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Amos 8:9-14


8:9 In that day,” says the sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun set at noon,

and make the earth dark in the middle of the day. 1 

8:10 I will turn your festivals into funerals, 2 

and all your songs into funeral dirges.

I will make everyone wear funeral clothes 3 

and cause every head to be shaved bald. 4 

I will make you mourn as if you had lost your only son; 5 

when it ends it will indeed have been a bitter day. 6 

8:11 Be certain of this, 7  the time is 8  coming,” says the sovereign Lord,

“when I will send a famine through the land –

not a shortage of food or water

but an end to divine revelation! 9 

8:12 People 10  will stagger from sea to sea, 11 

and from the north around to the east.

They will wander about looking for a revelation from 12  the Lord,

but they will not find any. 13 

8:13 In that day your 14  beautiful young women 15  and your 16  young men will faint from thirst. 17  8:14 These are the ones who now take oaths 18  in the name of the sinful idol goddess 19  of Samaria.

They vow, 20  ‘As surely as your god 21  lives, O Dan,’ or ‘As surely as your beloved one 22  lives, O Beer Sheba!’

But they will fall down and not get up again.”

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[8:9]  1 tn Heb “in a day of light.”

[8:10]  2 tn Heb “mourning.”

[8:10]  3 tn Heb “I will place sackcloth on all waists.”

[8:10]  sn Mourners wore sackcloth (funeral clothes) as an outward expression of grief.

[8:10]  4 tn Heb “and make every head bald.” This could be understood in a variety of ways, while the ritual act of mourning typically involved shaving the head (although occasionally the hair could be torn out as a sign of mourning).

[8:10]  sn Shaving the head or tearing out one’s hair was a ritual act of mourning. See Lev 21:5; Deut 14:1; Isa 3:24; 15:2; Jer 47:5; 48:37; Ezek 7:18; 27:31; Mic 1:16.

[8:10]  5 tn Heb “I will make it like the mourning for an only son.”

[8:10]  6 tn Heb “and its end will be like a bitter day.” The Hebrew preposition כְּ (kaf) sometimes carries the force of “in every respect,” indicating identity rather than mere comparison.

[8:11]  7 tn Heb “behold” or “look.”

[8:11]  8 tn Heb “the days are.”

[8:11]  9 tn Heb “not a hunger for food or a thirst for water, but for hearing the words of the Lord.”

[8:12]  10 tn Heb “they”; the referent (people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

[8:12]  11 tn That is, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east – that is, across the whole land.

[8:12]  12 tn Heb “looking for the word of.”

[8:12]  13 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the Lord or the prophet.

[8:13]  14 tn Heb “the.”

[8:13]  15 tn Or “virgins.”

[8:13]  16 tn Heb “the.”

[8:13]  17 tn It is not clear whether the speaker in this verse is the Lord or the prophet.

[8:14]  18 tn Heb “those who swear.”

[8:14]  19 tn Heb “the sin [or “guilt”] of Samaria.” This could be a derogatory reference to an idol-goddess popular in the northern kingdom, perhaps Asherah (cf. 2 Chr 24:18, where this worship is labeled “their guilt”), or to the golden calf at the national sanctuary in Bethel (Hos 8:6, 10:8). Some English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV, CEV) repoint the word and read “Ashimah,” the name of a goddess worshiped in Hamath in Syria (see 2 Kgs 17:30).

[8:14]  20 tn Heb “say.”

[8:14]  21 sn Your god is not identified. It may refer to another patron deity who was not the God of Israel, a local manifestation of the Lord that was worshiped by the people there, or, more specifically, the golden calf image erected in Dan by Jeroboam I (see 1 Kgs 12:28-30).

[8:14]  22 tc The MT reads, “As surely as the way [to] Beer Sheba lives,” or “As surely as the way lives, O Beer Sheba.” Perhaps the term דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “the way”) refers to the pilgrimage route to Beersheba (see S. M. Paul, Amos [Hermeneia], 272) or it may be a title for a god. The notion of pilgrimage appears elsewhere in the book (cf. 4:4-5; 5:4-5; 8:12). The translation above assumes an emendation to דֹּדְךְ (dodÿkh, “your beloved” or “relative”; the term also is used in 6:10) and understands this as referring either to the Lord (since other kinship terms are used of him, such as “Father”) or to another deity that was particularly popular in Beer Sheba. Besides the commentaries, see S. M. Olyan, “The Oaths of Amos 8:14Priesthood and Cult in Ancient Israel, 121-49.

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