Amos 5:4-17

Seek God and Live

4 For the Lord says to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live!
5 Do not seek Bethel or go to Gilgal or journey to Beer-sheba, for Gilgal will certainly go into exile, and Bethel will come to nothing.
6 Seek Yahweh and live, or He will spread like fire[a] [throughout] the house of Joseph; it will consume [everything,] with no one at Bethel to extinguish it.[b]
7 Those who turn justice into wormwood[c] throw righteousness to the ground.
8 The One who made the Pleiades and Orion,[d] who turns darkness[e] into dawn[f] and darkens day into night,[g] who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the earth[h]- Yahweh is His name.
9 He brings destruction[i] on the strong,[j] and it falls on the stronghold.
10 They hate the one who convicts [the guilty] at the city gate and despise the one who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor and exact a grain tax from him, you will never live in the houses of cut stone you have built; you will never drink the wine from the lush vineyards you have planted.[k]
12 For I know your crimes are many and your sins innumerable. They oppress the righteous, take a bribe, and deprive the poor of justice at the gates.
13 Therefore, the wise person will keep silent at such a time, for the days are evil.
14 Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you have claimed.
15 Hate evil and love good;[l] establish justice in the gate.[m] Perhaps the Lord, the God of Hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore Yahweh, the God of Hosts, the Lord, says: There will be wailing in all the public squares; they will cry out in anguish[n] in all the streets. The farmer will be called on to mourn, and professional mourners[o][p]to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass among you.[q] The Lord has spoken.

Amos 5:4-17 Meaning and Commentary


In this chapter the prophet exhorts Israel to hear his lamentation over them for their impending ruin, Am 5:1-3; nevertheless to seek the Lord, and all that is good; to forsake their idols, and repent of their sins, in hopes of finding mercy, and living comfortably; or otherwise they must expect the wrath of God for their iniquities, especially their oppression of the poor, Am 5:4-15; otherwise it would be a time of weeping and wailing, of darkness and distress, however they might harden or flatter themselves, or make a jest of it, Am 5:16-20; for all their sacrifices and ceremonial worship would signify nothing, so long as they continued their idolatry with them Am 5:21-26; and therefore should surely go into captivity, Am 5:27.

Footnotes 17

Holman Christian Standard Bible ® Copyright © 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 by Holman Bible Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.