the one who gathers,
        when the one who crushes grapes
        will overtake the one who sows the seed.
    The mountains will drip wine,
        and all the hills will flow with it.
14 I will improve the circumstances of my people Israel;
        they will rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them.
    They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
    and they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant them upon their land,
        and they will never again be plucked up
    out of the land that I have given them,
says the Lord your God.


  1. Amos 7:14 Or was; the verb is implied.
  2. Amos 8:3 Heb uncertain
  3. Amos 8:8 Heb uncertain
  4. Amos 9:2 Heb Sheol
  5. Amos 9:5 Or the earth
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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