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Amos 3:13-15


3:13 Listen and warn 1  the family 2  of Jacob! 3 

The sovereign Lord, the God who commands armies, 4  is speaking!

3:14 “Certainly when 5  I punish Israel for their 6  covenant transgressions, 7 

I will destroy 8  Bethel’s 9  altars.

The horns 10  of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.

3:15 I will destroy both the winter and summer houses. 11 

The houses filled with ivory 12  will be ruined,

the great 13  houses will be swept away.” 14 

The Lord is speaking!

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[3:13]  1 tn Or “testify against.”

[3:13]  2 tn Heb “house.”

[3:13]  3 tn These words are spoken to either the unidentified heralds addressed at the beginning of v. 9, or to the Egyptians and Philistines (see v. 9b). Another possibility is that one is not to look for a specific addressee but rather appreciate the command simply as a rhetorical device to grab the attention of the listeners and readers of the prophetic message.

[3:13]  4 tn Traditionally, “the God of hosts.”

[3:14]  5 tn Heb “in the day.”

[3:14]  6 tn Heb “his.” With the referent “Israel” here, this amounts to a collective singular.

[3:14]  7 tn Traditionally, “transgressions, sins,” but see the note on the word “crimes” in 1:3.

[3:14]  8 tn Heb “punish” (so NASB, NRSV).

[3:14]  9 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

[3:14]  10 sn The horns of an ancient altar projected upwards from the four corners and resembled an animal’s horns in appearance. Fugitives could seek asylum by grabbing hold of these corners (see Exod 21:14; 1 Kgs 1:50; 2:28). When the altar’s horns were cut off, there would be no place of asylum left for the Lord’s enemies.

[3:15]  11 tn Heb “the winter house along with the summer house.”

[3:15]  sn Like kings, many in Israel’s wealthy class owned both winter and summer houses (cf. 1 Kgs 21:1,18; Jer 36:22). For a discussion of archaeological evidence relating to these structures, see P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 64-65.

[3:15]  12 tn Heb “houses of ivory.” These houses were not made of ivory, but they had ivory panels and furniture decorated with ivory inlays. See P. King, Amos, Hosea, Micah, 139-48.

[3:15]  13 tn Or “many,” cf. NAB “their many rooms.”

[3:15]  14 tn The translation assumes the form is from the Hebrew verb סָפָה (safah, “to sweep away”) rather than סוּף (suf, “to come to an end”), which is the choice of most versions. Either option effectively communicates the destruction of the structures.

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