The Meaning of Amos 5:1 Explained

Amos 5:1

KJV: Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.

YLT: Hear this word that I am bearing to you, A lamentation, O house of Israel:

Darby: Hear this word, a lamentation, which I take up against you, O house of Israel.

ASV: Hear ye this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel.

KJV Reverse Interlinear

Hear  ye this word  which I take up  against you, [even] a lamentation,  O house  of Israel. 

What does Amos 5:1 Mean?

Verse Meaning

This message begins as the previous two did, with a call to hear the Lord"s word. However here Amos announced that what follows is a dirge (Heb. qinah) against the house of Israel. A dirge was a lament that was sung at the funeral of a friend, relative, or prominent person (e.g, 2 Samuel 1:17-27; 2 Samuel 3:33-34; 2 Chronicles 35:25). The prophets used the dirge genre to prophesy the death of a city, people, or nation (cf. Jeremiah 7:29; Jeremiah 9:10-11; Jeremiah 9:17-22; Lam.; Ezekiel 19; Ezekiel 26:17-18; Ezekiel 27:2-32; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Ezekiel 32:2). Amos announced Israel"s death, the fall of the Northern Kingdom, at the height of its prosperity under Jeroboam II.
"To his listeners, hearing this lament would be as jarring as reading one"s own obituary in the newspaper." [1]

Context Summary

Amos 5:1-15 - "prepare To Meet Thy God"
Worse judgments than those mentioned in the previous verses were in store but before they are inflicted, the entire nation is summoned to the divine bar. Whether we choose or not, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of God." Prepare, my soul, to meet Him! Note the sublimity of that last verse of Amos 4:1-13. How great is God, who made the mountains! How mysterious, who made the wind! How sublime, who calls to the dawn! How mighty, to whom mountains and peaks are stepping-stones!
But great and holy though God is, we are invited to seek Him. He desires to bless, but He must be sought. Were we more diligent in seeking, as the miner for gold, or the scientific man for nature's secrets, we should be marvelously repaid. "Eye hath not seen," etc. Amos speaks as nature's child. Often as he had tended his flocks, he had watched the Pleiades with their gentle radiance, and Orion, the herald of storm. He had listened to God calling across the waters, and had drawn life from Him. "Seek and live!" O soul, what a God is thine! Thy springs and storms await His word of command. He can turn thy darkness into the morning. Be of good cheer! [source]

Chapter Summary: Amos 5

1  A lamentation for Israel
4  An exhortation to repentance
21  God rejects their hypocritical service

What do the individual words in Amos 5:1 mean?

Hear - word this which I take up against you a lamentation house of Israel
שִׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֜י נֹשֵׂ֧א עֲלֵיכֶ֛ם קִינָ֖ה בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל

שִׁמְע֞וּ  Hear 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine plural
Root: שָׁמַע 
Sense: to hear, listen to, obey.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
הַדָּבָ֣ר  word 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: דָּבָר  
Sense: speech, word, speaking, thing.
הַזֶּ֗ה  this 
Parse: Article, Pronoun, masculine singular
Root: זֶה  
Sense: this, this one, here, which, this … that, the one … the other, another, such.
נֹשֵׂ֧א  take  up 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: נָשָׂא  
Sense: to lift, bear up, carry, take.
עֲלֵיכֶ֛ם  against  you 
Parse: Preposition, second person masculine plural
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
קִינָ֖ה  a  lamentation 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: קִינָה  
Sense: lamentation, dirge, elegy.
בֵּ֥ית  house 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: בַּיִת 
Sense: house.
יִשְׂרָאֵֽל  of  Israel 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יִשְׂרָאֵל  
Sense: the second name for Jacob given to him by God after his wrestling with the angel at Peniel.