Esther made queen

Later when King Xerxes’ fury had subsided, he remembered Vashti and what she had done and what he had decreed about her. Then the king’s personal attendants proposed, ‘Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let beauty treatments be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.’ This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it.

Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin[a] king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. She pleased him and won his favour. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.

10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked to and fro near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.

12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: anything she wanted was given to her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.

15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favour of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.

17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favour and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.

Mordecai uncovers a conspiracy

19 When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana[b] and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 2:6 Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant of Jehoiachin
  2. Esther 2:21 Hebrew Bigthan, a variant of Bigthana

Esther Becomes Queen in Vashti’s Place

When these things had been accomplished[a] and the rage of King Ahasuerus had diminished, he remembered[b] Vashti and what she had done and what had been decided[c] against her. The king’s servants who attended him said, “Let a search be conducted on the king’s behalf for attractive young women.[d] And let the king appoint officers throughout all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the attractive young women to Susa the citadel, to the harem[e] under the authority of Hegai, the king’s eunuch who oversees the women, and let him provide whatever cosmetics they desire.[f] Let the young woman whom the king finds most attractive[g] become queen in place of Vashti.” This seemed like a good idea to the king,[h] so he acted accordingly.

Now there happened to be a Jewish man in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai.[i] He was the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjaminite, who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been carried into exile with Jeconiah[j] king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile. Now he was acting as the guardian of[k] Hadassah[l] (that is, Esther), the daughter of his uncle, for neither her father nor her mother was alive.[m] This young woman was very attractive and had a beautiful figure.[n] When her father and mother died, Mordecai had raised her[o] as if she were his own daughter.

It so happened that when the king’s edict and his law became known[p] many young women were taken to Susa the citadel to be placed under the authority of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the royal palace[q] to be under the authority of Hegai, who was overseeing the women. This young woman pleased him,[r] and she found favor with him. He quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her rations; he also provided her with the seven specially chosen[s] young women who were from the palace. He then transferred her and her young women to the best quarters in the harem.[t]

10 Now Esther had not disclosed her people or her lineage,[u] for Mordecai had instructed her not to do so.[v] 11 And day after day Mordecai used to walk back and forth in front of the court of the harem in order to learn how Esther was doing[w] and what might happen to her.

12 At the end of the twelve months that were required for the women,[x] when the turn of each young woman arrived to go to King Ahasuerus—for in this way they had to fulfill their time of cosmetic treatment: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfume and various ointments used by women— 13 the woman would go to the king in the following way: Whatever she asked for would be provided for her to take with her from the harem to the royal palace. 14 In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to a separate part[y] of the harem, to the authority of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was overseeing the concubines. She would not go back to the king unless the king was pleased with her[z] and she was requested by name.

15 When it became the turn of Esther daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai (who had raised her as if she were his own daughter[aa]) to go to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who was overseer of the women, had recommended. Yet Esther met with the approval of all who saw her. 16 Then Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus at his royal residence in the tenth[ab] month (that is, the month of Tebeth) in the seventh[ac] year of his reign. 17 And the king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she met with his loving approval[ad] more than all the other young women.[ae] So he placed the royal high turban on her head and appointed her queen[af] in place of Vashti. 18 Then the king prepared a large banquet for all his officials and his servants—it was actually Esther’s banquet. He also set aside a holiday for the provinces, and he provided for offerings at the king’s expense.[ag]

Mordecai Learns of a Plot against the King

19 Now when the young women were being gathered again,[ah] Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate.[ai] 20 Esther was still not divulging her lineage or her people,[aj] just as Mordecai had instructed her.[ak] Esther continued to do whatever Mordecai said, just as she had done when he was raising her.

21 In those days while Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan[al] and Teresh,[am] two of the king’s eunuchs who protected the entrance,[an] became angry and plotted to assassinate[ao] King Ahasuerus. 22 When Mordecai learned of the conspiracy,[ap] he informed Queen Esther,[aq] and Esther told the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 The king then had the matter investigated and, finding it to be so, had the two conspirators[ar] hanged on a gallows.[as] It was then recorded in the daily chronicles in the king’s presence.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 2:1 tn Heb “after these things” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV). The expression is very vague from a temporal standpoint, not indicating precisely just how much time might have elapsed. Cf. v. 21.
  2. Esther 2:1 sn There may be a tinge of regret expressed in the king’s remembrance of Vashti. There is perhaps a hint that he wished for her presence once again, although that was not feasible from a practical standpoint. The suggestions by the king’s attendants concerning a replacement seem to be an effort to overcome this nostalgia. Certainly it was to their advantage to seek the betterment of the king’s outlook. Those around him the most were probably the most likely to suffer the effects of his ire.
  3. Esther 2:1 tn Or “decreed” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV); TEV “and about his proclamation against her.”
  4. Esther 2:2 tn Heb “young women, virgins, good of form.” The same phrase also occurs in v. 3.
  5. Esther 2:3 tn Heb “the house of the women” (so KJV, ASV). So also in vv. 9, 11, 13, and 14.
  6. Esther 2:3 tn Heb “their ointments”; cf. NIV, CEV, NLT “beauty treatments.”
  7. Esther 2:4 tn Heb “who is good in the eyes of the king.”
  8. Esther 2:4 tn Heb “the matter was good in the eyes of the king.” Cf. TEV “The king thought this was good advice.”
  9. Esther 2:5 sn Mordecai is a pagan name that reflects the name of the Babylonian deity Marduk. Probably many Jews of the period had two names, one for secular use and the other for use especially within the Jewish community. Mordecai’s Jewish name is not recorded in the biblical text.
  10. Esther 2:6 sn Jeconiah is an alternative name for Jehoiachin. A number of modern English versions use the latter name to avoid confusion (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).
  11. Esther 2:7 tn According to HALOT 64 s.v. II אמן the term אֹמֵן (ʾomen) means: (1) “attendant” of children (Num 11:12; Isa 49:23); (2) “guardian” (2 Kgs 10:1, 5; Esth 2:7); (3) “nurse-maid” (2 Sam 4:4; Ruth 4:16); and (4) “to look after” (Isa 60:4; Lam 4:5). Older lexicons did not distinguish this root from the homonym I אָמַן (ʾaman, “to support; to confirm”; cf. BDB 52 s.v. אָמַן). This is reflected in a number of translations by use of a phrase like “brought up” (KJV, ASV, RSV, NIV) or “bringing up” (NASB).
  12. Esther 2:7 sn Hadassah is a Jewish name that probably means “myrtle”; the name Esther probably derives from the Persian word for “star,” although some scholars derive it from the name of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. Esther is not the only biblical character for whom two different names were used. Daniel (renamed Belteshazzar) and his three friends Hananiah (renamed Shadrach), Mishael (renamed Meshach), and Azariah (renamed Abednego) were also given different names by their captors.
  13. Esther 2:7 tn Heb “for there was not to her father or mother.” This is universally understood to mean Esther’s father and mother were no longer alive.
  14. Esther 2:7 tn Heb “beautiful of form.” The Hebrew noun תֹּאַר (toʾar, “form; shape”) is used elsewhere to describe the physical bodily shape of a beautiful woman (Gen 29:17; Deut 21:11; 1 Sam 25:3); see BDB 1061 s.v. Cf. TEV “had a good figure.”
  15. Esther 2:7 tn Heb “had taken her to him.” The Hebrew verb לָקַח (laqakh, “to take”) describes Mordecai adopting Esther and treating her like his own daughter: “to take as one’s own property” as a daughter (HALOT 534 s.v. I לקח 6).
  16. Esther 2:8 tn Heb “were heard” (so NASB); NRSV “were (had been NIV) proclaimed.”
  17. Esther 2:8 tn Heb “the house of the king.” So also in vv. 9, 13. Cf. NLT “the king’s harem.”
  18. Esther 2:9 tn Heb “was good in his eyes”; NLT “Hegai was very impressed with Esther.”
  19. Esther 2:9 tn Heb “being looked at (with favor).”
  20. Esther 2:9 tn Heb “of the house of the women” (so KJV, ASV). So also in vv. 11, 13, 14.
  21. Esther 2:10 tn Cf. v. 20, where the same phrase occurs but with the word order reversed.
  22. Esther 2:10 tn Heb “that she not tell” (NRSV similar); NASB “that she should not make them known.”
  23. Esther 2:11 tn Heb “to know the peace of Esther.”
  24. Esther 2:12 tc The LXX does not include the words “that were required for the women.”tn Heb “to be to her according to the law of the women”; NASB “under the regulations for the women.”
  25. Esther 2:14 tn Heb “second.” The numerical adjective שֵׁנִי (sheni, “second”) is difficult here. As a modifier for “house” in v. 14 the word would presumably refer to a second part of the harem, one which was under the supervision of a separate official. But in this case the definite article would be expected before “second” (cf. LXX τὸν δεύτερον, ton deuteron). Some scholars emend the text to שֵׁנִית (shenit, “a second time”), but this does not completely resolve the difficulty since the meaning remains unclear. The translation adopted above follows the LXX and understands the word to refer to a separate group of women in the king’s harem, a group housed apparently in a distinct part of the residence complex.
  26. Esther 2:14 tc The LXX does not include the words “was pleased with her.”
  27. Esther 2:15 tn Heb “who had taken her to him as a daughter”; NRSV “who had adopted her as his own daughter.”
  28. Esther 2:16 tc The Greek mss Codex Alexandrinus (A) and Codex Vaticanus (B) read “twelfth” here.
  29. Esther 2:16 tc The Syriac Peshitta reads “fourth” here.
  30. Esther 2:17 tn Heb “grace and loyal love.” The expression is probably a hendiadys.
  31. Esther 2:17 tc The LXX does not include the words “more than all the other young women.”
  32. Esther 2:17 tn Heb “caused her to rule.”
  33. Esther 2:18 tc The LXX does not include the words “and he provided for offerings at the king’s expense.”
  34. Esther 2:19 tc The LXX does not include the words “Now when the young women were being gathered again.” The Hebrew word שֵׁנִית (shenit, “a second time”) is difficult in v. 19, but apparently it refers to a subsequent regathering of the women to the harem.
  35. Esther 2:19 sn That Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate apparently means that he was a high-ranking government official. It was at the city gate where important business was transacted. Being in this position afforded Mordecai an opportunity to become aware of the plot against the king’s life, although the author does not include the particular details of how this information first came to Mordecai’s attention.
  36. Esther 2:20 sn That Esther was able so effectively to conceal her Jewish heritage suggests that she was not consistently observing Jewish dietary and religious requirements. As C. A. Moore observes, “In order for Esther to have concealed her ethnic and religious identity…in the harem, she must have eaten…, dressed, and lived like a Persian rather than an observant Jewess” (Esther [AB], 28.) In this regard her public behavior stands in contrast to that of Daniel, for example.
  37. Esther 2:20 tc The LXX adds the words “to fear God.”
  38. Esther 2:21 tn This individual is referred to as “Bigthana,” a variant spelling of the name, in Esth 6:2.
  39. Esther 2:21 tc The LXX does not include the names “Bigthan and Teresh” here.
  40. Esther 2:21 tn Heb “guarders of the threshold”; NIV “who guarded the doorway.”
  41. Esther 2:21 tn Heb “sought to send a hand against”; CEV “decided to kill.”
  42. Esther 2:22 sn The text of Esther does not disclose exactly how Mordecai learned about the plot against the king’s life. Ancient Jewish traditions state that Mordecai overheard conspiratorial conversation, or that an informant brought this information to him, or that it came to him as a result of divine prompting. These conjectures are all without adequate support from the biblical text. The author simply does not tell the source of Mordecai’s insight into this momentous event.
  43. Esther 2:22 tc The LXX simply reads “Esther” and does not include “the queen.”
  44. Esther 2:23 tn Heb “they both were hanged.” The referent (the two eunuchs who conspired against the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  45. Esther 2:23 tn Or “on a pole”; KJV, ASV “on a tree.”

Locusts, fire and a plumb-line

This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: he was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, ‘Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!’

So the Lord relented.

‘This will not happen,’ the Lord said.

This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: the Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, ‘Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!’

So the Lord relented.

‘This will not happen either,’ the Sovereign Lord said.

This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb,[a] with a plumb-line[b] in his hand. And the Lord asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’

‘A plumb-line,’ I replied.

Then the Lord said, ‘Look, I am setting a plumb-line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

‘The high places of Isaac will be destroyed
    and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined;
    with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.’

Amos and Amaziah

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: ‘Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. 11 For this is what Amos is saying:

‘“Jeroboam will die by the sword,
    and Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.”’

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, ‘Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy any more at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.’

14 Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” 16 Now then, hear the word of the Lord. You say,

‘“Do not prophesy against Israel,
    and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.”

17 ‘Therefore this is what the Lord says:

‘“Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.
Your land will be measured and divided up,
    and you yourself will die in a pagan[c] country.
And Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.”’

Footnotes

  1. Amos 7:7 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  2. Amos 7:7 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain; also in verse 8.
  3. Amos 7:17 Hebrew an unclean

Symbolic Visions of Judgment

The Sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw[a] him making locusts just as the crops planted late[b] were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest.[c]) When they had completely consumed the earth’s vegetation, I said,

“Sovereign Lord, forgive Israel![d]
How can Jacob survive?[e]
He is too weak!”[f]

The Lord decided not to do this.[g] “It will not happen,” the Lord said.

The Sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw[h] the Sovereign Lord summoning a shower of fire.[i] It consumed the great deep and devoured the fields. I said,

“Sovereign Lord, stop!
How can Jacob survive?[j]
He is too weak!”[k]

The Lord decided not to do this.[l] The Sovereign Lord said, “This will not happen either.”

He showed me this: I saw[m] the Lord[n] standing by a tin[o] wall holding tin in his hand. The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” I said, “Tin.” The Lord then said,

“Look, I am about to place tin[p] among my people Israel.
I will no longer overlook their sin.[q]
Isaac’s centers of worship[r] will become desolate;
Israel’s holy places will be in ruins.
I will attack Jeroboam’s dynasty with the sword.”[s]

Amos Confronts a Priest

10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent this message[t] to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is conspiring against you in the very heart of the kingdom of Israel![u] The land cannot endure all his prophecies.[v] 11 As a matter of fact,[w] Amos is saying this: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly be carried into exile[x] away from its land.’”

12 Amaziah then said to Amos, “Leave, you visionary![y] Run away to the land of Judah. Earn your living[z] and prophesy there! 13 Don’t prophesy at Bethel any longer, for a royal temple and palace are here.”[aa]

14 Amos replied[ab] to Amaziah, “I was not a prophet by profession.[ac] No,[ad] I was a herdsman who also took care of[ae] sycamore fig trees.[af] 15 Then the Lord took me from tending[ag] flocks and gave me this commission,[ah] ‘Go! Prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 So now listen to the Lord’s message! You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel! Don’t preach[ai] against the family of Isaac!’

17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:

‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the streets[aj]
and your sons and daughters will die violently.[ak]
Your land will be given to others[al]
and you will die in a foreign[am] land.
Israel will certainly be carried into exile[an] away from its land.’”

Footnotes

  1. Amos 7:1 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
  2. Amos 7:1 sn The crops planted late (consisting of vegetables) were planted in late January-early March and sprouted in conjunction with the spring rains of March-April. For a discussion of the ancient Israelite agricultural calendar, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 31-44.
  3. Amos 7:1 tn Or “the mowings of the king.”sn This royal harvest may refer to an initial mowing of crops collected as taxes by the royal authorities.
  4. Amos 7:2 tn “Israel” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
  5. Amos 7:2 tn Heb “stand” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).
  6. Amos 7:2 tn Heb “small.”
  7. Amos 7:3 tn Or “changed his mind about this.”
  8. Amos 7:4 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
  9. Amos 7:4 tc The Hebrew appears to read, “summoning to contend with fire,” or “summoning fire to contend,” but both are problematic syntactically (H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos [Hermeneia], 292; S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 230-31). Many emend the text to לרבב אשׁ, “(calling) for a shower of fire,” though this interpretation is also problematic (see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 746-47).
  10. Amos 7:5 tn Heb “stand.”
  11. Amos 7:5 tn Heb “small.”
  12. Amos 7:6 tn Or “changed his mind about this.”
  13. Amos 7:7 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”
  14. Amos 7:7 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in the following verse is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  15. Amos 7:7 tn The Hebrew word אֲנָךְ (ʾanakh), “tin,” occurs only in this passage (twice in verse 7 and twice in verse 8). The meaning “tin” is based on its Akkadian cognate annaku. The traditional interpretation of these verses (reflected in many English versions) assumed that אֲנָךְ meant “lead.” Since lead might be used for a plumb line, and a plumb line might be used when building wall, the “lead” wall was assumed to be a wall built “true to plumb” while God holds a “lead” weighted plumb line in his hand. In this view the plumb line represents a standard of evaluation. This understanding developed before Akkadian was deciphered and the type of metal clearly identified for annaku. (In Hebrew “lead” is עֹפֶרֶת; ʿoferet.) Realizing that אֲנָךְ (ʾanakh) means “tin” has lead to other proposed interpretations. Some view the tin wall and piece of tin as symbolic. If the tin wall of the vision symbolizes Israel, it may suggest weakness and vulnerability to judgment. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 233-35. Another option understands the Lord to have ripped off a piece of the tin wall and placed it in front of all to see. Their citadels, of which the nation was so proud and confident, are nothing more than tin fortresses. Various proposals depend on selecting some quality about tin and suggesting a role for that in this context. However, it is more likely that this is a case of a sound play like the next vision in Amos 8:1-2 (see also Jer 1:11-14). With the presentation technique of a sound play, the vision is not the prophecy, only the occasion for the prophecy. God gets the prophet to say a certain sound and then spins the prophecy off that. See the note at 7:8.
  16. Amos 7:8 sn The next vision clearly shows the technique of using a sound play. In 8:1 and 7:7 (cf. Jer 1:11-14) God shows the prophet an object, then asks what he sees. When the prophet responds, the last word becomes the jumping off point for the prophetic word. Based on the similar structure to the vision in 8:1-2 we expect a sound play here as well. But exactly how it works is uncertain. Possibly the term אֲנָךְ (ʾanakh) in v. 8b is a homonym meaning “grief” (this term is attested in post-biblical Hebrew). In this case God is saying that he will put grief in the midst of Israel, meaning that he is sending judgment. Judgment was also threatened in the first two visions of Amos 7. See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos (AB), 759. Another possibility is that אֲנָךְ is supposed to sound like a pronominal suffix on the verb. While it would not fit the normal verb paradigm exactly, it is close to how a second person masculine singular suffix could sound (more typical of the pausal second masculine singular suffix on nouns or prepositions). In this case God is saying to Amos, “I am about to place you in the midst of Israel.” In the next section of the chapter, Amos relates how God sent him to preach to Israel (7:15). Amaziah the priest rejects Amos’ message, leading to God declaring the “end” (8:2) for Israel.
  17. Amos 7:8 tn Heb “And I will no longer pass over him.”
  18. Amos 7:9 tn Traditionally, “the high places” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); cf. NLT “pagan shrines.”
  19. Amos 7:9 tn Heb “And I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with a sword.”
  20. Amos 7:10 tn The direct object of the verb translated “sent” is elided in the Hebrew text. The words “this message” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.
  21. Amos 7:10 tn Heb “in the middle of the house of Israel.”
  22. Amos 7:10 tn Heb “words.”
  23. Amos 7:11 tn Or “for.”
  24. Amos 7:11 tn See the note on the word “exile” in 5:5.
  25. Amos 7:12 tn Traditionally, “seer.” The word is a synonym for “prophet,” though it may carry a derogatory tone on the lips of Amaziah.
  26. Amos 7:12 tn Heb “Eat bread there.”
  27. Amos 7:13 tn Heb “for it is a temple of a king and it is a royal house.” It is possible that the phrase “royal house” refers to a temple rather than a palace. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 243.
  28. Amos 7:14 tn Heb “replied and said.” The phrase “and said” is pleonastic (redundant) and has not been included in the translation.
  29. Amos 7:14 tn Heb “I was not a prophet nor was I the son of a prophet.” The phrase “son of a prophet” refers to one who was trained in a prophetic guild. Since there is no equative verb present in the Hebrew text, another option is to translate with the present tense, “I am not a prophet by profession.” In this case Amos, though now carrying out a prophetic ministry (v. 15), denies any official or professional prophetic status. Modern English versions are divided about whether to understand the past (JB, NIV, NKJV) or present tense (NASB, NEB, NRSV, NJPS) here.
  30. Amos 7:14 tn Heb “for.”
  31. Amos 7:14 tn Heb “gashed”; or “pierced.”sn For a discussion of the agricultural background, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 128-29.
  32. Amos 7:14 sn It is possible that herdsmen agreed to care for sycamore fig trees in exchange for grazing rights. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 116-17. Since these trees do not grow around Tekoa but rather in the lowlands, another option is that Amos owned other property outside his hometown. In this case, this verse demonstrates his relative wealth and is his response to Amaziah; he did not depend on prophecy as a profession (v. 13).
  33. Amos 7:15 tn Heb “from [following] after.”
  34. Amos 7:15 tn Heb “and the Lord said to me.”
  35. Amos 7:16 tn The verb, which literally means “to drip,” appears to be a synonym of “to prophesy,” but it might carry a derogatory tone here, perhaps alluding to the impassioned, frenzied way in which prophets sometimes delivered their messages. If so, one could translate, “to drivel; to foam at the mouth” (see HALOT 694 s.v. נטף).
  36. Amos 7:17 tn Heb “in the city,” that is, “in public.”
  37. Amos 7:17 tn Heb “will fall by the sword.”
  38. Amos 7:17 tn Heb “will be divided up with a [surveyor’s] measuring line.”
  39. Amos 7:17 tn Heb “[an] unclean”; or “[an] impure.” This fate would be especially humiliating for a priest, who was to distinguish between the ritually clean and unclean (see Lev 10:10).
  40. Amos 7:17 tn See the note on the word “exile” in 5:5.

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

Appointing elders who love what is good

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Rebuking those who fail to do good

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’[c] 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Footnotes

  1. Titus 1:5 Or ordain
  2. Titus 1:6 Or children are trustworthy
  3. Titus 1:12 From the Cretan philosopher Epimenides

Salutation

From Paul,[a] a slave[b] of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith[c] of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before time began.[d] But now in his own time[e] he has made his message evident through the preaching I was entrusted with according to the command of God our Savior. To Titus, my genuine son in a common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior!

Titus’ Task on Crete

The reason I left you in Crete was to set in order the remaining matters and to appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless,[f] the husband of one wife,[g] with faithful children[h] who cannot be charged with dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer[i] must be blameless as one entrusted with God’s work,[j] not arrogant, not prone to anger, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy for gain. Instead he must be hospitable, devoted to what is good, sensible, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must hold firmly to the faithful message as it has been taught,[k] so that he will be able to give exhortation in such healthy teaching[l] and correct those who speak against it.

10 For there are many[m] rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections,[n] 11 who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught. 12 A certain one of them, in fact, one of their own prophets, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”[o] 13 Such testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply that they may be healthy in the faith 14 and not pay attention to Jewish myths[p] and commands of people who reject the truth. 15 All is pure to those who are pure. But to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They profess to know God but with their deeds they deny him, since they are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed.

Footnotes

  1. Titus 1:1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
  2. Titus 1:1 tn Traditionally, “servant” or “bondservant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. Also, many slaves in the Roman world became slaves through Rome’s subjugation of conquered nations, kidnapping, or by being born into slave households. sn Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
  3. Titus 1:1 tn Grk “for the faith,” possibly, “in accordance with the faith.”
  4. Titus 1:2 tn Grk “before eternal times.”
  5. Titus 1:3 tn The Greek text emphasizes the contrast between vv. 2b and 3a: God promised this long ago but now has revealed it in his own time.
  6. Titus 1:6 tn Grk “if anyone is blameless…” as a continuation of v. 5b, beginning to describe the elder’s character.
  7. Titus 1:6 tn Or “married only once,” “devoted solely to his wife.” See the note on “wife” in 1 Tim 3:2; also 1 Tim 3:12; 5:9.
  8. Titus 1:6 tn Or “believing children.” The phrase could be translated “believing children,” but the parallel with 1 Tim 3:4 (“keeping his children in control”) argues for the sense given in the translation.
  9. Titus 1:7 sn The overseer is another term for the same official position of leadership as the “elder.” This is seen in the interchange of the two terms in this passage and in Acts 20:17, 28, as well as in the parallels between these verses and 1 Tim 3:1-7.
  10. Titus 1:7 tn Grk “as God’s steward.”
  11. Titus 1:9 tn Grk “the faithful message in accordance with the teaching” (referring to apostolic teaching).
  12. Titus 1:9 tn Grk “the healthy teaching” (referring to what was just mentioned).
  13. Titus 1:10 tc ‡ The earliest and best mss lack καί (kai) after πολλοί (polloi; so א A C P 088 81 104 365 614 629 630 al sy co), though the conjunction is found in several significant witnesses, chiefly of the Western and Byzantine texts (D F G I Ψ 33 1241 1505 1739 1881 M lat), giving the sense “also many.” Although it is possible that some scribes omitted the word, thinking it was superfluous, it is also possible that others added the conjunction for clarification. Judging by the pedigree of the witnesses and the inconclusiveness of the internal evidence, the shorter reading is considered to be most likely autographic. NA28 puts the conjunction in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.
  14. Titus 1:10 tn Grk “those of the circumcision.” Some translations take this to refer to Jewish converts to Christianity (cf. NAB “Jewish Christians”; TEV “converts from Judaism”; CEV “Jewish followers”) while others are less clear (cf. NLT “those who insist on circumcision for salvation”).
  15. Titus 1:12 sn A saying attributed to the poet Epimenides of Crete (6th century b.c.).
  16. Titus 1:14 sn Jewish myths were legendary tales characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus and Crete. See parallels in 1 Tim 1:4; 4:7; and 2 Tim 4:4.

Doing good for the sake of the gospel

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Conduct Consistent with Sound Teaching

But as for you, communicate the behavior that goes with[a] sound teaching. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, self-controlled,[b] sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.[c] Older women likewise are to exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy, not slandering, not slaves to excessive drinking, but teaching what is good. In this way[d] they will train[e] the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled,[f] pure, fulfilling their duties at home,[g] kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the message[h] of God may not be discredited.[i] Encourage younger men likewise to be self-controlled,[j] showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss,[k] because he has nothing evil to say about us. Slaves[l] are to be subject to their own masters in everything,[m] to do what is wanted and not talk back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith,[n] in order to bring credit to[o] the teaching of God our Savior in everything.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.[p] 12 It trains us[q] to reject godless ways[r] and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing[s] of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.[t] 14 He[u] gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his,[v] who are eager to do good.[w] 15 So communicate these things with the sort of exhortation or rebuke[x] that carries full authority.[y] Don’t let anyone look down[z] on you.

Footnotes

  1. Titus 2:1 tn Grk “say what is fitting for sound teaching” (introducing the behavior called for in this chapter.).
  2. Titus 2:2 tn Or “sensible.”
  3. Titus 2:2 sn Temperate…in endurance. See the same cluster of virtues in 1 Thess 1:3 and 1 Cor 13:13.
  4. Titus 2:4 tn Grk “that they may train” (continuing the sentence of 2:3).
  5. Titus 2:4 tn This verb, σωφρονίζω (sōphronizō), denotes teaching in the sense of bringing people to their senses, showing what sound thinking is.
  6. Titus 2:5 tn Or “sensible.”
  7. Titus 2:5 tn Grk “domestic,” “keeping house.”
  8. Titus 2:5 tn Or “word.”
  9. Titus 2:5 tn Or “slandered.”
  10. Titus 2:6 tn Or “sensible.”
  11. Titus 2:8 tn Or “put to shame.”
  12. Titus 2:9 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 1:1.
  13. Titus 2:9 tn Or “to be subject to their own masters, to do what is wanted in everything.”
  14. Titus 2:10 tn Or “showing that genuine faith is productive.” At issue between these two translations is the force of ἀγαθήν (agathēn): Is it attributive (as the text has it) or predicate (as in this note)? A number of considerations point in the direction of a predicate ἀγαθήν (e.g., separation from the noun πίστιν [pistin] by the verb, the possibility that the construction is an object-complement, etc.), though this is not usually seen as an option in either translations or commentaries. Cf. ExSyn 188-89, 312-13, for a discussion. Contextually, it makes an intriguing statement, for it suggests a synthetic or synonymous parallel: “‘Slaves should be wholly subject to their masters…demonstrating that all [genuine] faith is productive, with the result [ecbatic ἵνα] that they will completely adorn the doctrine of God.’ The point of the text, then, if this understanding is correct, is an exhortation to slaves to demonstrate that their faith is sincere and results in holy behavior. If taken this way, the text seems to support the idea that saving faith does not fail, but even results in good works” (ExSyn 312-13). The translation of ἀγαθήν as an attributive adjective, however, also makes good sense.
  15. Titus 2:10 tn Or “adorn,” “show the beauty of.”
  16. Titus 2:11 tn Grk “all men”; but ἀνθρώποις (anthrōpois) is generic here, referring to both men and women.
  17. Titus 2:12 tn Grk “training us” (as a continuation of the previous clause). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started at the beginning of v. 12 by translating the participle παιδεύουσα (paideuousa) as a finite verb and supplying the pronoun “it” as subject.
  18. Titus 2:12 tn Grk “ungodliness.”
  19. Titus 2:13 tn Grk “the blessed hope and glorious appearing.”
  20. Titus 2:13 tn The terms “God and Savior” both refer to the same person, Jesus Christ. This is one of the clearest statements in the NT concerning the deity of Christ. The construction in Greek is known as the Granville Sharp rule, named after the English philanthropist-linguist who first clearly articulated the rule in 1798. Sharp pointed out that in the construction article-noun-καί-noun (where καί [kai] = “and”), when two nouns are singular, personal, and common (i.e., not proper names), they always had the same referent. Illustrations such as “the friend and brother,” “the God and Father,” etc. abound in the NT to prove Sharp’s point. The only issue is whether terms such as “God” and “Savior” could be considered common nouns as opposed to proper names. Sharp and others who followed (such as T. F. Middleton in his masterful The Doctrine of the Greek Article) demonstrated that a proper name in Greek was one that could not be pluralized. Since both “God” (θεός, theos) and “savior” (σωτήρ, sōtēr) were occasionally found in the plural, they did not constitute proper names, and hence, do fit Sharp’s rule. Although there have been 200 years of attempts to dislodge Sharp’s rule, all attempts have been futile. Sharp’s rule stands vindicated after all the dust has settled. For more information on Sharp’s rule see ExSyn 270-78, esp. 276. See also 2 Pet 1:1 and Jude 4.
  21. Titus 2:14 tn Grk “who” (as a continuation of the previous clause).
  22. Titus 2:14 tn Or “a people who are his very own.”
  23. Titus 2:14 tn Grk “for good works.”
  24. Titus 2:15 tn Or “reproof,” “censure.” The Greek word ἐλέγχω (elenchō) implies exposing someone’s sin in order to bring correction.
  25. Titus 2:15 tn Grk “speak these things and exhort and rebuke with all authority.”
  26. Titus 2:15 tn Or “let anyone despise you”; or “let anyone disregard you.”

Saved in order to do good

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle towards everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

Final remarks

12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all.

Conduct Toward Those Outside the Church

Remind them to be subject to rulers and[a] authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work. They must not slander[b] anyone, but be peaceable, gentle, showing complete courtesy to all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. [c] But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure[d] through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so,[e] since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”[f]

Summary of the Letter

This saying[g] is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on such truths,[h] so that those who have placed their faith in God may be intent on engaging in good works. These things are good and beneficial for all people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies,[i] quarrels, and fights about the law,[j] because they are useless and empty. 10 Reject a divisive person after one or two warnings. 11 You know[k] that such a person is twisted by sin[l] and is conscious of it himself.[m]

Final Instructions and Greeting

12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Make every effort to help[n] Zenas the lawyer[o] and Apollos on their way; make sure they have what they need.[p] 14 Here is another way that our people[q] can learn[r] to engage in good works to meet pressing needs and so not be unfruitful. 15 Everyone with me greets you. Greet those who love us in the faith.[s] Grace be with you all.[t]

Footnotes

  1. Titus 3:1 tc Most later witnesses (D1 0278 1241 1505 M lat sy) have καί (kai, “and”) after ἀρχαῖς (archais, “rulers”), though the earliest and best witnesses (א A C D* F G Ψ 33 104 1739 1881) lack the conjunction. Although the καί is most likely not authentic, it has been added in translation due to the requirements of English style. For more discussion, see TCGNT 586.
  2. Titus 3:2 tn Or “discredit,” “damage the reputation of.”
  3. Titus 3:4 tn Verses 4-7 are set as poetry in NA28. These verses probably constitute the referent of the expression “this saying” in v. 8.
  4. Titus 3:6 tn Or “on us richly.”
  5. Titus 3:7 tn This is the conclusion of a single, skillfully composed sentence in Greek encompassing Titus 3:4-7. Showing the goal of God’s merciful salvation, v. 7 begins literally, “in order that, being justified…we might become heirs…”
  6. Titus 3:7 tn Grk “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
  7. Titus 3:8 sn This saying (Grk “the saying”) refers to the preceding citation (Titus 3:4-7). See 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11 for other occurrences of this phrase.
  8. Titus 3:8 tn Grk “concerning these things.”
  9. Titus 3:9 tn Cf. 1 Tim 1:4.
  10. Titus 3:9 sn Fights about the law were characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus as well as in Crete (cf. 1 Tim 1:3-7; Titus 1:10, 14).
  11. Titus 3:11 tn Grk “knowing” (as a continuation of the previous clause).
  12. Titus 3:11 tn Grk “is perverted and is sinning.”
  13. Titus 3:11 tn Grk “is sinning, being self-condemned.”
  14. Titus 3:13 tn Grk “Eagerly help.”
  15. Titus 3:13 tn Although it is possible the term νομικός (nomikos) indicates an expert in Jewish religious law here, according to L&N 33.338 and 56.37 it is more probable that Zenas was a specialist in civil law.
  16. Titus 3:13 tn Grk “that nothing may be lacking for them.”
  17. Titus 3:14 tn Grk “that those who are ours” (referring to the Christians).
  18. Titus 3:14 tn Grk “and also let our people learn.”
  19. Titus 3:15 tn Or “faithfully.”
  20. Titus 3:15 tc Most witnesses (א2 D1 F G H Ψ 0278 1241 1505 M lat sy bo) conclude this letter with ἀμήν (amēn, “amen”). Such a conclusion is routinely added by scribes to NT books because a few of these books originally had such an ending (cf. Rom 16:27; Gal 6:18; Jude 25). A majority of Greek witnesses have the concluding ἀμήν in every NT book except Acts, James, and 3 John (and even in these books, ἀμήν is found in some witnesses). It is thus a predictable variant. Further, early and excellent witnesses (א* A C D* 048 33 81 1739 1881 sa) lack the particle, rendering the omission the preferred reading.