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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Amos - Chapter 3

Amos - Chapter 3

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 3

1. Hearken to this word which the Lord spoke about you, O children of Israel, about the entire family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying:   א. שִׁמְעוּ אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלֵיתִי מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר:
2. Only you did I love above all the families of the earth; therefore, I will visit upon you all your iniquities.   ב. רַק אֶתְכֶם יָדַעְתִּי מִכֹּל מִשְׁפְּחוֹת הָאֲדָמָה עַל כֵּן אֶפְקֹד עֲלֵיכֶם אֵת כָּל עֲו‍ֹנֹתֵיכֶם:
Only you did I love: Heb. יָדַעְתִּי, lit., I knew. I loved you, but you rebelled against Me; therefore,… But our Sages expounded on it in a different manner in Tractate Avodah Zarah (4a).  
3. Will two walk together unless they agreed?   ג. הֲיֵלְכוּ שְׁנַיִם יַחְדָּו בִּלְתִּי אִם נוֹעָדוּ:
Will two walk together: Concerning what you say to the prophets, “Do not prophesy,” do the prophets prophesy from their own mind unless they were commanded? Are things done in any way but in their customary fashion?  
unless they agree: Unless they made an appointment to go together to such and such a place.  
4. Will a lion roar in the forest if he has no prey? Will a young lion let out a cry from his den unless he has taken something?   ד. הֲיִשְׁאַג אַרְיֵה בַּיַּעַר וְטֶרֶף אֵין לוֹ הֲיִתֵּן כְּפִיר קוֹלוֹ מִמְּעֹנָתוֹ בִּלְתִּי אִם לָכָד:
Will a lion roar in the forest if he has no prey: When a lion lays hold of its prey, it customarily roars, and it does not roar unless it has taken [prey]. Similarly, Scripture states: (Isa. 5:29) “He will roar like the lion cubs, and he will growl and lay hold of prey.” Similarly, (ibid. 31:4) “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey.”  
5. Will a bird fall on a net upon the ground unless it has a snare? Will a net ascend from the ground and have taken nothing?   ה. הֲתִפּוֹל צִפּוֹר עַל פַּח הָאָרֶץ וּמוֹקֵשׁ אֵין לָהּ הֲיַעֲלֶה פַּח מִן הָאֲדָמָה וְלָכוֹד לֹא יִלְכּוֹד:
Will a bird fall on a net upon the ground unless it has a snare: in the net which has fallen upon it?  
Will a net ascend from the ground: from the place it was laid unless a bird was caught in it? When it wishes to escape, it pulls up the net and lifts it from its place a little, and at that time it is caught.  
6. Will a shophar be sounded in the city and the people not quake? Will there be evil in the city if the Lord has not done it?   ו. אִם יִתָּקַע שׁוֹפָר בְּעִיר וְעָם לֹא יֶחֱרָדוּ אִם תִּהְיֶה רָעָה בְּעִיר וַיהֹוָה לֹא עָשָׂה:
Will a shophar be sounded: For the lookout sees troops approaching the city and sounds the shophar to warn the people. These are but words of allegory and similitude, [to be explained as follows:]  
[4] Will a lion roar: That is Nebuchadnezzar. Another explanation: The prophets compare the holy spirit that comes upon them from the roar of a lion, as he states below: (verse 8) “A lion has roared; who will not fear?” And here he explains the allegory. Did the Holy One, blessed be He, bring the holy spirit into the mouths of the prophets to [prophesy] evil unless retribution was decreed by Him? That is the prey. Will the Holy One, blessed be He, let out a cry to speak harshly unless He has taken you with the snare of iniquity? Will a bird fall on a net that the net will not snare it? I.e, is it possible that you commit sins and it will not be a snare to you? Will a net ascend etc.? Similarly, will your iniquities ascend on high and not take you? Will a shophar be sounded in the city?… So should you quake before the words of the prophets who look out for you to deliver you from the evil, that it not come, and when the evil comes to you, should you not know that the Holy One, blessed be He, does it to you because you did not take heed of His prophets?  
7. For the Lord God does nothing unless He has revealed His secret to His servants, the prophets.   ז. כִּי לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה דָּבָר כִּי אִם גָּלָה סוֹדוֹ אֶל עֲבָדָיו הַנְּבִיאִים:
For the Lord God does nothing unless He has revealed His secret: That secret to His servants, the prophets.  
8. A lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who will not prophesy?   ח. אַרְיֵה שָׁאָג מִי לֹא יִירָא אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה דִּבֶּר מִי לֹא יִנָּבֵא:
A lion has roared; who will not fear?: So has the Holy One, blessed be He, spoken to the prophets to prophesy. Who will not prophesy?  
9. Announce in the palaces in Ashdod and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say; Gather upon the mountains of Samaria and see great confusions within it and people being oppressed in its midst.   ט. הַשְׁמִיעוּ עַל אַרְמְנוֹת בְּאַשְׁדּוֹד וְעַל אַרְמְנוֹת בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם וְאִמְרוּ הֵאָסְפוּ עַל הָרֵי שֹׁמְרוֹן וּרְאוּ מְהוּמֹת רַבּוֹת בְּתוֹכָהּ וַעֲשׁוּקִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ:
Announce: You Philistines and Egyptians, announce this and say in your palaces that they gather on the mountains of Samaria, to see from atop the mountains into the midst of the city, their evil way.  
10. And they did not know to do right, says the Lord, who store up violence and plunder in their palaces.   י. וְלֹא יָדְעוּ עֲשׂוֹת נְכֹחָה נְאֻם יְהֹוָה הָאוֹצְרִים חָמָס וָשֹׁד בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֵיהֶם:
right: Heb. נְכֹחָה, meaning ‘straight.’  
violence and plunder: I.e, money of plunder.  
11. Therefore, so said the Lord God: An adversary, even round about the land! And he will bring down from you your strength, and your palaces will be spoiled.   יא. לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה צַר וּסְבִיב הָאָרֶץ וְהוֹרִד מִמֵּךְ עֻזֵּךְ וְנָבֹזּוּ אַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ:
An adversary, even round about the land: The adversary is prepared to come, and he will come around this land.  
12. So said the Lord: As the shepherd saves from the lion's mouth two legs or the cartilage of an ear, so will the children of Israel dwelling in Samaria be saved in the corner of a bed or in the corner of a couch.   יב. כֹּה אָמַר יֱהֹוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר יַצִּיל הָרֹעֶה מִפִּי הָאֲרִי שְׁתֵּי כְרָעַיִם אוֹ בְדַל אֹזֶן כֵּן יִנָּצְלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַיּשְׁבִים בְּשֹׁמְרוֹן בִּפְאַת מִטָּה וּבִדְמֶשֶׁק עָרֶשׂ:
As the shepherd saves: I.e, he saves little.  
the cartilage of an ear: Heb. בְּדַל. [from Jonathan]  
so will the children of Israel… be saved: I.e, very few people.  
in the corner of a bed or in the corner of a couch: Heb. בִּפְאַת מִטָּה וּבִדְמֶשֶׁק עֶרֶשׂ. Jonathan renders: with the strength of rule and trusting in Damascus. I say that the interpretation of the Targum is as follows: Since, in the days of Jehoahaz son of Jehu it is written. (II Kings 13:7) “For the king of Aram had destroyed them,” and Jeroboam his grandson saved them partially, as it is said. (ibid. 14:27) “And the Lord did not speak to eradicate the name of Israel from under the heavens, and He saved them through Jeroboam the son of Joash.” (ibid. verse 25) “He restored the boundary of Israel.” And that is the meaning of ‘in the corner of a bed.’ The corner of a house is the strongest part of the house. Therefore, he translates. ‘with the strength of rule’ of Jeroboam, and Amos prophesied in the days of Jeroboam. He further prophesied that they would eventually rely on the kings of Aram, and so they did in the days of Pekah son of Remaliah. This is the meaning of וּבִדְמֶשֶׁק עֶרֶשׂ, and their couch will be Damascus. Their rest and trust will be on Damascus. And our Sages said in Seder Olam (ch. 22) Rabbi Nehorai said in the name of Rabbi Joshua: These are the ten tribes, which relied on Hezekiah, and on Judah, and escaped with them.  
in the corner of a bed: This teaches us that only one eighth of them was left. And the rest of the couch - where was it? In Damascus, to fulfill what is stated: (below 5: 27) “And I will exile you beyond Damascus.” And I heard in the name of Rabbi Menahem of blessed memory, that he explained. This is one eighth, since it is not stated. “the corner of;” but “in the corner of a bed,” in part of it, in one of the two ends of a corner. That is an eighth of the bed, for it has four corners, and two ends of each corner. [This is Rabbi Menahem’s explanation of Seder Olam ch. 22. This is probably Rabbi Menahem ben Helbo, the author of Pithronim .] Another explanation I found in the words of Rabbi Meir of blessed memory, as follows:  
In the corner of a bed: Because of the sin of Ahaziah son of Ahab, who sent to inquire “of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this illness” (I Kings 1:2).  
and in Damascus is the couch: Ben-hadad, king of Aram, sent to inquire of the God of Israel (ibid. ch. 8).  
13. Hearken and warn the house of Jacob, says the Lord God, the God of the Hosts.   יג. שִׁמְעוּ וְהָעִידוּ בְּבֵית יַעֲקֹב נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה אֱלֹהֵי הַצְּבָאוֹת:
14. For on the day I visit the transgressions of Israel upon them, I will visit upon the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and shall fall to the earth.   יד. כִּי בְּיוֹם פָּקְדִי פִשְׁעֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עָלָיו וּפָקַדְתִּי עַל מִזְבְּחוֹת בֵּית אֵל וְנִגְדְּעוּ קַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְנָפְלוּ לָאָרֶץ:
15. And I will smite the winter house with the summer house, and the ivory houses shall be lost, and great houses shall end, says the Lord.   טו. וְהִכֵּיתִי בֵית הַחֹרֶף עַל בֵּית הַקָּיִץ וְאָבְדוּ בָּתֵּי הַשֵּׁן וְסָפוּ בָּתִּים רַבִּים נְאֻם יְהֹוָה:
the winter house with the summer house: Since they were delicate, the wealthy people would build for themselves two houses, one for the winter and one for the summer.  
ivory houses: Which are paneled with ivory. [from Jonathan]  
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