Amos 5:19
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New International Version
It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.

New Living Translation
In that day you will be like a man who runs from a lion--only to meet a bear. Escaping from the bear, he leans his hand against a wall in his house--and he's bitten by a snake.

English Standard Version
as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him.

New American Standard Bible
As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him.

King James Bible
As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
It will be like a man who flees from a lion only to have a bear confront him. He goes home and rests his hand against the wall only to have a snake bite him.

International Standard Version
It will be like a man who runs from a lion, only to encounter a bear; or who comes home, leans his hand against a wall, and a serpent bites him!

NET Bible
Disaster will be inescapable, as if a man ran from a lion only to meet a bear, then escaped into a house, leaned his hand against the wall, and was bitten by a poisonous snake.

New Heart English Bible
As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It is like a person who flees from a lion only to be attacked by a bear. It is like a person who goes home and puts his hand on the wall only to be bitten by a snake.

JPS Tanakh 1917
As if a man did flee from a lion, And a bear met him; And went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him.

New American Standard 1977
As when a man flees from a lion,
            And a bear meets him,
            Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall,
            And a snake bites him.

Jubilee Bible 2000
As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall and a serpent bit him.

King James 2000 Bible
As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

American King James Version
As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

American Standard Version
As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
As if a man should flee from the face of a lion, and a bear should meet him: or enter into the house, and lean with his hand upon the wall, and a serpent should bite him.

Darby Bible Translation
as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

English Revised Version
As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

Webster's Bible Translation
As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

World English Bible
As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him.

Young's Literal Translation
As when one fleeth from the face of the lion, And the bear hath met him, And he hath come in to the house, And hath leant his hand on the wall, And the serpent hath bitten him.
Study Bible
The Coming Judgment
18Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; 19As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. 20Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 32:24
They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague And bitter destruction; And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, With the venom of crawling things of the dust.

Job 20:24
"He may flee from the iron weapon, But the bronze bow will pierce him.

Ecclesiastes 10:8
He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall.

Isaiah 24:17
Terror and pit and snare Confront you, O inhabitant of the earth.

Isaiah 24:18
Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake.

Jeremiah 15:2
"And it shall be that when they say to you, 'Where should we go?' then you are to tell them, 'Thus says the LORD: "Those destined for death, to death; And those destined for the sword, to the sword; And those destined for famine, to famine; And those destined for captivity, to captivity."'

Jeremiah 15:3
"I will appoint over them four kinds of doom," declares the LORD: "the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.

Jeremiah 48:44
"The one who flees from the terror Will fall into the pit, And the one who climbs up out of the pit Will be caught in the snare; For I shall bring upon her, even upon Moab, The year of their punishment," declares the LORD.
Treasury of Scripture

As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

As if. They should go from one evil to another.

Amos 9:1,2 I saw the LORD standing on the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel …

1 Kings 20:29,30 And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it …

Job 20:24,25 He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike …

Isaiah 24:17,18 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are on you, O inhabitant of the earth…

Jeremiah 15:2,3 And it shall come to pass, if they say to you, Where shall we go …

Jeremiah 48:43,44 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be on you, O inhabitant of …

Acts 28:4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, …

(19) Your escape will be impossible. You will avoid one calamity, only to fall into a worse.

Verse 19. - Amos explains the dangers of this judgment day by illustrations drawn from pastoral life, equivalent to the rushing from Charybdis into Scylla. Every place is full of danger - the open country, the shelter of the house. Jerome applies the passage to the fate of the kingdom in general: "Fugientibus vobis a facie Nabuchodonosor leonis occurrent Medi, Persae, demum Antiochus Epiphanes, qui moretur in templo et vos instar colubri mordeat, nequaquam foris in Babylone, sed intra terminos terrae sanctae." As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him,.... That is, should the day of the Lord come as they desired, they would not be the better for it; it would be only going from one trouble to another, like escaping Scylla, and falling into Charybdis: or as if a man, upon the sight of a lion, and at his yell, should take to his heels, and flee "from the face" of him, as the phrase is (i), and a bear, a less generous, and more cruel and voracious creature, especially when: bereaved of its whelps, should meet him, and seize him: or should: he get clear of them both,

or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him; should he get into a house, and so escape the lion and the bear, and lean upon the wall of the house to support and ease him, being out of breath in running from these creatures; yet a serpent lurking in the wall of an old house bites him, and the venom and poison of it issues in his death; so he gains nothing by fleeing from the lion, or escaping the bear. These proverbial expressions signify that the Israelites would be no gainers by the day of the Lord, but rather fall into greater evils, and more distressing calamities. Some Jewish writers interpret the lion and the bear of Laban and Esau; the lion (they say (k)) is Laban, who pursued after Jacob to take away his life; the bear is Esau, who stood in the way to kill all that came, the mother with the children; but are much better interpreted of the Chaldeans, Persians, and Grecians, by Jerom; whose words are,

"fleeing from the face of Nebuchadnezzar the lion, ye will be met by Ahasuerus, under whom, was the history of Esther; or the empire of the Assyrians and Chaldeans being destroyed, the Medes and Persians shall arise; and when upon the reign of Cyrus ye shall have returned, and at the command of, Darius shall have begun to build the house of the Lord, and have confidence in the temple, so as to rest in it, lean your weary hands on its walls; then shall come Alexander king of the Macedonians, or Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, who shall abide in the temple, and bite likes serpent, not without in Babylon, and in Susa, but within the borders of the holy land; by which it appears that the day ye desire is not a day of light and joy, but of darkness and sorrow.''

The interpretation is pretty and ingenious enough, since the characters of the lion, bear, and serpent, agree with the respective persons and people mentioned; Nebuchadnezzar is often compared to a lion, Jeremiah 4:7; and the Babylonian and Chaldean monarchy is represented by one in Daniel 7:4; and the Persian monarchy by a bear, Daniel 7:5; to which the Persians are compared, the Jews say (l), because they eat and drink like a bear, are as fat as bears, and hairy like them, and as restless as they; and so the Persians were noted for their luxury and lust, as well as their cruelty; and, wearing long hair, are called hairy persons in the Delphic oracle, which Herodotus (m) interprets of them; See Gill on Daniel 7:5; and Antiochus may not unfitly be compared to a serpent; see See Gill on Daniel 8:23; See Gill on Daniel 8:24; See Gill on Daniel 8:25; See Gill on Daniel 11:23; but what is to be objected to this sense is, that the words are spoken to the ten tribes, or Israel, who were carried captive by the Assyrians; and not the two tribes, or the Jews, who fell into the hands, first of the Chaldeans, then the Persians, and then the Grecians, particularly into the hands of Antiochus; see Daniel 7:4.

(i) "a facie", V. L. Pagninus; "a faciebus", Montanus; "a conspectu", Mercerus. (k) Pirke Eliezer, c. 37. fol. 41. 1.((l) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 72. 1. & Avoda Zara, fol. 2. 2. (m) Erato, sive l. 6. c. 19. Vid. Calliope, sive l. 9. c. 81. 19. As if a man did flee … a lion, and a bear met him—Trying to escape one calamity, he falls into another. This perhaps implies that in Am 5:18 their ironical desire for the day of the Lord was as if it would be an escape from existing calamities. The coming of the day of the Lord would be good news to us, if true: for we have served God (that is, the golden calves). So do hypocrites flatter themselves as to death and judgment, as if these would be a relief from existing ills of life. The lion may from generosity spare the prostrate, but the bear spares none (compare Job 20:24; Isa 24:18).

leaned … on the wall—on the side wall of the house, to support himself from falling. Snakes often hid themselves in fissures in a wall. Those not reformed by God's judgments will be pursued by them: if they escape one, another is ready to seize them.5:18-27 Woe unto those that desire the day of the Lord's judgments, that wish for times of war and confusion; as some who long for changes, hoping to rise upon the ruins of their country! but this should be so great a desolation, that nobody could gain by it. The day of the Lord will be a dark, dismal, gloomy day to all impenitent sinners. When God makes a day dark, all the world cannot make it light. Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God, will be pursued by them; if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them. A pretence of piety is double iniquity, and so it will be found. The people of Israel copied the crimes of their forefathers. The law of worshipping the Lord our God, is, Him only we must serve. Professors thrive so little, because they have little or no communion with God in their duties. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go into captivity among idolaters.
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