Prophecy has often been described as “speaking truth to power.” Amos predicts the demise of the king, not in some corner somewhere but at the king’s royal shrine at Bethel. The priest in charge, Amaziah, reports the traitorous words to the king and bans the prophet from ever returning to the religious center of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. But Amos has the last word. He will not be silent despite the threats against him. The word of God cannot be suppressed by powerful priests or royal decree. Judgment will surely come to the land because the Lord has decided it!
8 This is what the Eternal Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit.
Eternal One: 2 What do you see, Amos?
Amos: I see a basket of ripe fruit.
Eternal One: The time is ripe for the end of My people, Israel.
I will not overlook their wrongdoing any longer.
3 On that day, the joyous songs sung in the temple will turn to wailing and crying,
and dead bodies will be piled up everywhere, scattered here, scattered there.
Says the Eternal Lord.
4 Listen to this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor to ruin,
5 Who ask, “When will the new moon festival be done
so we can sell our grain?
And when will the Sabbath end
so we can sell our wheat?
Then we can tamper with our scales
and make the bushel measure smaller
And the counterweight heavier to cheat our customers.
6 We can buy the needy for silver
and the poor and their property for the price of a pair of sandals.
We can even sell the chaff we sweep up as grain.”
7 The Eternal has sworn by the pride of Jacob, the very land He gave to them:
Eternal One: I will not forget anything that Israel has done.
8 Won’t the land beneath their feet tremble for this,
and everyone who lives in it mourn?
The ground will rise and fall like the river Nile, which floods and recedes;
it will ripple and roll like the current of Egypt’s Nile.
9 The Eternal Lord says,
Eternal One: On that day, I will make the sun set at noon
and send darkness across the earth when it should be broad daylight.
10 I will turn your celebrations into mourning
and all your singing into wailing.
I will make it so that all wear mourning sackcloth
and every head is shaved out of sadness.
It will be like the grief you feel at the death of an only child,
and it will be a bitter day by the end.
11 The Eternal Lord says,
Eternal One: The days are coming
when I will send a famine on the land—
Not a hunger for food or thirst for water,
but starvation for the words of the Eternal.
12 People will stagger from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,
and from the north to the east;
They will run everywhere, desperate to hear the voice of the Eternal One,
but they will not hear it.
13 When that time comes, beautiful young women and strong young men
will fall from thirst.
14 And those who swear by the pagan idols of Samaria—
who say “As your god lives, Dan!”
Or “As your power lives, Beersheba!”—
will all fall, never to rise again.