Amos 7:7-15

Amos 7:7-15
Ordinary B33


This is what he showedA me:B the LordC was standingD beside a wallE built with a plumb line,F with a plumb line in his hand.G 

Notes on verse 7

A “showed” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
B {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
C “Lord” = Adonai. From adon (lord, master, owner); root means to rule or be sovereign. This is the actual Hebrew word for Lord used (in a different form) of humans and (in the present form) of God. It means someone who is in control.
D “standing” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
E “wall” = chomah. From the same as cham (father-in-law – one’s husband’s father; perhaps from a root meaning to join). This is a wall – a wall as used for protection.
F “plumb line” = anak. 4x in OT – al in this passage. Comes from roots that refer to lead and tin. It is a plumb line – metal weighted on a vertical line, used as a level.
G “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.

And the LordH said to me, “Amos,I what do you see?”J

And I said, “A plumb line.”

Then the LordK said,

“See,L I am settingM a plumb line

Notes on verse 8a

H “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
I “Amos” = Amos. 7x in OT. From amas (to carry a load, to load, lift; figuratively, infliction). This is Amos, whose name may mean “burdensome.”
J “see” = raah. Same as “showed” in v7. See note A above.
K “Lord” = Adonai. Same as “Lord” in v8. See note C above.
L “see” = hen. Related to {untranslated} in v7. See note B above.
M “setting” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.

    in the midstN of my peopleO Israel;P
    I will never againQ passR them by;

Notes on verse 8b

N “midst” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
O “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
P “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.
Q “will…again” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
R “pass” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.

the high placesS of IsaacT shall be made desolate,U
    and the sanctuariesV of Israel shall be laid waste,W

Notes on verse 9a

S “high places” = bamah. The root might mean being high. This is height, wave, or elevation.
T “Isaac” = Yischaq. 4x in OT. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way) OR from shachtsom (Schachtsom, Shahazumah, or Shahazimah – a city; proudly); from the same as shachats (pride, dignity, lion; a haughty attitude; root may mean to strut). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.” This is Isaac, meaning “he will laugh.”
U “be made desolate” = shamem. This is to stun or become numb . It can also mean to devastate or be appalled. Can also mean to be amazed or astonished.
V “sanctuaries” = miqdash. From the same as qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy); related to qadash (set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified; something or someone set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean). This is a sacred place, sanctuary, holy place. It is something or somewhere that is consecrated, whether to God or to another.
W “be laid waste” = charab. This is to dry up because of drought, destroy, or make waste.

    and I will riseX against the houseY of JeroboamZ with the sword.”AA

Notes on verse 9b

X “rise” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
Y “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
Z “Jeroboam” = Yarobam. Related to “people” in v8. From rabab (to be or become much or many, multiply) + am (see note O above) 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 note O above). This is Jeroboam, a name meaning “the people increase,” “whose people are countless,” or “the people will contend.” See
AA “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.

10 Then Amaziah,BB the priestCC of Bethel,DD sentEE to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying,

Notes on verse 10a

BB “Amaziah” = Amatsyahu. Related to “Lord” in v8. From amets (to be strong, stout, alert, or bold; to harden, make firm, be courageous or mighty, fortify, or establish; physical alertness or mental courage or steadfastness) + Yah (the shortened form of the name of the God of Israel; God, Lord); {from YHVH (see note H above)}. This is Amaziah, a name meaning “the Lord is mighty” or “the strength of the Lord.”
CC “priest” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
DD “Bethel” = Bethel. Related to “house” in v9 & “Israel” in v8. From bayit (see note Y above) + el (see note P above). This is Bethel, literally meaning “house of God.”
EE “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.

“Amos has conspiredFF against you in the very centerGG of the house of Israel; the landHH is not ableII to bearJJ all his words.KK 

Notes on verse 10b

FF “conspired” = qashar. This is to tie or bind. It can also refer to joining together as a league or in love. In a negative sense, it can mean to conspire.
GG “center” = qereb. Same as “midst” in v8. See note N above.
HH “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
II “is…able” = yakol. This is to be able, endure, overcome, prevail.
JJ “bear” = kul. This is to hold in. So, it can be to contain, measure, guide, or feed. It can also mean to be able to or sustain.
KK “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.

 11 For thus Amos has said,

‘Jeroboam shall dieLL by the sword,
    and Israel must go into exileMM
    away from his land.’”NN

Notes on verse 11

LL “die” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
MM “must go into exile” = galah + galah. This is to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise. It can mean to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense. Captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile. Used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
NN “land” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer,OO go,PP flee awayQQ to the land of Judah,RR

Notes on verse 12a

OO “seer” = chozeh. From chazah (to gaze at – to see or behold; perceiving as a mental process or looking at something with pleasure; seeing a vision). This is seer, prophet, or agreement. It is one who behold a vision or an agreement that the parties see approvingly.
PP “go” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
QQ “flee away” = barach. This is to flee, drive away, hurry, to bolt.
RR “Judah” = Yehudah. Perhaps related to “hand” in v7. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (see note G above). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”

earnSS your breadTT there, and prophesyUU there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a templeVV of the kingdom.”WW

Notes on verses 12b-13

SS “earn” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
TT “bread” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.
UU “prophesy” = naba. Related to nabi (prophet, prophecy, speaker; someone inspired). This is to prophesy. It can also refer to an ecstatic state – raving. It is associated with speech, song, teachings, and predictions.
VV “temple” = bayit. Same as “house” in v9. See note Y above.
WW “kingdom” = mamlakah. Related to “king” n v10. From the same as melek (king, royal). This is kingdom, dominion, sovereignty, rule. It can also refer to the realm.

14 Then Amos answeredXX Amaziah, “I am no prophet,YY nor a prophet’s son;ZZ

Notes on verse 14a

XX “answered” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
YY “prophet” = nabi. Related to “prophesy” in v12. See note UU above.
ZZ “son” = ben. Related to “house” in v9 & “Bethel” in v10. From banah (see note Y above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

but I amAAA a herdsman,BBB and a dresserCCC of sycamore trees,DDD 15 and the Lord tookEEE me from following the flock,FFF and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

Notes on verses 14b-15

AAA “am” = There is no tense here, so this could be translated “was” just as well.
BBB “herdsman” = boqer. 1x in OT. From baqar (cattle – an animal used for plowing); from baqar (to plow, break forth; figuratively, to inquire, inspect, consider). This is someone who tends cattle.
CCC “dresser” = balas. 1x in OT. This is someone who grows, pinches, and harvests figs from a sycamore.
DDD “sycamore trees” = shiqmah. 7x in OT. This is a sycamore tree or its fruit. It may be the root of the word sycamore, also used for trees in North America.
EEE “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
FFF “flock” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.

Image credit: “The Plumb Line and the City” by Clark Fitzgerald.

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