Amos 5

``Seek Me that You May Live"

1 Hear this word which I take up for you as a 1dirge, O house of Israel:
2 She has fallen, she will 2not rise again - The 3virgin Israel. She lies neglected on her land; There is 4none to raise her up.
3 For thus says the Lord GOD, "The city which goes forth a thousand strong Will have a 5hundred left, And the one which goes forth a hundred strong Will have 6ten left to the house of Israel."
4 For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel, "7Seek Me 8that you may live.
5 "But do not resort to 9Bethel And do not come to 10Gilgal, Nor cross over to 11Beersheba; For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity And Bethel will come to trouble.
6 "12Seek the LORD that you may live, Or He will break forth like a 13fire, O house of Joseph, And it will consume with none to quench it for Bethel,
7 For those who turn 14justice into wormwood And cast righteousness down to the earth."
8 He who made the 15Pleiades and Orion And 16changes deep darkness into morning, Who also 17darkens day into night, Who 18calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The 19LORD is His name.
9 It is He who 20flashes forth with destruction upon the strong, So that 21destruction comes upon the fortress.
10 They hate him who 22reproves in the gate, And they 23abhor him who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor And exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built 24houses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will 25not drink their wine.
12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, You who 26distress the righteous and accept bribes And turn aside the poor in the gate.
13 Therefore at such a time the prudent person 27keeps silent, for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the LORD God of hosts be with you, 28Just as you have said!
15 29Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the LORD God of hosts 30May be gracious to the 31remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore thus says the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, "There is 32wailing in all the plazas, And in all the streets they say, 'Alas! Alas!' They also call the 33farmer to mourning And 34professional mourners to lamentation.
17 "And in all the 35vineyards there is wailing, Because I will pass through the midst of you," says the LORD.
18 Alas, you who are longing for the 36day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be 37darkness and not light;
19 As when a man 38flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him.
20 Will not the day of the LORD be 39darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?
21 "I hate, I 40reject your festivals, Nor do I 41delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 "Even though you 42offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the 43peace offerings of your fatlings.
23 "Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
24 "But let 44justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
25 "45Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel?
26 "46You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.
27 "Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond * Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.

Images for Amos 5

Amos 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

Israel is called to seek the Lord. (1-6) Earnest exhortations to repentance. (7-17) Threatenings respecting idolatries. (18-27)

Verses 1-6 The convincing, awakening word must be heard and heeded, as well as words of comfort and peace; for whether we hear or forbear, the word of God shall take effect. The Lord still proclaims mercy to men, but they often expect deliverance from such self-invented forms as make their condemnation sure. While they refuse to come to Christ and to seek mercy in and by him, that they may live, the fire of Divine wrath breaks forth upon them. Men may make an idol of the world, but will find it cannot protect.

Verses 7-17 The same almighty power can, for repenting sinners, easily turn affliction and sorrow into prosperity and joy, and as easily turn the prosperity of daring sinners into utter darkness. Evil times will not bear plain dealing; that is, evil men will not. And these men were evil men indeed, when wise and good men thought it in vain even to speak to them. Those who will seek and love that which is good, may help to save the land from ruin. It behoves us to plead God's spiritual promises, to beseech him to create in us a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within us. The Lord is ever ready to be gracious to the souls that seek him; and then piety and every duty will be attended to. But as for sinful Israel, God's judgments had often passed by them, now they shall pass through them.

Verses 18-27 Woe unto those that desire the day of the Lord's judgments, that wish for times of war and confusion; as some who long for changes, hoping to rise upon the ruins of their country! but this should be so great a desolation, that nobody could gain by it. The day of the Lord will be a dark, dismal, gloomy day to all impenitent sinners. When God makes a day dark, all the world cannot make it light. Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God, will be pursued by them; if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them. A pretence of piety is double iniquity, and so it will be found. The people of Israel copied the crimes of their forefathers. The law of worshipping the Lord our God, is, Him only we must serve. Professors thrive so little, because they have little or no communion with God in their duties. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go into captivity among idolaters.

Cross References 46

  • 1. Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 9:10, 17; Ezekiel 19:1
  • 2. Amos 8:14
  • 3. Jeremiah 14:17
  • 4. Isaiah 51:18; Jeremiah 50:32
  • 5. Isaiah 6:13
  • 6. Amos 6:9
  • 7. Deuteronomy 4:29; Deuteronomy 32:46, 47; Jeremiah 29:13
  • 8. Isaiah 55:3
  • 9. 1 Kings 12:28, 29; Amos 3:14; Amos 4:4; Amos 7:10, 13
  • 10. 1 Samuel 7:16; 1 Samuel 11:14
  • 11. Genesis 21:31-33; Amos 8:14
  • 12. Is 55:3, 6, 7; Amos 5:14
  • 13. Deuteronomy 4:24
  • 14. Amos 2:3; Amos 5:12; Amos 6:12
  • 15. Job 9:9; Job 38:31
  • 16. Job 12:22; Job 38:12; Isaiah 42:16
  • 17. Psalms 104:20
  • 18. Psalms 104:6-9; Amos 9:6
  • 19. Amos 4:13
  • 20. Isaiah 29:5; Amos 2:14
  • 21. Micah 5:11
  • 22. Isaiah 29:21; Amos 5:15
  • 23. 1 Kings 22:8; Isaiah 59:15; Jeremiah 17:16-18
  • 24. Amos 3:15; Amos 6:11
  • 25. Micah 6:15
  • 26. Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 5:23; Amos 2:6
  • 27. Ecclesiastes 3:7; Hosea 4:4
  • 28. Micah 3:11
  • 29. Psalms 97:10; Romans 12:9
  • 30. Joel 2:14
  • 31. Mic 5:3, 7, 8
  • 32. Jer 9:10, 18-20; Amos 8:3
  • 33. Joel 1:11
  • 34. 2 Chronicles 35:25; Jeremiah 9:17
  • 35. Isaiah 16:10; Jeremiah 48:33
  • 36. Isaiah 5:19; Jeremiah 30:7; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1, 11, 31
  • 37. Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2
  • 38. Job 20:24; Isaiah 24:17, 18; Jeremiah 15:2, 3; Jeremiah 48:44
  • 39. Isaiah 13:10; Zephaniah 1:15
  • 40. Isaiah 1:11-16; Isaiah 66:3; Amos 4:4, 5; Amos 8:10
  • 41. Leviticus 26:31; Jeremiah 14:12; Hosea 5:6
  • 42. Isaiah 66:3; Micah 6:6, 7
  • 43. Leviticus 7:11-15; Amos 4:5
  • 44. Jeremiah 22:3; Ezekiel 45:9; Micah 6:8
  • 45. Deuteronomy 32:17; Joshua 24:14; Nehemiah 9:18-21; Acts 7:42, 43
  • 46. Acts 7:43

Footnotes 19

  • [a]. Heb "YHWH," usually rendered LORD, and so throughout the ch
  • [b]. Lit "seek"
  • [c]. Or "become iniquity"
  • [d]. Or in "the house"
  • [e]. Lit "they have put down"
  • [f]. Lit "And He darkened"
  • [g]. I.e. the place where court was held
  • [h]. Another reading is "trample upon"
  • [i]. Lit "they turn"
  • [j]. I.e. the place where court was held
  • [k]. Lit "that time"
  • [l]. I.e. the place where court was held
  • [m]. Lit "those who know lamentation"
  • [n]. Or "Then"
  • [o]. Lit "like to smell"
  • [p]. Or "You presented Me with the sacrifices and a grain offering"
  • [q]. Or "Sakkuth (Saturn)" or "shrine of your Moloch"
  • [r]. Or "Kaiwan (Saturn)" or "stands of"
  • [s]. Or "your star gods"

Chapter Summary


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.

Amos 5 Commentaries

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.