6 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! 2 Look what happened to the cities of Calneh, powerful Hamath, and Gath[a] in Philistia. Are you greater than any of those kingdoms? 3 You are cruel, and you forget the coming day of judgment.
4 You rich people lounge around on beds with ivory posts, while dining on the meat of your lambs and calves. 5 You sing foolish songs to the music of harps, and you make up new tunes, just as David used to do. 6 You drink all the wine you want and wear expensive perfume, but you don’t care about the ruin of your nation.[b] 7 So you will be the first to be dragged off as captives; your good times will end.
8 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.”
9 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
7 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]2 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.”
3 Then the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won’t let it be destroyed.”
A Vision of Fire
4 The Lord showed me that he is going to send a ball of fire to burn up everything on earth, including the ocean. 5 Then I said, “Won’t you please stop? How can our weak nation survive?”
6 Again the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won’t let it be destroyed.”
A Vision of a Measuring Line
7 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. 8 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. 9 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
8 The Lord God showed me a basket of ripe fruit 2 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. 3 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:
4 You people crush those in need and wipe out the poor. 5 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 6 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.”
7 I, the Lord, won’t forget any of this, though you take great pride in your ancestor Jacob.[m] 8 Your country will tremble, and you will mourn. It will be like the Nile River that rises and overflows, then sinks back down.
9 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
9 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.
2 “If they dig deep into the earth or climb to the sky, I’ll reach out and get them. 3 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. 4 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
5 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. 6 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
7 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] 8 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!
9 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!
6.2Calneh. . . Hamath. . . Gath: City-states captured by the Assyrians: Calneh in 738 B.C., Hamath in 720, and Gath in 711.
6.6your nation: Hebrew “Joseph’s descendants” (see the note at 5.6).
6.10prepare. . . burial: Or “burn it” or “burn incense for it.”
6.10the 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.
6.13Lo-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).
6.14Lebo-Hamath. . . Arabah Creek: The northern and southern boundaries of the northern kingdom.
7.1harvested: 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.
7.9Jeroboam: Jeroboam II, who ruled Israel 783-743 B.C.
8.2end: In Hebrew “ripe fruit” and “end” sound alike.
8.5New Moon Festival. . . Sabbath: Selling grain at these times was forbidden by the Law of Moses.
8.7though. . . Jacob: Or “though I am the God that Jacob proudly worshiped.”
8.10sackcloth: 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.
8.14You 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.”
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