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The Basket of Fruit


This is what the Lord G od showed me—a basket of summer fruit. 2He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the L ord 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 in that day,”

says the Lord G od;

“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 practice 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 L ord 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 G od,

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 G od,

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 L ord.


They shall wander from sea to sea,

and from north to east;

they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the L ord,

but they shall not find it.



In that day the beautiful young women and the young men

shall faint for thirst.


Those who swear by Ashimah of Samaria,

and say, “As your god lives, O Dan,”

and, “As the way of Beer-sheba lives”—

they shall fall, and never rise again.


He confirms what the last verse contains in other words: and the question is emphatical, for it is a double affirmation. A question, we know, is usually put, when there is no measure of doubt on the subject. God then asks here as of a thing certain, how they could remain in safety, who had so perverted every thing right and just, who had violated all equity, who were influenced by no feelings of humanity, — how could such continue safe? It was impossible. We hence see why the Prophet here uses a question; it was, that he might more fully confirm what he declares.

Shall not the land, he says, make a tumult? 5555     Shake or move is the most current meaning of the word, and the most suitable to this place. Newcome renders it, “be shaken;” Henderson, “tremble;” and Grotius, “be moved.” — Ed. when these disturb all order, when they mingle, as the proverb is, heaven and earth together, can the earth remain quiet under such a violent confusion? when all reason and equity is confounded, how, he says, can the land do otherwise than make a tumult? And though the Prophet ascribes not here either clamor or speech to the land; it is yet a sort of personification, when he says that the earth must necessarily make a tumult, while it sustains such inhabitants; for between them there was no agreement. Since then their way of living was extremely turbulent, the land itself must necessarily be agitated.

He afterwards adds, And mourn shall every one who dwells in it He now shows that the inhabitants of the earth shall feel that commotion of which he predicts: for the earth, ceasing to fulfill its offices, constrains its inhabitants to lament and mourn. And then there is another metaphor which sets forth the moving of the earth, that it will rise as a river to destroy men with a deluge. Many render what follows, “It shall be driven away and closed up like the river of Egypt.” But after the Prophet has spoken of inundation of the earth, he turns his discourse to the men whom this inundation would drown and swallow up. Hence, the real sense is, that their habitations would be destroyed, as by a deep gulf, in a way similar to the Nile, which, by overflowing the whole country, seems to make a sea of what had been inhabited. As the Prophet’s words lead us as by the hand, I wonder how those skillful in the Hebrew language could have blended things so different, for they give this explanation, “The land shall be raised up, as a river, and then it shall be destroyed and driven away;” and they refer this to the land; and then, “it shall be sunk down:” this also they apply to the land; except that some give this rendering, “It shall discharge itself like the river of Egypt.” But I translate otherwise, “It shall heave up whole as a river, and shall be driven away, and shall be immersed as by the river of Egypt.” It shall heave up, he says, that is, the land as a river; so that there will be no habitation for men: “I have given this land to my people that they might live in it; but the land itself shall heave up as a river; there shall be an inundation of the whole land.” And then when he says, It shall be driven away and sunk, this ought not to be referred to the land itself, but to the inhabitants or to the people. 5656     A different view is given by Newcome and also by Henderson. Newcome translates thus, —
   And shall not all of it rise up as the river,
And be driven out
of its place and sunk down as the river of Egypt?

   Henderson renders the lines in the same sense, though in different words, —

   Shall not all of it rise like the river?
Shall it not be driven and subside
Like the river of Egypt?

   The question is unnecessarily retained, borrowed from the first line of the verse. It is seldom, if ever, that this is the case in Hebrew; it is not consistent with the simplicity of the language. It is evidently the earthquake that is here compared to the rising and subsiding of a river. I would therefore render the whole verse thus, —

   Shall not for this the land shake,
And every inhabitant in it mourn?
For heave up as a river shall the whole of it,
And it shall be agitated and subside like the river of Egypt.

   Here is the heaving, the agitation, and the subsidence of the earth in an earthquake. — Ed.

He had said before, כאר, kar, as a river; but now he says, כיאור, kiaur, which I explain as meaning, as by the river of Egypt. The Nile, we know, overflows annually and covers the whole plain of Egypt. The Prophet therefore borrowed a similitude from the Nile; and he says, that such would be God’s vengeance, that the land would be like a river, and its dwellings would be immersed and carried away, or annihilated: for when there is no surface of land, it seems to have been cleared away. So then he says now, It shall be driven away, It shall be sunk. This is the simple explanation; and ע, oin, is to be understood; for שקע, shiko, is to sink or to cover. Here, ה, he is only put, but ע, oin, is to be understood, and there is also a double reading pointed out. 5757     He means evidently the Keri, the marginal reading. — Ed. We now then perceive the Prophet’s meaning. But it follows —

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