1 This is what my God showed me: He was creating [a plague of] locusts at the time when the late-sown crops were beginning to sprout—the late-sown crops after the king’s reaping.
א כֹּה הִרְאַנִי אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה וְהִנֵּה יוֹצֵר גֹּבַי בִּתְחִלַּת עֲלוֹת הַלָּקֶשׁ וְהִנֵּה־לֶקֶשׁ אַחַר גִּזֵּי הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
2 When it had finished devouring the herbage in the land, I said, “O Hashem, pray forgive. How will Yaakov survive? He is so small.”
ב וְהָיָה אִם־כִּלָּה לֶאֱכוֹל אֶת־עֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ וָאֹמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה סְלַח־נָא מִי יָקוּם יַעֲקֹב כִּי קָטֹן הוּא׃
3 Hashem relented concerning this. “It shall not come to pass,” said Hashem.
ג נִחַם יְהֹוָה עַל־זֹאת לֹא תִהְיֶה אָמַר יְהֹוָה׃
4 This is what Hashem showed me: Lo, my God was summoning to contend by fire which consumed the Great Deep and was consuming the fields.
ד כֹּה הִרְאַנִי אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה וְהִנֵּה קֹרֵא לָרִב בָּאֵשׁ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה וַתֹּאכַל אֶת־תְּהוֹם רַבָּה וְאָכְלָה אֶת־הַחֵלֶק׃
5 I said, “Oh, Hashem, refrain! How will Yaakov survive? He is so small.”
ה וָאֹמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה חֲדַל־נָא מִי יָקוּם יַעֲקֹב כִּי קָטֹן הוּא׃
6 Hashem relented concerning this. “That shall not come to pass, either,” said my God.
ו נִחַם יְהֹוָה עַל־זֹאת גַּם־הִיא לֹא תִהְיֶה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃
7 This is what He showed me: He was standing on a wall checked with a plumb line and He was holding a plumb line.
ז כֹּה הִרְאַנִי וְהִנֵּה אֲדֹנָי נִצָּב עַל־חוֹמַת אֲנָךְ וּבְיָדוֹ אֲנָךְ׃
7:8 I am going to apply a plumb line to My people Yisrael
Amos is shown a vision of a plumb line, a construction tool used to measure the vertical straightness of a wall by means of a string with a piece of lead tied to it. This is important, because if the wall is leaning or uneven, it will be unstable and may eventually collapse under its own weight as it is being built, or afterwards. Here, the plumb line is a symbol of God’s examination of the people’s moral uprightness. Their pretensions of integrity are symbolized by a wall being built higher and higher. When He checks it, he finds the measurements lacking.2 comments
13 But don’t ever prophesy again at Beit El; for it is a king’s sanctuary and a royal palace.”
יג וּבֵית־אֵל לֹא־תוֹסִיף עוֹד לְהִנָּבֵא כִּי מִקְדַּשׁ־מֶלֶךְ הוּא וּבֵית מַמְלָכָה הוּא׃
15 But Hashem took me away from following the flock, and Hashem said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Yisrael.’
טו וַיִּקָּחֵנִי יְהֹוָה מֵאַחֲרֵי הַצֹּאן וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי יְהֹוָה לֵךְ הִנָּבֵא אֶל־עַמִּי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
17 but this, I swear, is what Hashem said: Your wife shall play the harlot in the town, your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line. And you yourself shall die on unclean soil; for Yisrael shall be exiled from its soil.”