New English Translation
4 This is what the Lord says:
“Because Judah has committed three covenant transgressions[a]—
make that four[b]—I will not revoke my decree of judgment.[c]
They rejected the Lord’s law;[d]
they did not obey his commands.
Their false gods,[e]
to which their fathers were loyal,[f]
led them astray.
- Amos 2:4 tn This is the same Hebrew term that is translated “crimes” in the previous oracles (see at 1:3). The change to “covenant transgressions” reflects the probability that the prophet is condemning the nation of Israel for violating stipulations of the Mosaic Law.
- Amos 2:4 tn Heb “Because of three violations of Judah, even because of four.”sn On the three…four style that introduces each of the judgment oracles of chaps. 1-2 see the note on the word “four” in 1:3.
- Amos 2:4 tn Heb “I will not bring it [or “him”] back.” The translation understands the pronominal object to refer to the decree of judgment that follows; the referent (the decree) has been specified in the translation for clarity. For another option see the note on the word “judgment” in 1:3.
- Amos 2:4 tn Or “instruction”; cf. NCV “teachings.”
- Amos 2:4 tn Heb “lies.” This may very well be a derogatory term for idols (perhaps also at Ps 40:4 ET [40:5 HT]). Elsewhere false gods are called “vanities” (Deut 32:21; 1 Kgs 16:13, 26) and a delusion (Isa 66:3). In no other prophetic passages, however, are they called “lies.” The term could refer to the deceptions of false prophets (note Ezek 13:6-9; cf. Hab 2:3). See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos (AB), 301-6.
- Amos 2:4 tn Heb “after which their fathers walked.” The expression “to walk after” is an idiom meaning “to be loyal to.” See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 75-76.sn Here the idolatry of the parents carried over to the children, who persisted in worshiping the idols to which their fathers were loyal.