1 I am Amos. And I raised sheep near the town of Tekoa[a] when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam[b] son of Jehoash[c] was king of Israel.
Two years before the earthquake,[d] the Lord gave me several messages[e] about Israel, 2 and I said:
When the Lord roars from Jerusalem, pasturelands and Mount Carmel dry up and turn brown.
Judgment on Syria
3 The Lord said:
I will punish Syria[f] for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They dragged logs with spikes[g] over the people of Gilead. 4 Now I will burn down the palaces and fortresses of King Hazael and of King Benhadad.[h] 5 I will break through the gates of Damascus. I will destroy the people[i] of Wicked Valley[j] and the ruler of Beth-Eden.[k] Then the Syrians will be dragged as prisoners to Kir.[l] I, the Lord, have spoken!
Judgment on Philistia
6 The Lord said:
I will punish Philistia[m] for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They dragged off my people[n] from town after town to sell them as slaves to the Edomites.
7 That’s why I will burn down the walls and fortresses of the city of Gaza. 8 I will destroy the king[o] of Ashdod and the ruler of Ashkelon. I will strike down Ekron,[p] and that will be the end of the Philistines. I, the Lord, have spoken!
Judgment on Phoenicia
9 The Lord said:
I will punish Phoenicia[q] for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They broke their treaty and dragged off my people[r] from town after town to sell them as slaves to the Edomites. 10 That’s why I will send flames to burn down the city of Tyre along with its fortresses.
Judgment on Edom
11 The Lord said:
I will punish Edom for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They killed their own relatives[s] and were so terribly furious that they showed no mercy. 12 Now I will send fire to wipe out the fortresses of Teman and Bozrah.[t]
Judgment on Ammon
13 The Lord said:
I will punish Ammon for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. In Gilead they ripped open pregnant women, just to take the land.
14 Now I will send fire to destroy the walls and fortresses of Rabbah.[u] Enemies will shout and attack like a whirlwind. 15 Ammon’s king and leaders will be dragged away. I, the Lord, have spoken!
Judgment on Moab
2 The Lord said:
I will punish Moab for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They made lime from the bones[v] of the king of Edom. 2 Now I will send fire to destroy the fortresses of Kerioth.[w] Battle shouts and trumpet blasts will be heard as I destroy Moab 3 with its king and leaders. I, the Lord, have spoken!
Judgment on Judah
4 The Lord said:
I will punish Judah for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They have rejected my teachings and refused to obey me. They were led astray by the same false gods their ancestors worshiped. 5 Now I will send fire on Judah and destroy the fortresses of Jerusalem.
Judgment on Israel
6 The Lord said:
I will punish Israel for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They sell honest people for money, and the needy are sold for the price of sandals. 7 They smear the poor in the dirt and push aside those who are helpless.
My holy name is dishonored, because fathers and sons sleep with the same young women. 8 They lie down beside altars on clothes taken as security for loans. And they drink wine in my temple, wine bought with the money they received from fines.
9 Israel, the Amorites[x] were there when you entered Canaan. They were tall as cedars and strong as oaks. But I wiped them out— I destroyed their branches and their roots. 10 I had rescued you from Egypt, and for forty years I had led you through the desert. Then I gave you the land of the Amorites.
11 I chose some of you to be prophets and others to be Nazirites.[y] People of Israel, you know this is true. I, the Lord, have spoken! 12 But you commanded the prophets not to speak their message, and you pressured the Nazirites into drinking wine.
13 And so I will crush you, just as a wagon full of grain crushes the ground.[z] 14 No matter how fast you run, you won’t escape. No matter how strong you are, you will lose your strength and your life. 15 Even if you are an expert with a bow and arrow, you will retreat. And you won’t get away alive, not even if you run fast or ride a horse. 16 You may be brave and strong, but you will run away, stripped naked. I, the Lord, have spoken! 3 People of Israel, I rescued you from Egypt. Now listen to my judgment against you. 2 Of all nations on earth, you are the only one I have chosen. That’s why I will punish you because of your sins.
The Work of a Prophet
3 Can two people walk together without agreeing to meet? 4 Does a lion roar in the forest unless it has caught a victim? Does it growl in its den unless it is eating? 5 How can anyone catch a bird without using a net? Does a trap spring shut unless something is caught?
6 Isn’t the whole city frightened when the trumpet signals an attack? Isn’t it the Lord who brings disaster on a city? 7 Whatever the Lord God plans to do, he tells his servants, the prophets. 8 Everyone is terrified when a lion roars— and ordinary people become prophets when the Lord God speaks.
Samaria Is Doomed
9 Here is a message for the leaders of Philistia[aa] and Egypt— tell everyone to come together on the hills of Samaria. Let them see the injustice and the lawlessness in that city. 10 The Lord has said that they don’t even know how to do right. They have become rich from violence and robbery. 11 And so the Lord God has sworn that they will be surrounded. Enemies will break through their defenses and steal their treasures.
12 The Lord has promised that only a few from Samaria will escape with their lives and with some broken pieces of their beds and couches.[ab] It will be like when a shepherd rescues two leg bones and part of a sheep’s ear from the jaws of a lion.[ac]
The Altars at Bethel
13 The Lord God All-Powerful told me to speak this message against Jacob’s descendants: 14 When I, the Lord, punish Israel for their sins, I will destroy the altars at Bethel. Even the corners of the altar[ad] will be left in the dirt. 15 I will tear down winter homes and summer homes. Houses decorated with ivory and all other mansions will be gone forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!
1.1Tekoa: In the hill country of Judah about five miles south of Bethlehem.
1.1Uzziah. . . Jeroboam: Uzziah was king of Judah 781-740 B.C., and Jeroboam II was king of Israel 783-743 B.C.
1.1Jehoash: The Hebrew text has “Joash,” another spelling of the name.
1.1Two years. . . earthquake: Possibly the earthquake of 760 B.C., which seems to have been especially violent.
1.5Wicked Valley: The Hebrew text has “Aven Valley,” probably the fertile valley between the Lebanon and the anti-Lebanon mountains.
1.5I will. . . Beth-Eden: Or “I will destroy the people of Wicked Valley and the king who rules from Beth-Eden.” Beth-Eden was a city-state on the banks of the Euphrates River.
1.5Kir: The exact location of this country is not known; in 9.7 Amos refers to Kir as the original home of the Syrians, and so the verse probably means that the Syrians will lose everything they have gained as a people.
1.6Philistia: The Hebrew text has “Gaza,” one of the main Philistine cities.
2.1They. . . bones: They dug up the bodies of kings and made lime out of them to use as whitewash on their houses and walls.
2.2Kerioth: A leading city of Moab and a center for the worship of Chemosh, the chief god of Moab.
2.9Amorites: This word is used for all the people who lived in Canaan at the time Israel took over the land.
2.11Nazirites: People who promised the Lord that they would never drink wine or cut their hair or come in contact with a dead body.
2.13ground: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.
3.9Philistia: The Hebrew text has “Ashdod,” one of the leading cities of Philistia.
3.12some. . . couches: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
3.12lion: When a wild animal attacked and killed a sheep, the shepherd had to rescue part of the sheep and take it to the owner as proof that it had been killed by an animal. Otherwise, the shepherd had to pay the owner the cost of the sheep.
3.14altar: Altars were places of worship but also places of protection. People whose lives were in danger could grab hold of the corners of an altar, and no one was allowed to kill them.
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