BOOK ENDS. Seraphim, April 2009.
JB AMOS Chapter 1
1:1 Words of Amos who was one of the shepherds of Tekoa. The visions he had about Israel in the time of Uzziah king of Judah and ofJeroboam[*a] son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
1:2 He said: Yahweh roars from Zion, and makes his voice heard from Jerusalem; the shepherds’ pastures mourn, and the crown of Carmel withers.
- JUDGEMENT ON THE NEIGHBOURS OF ISRAEL AND ON ISRAEL ITSELF
1:3 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes,[*b] of Damascus I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have thrashed Gilead with iron threshing-sledges,
1:4 I am going to hurl fire on the House of Hazael
1:5 to burn up Ben-hadad’s[*c] palaces; I am going to break the gate bars of Damascus, and cut down the one enthroned at Bikath-aven and thesceptred one at Beth-eden;[*d] and the people of Aram shall go captive to Kir, says Yahweh.
Gaza and Philistia
1:6 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Gaza I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have deported entire nations as slaves to Edom,
1:7 I am going to hurl fire on the walls of Gaza to burn up her palaces.
1:8 I am going to cut down the one enthroned at Ashdod and the sceptred one at Ashkelon; I am going to turn my hand against Ekron until the last of the Philistines is dead, says Yahweh.
Tyre and Phoenicia
1:9 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Tyre I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have deported entire nations as slaves to Edom and have not remembered the covenant of brotherhood,
1:10 I am going to hurl fire on the walls of Tyre to burn up her palaces.
1:11 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Edom I have made my decree and will not relent: because he has persecuted his brother with the sword, stifling his pity, persistently nursing his fury and ever cherishing his rage,
1:12 I am going to hurl fire on Teman[*e] to burn up the palaces of Bozrah.
1:13 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of the sons of Ammon I have made my decree and will not relent: because they havedisembowelled the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend their own frontiers,
1:14 I am going to light a fire against the wall of Rabbah to burn up her palaces, to the sound of war-cries on the day of battle, amid storms on a day of hurricane;
1:15 and their king shall go into exile, he and his princes with him, says Yahweh.
JB AMOS Chapter 2
2:1 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Moab I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have burnt the bones of the king[*a] of Edom for lime,
2:2 I am going to hurl fire on Moab to burn up the palaces of Kerioth, and Moab shall die in tumult, to the sound of war cries and the blare of trumpets;
2:3 I will cut down the chieftain inside her and slaughter all her princes with him, says Yahweh.
2:4 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Judah I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have rejected the Law of Yahweh and failed to keep his precepts, because the false gods which their ancestors followed have led them astray,
2:5 I am going to hurl fire on Judah to burn up the palaces of Jerusalem.
2:6 Yahweh says this: For the three crimes, the four crimes, of Israel I have made my decree and will not relent: because they have sold the virtuous man for silver and the poor man for a pair of sandals,
2:7 because they trample on the heads of ordinary people and push the poor out of their path, because father and son have both resorted to the same girl,[*b] profaning my holy name,
2:8 because they stretch themselves out by the side of every altar on clothes acquired as pledges, and drink the wine of the people they have fined in the house of their god…
2:9 Yet it was I who overthrew the Amorites when they attacked, men tall as cedars and strong as oaks, I who destroyed them, both fruit above ground and root below.
2:10 It was I who brought you out of the land of Egypt and for forty years led you through the wilderness to take possession of the Amorite’s country.
2:11 I raised up prophets from your sons and nazirites from your young men. Is this not true, sons of Israel?-it is Yahweh who speaks.
2:12 But you have forced the nazirites to drink wine and given orders to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy’.
2:13 See then how I am going to crush you into the ground as the threshing-sledge crushes when clogged by straw;
2:14 flight will not save even the swift, the strong man will find his strength useless, the mighty man will be powerless to save himself.
2:15 The bowman will not stand his ground, the fast runner will not escape, the horseman will not save himself,
2:16 the bravest warriors will run away naked that day. It is Yahweh who speaks.
JB AMOS Chapter 3
- ISRAEL WARNED AND THREATENED
Election and punishment
3:1 Listen, sons of Israel, to this oracle Yahweh speaks against you, against the whole family I brought out of the land of Egypt:
3:2 You alone, of all the families of earth, have I acknowledged, therefore it is for all your sins that I mean to punish you.
The prophetic call cannot be resisted
3:3 Do two men take the road together if they have not planned to do so?
3:4 Does the lion roar in the jungle if no prey has been found? Does the young lion growl in his lair if he has captured nothing?
3:5 Does the bird fall to the ground if no trap has been set? Does the snare spring up from the ground if nothing has been caught?
3:6 Does the trumpet sound in the city without the populace becoming alarmed? Does misfortune come to a city if Yahweh has not sent it?
3:7 No more does the Lord Yahweh do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets.
3:8 The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid? The Lord Yahweh speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?
Samaria will perish for her corruption
3:9 Proclaim it in the palaces of Assyria and in the palaces in the land of Egypt; saying, ‘Assemble on Samaria’s mountain and see what great disorder there is in that city, what oppression is found inside her’.
3:10 They know nothing of fair dealing-it is Yahweh who speaks-they cram their palaces full by harshness and extortion.
3:11 Therefore, the Lord Yahweh says this: An enemy[*a] is going to invade the country, your power will be brought low, your palaces looted.
3:12 Yahweh says this: Like a shepherd rescuing a couple of legs or a bit of an ear from the lion’s mouth, so will these sons of Israel be rescued, who now loll in Samaria on the corner-pillows of their divans.
Against Bethel and domestic luxury
3:13 Listen, and then testify it against the House of Jacob-it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks, the God of Sabaoth:
3:14 On the day I punish Israel for his crimes I will punish the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar are going to be broken off and dropped on the ground.
3:15 I mean to pull down both winter houses and summer houses, the houses of ivory will be destroyed, the houses of ebony will vanish. It is the Lord Yahweh who speaks.
JB AMOS Chapter 4
Against the women of Samaria
4:1 Listen to this word, you cows of Bashan living in the mountain of Samaria, oppressing the needy, crushing the poor, saying to your husbands, ‘Bring us something to drink!’
4:2 The Lord Yahweh swears this by his holiness: The days are coming to you now when you will be dragged out with hooks, the very last of you with prongs.
4:3 Out you will go, each by the nearest breach in the wall, to be driven all the way to Hermon.[*a] It is Yahweh who speaks.
The self-deception, obstinacy and punishment of Israel
4:4 Go to Bethel, and sin, to Gilgal, and sin your hardest! Offer your sacrifices each morning and your tithes on the third day,
4:5 burn leavened dough as a sacrifice with praise, announce your voluntary offerings, make them public, for this is what makes you happy, sons of Israel. It is the Lord Yahweh who speaks.
4:6 And that is why I left your teeth clean in all your towns, left you without bread in all your villages; and yet you never came back to me. It is Yahweh who speaks.
4:7 I kept your rain back with harvest still three months away; I let rain fall on one town and none on another, one field was rained on and the next dried up because I sent it no rain;
4:8 two towns, three towns, went tottering to the next for drinking-water, but their thirst had to stay unquenched; and yet you never came back to me. It is Yahweh who speaks.
4:9 I struck you with burning and scorching, and withered your gardens and vineyards; the locusts devoured your fig trees and olives; and yet you never came back to me. It is Yahweh who speaks.
4:10 I sent you a plague like Egypt’s plague; I slaughtered your young men with the sword, while your horses were captured for plunder; I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps; and yet you never came back to me, It is Yahweh who speaks.
4:11 I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,[*b] and you were like a brand snatched from the blaze; and yet you never came back to me. It is Yahweh who speaks.
4:12 This therefore, Israel, is what I plan to do to you, and because I am going to do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God!
4:13 For he it was who formed the mountains, created the wind, reveals his mind to man, makes both dawn and dark, and walks on the top of the heights of the world; Yahweh, God of Sabaoth, is his name.
JB AMOS Chapter 5
Lament for Israel
5:1 Listen to this oracle I speak against you, it is a dirge, House of Israel:
5:2 She is down and will rise no more, the virgin of Israel. There she lies all alone on her own soil, with no one to lift her up;
5:3 for thus says the Lord Yahweh to the House of Israel: The town which used to put a thousand in the field will be left with a hundred, and the one which used to put a hundred will be left with ten.
No salvation without repentance
5:4 For Yahweh says this to the House of Israel. Seek me and you shall live.
5:5 Do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba, since Gilgal is going to be exiled and Bethel brought to nothing.
5:6 Seek Yahweh and you shall live, or else he will rush like fire on the House of Joseph and burn it up, with none at Bethel able to put out the flames.
5:8 It is he who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns the dusk to dawn and day to darkest night. He summons the waters of the sea and pours them over the land. Yahweh is his name.
5:9 He blazes out ruin on the stronghold and brings destruction to the fortress.
5:7 Trouble for those who turn justice into wormwood, throwing integrity to the ground;
5:10 who hate the man dispensing justice at the city gate and detest those who speak with honesty.
5:11 Well then, since you have trampled on the poor man, extorting levies on his wheat-those houses you have built of dressed stone, you will never live in them; and those precious vineyards you have planted, you will never drink their wine.
5:12 For I know that your crimes are many, and your sins enormous: persecutors of the virtuous, blackmailers, turning away the needy at the city gate.
5:13 No wonder the prudent man keeps silent, the times are so evil.
5:14 Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and that Yahweh, God of Sabaoth, may really be with you as you claim he is.
5:15 Hate evil, love good, maintain justice at the city gate, and it may be that Yahweh, God of Sabaoth, will take pity on the remnant of Joseph.
5:16 Therefore Yahweh says this, the God of Sabaoth, the Lord. In every public square there will be lamentation, in every street wails of ‘Alas! Alas!’ Peasants will be called on to lament as well as the professional mourners
5:17 and there will be wailing in every vineyard, for I am going to pass through you, says Yahweh.
The day of Yahweh
5:18 Trouble for those who are waiting so longingly for the day of Yahweh! What will this day of Yahweh mean for you? It will mean darkness, not light,
5:19 as when a man escapes a lion’s mouth, only to meet a bear; he enters his house and puts his hand on the wall, only for a snake to bite him.
5:20 Will not the day of Yahweh be darkness, not light? It will all be gloom, without a single ray of light.
Against formalism in religion
5:21 I hate and despise your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemn festivals.
5:22 When you offer me holocausts, ……………I reject your oblations, and refuse to look at your sacrifices of fattened cattle.
5:23 Let me have no more of the din of your chanting, no more of your strumming on harps.
5:24 But let justice flow like water, and integrity like an unfailing stream.
5:25 Did you bring me sacrifice and oblation in the wilderness for all those forty years, House of Israel?
5:26 Now you must shoulder Sakkuth your king and Kaiwan your god, those idols you have made for yourselves;[*a]
5:27 for I mean to take you far beyond Damascus into exile, says Yahweh-God of Sabaoth is his name.
JB AMOS Chapter 6
Against the self-indulgent and their false sense of security
6:1 Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria, those famous men of this first of nations to whom the House of Israel goes as client.
6:2 Make a journey to Calneh and look, go on from there to Hamath the great, then down to Gath in Philistia.[*a] Are they any better off than these kingdoms? Is their territory larger than yours?
6:3 You think to defer the day of misfortune, but you hasten the reign of violence.
6:4 Lying on ivory beds and sprawling on their divans, they dine on lambs from the flock, and stall-fattened veal;
6:5 they bawl to the sound of the harp, they invent new instruments of music like David,
6:6 they drink wine by the bowlful, and use the finest oil for anointing themselves, but about the ruin of Joseph[*b] they do not care at all.
6:7 That is why they will be the first to be exiled; the sprawlers’ revelry is over.
The punishment and its horrors
6:8 The Lord Yahweh swears it by his own self-it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks, the God of Sabaoth. I detest the pride of Jacob, I hate his palaces. I mean to abandon the city[*c] and all it contains.
6:9 And if ten men are left in a single house, they shall die.
6:10 Only a few will escape to carry the bones out of the house; and if a man should say to another one in a corner of the house, ‘Is there anyone left with you?’ he will reply, ‘No! Hush! The name of Yahweh must not be mentioned.’
6:11 For see, Yahweh himself orders it; as he strikes, the great house falls to pieces, the small house crumbles.
6:12 Do horses gallop on rocks, do men plough the sea with oxen, for you to change justice into poison, and the fruit of integrity into wormwood?
6:13 You rejoice over Lo-debar,[*d] ‘Was it not by our own strength’ you say ‘that we took Karnaim?’
6:14 Now see, you House of Israel, how I am stirring up against you-it is Yahweh who speaks, the God of Sabaoth-a nation that will harry you from the Pass of Hamath right down to the wadi of the Arabah.[*e]
JB AMOS Chapter 7
III. THE VISIONS
First vision: the locusts
7:1 This is what the Lord Yahweh showed me: it was a swarm of locusts at the time when the second crop was starting to grow, a swarm of full-grown locusts, when the king’s cutting was over.
7:2 They were about to devour all the greenstuff in the land, but I said, ‘Lord Yahweh, forgive, I beg you. How can Jacob survive, being so small?’
7:3 And Yahweh relented; ‘This shall not happen’ said Yahweh.
Second vision: the drought
7:4 This is what the Lord Yahweh showed me: the Lord Yahweh himself summoning fire in punishment; it had devoured the great Abyss [*a] and was already encroaching on the land.
7:5 Then I said, ‘Stop, Lord Yahweh, I beg you. How can Jacob survive, being so small?’
7:6 And Yahweh relented; ‘This will not happen either’ said the Lord Yahweh.
Third vision: the plumb-line
7:7 This is what the Lord Yahweh showed me: a man standing by a wall, plumb-line in hand.
7:8 ‘What do you see, Amos?’ Yahweh asked me. ‘A plumb-line’ I said. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Look, I am going to measure my people Israel by plumb-line; no longer will I overlook their offences.
7:9 The high places of Isaac are going to be ruined, the sanctuaries of Israel destroyed, and, sword in hand, I will attack the House of Jeroboam.’
The intervention of Amaziah: Amos expelled from Bethel
7:10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel then sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel as follows. ‘Amos is plotting against you in the heart of the House of Israel; the country can no longer tolerate what he keeps saying.
7:11 For this is what he says, “Jeroboam is going to die by the sword, and Israel go into exile far from its country”.’
7:12 To Amos, Amaziah said, ‘Go away, seer; get back to the land of Judah; earn your bread there, do your prophesying there.
7:13 We want no more prophesying in Bethel; this is the royal sanctuary, the national temple.’
7:14 ‘I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets,’ Amos replied to Amaziah ‘I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores:
7:15 but it was Yahweh who took me from herding the flock, and Yahweh who said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel”.
7:16 So listen to the word of Yahweh. You say: “Do not prophesy against Israel, utter no oracles against the House of Isaac”.
7:17 Very well, this is what Yahweh says, “Your wife will be forced to go on the streets, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, your land be parcelled out by measuring line, and you yourself die on unclean soil and Israel will go into exile far distant from its own land”.’
JB AMOS Chapter 8
Fourth vision: the basket of ripe fruit
8:1 This is what the Lord Yahweh showed me: a basket of ripe fruit:
8:2 ‘What do you see, Amos?’ he asked. ‘A basket of ripe fruit’ I said. Then Yahweh said, ‘My people Israel is ripe for destruction; I will no longer overlook its offences.
8:3 The palace singing girls will wail that day-it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks-so many will be dead, all thrown down anywhere. Hush!’
Against swindlers and exploiters
8:4 Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country,
8:5 you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat? Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel, by swindling and tampering with the scales,
8:6 we can buy up the poor for money, and the needy for a pair of sandals, and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’
8:7 Yahweh swears it by the pride of Jacob, ‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done’.
8:8 Is this not the reason for the earthquakes, for its inhabitants all mourning, and all of it heaving, like the Nile, then subsiding, like the river of Egypt?
Prediction of a mysterious punishment: darkness and mourning
8:9 ‘That day-it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks-I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight.
8:10 I am going to turn your feasts into funerals, all your singing into lamentation; I will have your loins all in sackcloth, your heads all shaved. I will make it a mourning like the mourning for an only son, as long as it lasts it will be like a day of bitterness.
Famine and drought of the word of God
8:11 ‘See what days are coming-it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks-days when I will bring famine on the country, a famine not of bread, a drought not of water, but of hearing the word of Yahweh.
8:12 They will stagger from sea to sea, wander from north to east, seeking the word of Yahweh and failing to find it.
Fresh prediction of punishment
8:13 That day, delicate girl and stalwart youth shall faint from thirst.
8:14 All who swear by Samaria’s Ashimah, those who swear, “By your god’s life, Dan !”[*a] and, “By your Beloved’s life, Beersheba !” these shall all fall, never to rise again.’
JB AMOS Chapter 9
Fifth vision: the fall of the sanctuary
9:1 I saw the Lord standing at the side of the altar. ‘Strike the capitals’ he said ‘and let the roof tumble down! I mean to break their heads, every one, and all who remain I will put to the sword; not one shall get away, not one escape.
9:2 Should they burrow their way down to Sheol, my hand shall haul them out; should they scale the heavens, I will drag them down;
9:3 should they hide on Carmel’s peak, there I will track them down and catch them; should they hide from my sight on the sea bed, I will tell the Dragon to bite them there;
9:4 should they go into exile driven before their enemies, I will order the sword to slaughter them there; and my eyes will be on them for their misfortune, not their good.’
9:5 The Lord Yahweh of Sabaoth-he touches the earth and it melts, and all its inhabitants mourn; it all heaves, like the Nile, and subsides, like the river of Egypt.
9:6 He has built his high dwelling place in the heavens and supported his vault on the earth; he summons the waters of the sea and pours them over the land. Yahweh is his name.
No special privileges for Israel
9:7 ‘Are not you and the Cushites[*a] all the same to me, sons of Israel?-it is Yahweh who speaks. Did not I, who brought Israel out of the land of Egypt, bring the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Aramaeans from Kir?
9:8 Now, my eyes are turned on the sinful kingdom, to wipe it off the face of the earth.
Only sinners will perish
‘Yet I am not going to destroy the House of Jacob completely-it is Yahweh who speaks.
9:9 For now I will issue orders and shake the House of Israel among all the nations, as you shake a sieve so that not one pebble can fall on the ground.
9:10 All the sinners of my people are going to perish by the sword, all those who say, “No misfortune will ever touch us, nor even come anywhere near us”.
- PROSPECTS OF RESTORATION AND OF IDYLLIC PROSPERITY
9:11 ‘That day I will re-erect the tottering hut of David, make good the gaps in it, restore its ruins and rebuild it as it was in the days of old,
9:12 so that they can conquer the remnant of Edom and all the nations that belonged to me. It is Yahweh who speaks, and he will carry this out.
9:13 ‘The days are coming now-it is Yahweh who speaks-when harvest will follow directly after ploughing, the treading of grapes soon after sowing, when the mountains will run with new wine and the hills all flow with it.
9:14 I mean to restore the fortunes of my people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, plant vineyards and drink their wine, dig gardens and eat their produce.
9:15 I will plant them in their own country, never to be rooted up again out of the land I have given them, says Yahweh, your God.’
END OF JB AMOS [9 Chapters].