Amos 9


Reminder:  The peculiar quotation marks in this chapter indicate that Amos did not inscribe this book.  The inscriber, unknown to us, is quoting Amos.

רָאִיתִי אֶת־אֲדֹנָי נִצָּב עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיֹּאמֶר הַךְ הַכַּפְתֹּור וְיִרְעֲשׁוּ הַסִּפִּים וּבְצַעַם בְּרֹאשׁ כֻּלָּם וְאַחֲרִיתָם   9:1 בַּחֶרֶב אֶהֱרֹג לֹא־יָנוּס לָהֶם נָס וְלֹא־יִמָּלֵט לָהֶם פָּלִיט׃

Amos 9:1   “I saw the Master standing beside the altar,

                              and He said,

                     ‘Strike each capital that the sills would shake,

                              and smash them on the head of each of them,

                     and I shall slay the last of them by sword.

                              None of them shall escape fleeing;

                     nor shall any of them be a delivered fugitive.’ 

אִם־יַחְתְּרוּ בִשְׁאֹול מִשָּׁם יָדִי תִקָּחֵם וְאִם־יַעֲלוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם מִשָּׁם אֹורִידֵם׃   9:2

Amos 9:2   ‘Though they were to dig down to the underworld,

                               from there My ‘hand’ would seize them,

                     or they would ascend to heaven,

                               from there I would bring them down.’

וְאִם־יֵחָבְאוּ בְּרֹאשׁ הַכַּרְמֶל מִשָּׁם אֲחַפֵּשׂ וּלְקַחְתִּים וְאִם־יִסָּתְרוּ מִנֶּגֶד עֵינַי בְּקַרְקַע הַיָּם מִשָּׁם   9:3        אֲצַוֶּה אֶת־הַנָּחָשׁ וּנְשָׁכָם׃

Amos 9:3   ‘Or if they were to hide on the top of Carmel,

                                from there I would search out and take them away,

                     or they would hide from before My sight at the bottom of the sea,

                                from there I would command the serpent and it would bite them.’

וְאִם־יֵלְכוּ בַשְּׁבִי לִפְנֵי אֹיבֵיהֶם מִשָּׁם אֲצַוֶּה אֶת־הַחֶרֶב וַהֲרָגָתַם וְשַׂמְתִּי עֵינִי עֲלֵיהֶם לְרָעָה וְלֹא   9:4      לְטֹובָה׃

Amos 9:4   ‘Or if they were to depart in captivity before their enemies,

                                from there I would command the sword that it would slay them,

                     and I will set My sight upon them for evil and not for good.’”

וַאדֹנָי יְהוִה הַצְּבָאֹות הַנֹּוגֵעַ בָּאָרֶץ וַתָּמֹוג וְאָבְלוּ כָּל־יֹושְׁבֵי בָהּ וְעָלְתָה כַיְאֹר כֻּלָּהּ וְשָׁקְעָה   9:5                  כִּיאֹר מִצְרָיִם׃

Amos 9:5   “Now the Master, the Lord of hosts,

                                is the One Who strikes on the land and it melts,

                      that all the inhabitants in it shall mourn,

                                as all of it shall rise up like a river,

                      then subside like the Egyptian river.”

The third word from last in the top line of the Hebrew and the first word in the second line are the same words in similar phrases as in Amos 8:8.                                        [Return to Amos 8:8]

הַבֹּונֶה בַשָּׁמַיִם (מַעֲלֹותֹו) [מַעֲלֹותָיו] וַאֲגֻדָּתֹו עַל־אֶרֶץ יְסָדָהּ הַקֹּרֵא לְמֵי־הַיָּם וַיִּשְׁפְּכֵם   9:6                          עַל־פְּנֵי הָאָרֶץ יְהוָה שְׁמֹו׃

Amos 9:6   “The One Who builds His steps in heaven

                                and founds His vault above the earth,

                      the One Who calls for the waters of the sea

                                and pours them down upon the surface of the land,

                      the Lord is His name.”

The word in the parentheses is missing a yad without which the Lord’s steps in heaven would be singular.  The correction, making them plural, is in the brackets.

הֲלֹוא כִבְנֵי כֻשִׁיִּים אַתֶּם לִי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם־יְהוָה הֲלֹוא אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל הֶעֱלֵיתִי מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם   9:7           וּפְלִשְׁתִּיִּים מִכַּפְתֹּור וַאֲרָם מִקִּיר׃

Amos 9:7   “’Have you not been like the children of the Ethiopians to Me, children of Israel?’

                                declares the Lord.

                     ‘Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,

                                and the Philistines from Caphtor, and Aram from Kir?’”

Jewish sages and bible commentators have some interesting insights into the meaning of this verse.  As for the first line, they interpret the words to mean that the children of Israel are as unchangeable as the Ethiopians.  They cite Jere. 13:23, which states “Can an Ethiopian transform his skin, ...?  However, because of the words “to Me,” in that line, I experience some difficulty in agreeing with this interpretation.  I believe it means simply that the children of Israel are to the Lord like the Egyptians, and all the other peoples of the world.  That’s what the rest of the verse obviously means, and the experts agree with this assessment.  There God compares Israel to the Philistines and the Arameans.  So I ask, why does the first line need to mean anything different?

הִנֵּה עֵינֵי אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה בַּמַּמְלָכָה הַחַטָּאָה וְהִשְׁמַדְתִּי אֹתָהּ מֵעַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה אֶפֶס כִּי לֹא הַשְׁמֵיד   9:8    אַשְׁמִיד אֶת־בֵּית יַעֲקֹב נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Amos 9:8   “Behold, the eyes of the Master, the Lord,

                               are on the sinful kingdom,

                      ‘And I shall finally annihilate it from the face of the land,

                               except that I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,’

                      declares the Lord.”

כִּי־הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה וַהֲנִעֹותִי בְכָל־הַגֹּויִם אֶת־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר יִנֹּועַ בַּכְּבָרָה וְלֹא־יִפֹּול צְרֹור   9:9        אָרֶץ׃

Amos 9:9   “’But lo, I am commanding,

                               and I will shake the house of Israel about among all the nations

                     as it would be shaken about by a sifter,

                               yet a pebble would not fall upon the earth.’

This verse is presumed by many commentators to mean that the righteous (the pebbles) will not fall from the sieve (will survive), but the wicked (the chaff) will fall through onto the ground (will perish).  I see another possibility, and it may be more reasonable given the context.  What is the Lord saying here?  He is saying that He will shake a figurative sieve containing the house of Israel to disperse those falling through among the nations.  But He says that not one pebble will fall through.  Does this not mean that no one will escape?  All will die (because they are all sinners) by the sword as mentioned in the next verse.  Is this interpretation not more reasonable and consistent?  It seems so to me.  The only inconsistency is with the fourth line of v. 9:8, (“except I shall not totally destroy the house of Jacob”).  Well, as I see it, that eventuality has been mentioned so many times in the bible, that it seems almost like “boilerplate,” an expression oft repeated but seldom considered (except by God Himself).  Note that in that same verse He says He will totally annihilate the sinful kingdom from the face of the land.

בַּחֶרֶב יָמוּתוּ כֹּל חַטָּאֵי עַמִּי הָאֹמְרִים לֹא־תַגִּישׁ וְתַקְדִּים בַּעֲדֵינוּ הָרָעָה׃   9:10

Amos 9:10   ’All the sinners of My people who are saying,

                                ‘The evil shall not approach or confront us,’

                       shall die by the sword.’

בַּיֹּום הַהוּא אָקִים אֶת־סֻכַּת דָּוִיד הַנֹּפֶלֶת וְגָדַרְתִּי אֶת־פִּרְצֵיהֶן וַהֲרִסֹתָיו אָקִים וּבְנִיתִיהָ כִּימֵי עֹולָם׃   9:11

Amos 9:11   ’In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David

                                 and close up their separations,

                       and his ruins I will raise up

                                 and rebuild it like the days of old,

By the term that I translate as booth in the first line, other translators presume the Lord indicates a tabernacle, which is a very loose translation of the Hebrew, and which they liberally use.  Since David was a shepherd, I believe booth (a temporary shelter) is the meaning intended.  He will raise up the temporary dwelling of David (and make it permanent?), bring the people back together, and raise up the ruins of Jacob, and rebuild them.

לְמַעַן יִירְשׁוּ אֶת־שְׁאֵרִית אֱדֹום וְכָל־הַגֹּויִם אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָא שְׁמִי עֲלֵיהֶם נְאֻם־יְהוָה עֹשֶׂה זֹּאת׃   9:12

Amos 9:12   in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom

                                and all the nations by whom My name is called,’

                       declares the Lord, the Producer of this.”

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם־יְהוָה וְנִגַּשׁ חֹורֵשׁ בַּקֹּצֵר וְדֹרֵךְ עֲנָבִים בְּמֹשֵׁךְ הַזָּרַע וְהִטִּיפוּ הֶהָרִים עָסִיס   9:13    וְכָל־הַגְּבָעֹות תִּתְמֹוגַגְנָה׃

Amos 9:13   “’Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord

                                 ‘when the plower shall come close to the reaper,

                       and the treader of grapes, to the sower of seed,

                                 and the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

                       and all the hills shall flow,

I believe the second and third lines are to be interpreted to mean that the land of Israel will be super fertile, that the crops and grapes will mature so rapidly that it will seem as if the reaping immediately follows the sowing.

וְשַׁבְתִּי אֶת־שְׁבוּת עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבָנוּ עָרִים נְשַׁמֹּות וְיָשָׁבוּ וְנָטְעוּ כְרָמִים וְשָׁתוּ אֶת־יֵינָם וְעָשׂוּ גַנֹּות   9:14 וְאָכְלוּ אֶת־פְּרִיהֶם׃

Amos 9:14   when I shall reverse the captivity of My people, Israel,

                                 so they can rebuild and inhabit the deserted cities,

                        and plant vineyards and drink their wine,

                                 and prepare gardens and eat their fruit,

וּנְטַעְתִּים עַל־אַדְמָתָם וְלֹא יִנָּתְשׁוּ עֹוד מֵעַל אַדְמָתָם אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לָהֶם אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃   9:15

Amos 9:15   as I plant them on their land

                                 that they cannot be pulled up again

                        from their land that I have given to them,’

                                 says the Lord, your God.”

Like just about all the other biblical prophets, Amos (or his inscriber) finishes his book by starting on a dire note and then ending on a high note, namely the final rebirth of Israel.


[Return to Amos Chapters]   [Prev.:  Amos 8]   [Next:  Obadiah 1]