Amos 1:1-2 & 5:14-15, 21-24

Amos 1:1-2 & 5:14-15, 21-24
Narrative Lectionary


1:1 The wordsA of Amos,B who wasC among the shepherdsD of Tekoa,E

Notes on verse 1:1a

A “words” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
B “Amos” = Amos. 7x in OT. From amas (to carry a load, to load, lift; figuratively, infliction). This is Amos, whose name may mean “burdensome.”
C “was” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
D “shepherds” = noqed. 2x in OT. Perhaps from the same as naqod (speckled or spotted; its root may refer to something that is branded or marked through a piercing action). This is someone who raises, breads, herds, and/or deals in sheep.
E “Tekoa” = Teqoa. 7x in OT. From taqoa (a sound from a trump or other wind instrument; a blast); from taqa (clap, clatter, thrust, sound an instrument, hammer a nail, be a bondsman). This is Tekoa or Tekoah, a city whose name means “trumpet” or “sudden thrust” or “firm” or “settlement” or “pitching.” See

which he sawF concerning IsraelG in the daysH of KingI UzziahJ of JudahK

Notes on verse 1:1b

F “saw” = chazah. This is to gaze at – to see or behold. It can also refer to perceiving as a mental process or looking at something with pleasure. It can be used particularly to mean seeing a vision.
G “Israel” = Yisrael. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
H “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
I “King” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
J “Uzziah” = Uzziyyah. Related to “was” in v1:1. From oz (strength in the sense of force, majesty, praise, material and physical strength, the abstract notion of security; also social or political power); {from azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; it means to be stout literally or figuratively. A Late Hebrew word)} + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); from havah (to become) or hayah (see note C above)}}. This is Uzziah, meaning “my strength is the Lord.”
K “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”

and in the days of King JeroboamL sonM of JoashN of Israel, two yearsO beforeP the earthquake.Q

Notes on verse 1:1c

L “Jeroboam” = Yarobam. From rabab (to be or become much or many, multiply) + am (people or nation; a tribe, troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals); {from amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together)} OR from rib (properly to toss or grapple; used figuratively to mean wrangling and so for arguments, complaints, or disputes; used in a legal setting for pleading or defending a case) + am (see above). This is Jeroboam, a name meaning “the people increase” or “the people will contend” or “whose people are countless.” See
M “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
N “Joash” = Yoash. Related to “was” and “Uzziah” in v1:1. From the same as yehoash (Jehoash, meaning “the Lord is strong); {from YHVH (see note J above)} + perhaps esh (fire, burning, flaming, hot; fire in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Joash, meaning “the Lord is strong.”
O “years” = shanah. From shana (to change, alter). This is a year, age, old. It can also mean yearly.
P “before” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
Q “earthquake” = raash. 17x in OT. From raash (to quake, shake, tremble, shake from fear; leap like a locust). This is quaking, shaking, rattling, or rumbling. It can also be commotion, tumult, earthquake, or confused sounds.

2 And he said:

The LordR roarsS from Zion,T
    and uttersU his voiceV from Jerusalem;W

Notes on verse 1:2a

R “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “was” and “Uzziah” and “Joash” in v1:1. See note J above.
S “roars” = shaag. This is to roar, rumble, or moan.
T “Zion” = Tsiyyon. Related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. Zion can refer to a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people.
U “utters” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
V “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
W “Jerusalem” = Yerushalaim. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalam (to make amends, to be complete or sound). This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.

the pasturesX of the shepherdsY wither,Z

Notes on verse 1:2b

X “pastures” = naah. 12x in OT. From the same as naveh (home, place where shepherd or sheep live; at hme implies a lovely place or a place of satisfaction); from navah (home, beautify, praise) OR from naah (to be at home and so pleasant, beautiful). This is a home, pleasant place, or pasture.
Y “shepherds” = ra’ah. This is to tend a flock, pasture, or graze. It can mean to rule or to associate with someone. Figuratively, it can be ruler or teacher.
Z “wither” = abal. This is to mourn or lament.

    and the topAA of CarmelBB dries up.CC

Notes on verse 1:2c

AA “top” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
BB “Carmel” = Karmel. From the same as kerem (vineyard, garden, vines, or a vintage). This is Carmel, a city whose name means “fruitful plentiful field” or “plantation” or “orchard” or “garden.” See
CC “dries up” = yabesh. This is to be dry, withered, confused, or ashamed. It can also be to fail.

5:14 SeekDD goodEE and not evil,FF
    that you may live;GG

Notes on verse 5:14a

DD “seek” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.
EE “good” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
FF “evil” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
GG “live” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it an be revive, nourish, or save.

and soHH the Lord, the GodII of hosts,JJ will be with you,
    just as you have said.

Notes on verse 5:14b

HH “so” = ken. Perhaps from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is to set upright. Generally used figuratively to mean thus, so, afterwards, rightly so.
II “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israel” in v1:1. See note G above.
JJ “hosts” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.

15 HateKK evil and loveLL good,
    and establishMM justiceNN in the gate;OO
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
    will be graciousPP to the remnantQQ of Joseph.RR

Notes on verse 5:15

KK “hate” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.
LL “love” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
MM “establish” = yatsag. 16x in OT. This is to set, establish, present, stay. It can imply putting something somewhere permanently.
NN “justice” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
OO “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
PP “be gracious” = chanan. This is to beseech, show favor, be gracious. Properly, it is to bend in kindness to someone with less status.
QQ “remnant” = sheerith. From shaar (properly, swelling up i.e. being left over; a remnant, remaining, being redundant). This is a remainder, residue, or survivor. It can also refer to posterity.
RR “Joseph” = Yoseph. From yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases” or “let him add.”

21 I hate, I despiseSS your festivals,TT
    and I take no delightUU in your solemn assemblies.VV

Notes on verse 5:21

SS “despise” = ma’as. This is to reject, refuse, despise, disdain, reject, or spurn. It can also be to disappear or melt away.
TT “festivals” = chag. From chagag (feast, celebrating a festival, making a pilgrimage; properly, going in a circle or marching in sacred procession; implies giddiness and dancing; reeling to and fro). This is a feast, a sacrifice as part of a festival, or the gathering of the festival.
UU “take…delight” = ruach. 11x in OT. Related to riach (scent, odor, perceive). This is to blow or breathe. It can imply to perceive, anticipate, or enjoy.
VV “solemn assemblies” = atsarah. 11x in OT. From atsar (to restrain, rule, confine, bond; to hold back, maintain, rule, assemble). This is an assembly, particularly one that was called for a festival or for a holiday.

22 Even though you offerWW me your burnt offeringsXX and grain offerings,YY
    I will not acceptZZ them;
and the offerings of well-beingAAA of your fattedBBB animals
    I will not look upon.CCC

Notes on verse 5:22

WW “offer” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
XX “burnt offerings” = olah. Related to “offer” in v5:22. From alah (see note WW above). This is a step, stairs, or some kind of ascent. It is also used for whole burnt offerings, being the offering in which the whole things is burned and rises as smoke. Burnt offerings were the least common of the offerings: most were eaten, shared with the priest and the one bringing the offering.
YY “grain offerings” = minchah. This is a gift or an offering, particularly a sacrificial one that is generally bloodless and given spontaneously (voluntarily).
ZZ “accept” = ratsah. This is to be pleased with, delight, take pleasure in, or accept with favor. It can mean to approve or consent regarding something. It can also be used specifically of satisfying debts or being pardoned.
AAA “offerings of well-being” = shelem. Related to “Jerusalem” in v1:2. From shalam (see note W above). This is a peace offering or a sacrifice of well-being. It was a voluntary offering given when one celebrated thanksgiving, alliance, or friendship.
BBB “fatted” = meri. 8x in OT. Perhaps from mara (to rebel, flap wings, whip, be filthy). This is a stall-fed cow, a fatling.
CCC “look upon” = nabat. This is to behold, look at intently, consider, or scan. It can mean to have respect or regard someone favorably.

23 Take awayDDD from me the noiseEEE of your songs;
    I will not listenFFF to the melodyGGG of your harps.HHH

Notes on verse 5:23

DDD “take away” = sur. This is to turn aside in a literal or figurative sense – to depart, decline, rebel, remove, or withdraw.
EEE “noise” = hamon. From hamah (to growl, cry out, be moved, murmur, hum, mourn, rage, clamor). This is a sound, noise, roar, rumbling, wealth, crowd, disquietude.
FFF “listen” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
GGG “melody” = zimrah. 4x in OT. From zamar (making music; used specially of music to worship God; music with singing, singing praise, singing psalms); may be from zamar (to trim or prune). This is a melody, psalm, or sound. It is sung to praise God or it might be a song sung with an instrument.
HHH “harps” = nebel. From nabel (to fall away, faint, wither, languish, sink; figuratively, being senseless, foolish, or wicked; to despise, disgrace, or fall to nothing, to be seen with contempt). This is a vessel, perhaps made of skins for holding liquids. It could be a skin, vase, or lyre as having a similar shape.

24 But let justice roll downIII like waters,JJJ
    and righteousnessKKK like an ever-flowingLLL stream.MMM

Notes on verse 5:24

III “roll down” = galal. 18x in OT. This is to roll, roll away, wallow, commit, remove. It is rolling in a literal or figurative sense.
JJJ “waters” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.
KKK “righteousness” = tsedaqah. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, vindication. It is everything that is just or ethical. That which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense. It also includes just weights (i.e. true weights). Figuratively, this is justice, righteousness, equity – even prosperity). This is righteousness, justice, righteous acts, and moral virtue.
LLL “ever-flowing” = ethan. 13x in OT. Root might mean to continue. This is mighty, strong, ever-flowing, enduring, or permanence.
MMM “stream” = nachal. From nachal (to take as heritage, inherit, or distribute). This is a river or stream. It could be a wadi or arroyo – sometimes a narrow valley with no water at all, but in strong rains or when winter snow melts, it swells or floods with water.

Image credit: “Nahal Prat” – the Prat Stream in Israel – by “SuperJew,” 2013.

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