Amos 5
Contemporary English Version

Turn Back to the Lord

1Listen, nation of Israel,

to my mournful message:

2You, dearest Israel, have fallen,

never to rise again—

you lie deserted in your own land,

with no one to help you up.

3The Lord God has warned,

“From every ten soldiers

only one will be left;

from a thousand troops,

only a hundred will survive.”

4The Lord keeps saying,

“Israel, turn back to me

and you will live!

5Don't go to Gilgal or Bethel

or even to Beersheba.+

Gilgal will be dragged away,

and Bethel will end up

as nothing.”+

6Turn back to the Lord,

you descendants of Joseph,+

and you will live.

If you don't, the Lord

will attack like fire.

Bethel will burn to the ground,

and no one can save it.

7You people are doomed!

You twist the truth

and trample on justice.

8 But the Lord created the stars

and put them in place.+

He turns darkness to dawn

and daylight to darkness;

he scoops up the ocean

and empties it on the earth.

9God destroys mighty soldiers

and strong fortresses.

Choose Good Instead of Evil!

The Lord said:

10You people hate judges

and honest witnesses;

11you abuse the poor and demand

heavy taxes from them.

You have built expensive homes,

but you won't enjoy them;

you have planted vineyards,

but you will get no wine.

12I am the Lord, and I know

your terrible sins.

You cheat honest people

and take bribes;

you rob the poor of justice.

13Times are so evil

that anyone with good sense

will keep quiet.

14If you really want to live,

you must stop doing wrong

and start doing right.

I, the Lord God All-Powerful,

will then be on your side,

just as you claim I am.

15Choose good instead of evil!

See that justice is done.

Maybe I, the Lord All-Powerful,

will be kind to what's left

of your people.+

Judgment Is Coming

16This is what the Lord has sworn:

Noisy crying will be heard

in every town and street.

Even farmers will be told

to mourn for the dead,

together with those

who are paid to mourn.+

17Your vineyards will be filled

with crying and weeping,+

because I will punish you.

I, the Lord, have spoken!

When the Lord Judges

18You look forward to the day

when the Lord comes to judge.

But you are in for trouble!

It won't be a time of sunshine;

all will be darkness.

19You will run from a lion,

only to meet a bear.

You will escape to your house,

rest your hand on the wall,

and be bitten by a snake.

20The day when the Lord judges

will be dark, very dark,

without a ray of light.

What the Lord Demands

21 I, the Lord, hate and despise

your religious celebrations

and your times of worship.

22I won't accept your offerings

or animal sacrifices—

not even your very best.

23No more of your noisy songs!

I won't listen

when you play your harps.

24But let justice and fairness

flow like a river

that never runs dry.

25 Israel, for forty years

you wandered in the desert,

without bringing offerings

or sacrifices to me.

26Now you will have to carry

the two idols you made—

Sakkuth, the one you call king,

and Kaiwan, the one you built

in the shape of a star.+

27I will force you to march

as captives beyond Damascus.

I, the Lord God All-Powerful,

have spoken!+


5.5 Gilgal … Bethel … Beersheba: These were ancient places of worship, but the Lord had warned his people to stay away from them.
5.5 Gilgal … nothing: In Hebrew “Gilgal” and “dragged away” sound something alike. Bethel (meaning “house of God”) is sometimes called “house of nothing” or “house of sin” by the prophets (see Hosea 4.15; 5.8; 10.5-8).
5.6 descendants of Joseph: Another name for the people of the northern kingdom of Israel.
5.8 the stars … place: The Hebrew text mentions two groups of stars, Pleiades and Orion. Since the Lord is the Creator of the stars, he controls the seasons that are signaled by the different positions of the stars. Moreover, the stars are created objects and should not be worshiped.
5.15 your people: Hebrew “Joseph's descendants” (see the note at 5.6).
5.16 paid to mourn: In ancient times some people were paid to mourn and make loud cries at funerals.
5.17 Your vineyards … weeping: Instead of happy celebrations that were often held in vineyards after the harvest.
5.26 star: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 26.
5.27 I, the Lord … spoken: Israel did not offer sacrifices and gifts to the Lord during the time they wandered through the desert. But now they have made idols to carry during their ceremonies. So the Lord warns that he will make them “march” away as captives beyond Damascus, where Israel had extended its borders by victories in war (see 2 Kings 14.28).

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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