Amos

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The Prophet Amos, 1120-1130. Pinacoteca Vaticana, originally from San Nicola in Carcere, Rome.

Seek the Lord and live,
   or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,
   and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
   and bring righteousness to the ground!

The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
   and turns deep darkness into the morning,
   and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea,
   and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name,
who makes destruction flash out against the strong,
   so that destruction comes upon the fortress.

They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
   and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Therefore, because you trample on the poor
   and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
   but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
   but you shall not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions,
   and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
   and push aside the needy in the gate.
Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
   for it is an evil time.

Seek good and not evil,
   that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
   just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
   and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
   will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
Amos 5:6-15

Amos the herdsman. Stone relief quatrefoils, Amiens Cathedral, 1220-1240.

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
   Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
   as if someone fled from a lion,
   and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
   and was bitten by a snake.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
   and gloom with no brightness in it?

I hate, I despise your festivals,
   and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
   I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
   I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
   I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
   and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amos 5:18-24

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The Prophet Amos. England, about 1250-1260.
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The Prophet Amos. Franco-Flemish, about 1270.

Alas for those who are at ease in Zion,
   and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
the notables of the first of the nations,
   to whom the house of Israel resorts!

Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
   and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
   and calves from the stall;
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
   and like David improvise on instruments of music;
who drink wine from bowls,
   and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
   but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
   and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away. Amos 6:1,4-7

701px-Amos_and_Three_Goats_-_Google_Art_Project
Amos and Three Goats. Franco-Flemish, after 1277.

 This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A plumb-line.’ Then the Lord said,
‘See, I am setting a plumb-line
   in the midst of my people Israel;
   I will never again pass them by;
the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,
   and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,
   and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.’

And Amaziah said to Amos, ‘O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.’

 Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycomore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
‘Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.
You say, “Do not prophesy against Israel,
and do not preach against the house of Isaac.”
Therefore, thus says the Lord:
“Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city,
   and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
   and your land shall be parcelled out by line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
   and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.” ’ Amos 7:7-9,12-17

Melozzo_da_forlì,_angeli_coi_simboli_della_passione_e_profeti,_1477_ca.,_profeta_amos_00
Melozzo da Forli, The Prophet Amos, 1477-82. Sacristy of St. Mark, Basilica of Santa Casa, Loreto, Italy.
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Jörg Syrlin the Younger, The Prophet Amos, 1493. Choir stall, Blaubeuren Abbey, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
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The Prophet Amos, from iconostasis of Kizhi Pogost, Russia.
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Aleijadinho (Antônio Francisco Lisboa), Amos, from the Twelve Prophets, 1800-05. Santuário do Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, Congonhas do Campo, Brazil.
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The Prophets Joel and Amos. Church of the Savior on Blood, St. Petersburg, 1883-1907.

This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. He said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then the Lord said to me,
The end has come upon my people Israel;
   I will never again pass them by.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings on that day,’

says the Lord God;
the dead bodies shall be many,
   cast out in every place. Be silent!’

Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
saying, ‘When will the new moon be over
   so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
   so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
   and practise deceit with false balances,
buying the poor for silver
   and the needy for a pair of sandals,
   and selling the sweepings of the wheat.’

The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who lives in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?

On that day, says the Lord God,
 I will make the sun go down at noon,
   and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning,
   and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on all loins,
   and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
   and the end of it like a bitter day.

The time is surely coming, says the Lord God,
when I will send a famine on the land;
not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water,
   but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
   and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
   but they shall not find it. Amos 8:1-12

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John Singer Sargent, Amos, Nahum, Ezekiel, Daniel. 1890-95. From the Frieze of Prophets, North Wall, Boston Public Library.

Are you not like the Ethiopians to me,
O people of Israel? says the Lord.
Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt,
and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?
The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the face of the earth
—except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,
says the Lord.

For lo, I will command,
and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the ground.
All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘Evil shall not overtake or meet us.’

On that day I will raise up
the booth of David that is fallen,
and repair its breaches,
and raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old;
in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations who are called by my name,
says the Lord who does this.

The time is surely coming, says the Lord,
when the one who ploughs shall overtake the one who reaps,
and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed;
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and all the hills shall flow with it.
I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant them upon their land,
and they shall never again be plucked up
out of the land that I have given them,
says the Lord your God. Amos 9:7-15

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Lion Mosaic with Amos 1:2: “The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem.” Designed by Haim Kafcic, executed by Patricia Gutman and Yehudit Eisenberg, 2006. Corner of Herzl and Wolfson Boulevards, Kiryat Moshe, Jerusalem.
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