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Amos 3 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

III. Threefold Summons to Hear the Word of the Lord

Chapter 3

First Summons

Hear this word, Israelites, that the Lord speaks concerning you,
    concerning the whole family I brought up from the land of Egypt:
You alone I have known,[a]
    among all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you
    for all your iniquities.

[b]Do two journey together
    unless they have agreed?
Does a lion roar in the forest
    when it has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from its den
    unless it has seized something?
Does a bird swoop down on a trap on the ground
    when there is no lure for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground
    without catching anything?
Does the ram’s horn sound in a city
    without the people becoming frightened?
Does disaster befall a city
    unless the Lord has caused it?

(Indeed, the Lord God does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.)

The lion has roared,
    who would not fear?
The Lord God has spoken,
    who would not prophesy?

Proclaim this in the strongholds of Assyria,[c]
    in the strongholds of the land of Egypt:
“Gather on the mount of Samaria,
    and see the great disorders within it,
    the oppressions within its midst.”[d]
10 They do not know how to do what is right—
    oracle of the Lord
Storing up in their strongholds
    violence and destruction.
11 Therefore thus says the Lord God:
An enemy shall surround the land,
    tear down your fortresses,
    and pillage your strongholds.
12 Thus says the Lord:
As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion
    a pair of sheep’s legs or the tip of an ear,
So shall the Israelites escape,
    those who dwell in Samaria,
With the corner of a couch
    or a piece of a cot.[e]

13 Hear and bear witness against the house of Jacob—
    an oracle of the Lord God, the God of hosts:
14 On the day when I punish Israel for its crimes,
    I will also punish the altars of Bethel;
The horns of the altar shall be broken off
    and fall to the ground.[f]
15 I will strike the winter house
    and the summer house;
The houses of ivory shall lie in ruin,
    and their many rooms shall be no more—
    oracle of the Lord.


  1. 3:2 You alone I have known: precisely because Israel enjoyed a special status among the nations of the world in the eyes of the Lord (but see 9:7) it was called to a high degree of fidelity to God. Because Israel has failed in this expectation, it must experience God’s punishment.
  2. 3:3–8 The metaphors in these sayings illustrate the principle of cause and effect, and lead up to the conclusion in v. 8.
  3. 3:9 Assyria: following the Greek version, the Hebrew text has “Ashod.” It is supposed that this was a copyist’s error: “Assyria” seems intended, in order to parallel “Egypt” in the next line.
  4. 3:9 With a keen sense of irony, Amos invites the most powerful oppressors in Israel’s memory, past and present—Egypt and Assyria—to see and marvel at the great oppression and injustice being wrought within Samaria by the people of Israel.
  5. 3:12 The “escape” is clearly a disaster, not a deliverance.
  6. 3:14 On Bethel, see also 4:4; 5:5–6; and 7:13. The prophet is condemning the religiosity and formalism of the worship by Israel’s leaders.
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.

Amos 3 New International Version (NIV)

Witnesses Summoned Against Israel

Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:

“You only have I chosen
    of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
    for all your sins.

Do two walk together
    unless they have agreed to do so?
Does a lion roar in the thicket
    when it has no prey?
Does it growl in its den
    when it has caught nothing?
Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground
    when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground
    if it has not caught anything?
When a trumpet sounds in a city,
    do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
    has not the Lord caused it?

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
    without revealing his plan
    to his servants the prophets.

The lion has roared
    who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken—
    who can but prophesy?

Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod
    and to the fortresses of Egypt:
“Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria;
    see the great unrest within her
    and the oppression among her people.”

10 “They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord,
    “who store up in their fortresses
    what they have plundered and looted.”

11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“An enemy will overrun your land,
    pull down your strongholds
    and plunder your fortresses.

12 This is what the Lord says:

“As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth
    only two leg bones or a piece of an ear,
so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued,
    with only the head of a bed
    and a piece of fabric[a] from a couch.[b]

13 “Hear this and testify against the descendants of Jacob,” declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty.

14 “On the day I punish Israel for her sins,
    I will destroy the altars of Bethel;
the horns of the altar will be cut off
    and fall to the ground.
15 I will tear down the winter house
    along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
    and the mansions will be demolished,
declares the Lord.


  1. Amos 3:12 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  2. Amos 3:12 Or Israelites be rescued, / those who sit in Samaria / on the edge of their beds / and in Damascus on their couches.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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