Amos 5-6

Ch. 5 - A Lament and Call to Repentance

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

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

3 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.”

4 This is what the Lord says to Israel:

“Seek me and live;
5     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.[a]
6 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.

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

8 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.
9 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 offenses
    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.

The Day of the Lord

18 Woe to you who long
    for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
    That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion
    only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
    and rested his hand on the wall
    only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
    pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
    forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
    the pedestal of your idols,
    the star of your god[b]
    which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
    says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

Ch. 6 - Woe to the Complacent

1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
    and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
you notable men of the foremost nation,
    to whom the people of Israel come!
2 Go to Kalneh and look at it;
    go from there to great Hamath,
    and then go down to Gath in Philistia.
Are they better off than your two kingdoms?
    Is their land larger than yours?
3 You put off the day of disaster
    and bring near a reign of terror.
4 You lie on beds adorned with ivory
    and lounge on your couches.
You dine on choice lambs
    and fattened calves.
5 You strum away on your harps like David
    and improvise on musical instruments.
6 You drink wine by the bowlful
    and use the finest lotions,
    but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
7 Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
    your feasting and lounging will end.

The Lord Abhors the Pride of Israel

8 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself—the Lord God Almighty declares:

“I abhor the pride of Jacob
    and detest his fortresses;
I will deliver up the city
    and everything in it.”

9 If ten people are left in one house, they too will die. 10 And if the relative who comes to carry the bodies out of the house to burn them[c] asks anyone who might be hiding there, “Is anyone else with you?” and he says, “No,” then he will go on to say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.”

11 For the Lord has given the command,
    and he will smash the great house into pieces
    and the small house into bits.

12 Do horses run on the rocky crags?
    Does one plow the sea[d] with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
    and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness—
13 you who rejoice in the conquest of Lo Debar[e]
    and say, “Did we not take Karnaim[f] by our own strength?”

14 For the Lord God Almighty declares,
    “I will stir up a nation against you, Israel,
that will oppress you all the way
    from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.”

Footnotes:

  1. Amos 5:5 Hebrew aven, a reference to Beth Aven (a derogatory name for Bethel); see Hosea 4:15.
  2. Amos 5:26 Or lifted up Sakkuth your king / and Kaiwan your idols, / your star-gods; Septuagint lifted up the shrine of Molek / and the star of your god Rephan, / their idols
  3. Amos 6:10 Or to make a funeral fire in honor of the dead
  4. Amos 6:12 With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text plow there
  5. Amos 6:13 Lo Debar means nothing.
  6. Amos 6:13 Karnaim means hornshorn here symbolizes strength.
  7.