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Amos 1 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Editorial Introduction

Chapter 1

The words of Amos, who was one of the sheepbreeders from Tekoa, which he received in a vision concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.[a] He said:

The Lord roars from Zion,[b]
    and raises his voice from Jerusalem;
The pastures of the shepherds languish,
    and the summit of Carmel withers.

II. Oracles Against the Nations[c]


Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Damascus, and now four—[d]
    I will not take it back—
Because they threshed Gilead
    with sledges of iron,
I will send fire upon the house of Hazael,
    and it will devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.[e]
I will break the barred gate of Damascus;
    From the Valley of Aven[f] I will cut off the one enthroned,
And the sceptered ruler from Beth-eden;
    the people of Aram shall be exiled to Kir, says the Lord.


Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Gaza, and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because they exiled an entire population,
    handing them over to Edom,
I will send fire upon the wall of Gaza,
    and it will devour its strongholds;
From Ashdod I will cut off the one enthroned
    and the sceptered ruler from Ashkelon;
I will turn my hand against Ekron,
    and the last of the Philistines shall perish,
    says the Lord God.


Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Tyre, and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because they handed over an entire population to Edom,
    and did not remember their covenant of brotherhood,[g]
10 I will send fire upon the wall of Tyre,
    and it will devour its strongholds.


11 Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of Edom, and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because he pursued his brother[h] with the sword,
    suppressing all pity,
Persisting in his anger,
    his wrath raging without end,
12 I will send fire upon Teman,
    and it will devour the strongholds of Bozrah.[i]


13 Thus says the Lord:

For three crimes of the Ammonites, and now four—
    I will not take it back—
Because they ripped open pregnant women in Gilead,
    in order to extend their territory,
14 I will kindle a fire upon the wall of Rabbah,[j]
    and it will devour its strongholds
Amid war cries on the day of battle,
    amid stormwind on the day of tempest.
15 Their king shall go into exile,
    he and his princes with him, says the Lord.


  1. 1:1 The earthquake: a major earthquake during the reign of Uzziah (ca. 783–742 B.C.), so devastating that it was remembered long afterwards (cf. Zec 14:5). See the description of an earthquake in Amos’s final vision (9:1).
  2. 1:2 Significantly, the roar comes to the Northern Kingdom from Jerusalem. This verse, perhaps an editorial remark, sets the tone of Amos’s message.
  3. 1:3–2:16 All the nations mentioned here may have been part of the ideal empire of David-Solomon (cf. 1 Kgs 5:1; 2 Kgs 14:25). Certain standards of conduct were expected not only in their relations with Israel but also with one another.
  4. 1:3 For three crimes…and now four: this formula (n, n + 1) is frequent in poetry (e.g., Prv 6:16–19; 30:18–19). The progression “three” followed by “four” here suggests a climax. The fourth crime is one too many and exhausts the Lord’s forbearance.
  5. 1:4 Hazael…Ben-hadad: kings of the Arameans whose capital was Damascus (v. 5); they fought against Israel (2 Kgs 13:3) and had long occupied the region of Gilead (v. 3) in Transjordan.
  6. 1:5 Valley of Aven: lit., “valley of wickedness,” perhaps a distortion of a place name in Aramean territory, identity unknown. Beth-eden: an Aramean city-state on the Euphrates, about two hundred miles northeast of Damascus, called Bit-adini in Assyro-Babylonian texts. Kir: cf. 9:7; probably to be identified with the city of Emar on the Euphrates, a major Aramean center in the Late Bronze Age. One text from this site calls the king of Emar “the king of the people of the land of Kir.”
  7. 1:9 Did not remember their covenant of brotherhood: standard diplomatic language of this period, meaning “violated the treaty.” The violation may not have been against Israel itself but against a fellow “subject” nation of the ideal Davidic-Solomonic empire (cf. 2:1).
  8. 1:11 Pursued his brother: “brother” here may denote a fellow vassal or subject of Israel.
  9. 1:12 Teman…Bozrah: two of the chief cities of Edom; cf. Jer 49:20.
  10. 1:14 Rabbah: now called Amman, the modern capital of Jordan.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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