Amos 1

 

דִּבְרֵי עָמוֹס אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה בַנֹּקְדִים מִתְּקוֹעַ אֲשֶׁר חָזָה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּימֵי עֻזִּיָּה מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה וּבִימֵי   1:1       יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־יוֹאָשׁ מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנָתַיִם לִפְנֵי הָרָעַשׁ׃

Amos 1:1   The words of Amos, who was with sheep herders from Tekoa, that he perceived about Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake:                                               [Return to Zech. 14:5]

Apparently Amos was one of the earliest of the prophets, living in the period from 790 BCE to 750 BCE.  The earthquake mentioned is thought to have been that also mentioned by Zechariah (Zech. 14:5).  It is believed that the earthquake might have struck after Uzziah, king of Judah, entered the Temple to offer incense, thereby profaning the holy altar.  Incidentally, Tekoa, Amos’ home,  was a town near Jerusalem.

Again incidentally, the wording of this verse makes clear that this book was written well after the fact, at least two years later, but probably much later than that.

וַיֹּאמַר יְהוָה מִצִּיּוֹן יִשְׁאָג וּמִירוּשָׁלִַם יִתֵּן קוֹלוֹ וְאָבְלוּ נְאוֹת הָרֹעִים וְיָבֵשׁ רֹאשׁ הַכַּרְמֶל׃   1:2

Amos 1:2   And he said,

                     “The Lord shall roar from Zion,

                               and put forth His voice from Jerusalem,

                     and the pastures of the shepherds shall lament,

                               as the top of Carmel withers.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי דַמֶּשֶׂק וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ עַל־דּוּשָׁם בַּחֲרֻצוֹת הַבַּרְזֶל   1:3

 אֶת־הַגִּלְעָד׃

Amos 1:3   “Thus says the Lord:

                     ‘Because of three transgressions of Damascus,

                                even because of four;

                      I will not restore it,

                                because of their threshing the Gilead with sledges of iron.’

The use of the phrase three, ..., even four is assumed by most commentators to mean many.  It’s repeated several more times below.  As it doesn’t appear anywhere else in the bible, it may be peculiar to Amos.  Although phrases similar to these are found three times, even four, in Proverbs chapter 30, they differ enough in the details and context that they may be rightly considered variations rather than repetitions of the idea thought to be expressed here.  There the numbers three and four seem to be intended to convey a measure of uncertainty as to the exact number.  I point them out in that chapter.                                              [Return to Prov. 30:29]

וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי אֵשׁ בְּבֵית חֲזָאֵל וְאָכְלָה אַרְמְנוֹת בֶּן־הֲדָד׃   1:4

Amos 1:4   ‘So I will send fire into the house of Hazael

                                and it shall consume the fortresses of Ben-hadad.’

Hazael and Ben-hadad were, respectively, the founder of the reigning Damascene dynasty and his son who succeeded him.

וְשָׁבַרְתִּי בְּרִיחַ דַּמֶּשֶׂק וְהִכְרַתִּי יוֹשֵׁב מִבִּקְעַת־אָוֶן וְתוֹמֵךְ שֵׁבֶט מִבֵּית עֶדֶן וְגָלוּ עַם־אֲרָם קִירָה   1:5       אָמַר יְהוָה׃

Amos 1:5   ‘And I shall break the bar of Damascus

                                and cut off any dweller from Bikath-aven

                     and any holder of a scepter from Beth-eden,

                                and the people of Aram shall depart to Kir,’

                     says the Lord.”

Little, if anything, is known about the places, Bikath-aven and Beth-eden, mentioned in this verse, other than they were probably near Damascus in Aram (the biblical name for Syria).

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי עַזָּה וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ עַל־הַגְלוֹתָם גָּלוּת שְׁלֵמָה   1:6          לְהַסְגִּיר לֶאֱדוֹם׃

Amos 1:6   “Thus says the Lord:

                     ‘Because of three transgressions of Gaza,

                               even because of four,

                      I will not restore it;

                               because of their taking away an entire captivity,

                      and delivering up to Edom.’

וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי אֵשׁ בְּחוֹמַת עַזָּה וְאָכְלָה אַרְמְנֹתֶיהָ׃   1:7

Amos 1:7   ‘So I shall send fire on the wall of Gaza

                               and it shall consume her fortresses.’

וְהִכְרַתִּי יוֹשֵׁב מֵאַשְׁדּוֹד וְתוֹמֵךְ שֵׁבֶט מֵאַשְׁקְלוֹן וַהֲשִׁיבוֹתִי יָדִי עַל־עֶקְרוֹן וְאָבְדוּ שְׁאֵרִית פְּלִשְׁתִּים   1:8 אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃

Amos 1:8   ‘And I shall cut off any dweller from Ashdod,

                               and any holder of a scepter from Ashkelon,

                     and I shall turn My hand against Ekron,

                               and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,’

                     says the Master, the Lord.”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי־צֹר וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ עַל־הַסְגִּירָם גָּלוּת שְׁלֵמָה לֶאֱדוֹם   1:9    וְלֹא זָכְרוּ בְּרִית אַחִים׃

Amos 1:9   “Thus says the Lord:

                      ‘Because of three transgressions of Tyre,

                                even because of four,

                      I will not restore it,

                                because of their delivery of an entire captivity to Edom,

                      and they did not remember the covenant of brothers.’

Some commentators think the covenant of brothers refers to the agreement between Solomon and Hiram of Tyre (1kin. 5:22 to 5:26).

וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי אֵשׁ בְּחוֹמַת צֹר וְאָכְלָה אַרְמְנֹתֶיהָ׃   1:10

Amos 1:10   ‘So I shall send fire on the wall of Tyre,

                                 and it shall consume her fortresses.’”

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי אֱדוֹם וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ עַל־רָדְפוֹ בַחֶרֶב אָחִיו וְשִׁחֵת   1:11   רַחֲמָיו וַיִּטְרֹף לָעַד אַפּוֹ וְעֶבְרָתוֹ שְׁמָרָה נֶצַח׃

Amos 1:11   “Thus says the Lord:

                        ‘Because of three transgressions of Edom,

                                  even because of four,

                        I will not restore it,

                                  because they pursued his kinsmen with the sword,

                        and he perverted his compassion

                                  and continually nurtured his anger;

                        and of his fury, he guarded it to the end.’

וְשִׁלַּחְתִּי אֵשׁ בְּתֵימָן וְאָכְלָה אַרְמְנוֹת בָּצְרָה׃   1:12

Amos 1:12   ‘So I shall send fire on Teman

                                  and it shall consume the fortresses of Bozrah.’”

Teman is used here as the name for Edom, and Bozrah was Edom’s principal city.

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי בְנֵי־עַמּוֹן וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ עַל־בִּקְעָם הָרוֹת הַגִּלְעָד   1:13     לְמַעַן הַרְחִיב אֶת־גְּבוּלָם׃

Amos 1:13   “Thus says the Lord:

                        ‘Because of three transgressions of the children of Ammon,

                                   even because of four,

                         I will not restore it,

                                   because of their cleaving open the pregnant of Gilead

                         in order to enlarge their territory.’

וְהִצַּתִּי אֵשׁ בְּחוֹמַת רַבָּה וְאָכְלָה אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ בִּתְרוּעָה בְּיוֹם מִלְחָמָה בְּסַעַר בְּיוֹם סוּפָה׃   1:14

Amos 1:14   ‘So I shall kindle a fire on the wall of Rabbah,

                                   and it shall consume her fortresses,

                       with a blast in a day of battle,

                                  with a tempest in a day of whirlwind.’

וְהָלַךְ מַלְכָּם בַּגּוֹלָה הוּא וְשָׂרָיו יַחְדָּו אָמַר יְהוָה׃   1:15

Amos 1:15   ‘And their king shall go into exile,

                                  he together with his princes,’

                       says the Lord.”

Was Amos merely a simple herdsman?  He appears to be knowledgeable and well educated, conversant in history, geography, and Hebrew, as well as being inspired by the Lord.

 

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