7:1 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw 1 him making locusts just as the crops planted late 2 were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest. 3 ) 7:2 When they had completely consumed the earth’s vegetation, I said,
“Sovereign Lord, forgive Israel! 4
How can Jacob survive? 5
He is too weak!” 6
7:5 I said, “Sovereign Lord, stop!
How can Jacob survive? 10
He is too weak!” 11
“Look, I am about to place tin among my people Israel.
I will no longer overlook their sin. 16
Israel’s holy places will be in ruins.
I will attack Jeroboam’s dynasty with the sword.” 18
7:10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel 19 sent this message 20 to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is conspiring against you in the very heart of the kingdom of Israel! 21 The land cannot endure all his prophecies. 22 7:11 As a matter of fact, 23 Amos is saying this: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly be carried into exile 24 away from its land.’”
7:12 Amaziah then said to Amos, “Leave, you visionary! 25 Run away to the land of Judah! Earn your living 26 and prophesy there! 7:13 Don’t prophesy at Bethel 27 any longer, for a royal temple and palace are here!” 28
7:14 Amos replied 29 to Amaziah, “I was not a prophet by profession. 30 No, 31 I was a herdsman who also took care of 32 sycamore fig trees. 33 7:15 Then the Lord took me from tending 34 flocks and gave me this commission, 35 ‘Go! Prophesy to my people Israel!’ 7:16 So now listen to the Lord’s message! You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel! Don’t preach 36 against the family of Isaac!’
7:17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the streets 37
and your sons and daughters will die violently. 38
Your land will be given to others 39
and you will die in a foreign 40 land.
Israel will certainly be carried into exile 41 away from its land.’”
[7:1] 2 sn The crops planted late (consisting of vegetables) were planted in late January-early March and sprouted in conjunction with the spring rains of March-April. For a discussion of the ancient Israelite agricultural calendar, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 31-44.
[7:1] sn This royal harvest may refer to an initial mowing of crops collected as taxes by the royal authorities.
[7:4] 9 tc The Hebrew appears to read, “summoning to contend with fire,” or “summoning fire to contend,” but both are problematic syntactically (H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos [Hermeneia], 292; S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 230-31). Many emend the text to לרבב אשׁ, “(calling) for a shower of fire,” though this interpretation is also problematic (see F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos [AB], 746-47).
[7:7] 15 tn The Hebrew word אֲנָךְ (’anakh, “tin”) occurs only in this passage (twice in this verse and twice in the following verse). (Its proposed meaning is based on an Akkadian cognate annaku.) The tin wall of the vision, if it symbolizes Israel, may suggest weakness and vulnerability to judgment. See S. M. Paul, Amos (Hermeneia), 233-35. The symbolic significance of God holding tin in his hand and then placing tin among the people is unclear. Possibly the term אֲנָךְ in v. 8b is a homonym meaning “grief” (this term is attested in postbiblical Hebrew). In this case there is a wordplay, the אֲנָךְ (“tin”) of the vision suggesting the אֲנָךְ (“grief”) that judgment will bring upon the land. See F. I. Andersen and D. N. Freedman, Amos (AB), 759. Another option is to maintain the meaning “tin” and understand that the Lord has ripped off a piece of the tin wall and placed it in front of all to see. Their citadels, of which the nation was so proud and confident, are nothing more than tin fortresses. The traditional interpretation of these verses (reflected in many English versions) understands the term אֲנָךְ to mean “lead,” and by extension, “plumb line.” In this case, one may translate: “I saw the sovereign one standing by a wall built true to plumb holding a plumb line in his hand. The
[7:14] 30 tn Heb “I was not a prophet nor was I the son of a prophet.” The phrase “son of a prophet” refers to one who was trained in a prophetic guild. Since there is no equative verb present in the Hebrew text, another option is to translate with the present tense, “I am not a prophet by profession.” In this case Amos, though now carrying out a prophetic ministry (v. 15), denies any official or professional prophetic status. Modern English versions are divided about whether to understand the past (JB, NIV, NKJV) or present tense (NASB, NEB, NRSV, NJPS) here.
[7:14] sn For a discussion of the agricultural background, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 128-29.
[7:14] 33 sn It is possible that herdsmen agreed to care for sycamore fig trees in exchange for grazing rights. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 116-17. Since these trees do not grow around Tekoa but rather in the lowlands, another option is that Amos owned other property outside his hometown. In this case, this verse demonstrates his relative wealth and is his response to Amaziah; he did not depend on prophecy as a profession (v. 13).
[7:16] 36 tn The verb, which literally means “to drip,” appears to be a synonym of “to prophesy,” but it might carry a derogatory tone here, perhaps alluding to the impassioned, frenzied way in which prophets sometimes delivered their messages. If so, one could translate, “to drivel; to foam at the mouth” (see HALOT 694 s.v. נטף).