Amos 5

Study the Inner Meaning

Italian: Giovanni Diodati Bible (1649)         

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1 ASCOLTATE questa parola, il lamento che io prendo a far di voi, o casa d’Israele.

2 La vergine d’Israele è caduta, ella non risorgerà più; è abbandonata sopra la sua terra, non vi è niuno che la rilevi.

3 Perciocchè, così ha detto il Signore Iddio: Nella città onde ne uscivano mille, ne resteranno sol cento; e in quella onde ne uscivano cento, ne resteranno sol dieci, alla casa d’Israele.

4 Perciocchè, così ha detto il Signore alla casa d’Israele: Cercatemi, e voi viverete.

5 E non cercate Betel, e non entrate in Ghilgal e non passate in Beerseba; perciocchè Ghilgal del tutto sarà menato in cattività, e Betel sarà ridotto al niente.

6 Cercate il Signore, e voi viverete; che talora egli non si avventi sopra la casa di Giuseppe, a guisa di fuoco, e non la consumi, senza che Betel abbia chi spenga il fuoco,

7 o voi, che mutate il giudicio in assenzio, e lasciate in terra la giustizia!

8 Cercate colui che ha fatte le Gallinelle e l’Orione, e che muta l’ombra della morte in mattutino, e fa scurare il giorno come la notte; che chiama le acque del mare, e le spande sopra la faccia della terra; il cui Nome è: Il Signore:

9 che fa sorger subita ruina sopra il forte, talchè la distruzione occupa la fortezza.

10 Essi odiano nella porta chi li riprende, ed abbominano chi parla con integrità.

11 Laonde, perciocchè voi aggravate il povero, e prendete da lui la soma del frumento: voi avete edificate delle case di pietre pulite, ma non abiterete in esse; voi avete piantate delle vigne belle, ma non ne berrete il vino.

12 Perciocchè io conosco i vostri misfatti, che son molti, e i vostri peccati, che son gravi; oppressatori del giusto, prenditori di taglia, e sovvertitori della ragione de’ poveri nella porta.

13 Perciò, l’uomo prudente in quel tempo tacerà; perciocchè sarà un cattivo tempo.

14 Cercate il bene, e non il male, acciocchè viviate; e il Signore Iddio degli eserciti sarà con voi, come avete detto.

15 Odiate il male, ed amate il bene, e stabilite il giudicio nella porta; forse avrà il Signore Iddio d’Israele pietà del rimanente di Giuseppe.

16 Perciò, così ha detto il Signore Iddio degli eserciti, il Signore: Vi sarà pianto in tutte le piazze; e si dirà in tutte le strade: Ahi lasso! Ahi lasso! e si chiameranno i lavoratori al duolo, ed al lamento quelli che sono intendenti in lamenti lugubri.

17 In tutte le vigne ancora vi sarà pianto; perciocchè io passerò nel mezzo di te, ha detto il Signore.

18 Guai a voi, che desiderate il giorno del Signore! perchè desiderate così il giorno del Signore? esso sarà giorno di tenebre, e non di luce.

19 Come se un uomo fuggisse d’innanzi ad un leone, ed un orso lo scontrasse; ovvero entrasse in casa, ed appoggiasse la mano alla parete, ed una serpe lo mordesse.

20 Il giorno del Signore non sarà egli tenebre, e non luce? e caligine, senza alcuno splendore?

21 Io odio, io sdegno le vostre feste; e non odorerò più le vostre solenni raunanze.

22 Che se mi offerite olocausti, e le vostre offerte, io non le gradirò; e non riguarderò a’ sacrificii da render grazie, fatti delle vostre bestie grasse.

23 Toglimi d’appresso lo strepito delle tue canzoni, e fa’ ch’io non oda il concento de’ tuoi salterii.

24 Anzi corra il giudicio, a guisa d’acque; e la giustizia, a guisa di rapido torrente.

25 O casa d’Israele, mi offeriste voi sacrificii ed offerte nel deserto, per lo spazio di quarant’anni?

26 Anzi voi portaste il tabernacolo del vostro Melec, e l’effigie delle vostre immagini; la stella dei vostri dii, che voi vi avevate fatti.

27 Perciò, io vi farò andare in cattività di là da Damasco, ha detto il Signore, il cui Nome è: L’Iddio degli eserciti.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
Chapter summary

Exploring the Meaning of Amos 5      

1-3 The Lord is sorrowful that the church, the Truth from the Divine flowing into the world, has successively been devastated, as is seen in the previous chapter, Amos 4. Verse 3 says, “The city that goes out by a thousand shall have a hundred left.” So very little truth is left to nourish the people, and this bad state is by their own doing.

4-9 Amid this dying out, the Lord entreats, almost anxiously, “Seek Me and live,” then names traps or states that will turn people from Him: Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba. The first is falsifying knowledges, the second sensuous or external pleasures; and the last “negative attitudes towards everything that constitutes faith and its doctrine (SH 3923:6). The next warning is to those “who turn justice into wormwood,” v. 7 or turn good into evil (SH 1488:2). He wants them to return to him and explains clearly that He is the source of power, the one who, “Made the Pleiades and Orion,” v. 8 and the one who “rains ruin upon the strong” v.9.

10-13 In their self-intelligence they continue to reject the Lord, to “tread down the poor,” rejecting even the little bits of truth coming to them. The people are warned, “Though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall not dwell in them,” stone meaning truths of the natural (AE 745:3). The dictionary meaning of “hewn” means a workman making something, so it can be seen as coming from themselves, or their own intelligence. Anything like that is “devoid of life from the Divine” (SH 9852:2).

14-15 The path is shown for the way the Lord can be with them, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live.” It can’t be any plainer. In that way the Lord can reach out with His mercy, and “be gracious to the remnant of Joseph” v.15. The remnant is the small amount of truth, and Joseph is the spiritual part of us (SH 3921:3).

16-20 Here people are warned of how bad it will be for them when the day of the Lord comes. “Is not the day of the Lord darkness?” for those who are in evil, “with no brightness in it?” v.20. A person’s suffering will be painful, “as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him,” and terrorizing, “As though a man fled from a lion and a bear met him,” v. 19.

21-22 Their worship won’t be accepted, shown by, “I hate, I despise your feast days” v. 21. The strong language of the Lord is the mirror opposite of the depth of the evil the people are in, since only a remnant of the truth is with them, as in v. 3.

23-25 Take away your noisy songs and melodies, the Lord says, take away what sounds beautiful to you but is hurtful to the Divine because of the lack of goodness and truth. In its place he wants people to “Let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mightly stream” v. 24.

26-27 If people don’t return to the Lord, everything good will be taken from them, shown in “Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus” v. 27. Damascus was the furtherest boundary of Canaan, or beyond where spiritual things reside. The “boundary of Damascus” is also used in Ezekiel 47:16-18 (AE 1088).

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 205

Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 195, 468, 576, 922, 925, 1071, 1715, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 316, 410, 413, 501, 573, 620, 650, ...

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 38

Dottrina sulla Sacra Scrittura 85

True Christian Religion 51, 82, 689, 761

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 208, 365, 376, 448, 519, 526, 573, ...

Canons of the New Church 27

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 5, 56

Marriage 51, 82

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 9, 56, 75

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 26:23, 33

Exodus 11:4, 23:3, 6

Leviticus 26:16

Deuteronomy 28:30, 62, 63, 32:22

Joshua 5:9

1 Samuel 15:22

1 Kings 14:15, 21:20

2 Kings 15:29, 17:23, 18:36, 20:3, 23:8

2 Chronicles 15:2, 20:3, 4, 24:20, 21, 34:25

Job 9:9, 20:19

Psalms 34:13, 69:33, 97:10, 105:4

Proverbs 15:8, 21:27

Ecclesiastes 10:8

Isaiah 1:14, 5:19, 20, 10:2, 3, 24:18, 46:12, 58:2

Jeremiah 4:4, 9:9, 16, 21, 18:8, 13, 22:3, 33:2, 38:20, 48:13

Ezekiel 20:16, 21:3, 34:21, 45:9

Hosea 4:3, 4, 15, 9:2, 10:12

Joel 2:2

Amos 1:5, 2:7, 3:1, 15, 4:1, 4, 13, 6:7, 12, 7:9, 10, 8:14, 9:6, 14

Jonah 3:9

Micah 2:3, 3:2, 9, 11, 6:15

Habakkuk 1:4

Zephaniah 2:3

Matthew 24:29

Acts of the Apostles 7:42, 43

Romans 12:9

Galatians 4:16

Ephesians 5:16

Hebrews 12:29

James 5:6

Word/Phrase Explanations

The children of Israel represent 'lamentation' by various things which signified some evil of the church among them for which they were punished. When they...

A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

'Virgins,' as in Revelation 14:4, signify people who love truths because they are truths, so from a spiritual affection. 'Virgin' signifies the church as a...

Gilgal signifies the doctrine of natural truth, serving for introduction into the church.

"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

"Gates" in ancient times had a significance that does not hold in the modern world. Cities then were enclosed by walls for protection; gates in...

The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

'The bite of a snake' or 'serpent,' as in Amos. 5:19, signifies falsification of the Word, from the interior dominion of falsity from evil.

'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

Damascus and Aroer (Isaiah 17:1, 2) signify the knowledges of truth and good. See Eliezer of Damascus.