Amos 5.1-27 says that Amos tells Israel to listen to him about their impending doom. But they are to seek the Lord and repent in the hope of finding mercy. If not, there will be weeping and distress. All their religious rituals will mean nothing and they will be going into exile.
v 1…Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge (lamentation), O house of Israel.
v 2…” She has fallen (dying), she will not rise again, the virgin Israel (“virgin” in this sense is they have never been conquered). She lies neglected on her land (by the enemy); there is none to raise her up.”
v 3…For thus says the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah), “The city which goes forth a thousand strong Will have a hundred left (sent many, but few will survive-a slaughter), and the one which goes forth a hundred strong, will have ten left to the house of Israel (all else devoured by Yehovah’s judgments).”
v 4…For thus says the Lord (Yehovah) to the house of Israel, “Seek me that you may live (one last attempt to turn them to the true worship of Yehovah found in the Torah).
v 5…But do not resort to Bethel (a main worship center where idolatry was openly practiced), and do not come to Gilgal (another idolatrous center), nor crossover to Beersheba (in the extreme south where there was another idolatrous worship center evidently), for Gilgal will certainly go into captivity, and Bethel will come to trouble (their idols will not be able to save them).
v 6…Seek the Lord (Yehovah and his Torah) that you may live, lest he break forth like a fire, O house of Joseph (the ten tribes went by the name of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, (because that was the principle tribe and their first king was from that tribe), and it consume with no one to quench it for Bethel (the idols there were helpless and useless to put out the fire).
v 7…For those who turn justice (mishpat) into wormwood (a bitter wrong) and cast righteousness (“tzedekah” as defined by the Torah) down to the earth (to trample underfoot).”
v 8…He who made the Pleiades (literally “seven stars”) and Orion (“the gate”-Job 9.9. 38.31) and changes deep darkness into morning (night into day, or disaster into joy), who also darkens day into night (joy into disaster-these statements speak of Yehovah’s judicial rule), who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth (ordinary rains for good, and floods for disaster), the Lord (Yehovah) is his name.
v 9…It is he who flashes forth with destruction upon the strong as catastrophes hit them), so that destruction comes upon the fortress (nothing can stand up against the power of Yehovah).
v 10…They (evil judges, princes, civil rulers) hate him (Yehovah, the prophet, or anyone who speaks against unrighteousness) who reproves the gate (where the corrupt courts met), they abhor him who speaks with integrity.
v 11…Therefore, because you (the judges, princes, civil rulers, etc) impose heavy rent on the poor and exact a tribute of grain from them (by coercion, bribery, extortion), you have built houses of well-hewn stone (with ill-gotten gains), yet you will not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.
v 12…For I know (he knew that the judicial system was corrupt) your transgressions are many and your sins great, you who distress the righteous and accept bribes, and turn aside the poor in the gate (the courts perverted justice0.
v 13…Therefore, at such a time the prudent (wise) person keeps silent, for it is an evil time (all warning is of no avail because they won’t listen because of the moral corruption).
v 14…Seek good and not evil that you may live (spiritually, the consequence of doing so-Deut 30.6); and thus may the Lord (Yehovah) God (Elohay) of hosts (tzavaot or the “armies”) be with you, just as you have said (they said the Lord was with them, but he wasn’t, but if they repent he will help them).
v 15…Hate evil, love good (this was what they weren’t doing), and establish justice in the gate (courts)! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts may be gracious to the remnant of Joseph (the ten tribes went by the name Ephraim who was the son of Joseph, and they were the principle tribe and their first king was from that tribe).
v 16…Therefore, thus says the Lord (Yehovah) God (elohay) of hosts (tzavaot or “armies”), the Lord (Adonai-Amos again reveals where he gets the authority to speak as a prophet), “There is wailing (mourning) in all the plazas (squares), and in all the streets (highways) they say, ‘Alas, Alas (woe)!’ They also call the farmer to mourning and the professional mourners to lamentation (everyone is mourning).
v 17…And in all the vineyards (normally a place of joy) wailing, because I shall pass through the midst of you (this alludes to the events of Exo 12 and the blood on the doorposts-speaks of God visiting judgment on them) says the Lord (Yehovah).
v 18…Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord (for Israel to be redeemed out of their distress), for what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you (if you don’t call on the name of Yehovah in repentance-same with people today who think they will love it, but it will be a tough time especially if you don’t have a Torah-based faith in Yeshua. People think they are saved, especially those in replacement theology, but they are one of the reasons judgment comes)? It will be darkness and not light (unbelievers will be judged bringing harm and distress);
v 19…As when a man flees from a lion, and a bear meets him, or goes home, leans his hand against a wall, and a snake bites him (they will escape one danger, only to fall into another one).
v 20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light (no deliverance to those who oppose Yehovah and the Torah), even gloom with no brightness in it (they thought the day of the Lord was a day Yehovah will destroy their enemies. The problem was, they were Yehovah’s enemies. It’s the same today).
v 21…I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies (they had a system of replacement theology set up where God’s festivals, priesthood, doctrines, and place to worship was set up-1 Kings 12.25-33. It’s the same thing today).
v 22…Even though you offer up to me burnt offerings (“olot”) and your grain offerings, (minchah) I will not accept them (they mixed paganism with true worship); and I will not even look at the peace offerings (shelemim) of your fatlings).
v 23…Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the sound of your harps.
v 24…But let justice (as defined in the Torah) roll down like waters and righteousness (as defined in the Torah) like an everlasting stream (not just a little here and there, but a perpetual flow).
v 25…Did you present me with sacrifices (zevachim-a covenantal feast) and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel (even then they were idolatrous, so what they were doing was nothing new)?
v 26…You also carried along Sikkuth (related to “sukkot” meaning a portable shrine in which the image of their deity was kept; a small chapel) your king and Kiyyun (the stand it sat on); your images (this stand on which the portable shrine was placed; the “booth” or shrine and the stand were the things used to protect the carrying of their “star” gods-Deut 4.19; the stars represented the demons they worshiped, the idol; they were not looking to the true star and the Messiah-Num 24.17; Rev 22.16).
v 27…Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus (to Assyria),” says the Lord (Yehovah, the God (Elohay) of hosts (“tzavaot” or armies) is his name.