The Bible


Amos 4

Norwegian: Det Norsk Bibelselskap (1930)         

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 Hør dette ord, I Basan-kyrSamarias fjell, I som undertrykker de ringe, som knuser de fattige, som sier til eders menn: Kom med vin, så vi får drikke!

2 Herren, Israels Gud, har svoret ved sin hellighet: Se, dager kommer over eder da I skal slepes bort med haker, og den siste levning av eder med fiskekroker,

3 og I skal gå ut gjennem murbruddene, hver rett frem for sig, og I skal bli slengt bort i palasset*, sier Herren. / {* seierherrens palass.}

4 Gå til Betel og synd, til Gilgal og synd til gagns, og bær hver morgen frem eders slaktoffer, hver tredje dag eders tiender,

5 og la røk av syret brød stige op som takkoffer og tillys frivillige offer og kunngjør det! For så vil I jo gjerne ha det, I Israels barn, sier Herren, Israels Gud.

6 Og jeg har da latt eder gå med tom munn i alle eders byer og latt eder mangle brød i alle eders hjem; men I har ikke omvendt eder til mig, sier Herren.

7 Jeg har forholdt eder regnet da det ennu var tre måneder igjen til høsten, og har latt det regne over en by, men ikke over en annen; et stykke land fikk regn, og et annet stykke blev fortørket, fordi det ikke kom regn på det,

8 og to, tre byer ravet avsted til en og samme by for å drikke vann, men fikk ikke nok; men I har ikke omvendt eder til mig, sier Herren.

9 Jeg har slått eder med kornbrand og rust; gresshoppene åt op eders mange haver og vingårder og fikentrær og oljetrær; men I har ikke omvendt eder til mig, sier Herren.

10 Jeg har sendt pest blandt eder likesom dengang i Egypten, jeg har drept eders unge menn med sverdet og latt eders hester bli hærfang, og jeg lot stanken fra eders hær stige op i eders nese; men I har ikke omvendt eder til mig, sier Herren.

11 Jeg har omstyrtet byer iblandt eder, således som Gud omstyrtet Sodoma og Gomorra, og I blev som en brand som er revet ut av ilden; men I har ikke omvendt eder til mig, sier Herren.

12 Derfor vil jeg gjøre med dig, Israel, så som jeg har sagt*. Og fordi jeg vil gjøre således med dig, så gjør dig rede til å møte din Gud, Israel! / {* AMO 2, 13 fg. 3, 11 fg. 4, 2 fg.}

13 For se, han som danner fjellene og skaper vinden og åpenbarer menneskene deres tanker, han som gjør morgenrøden til mørke og farer frem over jordens høider - Herren, hærskarenes Gud, er hans navn.

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Amos 4      

By Joe David and Helen Kennedy

In chapter 4 of the Book of Amos, verses 1-3 talk about people who pervert the truths of the church. They will fall into falsities in outermost things.

Fish are lower things, so it follows that fishhooks (verse 2) would mean being caught and held fast in natural or lower things.

Verses 4-6 talk about things of worship such as tithes and sacrifices. These look similar to genuine worship, but are only in outermost things. We can tell because ‘teeth’ (verse 6) represent ultimates or outermost things (Secrets of Heaven 6380), so it follows that “cleanness of teeth” would mean outermost things that look good but only imitate genuine worship. The Lord exhorts, “Yet you have not returned to me.”

Verses 7-8. Some things true will remain, when the rest are false, in consequence of which truths will have no power. This can be seen where the Lord says, “I made it rain on one city; I withheld rain from another city... where it did not rain the part withered.” Again the Lord exhorts, “Yet you have not returned to me.”

Verse 9. Afterward all things of the church are falsified, shown in how blight attacked the gardens, vineyards, fig tree and olive trees. The last three represent spiritual, natural and celestial things, or all the things of spiritual life. “Yet you have not returned to me,” says the Lord.

Verses 10-11. The Lord explains the devastating things he allowed to happen: plague in Egypt, death of young men by swords, stench in the camps, Sodom and Gomorrah. This is because they are profaned by sensual knowledges - profanation meaning the mixing of good and evil together (Secrets of Heaven 1001:2).

This extends to all things of the church, the church being the Lord’s kingdom on earth (Secrets of Heaven 768:3).

With profanation “as soon as any idea of what is holy arises, the idea of what is profane joins immediately to it” (Secrets of Heaven 301).

Now there is hardly anything left. “Yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord again.

Verses 12-13. Because people adamantly remain in their profane ways, they are warned, “Prepare to meet your God!”. This is the God powerful and mighty, “who forms mountains, and creates the wind,” and even more close to home, “Who declares to man what his thought is.” As intimately a knowing as that is, the Lord’s love for all humanity is contained in His exhortations for them to turn themselves to Him.

See, for example, Luke 6:44-45, and True Christian Religion 373.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 204

Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 382, 1069, 1453, 2165, 2220, 2799, 2842, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 336, 439, 474, 496, 502, 862

The Lord 49

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 403, 405, 513, 532, 556, 560, 608, ...

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Mosebok 19:24

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Mika 1:3, 2:2, 3:2

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From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #1453

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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1453. As regards 'Bethel being towards the sea and Ai towards the east, 1 ' meaning that His state was still obscure, that is to say, so far as cognitions of celestial and spiritual things were concerned, it is one thing to be governed by celestial things, another to be governed by the cognitions of celestial things. Infants and children are governed, more so than adults, by celestial things because of the presence in them of love towards their parents and of love for one another, as well as of innocence. But adults are governed, more so than infants and children, by the cognitions of those celestial things, very many adults not being governed at all by the celestial things of love. Until a person is taught the things of love and faith, he dwells in an obscure state, that is, so far as cognitions are concerned. That state is described here by the statement 'Bethel' was 'towards the sea', that is, 'towards the west', and 'Ai towards the east' 'Bethel', as stated already, means cognitions of celestial things, but 'Ai' the cognitions of worldly things. The former are said to be 'towards the west' when they are in obscurity, for in the Word 'the west' means that which is obscure, while the latter are said to be 'towards the east' when they are in brightness; for in comparison with the west the east is brightness. There is no need to confirm that west and east have these meanings, as they may be evident to anyone without confirmation.

[2] That 'Bethel' means the cognitions of celestial things however may become clear from other places where Bethel is mentioned in the Word, as in the next chapter,

Abram went according to his journeys from the south even to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the start, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar that he had made there. Genesis 13:3-4.

Here 'according to his journeys from the south towards Bethel' means advancing into the light of cognitions, and this is why no reference is made in this case to 'Bethel towards the west and Ai towards the east'. When Jacob saw the stairway he said,

This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And he called the name of this place Bethel. Genesis 28:17, 19.

Here similarly 'Bethel' means knowledge of celestial things, for a person is a 'Bethel', that is, a 'House of God', and a 'Gate of heaven', when he is governed by the celestial things that have been present as cognitions. While a person is being regenerated he is undergoing introduction, which is effected by means of cognitions of spiritual and celestial things; but once he has been regenerated that introduction has been completed, and he is now governed by the celestial and spiritual things that have been present as cognitions. Further on it is said,

God said to Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there; make there an altar to the God who appeared to you. Genesis 35:1, 6-7.

[3] Here similarly 'Bethel' means cognitions.

The presence of the Ark of Jehovah in Bethel, and the visits to that place by the children of Israel to inquire of Jehovah, Judges 20:18, 26-27; 1 Samuel 7:16, 10:3, have similar meanings. So also has the reference to the king of Assyria sending one of the priests whom he had deported from Samaria, who resided in Bethel and was teaching them how to fear Jehovah, 2 Kings 17:27-28.

In Amos,

Amaziah said to Amos, O seer, go, flee to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there. And do not prophesy any more in Bethel, for this is the king's sanctuary and this is a house of the kingdom. Amos 7:12-13.

[4] After Jeroboam had profaned Bethel, 1 Kings 12:32; 13:1-8; 2 Kings 23:15, Bethel had a contrary representation, as in Hosea 10:15; Amos 3:14-15; 5:5-7. As regards 'Ai' meaning cognitions of worldly things however this too may be confirmed from historical and prophetical parts of the Word, in Joshua 7:2; 8:1-28; Jeremiah 49:3-4.


1. literally, Bethel from the sea (an idiom for from the west) and Ai from the east


(References: Amos 4:4-7, 4:5-7; Genesis 12:8; Joshua 8:1-29)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1555, 1557, 3030, 4539

Heaven and Hell 356

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 51

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible


2 Kings 23:15

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 796, 1453, 2722

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Samuel 7:3, 4

1 Kings 13:2, 14:16

2 Kings 3:3, 23:4

2 Chronicles 34:7

Word/Phrase Explanations

The first altar mentioned in the Word was built by Noah after he came out of the ark. On that altar, he sacrificed clean animals...

When Jacob had his famous dream, of a staircase leading to heaven, he named the place "Bethel," which is Hebrew for "the house of God."...

'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

'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...

'Powder' or 'dust' refers to love of self and the world.

A grove, and plantation, signifies intellectual knowledge.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.

 Chariots in the Word Crossword Puzzle
Complete a crossword on chariots in the Word by looking up references to stories in the Old ad New Testaments.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 Josiah Reads the Book of the Covenant
Color and cut out the pieces of this project to illustrate the story.
Project | Ages 7 - 14