Bible: Amos 3-6

Every Effect has its Cause

3:1 Listen, you Israelites, to this message which the Lord is proclaiming against 1  you! This message is for the entire clan I brought up 2  from the land of Egypt: 3:2 I have chosen 3  you alone from all the clans of the earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”

3:3 Do two walk together without having met? 4 

3:4 Does a lion roar in the woods if he has not cornered his prey? 5 

Does a young lion bellow from his den if he has not caught something?

3:5 Does a bird swoop down into a trap on the ground if there is no bait?

Does a trap spring up from the ground unless it has surely caught something?

3:6 If an alarm sounds 6  in a city, do people not fear? 7 

If disaster overtakes a 8  city, is the Lord not responsible? 9 

3:7 Certainly the sovereign Lord does nothing without first revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

3:8 A lion has roared! 10  Who is not afraid?

The sovereign Lord has spoken! Who can refuse to prophesy? 11 

Samaria Will Fall

3:9 Make this announcement in 12  the fortresses of Ashdod

and in the fortresses in the land of Egypt.

Say this:

“Gather on the hills around Samaria! 13 

Observe the many acts of violence 14  taking place within the city, 15 

the oppressive deeds 16  occurring in it.” 17 

3:10They do not know how to do what is right.” (The Lord is speaking.)

“They store up 18  the spoils of destructive violence 19  in their fortresses.

3:11 Therefore,” says the sovereign Lord, “an enemy will encircle the land. 20 

He will take away your power; 21 

your fortresses will be looted.”

3:12 This is what the Lord says:

“Just as a shepherd salvages from the lion’s mouth a couple of leg bones or a piece of an ear,

so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be salvaged. 22 

They will be left with just a corner of a bed, 23 

and a part 24  of a couch.”

3:13 Listen and warn 25  the family 26  of Jacob! 27 

The sovereign Lord, the God who commands armies, 28  is speaking!

3:14Certainly when 29  I punish Israel for their 30  covenant transgressions, 31 

I will destroy 32  Bethel’s 33  altars.

The horns 34  of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.

3:15 I will destroy both the winter and summer houses. 35 

The houses filled with ivory 36  will be ruined,

the great 37  houses will be swept away.” 38 

The Lord is speaking!

4:1 Listen to this message, you cows of Bashan 39  who live on Mount Samaria!

You 40  oppress the poor;

you crush the needy.

You say to your 41  husbands,

Bring us more to drink! 42 

4:2 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his own holy character: 43 

“Certainly the time is approaching 44 

when you will be carried away 45  in baskets, 46 

every last one of you 47  in fishermen’s pots. 48 

4:3 Each of you will go straight through the gaps in the walls; 49 

you will be thrown out 50  toward Harmon.” 51 

The Lord is speaking!

Israel has an Appointment with God

4:4Go to Bethel 52  and rebel! 53 

At Gilgal 54  rebel some more!

Bring your sacrifices in 55  the morning,

your tithes on 56  the third day!

4:5 Burn a thank offering of bread made with yeast! 57 

Make a public display of your voluntary offerings! 58 

For you love to do this, you Israelites.”

The sovereign Lord is speaking!

4:6But surely I gave 59  you no food to eat in any of your cities;

you lacked food everywhere you live. 60 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:7I withheld rain from you three months before the harvest. 61 

I gave rain to one city, but not to another.

One field 62  would get rain, but the field that received no rain dried up.

4:8 People from 63  two or three cities staggered into one city to get 64  water,

but remained thirsty. 65 

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:9I destroyed your crops 66  with blight and disease.

Locusts kept 67  devouring your orchards, 68  vineyards, fig trees, and olive trees.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:10I sent against you a plague like one of the Egyptian plagues. 69 

I killed your young men with the sword,

along with the horses you had captured.

I made the stench from the corpses 70  rise up into your nostrils.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:11I overthrew some of you the way God 71  overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 72 

You were like a burning stick 73  snatched from the flames.

Still you did not come back to me.”

The Lord is speaking!

4:12Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel.

Because I will do this to you,

prepare to meet your God, Israel! 74 

4:13 For here he is!

He 75  formed the mountains and created the wind.

He reveals 76  his plans 77  to men.

He turns the dawn into darkness 78 

and marches on the heights of the earth.

The Lord, the God who commands armies, 79  is his name!

Death is Imminent

5:1 Listen to this funeral song I am ready to sing about you, 80  family 81  of Israel:

5:2The virgin 82  Israel has fallen down and will not get up again.

She is abandoned on her own land

with no one to help her get up.” 83 

5:3 The sovereign Lord says this:

“The city that marches out with a thousand soldiers 84  will have only a hundred left;

the town 85  that marches out with a hundred soldiers 86  will have only ten left for the family of Israel.” 87 

5:4 The Lord says this to the family 88  of Israel:

“Seek me 89  so you can live!

5:5 Do not seek Bethel! 90 

Do not visit Gilgal!

Do not journey down 91  to Beer Sheba!

For the people of Gilgal 92  will certainly be carried into exile; 93 

and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds.” 94 

5:6 Seek the Lord so you can live!

Otherwise he will break out 95  like fire against Joseph’s 96  family; 97 

the fire 98  will consume

and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel. 99 

5:7 The Israelites 100  turn justice into bitterness; 101 

they throw what is fair and right 102  to the ground. 103 

5:8 (But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion;

he can turn the darkness into morning

and daylight 104  into night.

He summons the water of the seas

and pours it out on the earth’s surface.

The Lord is his name!

5:9 He flashes 105  destruction down upon the strong

so that destruction overwhelms 106  the fortified places.)

5:10 The Israelites 107  hate anyone who arbitrates at the city gate; 108 

they despise anyone who speaks honestly.

5:11 Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops 109 

and exact a grain tax from them,

you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,

nor will you drink the wine from the fine 110  vineyards you planted. 111 

5:12 Certainly 112  I am aware of 113  your many rebellious acts 114 

and your numerous sins.

You 115  torment the innocent, you take bribes,

and you deny justice to 116  the needy at the city gate. 117 

5:13 For this reason whoever is smart 118  keeps quiet 119  in such a time,

for it is an evil 120  time.

5:14 Seek good and not evil so you can live!

Then the Lord, the God who commands armies, just might be with you,

as you claim he is.

5:15 Hate what is wrong, love what is right!

Promote 121  justice at the city gate! 122 

Maybe the Lord, the God who commands armies, will have mercy on 123  those who are left from 124  Joseph. 125 

5:16 Because of Israel’s sins 126  this is what the Lord, the God who commands armies, the sovereign One, 127  says:

“In all the squares there will be wailing,

in all the streets they will mourn the dead. 128 

They will tell the field workers 129  to lament

and the professional mourners 130  to wail.

5:17 In all the vineyards there will be wailing,

for I will pass through 131  your midst,” says the Lord.

The Lord Demands Justice

5:18 Woe 132  to those who wish for the day of the Lord

Why do you want the Lord’s day of judgment to come?

It will bring darkness, not light.

5:19 Disaster will be inescapable, 133 

as if a man ran from a lion only to meet a bear,

then escaped 134  into a house,

leaned his hand against the wall,

and was bitten by a poisonous snake.

5:20 Don’t you realize the Lord’s day of judgment will bring 135  darkness, not light

gloomy blackness, not bright light?

5:21I absolutely despise 136  your festivals!

I get no pleasure 137  from your religious assemblies!

5:22 Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings, 138  I will not be satisfied;

I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves. 139 

5:23 Take away from me your 140  noisy songs;

I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments. 141 

5:24 Justice must flow like torrents of water,

righteous actions 142  like a stream that never dries up.

5:25 You did not bring me 143  sacrifices and grain offerings during the forty years you spent in the wilderness, family 144  of Israel.

5:26 You will pick up your images 145  of Sikkuth, 146  your king, 147 

and Kiyyun, 148  your star god, which you made for yourselves,

5:27 and I will drive you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord.

He is called the God who commands armies!

The Party is over for the Rich

6:1 Woe 149  to those who live in ease in Zion, 150 

to those who feel secure on Mount Samaria.

They think of themselves as 151  the elite class of the best nation.

The family 152  of Israel looks to them for leadership. 153 

6:2 They say to the people: 154 

“Journey over to Calneh and look at it!

Then go from there to Hamath-Rabbah! 155 

Then go down to Gath of the Philistines!

Are they superior to our two 156  kingdoms?

Is their territory larger than yours? 157 

6:3 You refuse to believe a day of disaster will come, 158 

but you establish a reign of violence. 159 

6:4 They lie around on beds decorated with ivory, 160 

and sprawl out on their couches.

They eat lambs from the flock,

and calves from the middle of the pen.

6:5 They sing 161  to the tune of 162  stringed instruments; 163 

like David they invent 164  musical instruments.

6:6 They drink wine from sacrificial bowls, 165 

and pour the very best oils on themselves. 166 

Yet they are not concerned over 167  the ruin 168  of Joseph.

6:7 Therefore they will now be the first to go into exile, 169 

and the religious banquets 170  where they sprawl on couches 171  will end.

6:8 The sovereign Lord confirms this oath by his very own life. 172 

The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking:

“I despise Jacob’s arrogance;

I hate their 173  fortresses.

I will hand over to their enemies 174  the city of Samaria 175  and everything in it.”

6:9 If ten men are left in one house, they too will die. 6:10 When their close relatives, the ones who will burn the corpses, 176  pick up their bodies to remove the bones from the house, they will say to anyone who is in the inner rooms of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” He will respond, “Be quiet! Don’t invoke the Lord’s name! 177 

6:11 Indeed, look! The Lord is giving the command. 178 

He will smash the large house to bits,

and the small house into little pieces.

6:12 Can horses run on rocky cliffs?

Can one plow the sea with oxen? 179 

Yet you have turned justice into a poisonous plant,

and the fruit of righteous actions into a bitter plant. 180 

6:13 You are happy because you conquered Lo-Debar. 181 

You say, “Did we not conquer Karnaim 182  by our own power?

6:14Look! I am about to bring 183  a nation against you, family 184  of Israel.”

The Lord, the God who commands armies, is speaking.

They will oppress 185  you all the way from Lebo-Hamath 186  to the Stream of the Arabah.” 187 

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