1The LORD God showed locusts to me. He was getting ready to send them to us. They destroyed the food that was growing in the fields. That happened after we had cut down the first plants. We had given the food from those plants to the king. The locusts destroyed the next plants before the plants grew big. The plants were still only small. 2The locusts ate everything. After that, I asked the LORD, ‘LORD God, please forgive us. We cannot live if those locusts come. We are a small number of people and we are weak.’ 3Then the LORD changed what he had decided. And he said to me, ‘That will not happen.’
4After that, the LORD God showed a fire to me. He was getting ready to send it to us. It dried the water under the land and it was burning the land. 5Then I said, ‘LORD God, please do not send fire. We cannot live if that fire comes. We are a small number of people and we are weak.’ 6Then the LORD changed what he had decided. And he said to me, ‘That too will not happen.’
The LORD measures the wall
7Then the LORD God showed this to me. It was like a picture in my mind. The Lord was standing next to a wall. In his hand was a string. Someone had tied a big stone to the end of the string. The Lord was hanging the string down the wall. And he was looking to see whether the wall was straight. 8And he asked me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ I said, ‘You are measuring the wall. Maybe it is straight or maybe it is not.’ The Lord said, ‘It is like this. I am measuring my people. I want to see whether they are good and honest. But they are not good and honest. I will now send trouble to them. I will not change what I have decided.
9I will send enemies to destroy the holy places (special places where the Israelites pray). And the enemies will use long knives to kill King Jeroboam and his family.’
Amaziah speaks with Amos
10Then Amaziah, the priest at the holy place called Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, the king of Israel. It said, ‘Amos is speaking against you among Israel's people. He says that you will die. We will not listen to his words because he is saying bad things. And those things would destroy our country. 11Amos is saying, “Our enemies will fight against us and they will kill you, Jeroboam. They will take all the people to the enemies' country, so that the people can be slaves for them.” ’
12Then Amaziah spoke to me. He said, ‘Go, you prophet, get out of here! Go back to the south, to Judah. Work for your food there. Speak your messages from God there. 13Do not speak words from God here in Bethel again. It is King Jeroboam's temple. He and the people in Israel worship here.’
14Then I answered Amaziah and I said, ‘I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet. People do not pay me to do it. My work is to watch sheep. I keep them safe. And I give to them what they need. I also do to fig trees what they need. (A fig is a soft sweet fruit with lots of seeds.) 15But the LORD told me to leave my sheep. He told me to speak his message. And he sent me to his people Israel in the north.
16Now you are telling me, “Do not speak against Israel. Do not say that trouble is coming.” 17The LORD says this to you, Amaziah. “Your wife will sell herself to men so they can have sex with her. Your enemies will kill your sons and daughters. The enemies will give your land to people that are enemies. They will take your people away from this country. They will take them far away to another country. The enemies will take your people to be slaves. And you will die in your enemies' country.” ’