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Israel Will Be Punished

Do you rulers in Jerusalem
and in the city of Samaria
    feel safe and at ease?
Everyone bows down to you,
and you think you are better
    than any other nation.
But you are in for trouble!
Look what happened
    to the cities of Calneh,
    powerful Hamath,
    and Gath[a] in Philistia.
Are you greater than any
    of those kingdoms?
You are cruel, and you forget
    the coming day of judgment.

You rich people lounge around
    on beds with ivory posts,
while dining on the meat
    of your lambs and calves.
You sing foolish songs
    to the music of harps,
and you make up new tunes,
    just as David used to do.
You drink all the wine you want
    and wear expensive perfume,
but you don’t care about
    the ruin of your nation.[b]
So you will be the first
to be dragged off as captives;
    your good times will end.

The Lord God All-Powerful
    has sworn by his own name:
“You descendants of Jacob
make me angry by your pride,
    and I hate your fortresses.
And so I will surrender your city
and possessions
    to your enemies.”

If only ten of you survive
by hiding in a house
    you will still die.
10 As you carry out a corpse
    to prepare it for burial,[c]
your relative in the house
will ask, “Are there others?”
    You will answer, “No!”
Then your relative will reply,
“Be quiet!
Don’t dare mention
    the name of the Lord.”[d]
11 At the Lord’s command,
houses great and small
    will be smashed to pieces.

12 Horses can’t gallop on rocks;
    oceans[e] can’t be plowed.
But you have turned justice
and fairness
    into bitter poison.
13 You celebrate the defeat
    of Lo-Debar and Karnaim,[f]
and you boast by saying,
    “We did it on our own.”

14 But the Lord God All-Powerful
will send a nation
to attack
    you people of Israel.
They will capture Lebo-Hamath
    in the north,
Arabah Creek[g] in the south,
    and everything in between.

A Vision of Locusts

The Lord God showed me that he is going to send locusts[h] to attack your crops. It will happen after the king has already been given his share of the grain and before the rest of the grain has been harvested.[i] In my vision the locusts ate every crop in the land, and I said to the Lord, “Forgive me for asking, but how can the nation survive? It’s so weak.”

Then the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won’t let it be destroyed.”

A Vision of Fire

The Lord showed me that he is going to send a ball of fire to burn up everything on earth, including the ocean. Then I said, “Won’t you please stop? How can our weak nation survive?”

Again the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won’t let it be destroyed.”

A Vision of a Measuring Line

The Lord showed me a vision of himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it. The string and weight had been used to measure the straightness of the wall. Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A measuring line,” I answered.

The Lord said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up, and I won’t forgive them any more. Their sacred places will be destroyed, and I will send war against the nation of King Jeroboam.”[j]

Amos and Amaziah

10 Amaziah the priest at Bethel sent this message to King Jeroboam of Israel, “Amos is plotting against you in the very heart of Israel. Our nation cannot put up with his message for very long. 11 Here is what he is saying:

‘Jeroboam will be put to death,
and the people will be taken
    to a foreign country.’”

12 Then Amaziah told me, “Amos, take your visions and get out! Go back to Judah and earn your living there as a prophet. 13 Don’t do any more preaching at Bethel. The king worships here at our national temple.”

14 I answered:

I’m not a prophet! And I wasn’t trained to be a prophet. I am a shepherd, and I take care of fig trees. 15 But the Lord told me to leave my herds and preach to the people of Israel. 16 And here you are, telling me not to preach! 17 Now, listen to what the Lord says about you:

Your wife will become
    a prostitute in the city,
your sons and daughters
    will be killed in war,
and your land will be divided
    among others.
You will die in a country
    of foreigners,
and the people of Israel
    will be dragged
    from their homeland.

A Basket of Fruit

The Lord God showed me a basket of ripe fruit and asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A basket of ripe fruit,” I replied.

Then he said,

“This is the end[k]
for my people Israel.
    I won’t forgive them again.
Instead of singing
in the temple,
    they will cry and weep.
Dead bodies will be everywhere.
    So keep silent!
I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Israel Is Doomed

The Lord said:

You people crush those in need
    and wipe out the poor.
You say to yourselves,
“How much longer before the end
    of the New Moon Festival?
When will the Sabbath[l] be over?
Our wheat is ready,
    and we want to sell it now.
We can’t wait to cheat
and charge high prices
    for the grain we sell.
We will use dishonest scales
    and mix dust in the grain.
Those who are needy and poor
    don’t have any money.
We will make them our slaves
for the price
    of a pair of sandals.”

I, the Lord, won’t forget
    any of this,
though you take great pride
    in your ancestor Jacob.[m]
Your country will tremble,
    and you will mourn.
It will be like the Nile River
that rises and overflows,
    then sinks back down.

On that day, I, the Lord God,
will make the sun
    go down at noon,
and I will turn daylight
    into darkness.
10 Your festivals and joyful singing
    will turn into sorrow.
You will wear sackcloth[n]
    and shave your heads,
as you would at the death
of your only son.
    It will be a horrible day.

11 I, the Lord, also promise you
a terrible shortage,
    but not of food and water.
You will hunger and thirst
    to hear my message.
12 You will search everywhere—
from north to south,
    from east to west.
You will go all over the earth,
    seeking a message
from me, the Lord.
    But you won’t find one.

13 Your beautiful young women
and your young men
    will faint from thirst.
14 You made promises
in the name of Ashimah,
    the goddess of Samaria.
And you made vows in my name
at the shrines
    of Dan and Beersheba.[o]
But you will fall
    and never get up.

Judgment on Israel

I saw a vision of the Lord
standing by the temple altar,[p]
    and he said,
“Shake the columns
until the tops fall loose,
    and the doorposts crumble.
Then make the pieces fall
    on the people below.
I will take a sword and kill
    anyone who escapes.

“If they dig deep into the earth
or climb to the sky,
    I’ll reach out and get them.
If they escape to the peaks
of Mount Carmel,
    I’ll search and find them.
And if they hide from me
    at the bottom of the ocean,
I’ll command a sea monster
    to bite them.
I’ll send a sword to kill them,
wherever their enemies
    drag them off as captives.
I’m determined to hurt them,
    not to help them.”

His Name Is the Lord

When the Lord God All-Powerful
touches the earth,
it melts,
    and its people mourn.
God makes the earth rise
and then fall,
    just like the Nile River.
He built his palace in the heavens
and let its foundations
    rest on the earth.[q]
He scoops up the ocean
and empties it on the earth.
    His name is the Lord.

The Lord Is God

Israel, I am the Lord God,
    and the Ethiopians[r]
are no less important to me
    than you are.
I brought you out of Egypt,
    but I also brought
the Philistines from Crete[s]
    and the Arameans from Kir.[t]
My eyes have seen
what a sinful nation you are,
    and I’ll wipe you out.
But I will leave a few
of Jacob’s descendants.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

At my command, all of you
    will be sifted like grain.
Israelites who remain faithful
will be scattered
    among the nations.
And the others will be trapped
    like trash in a sifter.
10 Some of you are evil,
    and you deny
that you will ever get caught.
    But you will be killed.

The Lord’s Promise to Israel

11 In the future, I will rebuild
    David’s fallen kingdom.
I will build it from its ruins
and set it up again,
    just as it used to be.
12 Then you will capture Edom
and the other nations
    that are mine.
I, the Lord, have spoken,
    and my words will come true.

13 You will have such a harvest
    that you won’t be able
to bring in all of your wheat
    before plowing time.
You will have grapes left over
    from season to season;
your fruitful vineyards
    will cover the mountains.

14 I’ll make Israel prosper again.
You will rebuild your towns
    and live in them.
You will drink wine
from your own vineyards
    and eat the fruit you grow.
15 I’ll plant your roots deep
in the land I have given you,
    and you won’t ever
    be uprooted again.
I, the Lord God, have spoken!


  1. 6.2 Calneh. . . Hamath. . . Gath: City-states captured by the Assyrians: Calneh in 738 B.C., Hamath in 720, and Gath in 711.
  2. 6.6 your nation: Hebrew “Joseph’s descendants” (see the note at 5.6).
  3. 6.10 prepare. . . burial: Or “burn it” or “burn incense for it.”
  4. 6.10 the name of the Lord: Two relatives seem to be carrying out corpses for burial. One of them warns the other to be careful not even to say “Thank the Lord!” for fear that the mention of his name may cause something worse to happen.
  5. 6.12 oceans: Or “rocks.”
  6. 6.13 Lo-Debar and Karnaim: Two cities east of the Jordan River that were captured by Jeroboam II (see 2 Kings 14.25). In Hebrew “Lo-Debar” can mean “nothing,” and “Karnaim” means “two horns (of a bull).” Horns were symbols of strength, and so the people are bragging about their military power (defeat of “two horns”), which Amos says is “nothing” (Lo-Debar).
  7. 6.14 Lebo-Hamath. . . Arabah Creek: The northern and southern boundaries of the northern kingdom.
  8. 7.1 locusts: See the note at 4.9.
  9. 7.1 harvested: This would have been an especially bad time for a locust attack. The non-grain crops such as vegetables and onions were just beginning to sprout, and the grain crops were almost ready to be harvested.
  10. 7.9 Jeroboam: Jeroboam II, who ruled Israel 783-743 B.C.
  11. 8.2 end: In Hebrew “ripe fruit” and “end” sound alike.
  12. 8.5 New Moon Festival. . . Sabbath: Selling grain at these times was forbidden by the Law of Moses.
  13. 8.7 though. . . Jacob: Or “though I am the God that Jacob proudly worshiped.”
  14. 8.10 sackcloth: A rough, dark-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow.
  15. 8.14 You made. . . Beersheba: Or “You made promises to the goddess Ashimah at Samaria, and you made vows in the names of other gods at the shrines of Dan and Beersheba.”
  16. 9.1 the temple altar: The one at Bethel.
  17. 9.6 He built. . . earth: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  18. 9.7 Ethiopians: The Hebrew text has “people of Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
  19. 9.7 Crete: Hebrew “Caphtor.”
  20. 9.7 Philistines. . . Arameans from Kir: The Philistines were Israel’s enemies to the west, and the Arameans were enemies to the northeast. For Kir, see the note at 1.5.