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Amos 5:1-5 – Seek Me and Live


Amos pretends to sing a funeral dirge for a departed loved one, but the song is for the nation--"maiden Israel," who is dead, "with no one to raise her up."


Amos copies the style of the funeral song in order to get across the point that the nation is as good as dead, because God will judge them. At the end of the song, he announces, "Seek me [God] and live; do not seek Bethel." Bethel was an important religious center. Amos's point is that the people must truly seek God; they must not simply go through the motions of worshiping God. If they seek God and reform their lives, they will live.

Amos 5:1-5

A Lament for Israel’s Sin

5Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
2 Fallen, no more to rise,
   is maiden Israel;
forsaken on her land,
   with no one to raise her up.

3 For thus says the Lord God:
The city that marched out a thousand
   shall have a hundred left,
and that which marched out a hundred
   shall have ten left.*

4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:
Seek me and live;
5   but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
   or cross over to Beer-sheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
   and Bethel shall come to nothing.

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