Amos 5



1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.

2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.

3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.

4 For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

5 But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.

6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,

8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:

9 That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.

10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.

11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.

12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.

13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

16 Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.

17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.

18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?

21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.

23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.


Exploring the Meaning of Amos 5      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

In this fifth chapter of the Book of Amos, the first three verses (Amos 5:1-3) state the Lord's sorrow that the church - the truth from the Divine flowing into the world - has successively been devastated. (That was seen in Amos 4). When, in verse 3, it says, “The city that goes out by a thousand shall have a hundred left,” it means that very little truth is left to nourish the people. This bad state is their own doing.

In Amos 5:4-9, amid this dying out, the Lord entreats, almost anxiously, “Seek Me and live,” and then names traps, or spiritual states, that will turn people away from Him: Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba.

- The first, Bethel, here stands for falsifying knowledges.
- The second, Gilgal, signifies sensuous or external pleasures.
- The third, Beersheba, symbolized the last negative attitudes towards everything that constitutes faith and its doctrine. (See Arcana Coelestia 3923).

The next warning is to those “who turn justice into wormwood,” in Amos 5:7, i.e. they turn good into evil. (Arcana Coelestia 1488)

The Lord wants the people to return to Him, and explains clearly that He is the source of power, the one who, “made the Pleiades and Orion,” and the one who “rains ruin upon the strong”.

In Amos 5:10-13, in their love of their own intelligence, people 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 in our natural minds. (Apocalypse Explained 745). The dictionary meaning of “hewn” means a workman making something, so it can be seen as coming from ourselves, or our own intelligence. Anything like that is “devoid of life from the Divine” (Arcana Coelestia 9852).

In Amos 5:14-15, the path is shown for the way the Lord can be with us: “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”. That remnant is a small amount of truth, and Joseph is the spiritual part of us. (Arcana Coelestia 3921).

In Amos 5:16-20, 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?” 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.”

In Amos 5:21-22, God warns that people's fear-spurred worship won’t be accepted. He says, “I hate, I despise your feast days”. The strong language of the Lord is the mirror opposite of the depth of the evil the people are in.

In verses 23-25, "Take away your noisy songs and melodies," the Lord says, i.e. take away what sounds beautiful to you but is hurtful to the Divine because it lacks internal goodness and truth. In its place, in one of the Bible's memorable images, Jehovah says, "Let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mightly stream”.

Then, at the end, in verses 26-27, the warning is clear: if the people don’t return to the Lord, everything good will be taken from them, as shown in verse 27:

“Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus”.

Damascus was the furthest boundary of Canaan, or beyond where spiritual things reside. The “boundary of Damascus” is also referred to in Ezekiel 47:16-18. See also Apocalypse Explained 1088.