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Amos 3:1-5:17 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Witnesses summoned against Israel

Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you – against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:

‘You only have I chosen
    of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
    for all your sins.’

Do two walk together
    unless they have agreed to do so?
Does a lion roar in the thicket
    when it has no prey?
Does it growl in its den
    when it has caught nothing?
Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground
    when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground
    if it has not caught anything?
When a trumpet sounds in a city,
    do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
    has not the Lord caused it?

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
    without revealing his plan
    to his servants the prophets.

The lion has roared –
    who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken –
    who can but prophesy?

Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod
    and to the fortresses of Egypt:
‘Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria;
    see the great unrest within her
    and the oppression among her people.’

10 ‘They do not know how to do right,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘who store up in their fortresses
    what they have plundered and looted.’

11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

‘An enemy will overrun your land,
    pull down your strongholds
    and plunder your fortresses.’

12 This is what the Lord says:

‘As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth
    only two leg bones or a piece of an ear,
so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued,
    with only the head of a bed
    and a piece of fabric[a] from a couch.’[b]

13 ‘Hear this and testify against the descendants of Jacob,’ declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty.

14 ‘On the day I punish Israel for her sins,
    I will destroy the altars of Bethel;
the horns of the altar will be cut off
    and fall to the ground.
15 I will tear down the winter house
    along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
    and the mansions will be demolished,’
declares the Lord.

Israel has not returned to God

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
    you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
    and say to your husbands, ‘Bring us some drinks!’
The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness:
    ‘The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
    the last of you with fishhooks.[c]
You will each go straight out
    through breaches in the wall,
    and you will be cast out towards Harmon,’[d]
declares the Lord.
‘Go to Bethel and sin;
    go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three years.[e]
Burn leavened bread as a thank-offering
    and brag about your freewill offerings –
boast about them, you Israelites,
    for this is what you love to do,’
declares the Sovereign Lord.

‘I gave you empty stomachs in every city
    and lack of bread in every town,
    yet you have not returned to me,’
declares the Lord.

‘I also withheld rain from you
    when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
    but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
    another had none and dried up.
People staggered from town to town for water
    but did not get enough to drink,
    yet you have not returned to me,’
declares the Lord.

‘Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
    destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
    yet you have not returned to me,’
declares the Lord.

10 ‘I sent plagues among you
    as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
    along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
    yet you have not returned to me,’
declares the Lord.

11 ‘I overthrew some of you
    as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire,
    yet you have not returned to me,’
declares the Lord.

12 ‘Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
    and because I will do this to you, Israel,
    prepare to meet your God.’

13 He who forms the mountains,
    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth –
    the Lord God Almighty is his name.

A lament and call to repentance

Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:

‘Fallen is Virgin Israel,
    never to rise again,
deserted in her own land,
    with no one to lift her up.’

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel:

‘Your city that marches out a thousand strong
    will have only a hundred left;
your town that marches out a hundred strong
    will have only ten left.’

This is what the Lord says to Israel:

‘Seek me and live;
    do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
    do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
    and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.’[f]
Seek the Lord and live,
    or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
    and Bethel will have no one to quench it.

There are those who turn justice into bitterness
    and cast righteousness to the ground.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    who turns midnight into dawn
    and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land –
    the Lord is his name.
With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
    and brings the fortified city to ruin.

10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
    and detest the one who tells the truth.

11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
    and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
    you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
    you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offences
    and how great your sins.

There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
    and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
    for the times are evil.

14 Seek good, not evil,
    that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
    just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
    maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
    on the remnant of Joseph.

16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:

‘There will be wailing in all the streets
    and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
    and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
    for I will pass through your midst,’
says the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Amos 3:12 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  2. Amos 3:12 Or Israelites be rescued, / those who sit in Samaria / on the edge of their beds / and in Damascus on their couches.
  3. Amos 4:2 Or away in baskets, / the last of you in fish baskets
  4. Amos 4:3 Masoretic Text; with a different word division of the Hebrew (see Septuagint) out, you mountain of oppression
  5. Amos 4:4 Or days
  6. Amos 5:5 Hebrew aven, a reference to Beth Aven (a derogatory name for Bethel); see Hosea 4:15.
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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