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Seek Adonai and Live

Hear this word that I take up as a lament over you, O house of Israel:

She has fallen, never rising again—virgin Israel—
She is forsaken on her land,
with nobody to lift her up.
For thus says Adonai Elohim:
“The city that sends out a thousand
    will have a hundred left,
and one that sends out a hundred
    will have ten left for the house of Israel.”

For thus says Adonai to the house of Israel:

“Seek Me, and live!
But do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
do not cross over to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
and Bethel will come to trouble.
Seek Adonai, and live—
lest He rush like fire through the house of Joseph.
Yes, it will devour Bethel,
    with no one to quench it.[a]

Sins of Injustice

You who turn justice to wormwood
threw righteousness to the ground.
He who made the Pleiades and Orion
and changes deep darkness to morning.
Who darkens the day into night.
Who summons the water of the sea
and pours it out on the face of the earth
Adonai is His Name.
He flashes destruction on the mighty,
so destruction will come against a fortress.
10 They despise one who reproves at the gate,
so they detest one who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor,
    exacting from him a burden of grain,
you built houses of hewn stone,
    but will not dwell in them,
you planted pleasant vineyards,
    but will not drink their wine.
12 For I know your crimes are many
and your sins countless—
afflicting the righteous, taking bribes,
and turning the needy aside at the gate.
13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at such a time
—for it is a distressful time.
14 Seek good and not evil,
    so you may live,
and so Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot may be with you
    —just as you said!
15 Hate evil, love good,
    maintain justice at the gate.
Maybe Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot will
    extend grace to Joseph’s remnant.[b]

16 Therefore thus said Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot, my Lord:
“There will be wailing in all plazas and in all streets.
They will say: ‘Alas! Alas!’
The farmer will be called to mourning
    along with those who know the lamentation song.
17 In all vineyards will be wailing,
for I will pass through your midst”
Adonai has spoken.

Dreadful Day of Adonai

18 Oy to you—longing for the Day of Adonai![c]
What would it be for you?
The Day of Adonai will be darkness and not light.[d]
19 It will be as when a man is fleeing from a lion—
and meets a bear!
Or he comes home,
    leans his hand on the wall,
    and a snake bites him!
20 Will not the Day of Adonai be darkness, not light?
Gloom, not brightness?

Justice Better Than Sacrifices

21 “I hate, I despise your festivals!
I take no delight in your sacred assemblies.
22 Even if you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
nor will I look
    at peace offerings of your fattened animals.
23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll like water
and righteousness like an ever-flowing torrent.
25 Did you bring sacrifices and offerings to Me in the wilderness
for forty years, O house of Israel?
26 But you lifted up your images
—Siccuth your ‘king’, and Chiun,[e] your star gods—
which you made for yourselves,[f]
27 So I will send you into exile,
beyond Damascus.”
Adonai has spoken,
Elohei-Tzva’ot is His Name.

Footnotes

  1. Amos 5:6 cf. Heb. 12:29.
  2. Amos 5:15 cf. Rom. 12:9.
  3. Amos 5:18 cf. 2 Pet. 3:4.
  4. Amos 5:18 cf. Acts. 2:20.
  5. Amos 5:26 Or, tabernacle of your Moloch, and Saturn (of Babylonia).
  6. Amos 5:26 cf. Acts 7:43.

A Lament and Call to Repentance

Hear this word, Israel, this lament(A) I take up concerning you:

“Fallen is Virgin(B) Israel,
    never to rise again,
deserted in her own land,
    with no one to lift her up.(C)

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.(D)

This is what the Lord says to Israel:

“Seek(E) me and live;(F)
    do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,(G)
    do not journey to Beersheba.(H)
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
    and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.[a](I)
Seek(J) the Lord and live,(K)
    or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;(L)
it will devour them,
    and Bethel(M) will have no one to quench it.(N)

There are those who turn justice into bitterness(O)
    and cast righteousness(P) to the ground.(Q)

He who made the Pleiades and Orion,(R)
    who turns midnight into dawn(S)
    and darkens day into night,(T)
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land—
    the Lord is his name.(U)
With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
    and brings the fortified city to ruin.(V)

10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court(W)
    and detest the one who tells the truth.(X)

11 You levy a straw tax on the poor(Y)
    and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,(Z)
    you will not live in them;(AA)
though you have planted lush vineyards,
    you will not drink their wine.(AB)
12 For I know how many are your offenses
    and how great your sins.(AC)

There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes(AD)
    and deprive the poor(AE) of justice in the courts.(AF)
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet(AG) in such times,
    for the times are evil.(AH)

14 Seek good, not evil,
    that you may live.(AI)
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
    just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil,(AJ) love good;(AK)
    maintain justice in the courts.(AL)
Perhaps(AM) the Lord God Almighty will have mercy(AN)
    on the remnant(AO) of Joseph.

16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says:

“There will be wailing(AP) in all the streets(AQ)
    and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers(AR) will be summoned to weep
    and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing(AS) in all the vineyards,
    for I will pass through(AT) your midst,”
says the Lord.(AU)

The Day of the Lord

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

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

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

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

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