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Israel Will Be Punished

Do you rulers in Jerusalem
and in the city of Samaria
    feel safe and at ease?
Everyone bows down to you,
and you think you are better
    than any other nation.
But you are in for trouble!
Look what happened
    to the cities of Calneh,
    powerful Hamath,
    and Gath[a] in Philistia.
Are you greater than any
    of those kingdoms?
You are cruel, and you forget
    the coming day of judgment.

You rich people lounge around
    on beds with ivory posts,
while dining on the meat
    of your lambs and calves.
You sing foolish songs
    to the music of harps,
and you make up new tunes,
    just as David used to do.
You drink all the wine you want
    and wear expensive perfume,
but you don’t care about
    the ruin of your nation.[b]
So you will be the first
to be dragged off as captives;
    your good times will end.

The Lord God All-Powerful
    has sworn by his own name:
“You descendants of Jacob
make me angry by your pride,
    and I hate your fortresses.
And so I will surrender your city
and possessions
    to your enemies.”

If only ten of you survive
by hiding in a house
    you will still die.
10 As you carry out a corpse
    to prepare it for burial,[c]
your relative in the house
will ask, “Are there others?”
    You will answer, “No!”
Then your relative will reply,
“Be quiet!
Don’t dare mention
    the name of the Lord.”[d]
11 At the Lord’s command,
houses great and small
    will be smashed to pieces.

12 Horses can’t gallop on rocks;
    oceans[e] can’t be plowed.
But you have turned justice
and fairness
    into bitter poison.
13 You celebrate the defeat
    of Lo-Debar and Karnaim,[f]
and you boast by saying,
    “We did it on our own.”

14 But the Lord God All-Powerful
will send a nation
to attack
    you people of Israel.
They will capture Lebo-Hamath
    in the north,
Arabah Creek[g] in the south,
    and everything in between.


  1. 6.2 Calneh. . . Hamath. . . Gath: City-states captured by the Assyrians: Calneh in 738 B.C., Hamath in 720, and Gath in 711.
  2. 6.6 your nation: Hebrew “Joseph’s descendants” (see the note at 5.6).
  3. 6.10 prepare. . . burial: Or “burn it” or “burn incense for it.”
  4. 6.10 the name of the Lord: Two relatives seem to be carrying out corpses for burial. One of them warns the other to be careful not even to say “Thank the Lord!” for fear that the mention of his name may cause something worse to happen.
  5. 6.12 oceans: Or “rocks.”
  6. 6.13 Lo-Debar and Karnaim: Two cities east of the Jordan River that were captured by Jeroboam II (see 2 Kings 14.25). In Hebrew “Lo-Debar” can mean “nothing,” and “Karnaim” means “two horns (of a bull).” Horns were symbols of strength, and so the people are bragging about their military power (defeat of “two horns”), which Amos says is “nothing” (Lo-Debar).
  7. 6.14 Lebo-Hamath. . . Arabah Creek: The northern and southern boundaries of the northern kingdom.

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