1 The words of Amos, who was among the sheepherders of [a]Tekoa, which he saw [in a divine revelation] concerning [b]Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
2 And he said, “The Lord thunders and roars from Zion [in judgment] And utters His voice from Jerusalem; Then the pastures of the shepherds mourn, And the summit of [Mount] Carmel dries up [because of God’s judgment].”
3 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Damascus and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I shall not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because they have threshed Gilead [east of the Jordan River] with sharp iron sledges [having spikes that crushed and shredded]. 4 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction] upon the house of [c]Hazael, And it shall devour the palaces and strongholds of [d]Ben-hadad (Hazael’s son). 5 “I also will break the bar [of the gate] of Damascus, And cut off and destroy the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven (Wickedness), And the ruler who holds the scepter, from Beth-eden (Damascus); And the people of Aram [conquered by the Assyrians] will go into exile to [e]Kir,” Says the Lord.
6 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Gaza [in Philistia] and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because [as slave traders] they took captive the entire [Jewish] population [of defenseless Judean border villages, of which none was spared] And deported them to Edom [for the slave trade]. 7 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction] on the wall of Gaza And it shall consume her citadels. 8 “And I will cut off and destroy the inhabitants from Ashdod, And the ruler who holds the scepter, from Ashkelon; And I will unleash My power and turn My hand [in judgment] against Ekron, And the rest of the Philistines [in Gath and the towns dependent on these four Philistine cities] shall die,” Says the Lord God.
9 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Tyre and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because they [as middlemen] deported an entire [Jewish] population to Edom And did not [seriously] remember their covenant of brotherhood. 10 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction] on the wall of Tyre, And it shall consume her citadels.”
11 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Edom [the descendants of Esau] and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because he pursued his brother Jacob (Israel) with the sword, Corrupting and stifling his compassions and casting off all mercy; His destructive anger raged continually, And he maintained [and nurtured] his wrath forever. 12 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction] upon Teman, And it shall consume the citadels of Bozrah [in Edom].”
13 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of the children of [f]Ammon and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because the Ammonites have ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead, That they might enlarge their border. 14 “So I will kindle a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction] on the wall of Rabbah [in Ammon] And it shall devour its strongholds Amid war cries and shouts of alarm on the day of battle, And a tempest on the day of the whirlwind [when the enemy captures the city]. 15 “Their king shall go into exile, He and his princes together,” says the Lord.
Judgment on Moab
2 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of [g]Moab and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom [Esau’s descendant] into lime [and used it to plaster a Moabite house]. 2 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction] upon Moab And it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth; And Moab shall die amid tumult and uproar, With war cries and shouts of alarm and the sound of the trumpet. 3 “I will also cut off and destroy the ruler from its midst And slay all the princes with him,” says the Lord.
Judgment on Judah
4 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Judah and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because they have rejected the law of the Lord [the sum of God’s instruction to His people] And have not kept His commandments; But their lies [and their idols], after which their fathers walked, Caused them to go astray. 5 “So I will send a fire [of war, conquest, and destruction by the Babylonians] upon Judah And it will devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.”
Judgment on Israel
6 Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of Israel and for four (multiplied delinquencies) I will not reverse its punishment or revoke My word concerning it, Because they sell the righteous and innocent for silver And the needy for the price of a pair of sandals. 7 “These who pant after (long to see) the dust of the earth on the head of the helpless [as sign of their grief and distress] Also turn aside the way of the humble; And a man and his father will go to the same [h]girl So that My holy name is profaned. 8 “They stretch out beside every [pagan] altar on clothes taken in pledge [to secure a loan, disregarding God’s command], And in the house of their God [in contempt of Him] they frivolously drink the wine [which has been] taken from those who have been fined.
9 “Yet it was I [not the false gods] who destroyed the Amorite before them, Though his height was like the height of the cedars, And he was as strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below. 10 “Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, And I led you forty years through the wilderness That you might possess the land of the Amorite. 11 “Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets [who gave you My revelation], And some of your young men to be Nazirites (dedicated ones). Is this not true, O you children of Israel?” says the Lord. 12 “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink [despite their vows] And commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy!’ 13 “Behold, I am weighted down beneath you As a cart that is weighted down when it is full of sheaves. 14 “Flight will be lost to the swift [so they will be unable to escape], And the strong shall not strengthen nor maintain his power, Nor shall the mighty man save his own life. 15 “He who handles the bow will not stand his ground, The one who is swift of foot will not escape, Nor will he who rides the horse save his life [from the invading army]. 16 “Even the bravest among the warriors shall flee naked on that day,” says the Lord.
All the Families Are Guilty
3 Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt:
2 “I have known [chosen, cared for, and loved] only you of all the families of the earth; Therefore I shall punish you for all your wickedness.” 3 Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment? 4 Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion growl from his den if he has not captured something? 5 Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no bait in it? Does a trap spring up from the ground when it has caught nothing at all? [Of course not! So it is that Israel has earned her impending judgment.] 6 If a trumpet is blown in a city [warning of danger] will not the people tremble? If a disaster or misfortune occurs in a city has not the Lord caused it? 7 Surely the Lord God does nothing [i]Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] To His servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy?
9 Proclaim on the fortresses in Ashdod (Philistia) and on the citadels in the land of Egypt, and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria, and see the great confusion within her and the oppressions and abuse of authority in her midst. 10 For they do not know how to do right,” says the Lord, “these who store up violence and devastation [like treasures] in their strongholds.”
11 Therefore, thus says the Lord God,
“An adversary (Assyria), even one surrounding the land, Shall pull down your strength from you And your fortresses will be looted.” 12 Thus says the Lord, “Just as the shepherd snatches from the mouth of the lion a couple of legs or a piece of the [sheep’s] ear [to prove to the owner that he has not stolen the animal], So will the [remaining] children of Israel living in Samaria be snatched away With the corner of a bed and [part of] the damask covering of a couch. 13 “Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,” Says the Lord God, the God of hosts, 14 “On that day when I punish Israel’s transgressions, I shall also punish the altars of Bethel [with their golden calves]; And the horns of the altar shall be cut off And fall to the ground. 15 “And I shall tear down the winter house with the summer house; And the houses of ivory shall also perish And the great houses shall come to an end,” Says the Lord.
“Yet You Have Not Returned to Me”
4 Hear this word, you [well-fed, pampered] cows (women) of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, Who say to their husbands, “Bring [the wine] now, and let us drink!” 2 The Lord God has sworn [an oath] by His holiness That, “Behold, the days are coming upon you When they shall take you away with meat hooks, And the last of you with fish hooks. 3 “And you shall go out through the breaches [made in the city wall], Every woman straight before her [unable to turn aside], And you shall be cast to [j]Harmon,” Says the Lord.
4 “Come to Bethel [where the golden calf is] and transgress; In Gilgal [where idols are worshiped] multiply transgression; Bring your sacrifices every morning, Your tithes every three days! 5 “[k]Offer [by burning] a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, And [boastfully] proclaim freewill offerings, announce them. For this you so love to do, O children of Israel!” Says the Lord God.
6 “I also gave you cleanness of teeth [because of the famine] in all your cities And lack of bread in all your places, Yet you have not returned to Me [in repentance],” says the Lord. 7 “Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you When there were still three months until the harvest. Then I would send rain on one city, And on another city I would not send rain; One piece of ground was rained on, While the part not rained on would dry up. 8 “So [the people of] two or three cities would stagger into one city to drink water, But would not be satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me [in repentance],” says the Lord. 9 “I wounded you with blight [from the hot, blasting east wind] and with mildew; And the caterpillar devoured Your many gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees; Yet you have not returned to Me [in repentance],” says the Lord. 10 “I sent a plague among you like [those of] Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword and I captured your horses, I made the stench of your camp rise up into your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me [in repentance],” says the Lord. 11 “I overthrew and destroyed [some among] you, as [I, your] God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were [rescued] like a log pulled out of the flame; Yet you have not returned to Me [in repentance],” says the Lord. 12 “Therefore this is what I shall do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God [in judgment], O Israel!” 13 For behold, He who forms the mountains and creates the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes the dawn into darkness And treads on the heights of the earth— The Lord God of hosts is His name.
“Seek Me that You May Live”
5 Hear this word which I take up for you as a funeral song, O house of Israel: 2 She has fallen, she will not rise again— The virgin Israel. She lies neglected on her land; There is no one to raise her up. 3 For thus says the Lord God, “The city which goes forth a thousand strong Will have a hundred left, And the one which goes forth a hundred strong Will have ten left to the house of Israel.”
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel,
“Seek Me [search diligently for Me and regard Me as more essential than food] so that you may live. 5 “But do not resort to Bethel [to worship the golden calf] Nor enter [idolatrous] Gilgal, Nor cross over to Beersheba [and its idols]; For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity and exile, And Bethel will come to nothing. 6 “Seek the Lord [search diligently for Him and long for Him as your most essential need] so that you may live, Or He will rush down like a [devouring] fire, O [l]house of Joseph, And there will be no one to quench the flame for [idolatrous] [m]Bethel, 7 “For those [shall be consumed] who turn justice into wormwood (bitterness) And cast righteousness down to the earth.”
8 He who made the [cluster of stars called] Pleiades and [the constellation] Orion, Who turns deep darkness into the morning And darkens the day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The Lord is His name. 9 It is He who causes [sudden] destruction to flash forth on the strong So that destruction comes on the fortress.
10 They hate the one who reprimands [the unrighteous] in the [court held at the city] gate [regarding him as unreasonable and rejecting his reprimand], And they detest him who speaks [the truth] with integrity and honesty. 11 Therefore, because you impose heavy rent on the poor And demand a tribute (food-tax) of grain from them, Though you have built [luxurious] houses of square stone, You will not live in them; You have planted beautiful vineyards, but you will not drink their wine. 12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great (shocking, innumerable), You who distress the righteous and take bribes, And turn away from the poor in the [court of the city] gate [depriving them of justice]. 13 Therefore, he who is prudent and has insight will keep silent at such a [corrupt and evil] time, for it is an evil time [when people will not listen to truth and will disregard those of good character].
14 Seek (long for, require) good and not evil, that you may live; And so may the Lord God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said! 15 Hate evil and love good, And establish justice in the [court of the city] gate. Perhaps the Lord God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph [that is, those who remain after God’s judgment].
16 Therefore, thus says the Lord God of hosts, the Lord,
“There is wailing in all the public plazas, And in all the streets they say, ‘Alas! Alas!’ And they call the farmers to mourning [for those who have died] And professional mourners to wailing. 17 “And in all vineyards there is wailing, For I will pass through your midst [in judgment],” says the Lord.
18 Woe (judgment is coming) to you who desire the day of the Lord [expecting rescue from the Gentiles]! Why would you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness (judgment) and not light [and rescue and prosperity]; 19 It is as if a man runs from a lion [escaping one danger] And a bear meets him [so he dies anyway], Or goes home, and leans with his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. 20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, instead of light, Even very dark with no brightness in it?
21 “I hate, I despise and reject your [sacred] feasts, And I do not take delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 “Even though you offer Me your burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fattened animals. 23 “Take the noise of your songs away from Me [they are an irritation]! I shall not even listen to the melody of your harps. 24 “But let justice run down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream [flowing abundantly].
25 “Did you bring Me sacrifices and grain offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? [Certainly not!] 26 You carried along your king Sikkuth and Kayyun [your man-made gods of Saturn], your images of your star-god which you made for yourselves [but you brought Me none of the appointed sacrifices]. 27 Therefore, I will send you to go into exile far beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.
“Those at Ease in Zion”
6 Woe (judgment is coming) to those who are at ease and carefree in Zion (Judah) And to those on the mountain of Samaria who feel secure, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes. 2 Go over to Calneh [in Babylonia] and look, And from there go [north of Damascus] to the great city of Hamath; Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are they better than these kingdoms [of yours], Or is their territory greater than yours? 3 Do you put off the day of punishment, Yet cause the seat of violence to come near?
4 Those who lie on [luxurious] beds of ivory And lounge around out on their couches, And eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall, 5 Who improvise to the sound of the harp— Like David they have composed songs for themselves— 6 Who drink wine from sacrificial bowls And anoint themselves with the finest oils [reflecting their unrestrained celebration]; Yet they are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph (Israel). 7 Therefore, they will now go into exile with the first of the captives, And the cultic revelry and banqueting of those who lounge around [on their luxurious couches] will pass away.
8 The Lord [n]God has sworn [an oath] by Himself—the Lord God of hosts, says: “I loathe and reject the [self-centered] arrogance of Jacob (Israel), And I hate his palaces and citadels; Therefore, I shall hand over the [idolatrous] city [of Samaria] with all that it contains [to the Assyrian invaders].”
9 And it shall come to pass that if there remain ten men in one house, they shall die [by the pestilence that comes with war]. 10 Then one’s uncle, or his undertaker, shall come to bring the [disease-infected] body out of the house, [to cremate it], and he will say to another in the farthest part of the house, “Is there anyone else with you?” And that one will say, “No one.” Then he will respond, “Hush! Keep quiet! For the name of the Lord is not to be mentioned [even casually, for fear that we might invoke even more punishment].”11 For behold, the Lord is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments.
12 Do horses run on rocks? Do men plow rocks with oxen? [Of course not!] Yet you have turned justice into poison And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood (bitterness), 13 You who [self-confidently] rejoice in [o]Lo-debar (Nothing), Who say, “Have we not by our own strength taken [p]Karnaim (Strength) for ourselves?” 14 “For behold, I am going to stir up a nation against you, O house of Israel,” says the Lord, the God of hosts, “And they will afflict and torment you [to the entire limits of Israel] from the entrance of Hamath [in the north] To the brook of the Arabah [in the south].”
Amos 1:1Tekoa was a small town in Judah about 10 miles south of Jerusalem.
Amos 1:1Amos was from the Southern Kingdom, Judah, but his message of divine judgment was primarily directed to the Northern Kingdom, Israel.
Amos 1:4Hazael ruled from Damascus (842-796 b.c.) as king of Aram (Syria). He was an important official in the court of Hadadezer whom he assassinated and then succeeded.
Amos 1:4Ben-hadad succeeded his father and ruled from 796-775 b.c.
Amos 1:5Perhaps back to the homeland of the Arameans (Syrians). Its location is uncertain.
Amos 1:13Descendants of Ben-ammi, the son born to Lot and his younger daughter (Gen 19:30-38).
Amos 2:1Descendants of Moab, the son born to Lot and his elder daughter (Gen 19:30-38).
Amos 3:7God has always warned of coming judgment in order that people may choose to change their behavior and avoid it. He warned Noah of the coming flood (Gen 6:13ff); Abraham and Lot of the future destruction of Sodom (Gen 18:17; 19:14); Joseph of the seven-year famine (Gen 41:30); Moses of the ten plagues on Egypt (Ex 7:1ff); Jonah of the destruction of Nineveh (Jon 1:2; 3:4); Amos of the downfall of Aram (Syria), Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel (Amos 1 and 2). Various prophets were told in advance about the captivities of the chosen people, and they came to pass because the warnings were disregarded. Jonah announced the destruction of Nineveh, but judgment was postponed following repentance. When later generations of Ninevites reverted to paganism and wickedness, the warning of Nahum was carried out against them.
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