This chiasmus was inspired by the one found here, p. 139.
I’ve changed the chiasmus a bit. I’ve combined a couple of sections and expanded the center. I’ve also developed a number of smaller chiasmi that I think exist within the larger one.
This particular chiasmus comes right at the end of the book of Amos. The chiasmus ends on a positive note – a return from exile.
A nice summary of the book of Amos can be found here.
Here’s a brief outline of the chiasmus:
A/A’: Both these sections begin with “Behold, days are coming“. … In A, ‘food’ is scarce. In A’, food is plentiful.
B/B’: Both these sections begin with “In that day“. In B, the people “faint” and ‘fall’ and ‘do not rise again’. In B’, the “fallen” are ‘raised up’. B’ reverses B.
C/C’: Both these sections refer to God’s watching “eyes”, a “shaking”, and a coming slaying/killing by “the sword”. A main point of C is that no one will be able to escape. The same idea is present in C’: “As grain is shaken in a sieve, not a kernel will fall to the ground”.
D: “God” bookends the center section. In-between these ‘bookends’, God’s power is highlighted.
There’s a definite building in the first half, from A to D. In A, God ‘voice’ goes silent. In B, a ‘fall’ is prophesied, and is tied to the crime of idolatry (b/b’). In C, the punishment is enacted (eg., a “shaking”; a slaying by the “sword”). Finally, in D, God’s power is emphasized – God has the authority and power to act. … … In the second half, the author matches C with C’ (a “shaking” and a “sword”), and finally ends his chiasmus with two sections, B’ and A’, foretelling a future ‘lifting up’ and return from exile.
Interestingly, this chiasmus is full of geographical notes, which is fitting, since the chiasmus is all about the movement of a people (exile and return).
8:1 Thus the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, there was a basket of summer fruit. 2 And He said, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, “The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer. 3 “The songs of the palace will turn to wailing in that day,” declares the Lord GOD. “Many will be the corpses; in every place they will cast them forth in silence.” 4 Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, 5 saying, “When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, 6 So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?” 7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob, “Indeed, I will never forget any of their deeds. 8 “Because of this will not the land quake And everyone who dwells in it mourn? Indeed, all of it will rise up like the Nile, And it will be tossed about, And subside like the Nile of Egypt. 9 “And it will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I shall make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight. 10 “Then I shall turn your festivals into mourning And all your songs into lamentation; And I will bring sackcloth on everyone’s loins And baldness on every head. And I will make it like a time of mourning for an only son, And the end of it will be like a bitter day.
A 11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
* “When I will send a famine on the land [Me: a famine = 'a lack of food' - i.e., e.g., food is hard to find]
a - not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
b 12 “And people will stagger
c from sea to sea,
c And from the north even to the east;
b’ They will go to and fro
a’ to seek the word of the LORD,
*’ But they will not find it.
B 13 “In that day,
a the beautiful virgins And the young men / will faint from thirst. [Me: Literally: a will faint - b the virgins beautiful - b' and the young men - a' with thirst.]
b 14 “As for those / who swear by the guilt // of Samaria,
b’ Who say, / ‘As your god lives, // O Dan,’ And, ‘As the way of // Beersheba // lives,’
a’ They // will fall and not rise again.”
a 9:1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, “Smite the capitals so that the thresholds will shake, and break them on the heads of them all!
b Then I will slay the rest of them with the sword.
c They will not have a fugitive who will flee, Or a refugee who will escape.
d [Me: Hiding low] 2 “Though they dig into Sheol, / From there shall My hand take them;
e [Me: Hiding high] And though they ascend to heaven, / From there will I bring them down.
e’ [Me: Hiding high] 3 “And though they hide on the top of Carmel, / I will search them out and take them from there;
d’ [Me: Hiding low] And though they conceal themselves from My eye on the floor of the sea, / from there I will command the serpent [Me: sea monster?] and it will bite them.
c’ 4 “And though they go into captivity before their enemies,
b’ from there I will command the sword that it slay them.
a’ And I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good.”
a 5 And the Lord GOD of hosts,
i He who touches a the land b so that it melts; b’ all shall mourn a’ who dwell in it.
ii And all of it rises up like the Nile And subsides like the Nile of Egypt;
i’ 6 a He who builds b in the heavens His staircase, b’ And His vaulted dome over the earth a’ has founded;
ii’ He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth,
a’ The LORD is His name.
a 7 “Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me,
b O sons of Israel?”
c declares the LORD.
b’ “Have I not brought up Israel
a’ from the land of Egypt,
(And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?)
a 8 “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, / And I will destroy it from the face of the earth;
b Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,”
c Declares the LORD.
b’ 9 “For behold, I am commanding, And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations As grain is shaken in a sieve, but not a kernel will fall to the ground.
a’ 10 “All the sinners of My people / will die by the sword, those who say, ‘The calamity will not overtake or confront us.’
B’ 11 “In that day,
a I will raise up the fallen booth of David
b And wall up
c it’s breaches;
c’ and it’s ruins
b’ I will raise up,
a’ And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name,” Declares the LORD who does this.
A’ 13 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine, And all the hills will be dissolved. 14 “Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 “I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.