Amos 5

Amos is sad

1 You people of Israel's family, listen to the sad song that I will sing about you:

2 ‘You are like a young woman that died young, without children. Now you have fallen down and you will not rise up again. You lie there on the ground. There is nobody there to help you to get up.’

3 This is what the Lord God says to you: ‘1,000 soldiers will go out from a city to fight, but only 100 soldiers will come back. From another city, 100 soldiers will go out to fight, but only ten will come back.’

4 To the people of Israel's family, the Lord says, ‘Come back to me and you will live. 5 Do not go to Bethel, Gilgal, or Beersheba. Do not try to find me there, because I am not there. I will send enemies to destroy those places. They will take the people away as slaves.’

6 Return to the Lord and you will live. If you do not do that, he will come like fire to punish you. He will completely destroy Joseph's descendants. Bethel and all its people will burn. Nobody will be able to stop the fire. 7 You people change what is right and true to make lies. You are not fair or honest.

8 The Lord made the groups of stars called Pleiades and Orion. The Lord changes the night into dawn, and he changes the day back to night again. He takes the water in the sea, and he pours it out as rain on the earth. The Lord is his name!

9 He quickly destroys strong people. He knocks down their strong buildings and their walls.

10 ‘You Israelites hate honest judges. You laugh at anyone who speaks the truth. 11 You cheat poor people so that they pay too much tax. You take away their food for yourselves. Because of that, you will not live in the beautiful houses that you have built for yourselves. You will not drink wine from the vines that you have planted.

12 I, the Lord, know all the wrong things that you have done. They are very many and they are very bad. You are cruel to good people. You take bribes to tell lies. Sometimes a person gives money to you to make you tell lies. As a result, poor people do not receive justice. 13 This is such an evil time that clever people say nothing. That is how they keep themselves safe.’

14 You say that the Lord God Almighty is with you. Stop doing evil things. Do good things, so that you will live. Then the Lord God Almighty will really be with you, as you say. 15 Hate evil things and love good things. When you judge people, be fair and honest. Then maybe the Lord God Almighty will be kind to those of his people who still remain, Joseph's descendants.

16 The Lord, the Lord God Almighty says, ‘All the people will be sad. They will weep and cry loudly in all the streets. They will tell the farmers to weep with them. They will tell the singers to sing sad songs for them. 17 In every field and garden, people will be weeping, because I will come to punish them all.’ That is what the Lord says.

The special day of the Lord

18 You want the special day of the Lord to come. But it will be very bad for you! You think that God will punish your enemies on that day. But that day will not bring light to you, it will bring darkness. 19 Nobody will escape! It will be like a man who runs away from a lion, but then he meets a bear! When he goes into his house to be safe, he puts his hand on a wall and a snake bites him!

20 Know this: The day of the Lord will be dark, not light. It will bring trouble, not joy.

21 The Lord says, ‘When you have your festivals, I hate them! When you meet to worship me, it does not make me happy! 22 When you bring burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, they do not please me. I will not accept your friendship offerings of fat animals. 23 When you sing songs to worship me, I will not listen. They are just noise! I do not want to hear the music of your harps.

24 What I do want to see is justice! I want to see that you always do what is right. Those good things should never stop, like a river that always runs with water.

25 You people of Israel's family, listen to me! I led you through the wilderness for 40 years. During that time, did you worship me with sacrifices and offerings? No!

26 Instead, you have idols that you have made for yourselves. You have the idol of Sakkuth, your king. You have the idol of Kaiwan, your star god. Now you will have to carry them with you. 27 I will send you away as prisoners. Your enemies will take you beyond Damascus.’

That is what the Lord says, and he is God Almighty.