Amos 6:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow the sea with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness--

New Living Translation
Can horses gallop over boulders? Can oxen be used to plow them? But that's how foolish you are when you turn justice into poison and the sweet fruit of righteousness into bitterness.

English Standard Version
Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood—

New American Standard Bible
Do horses run on rocks? Or does one plow them with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,

King James Bible
Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Do horses gallop on the cliffs; does anyone plow there with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood--

International Standard Version
"Horses don't run over bare rock, do they? One doesn't plow rock with oxen, does he? But you have turned justice to gall, and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness.

NET Bible
Can horses run on rocky cliffs? Can one plow the sea with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into a poisonous plant, and the fruit of righteous actions into a bitter plant.

New Heart English Bible
Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Do horses run on rocks? Does a farmer plow the sea with oxen? Yet, you have turned justice into something deadly and what is righteous into poison.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Do horses run upon the rocks? Doth one plow there with oxen? That ye have turned justice into gall, And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood;

New American Standard 1977
Do horses run on rocks?
            Or does one plow them with oxen?
            Yet you have turned justice into poison,
            And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,

Jubilee Bible 2000
Shall horses run upon the rocks? will one plow there with oxen? why have ye turned judgment into hemlock, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood?

King James 2000 Bible
Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for you have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:

American King James Version
Shall horses run on the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for you have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:

American Standard Version
Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? that ye have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Can horses run upon the rocks, or can any one plough with buffles? for you have turned judgment into bitterness, and the fruit of justice into wormwood.

Darby Bible Translation
Shall horses run upon the rock? will [men] plough [thereon] with oxen? For ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,

English Revised Version
Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? that ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood:

Webster's Bible Translation
Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:

World English Bible
Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness;

Young's Literal Translation
Do horses run on a rock? Doth one plough it with oxen? For ye have turned to gall judgment, And the fruit of righteousness to wormwood.
Study Bible
The Pride of Israel
11For behold, the LORD is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments. 12Do horses run on rocks? Or does one plow them with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood, 13You who rejoice in Lodebar, And say, "Have we not by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?"…
Cross References
James 3:18
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap the fruit of righteousness.

1 Kings 21:7
Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."

Isaiah 59:13
Transgressing and denying the LORD, And turning away from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.

Isaiah 59:14
Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot enter.

Hosea 10:4
They speak mere words, With worthless oaths they make covenants; And judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.

Amos 2:3
"I will also cut off the judge from her midst And slay all her princes with him," says the LORD.

Amos 3:10
"But they do not know how to do what is right," declares the LORD, "these who hoard up violence and devastation in their citadels."

Amos 5:7
For those who turn justice into wormwood And cast righteousness down to the earth."

Amos 5:11
Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor And exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.
Treasury of Scripture

Shall horses run on the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for you have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:

horses.

Isaiah 48:4 Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, …

Jeremiah 5:3 O LORD, are not your eyes on the truth? you have stricken them, but …

Jeremiah 6:29,30 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder …

Zechariah 7:11,12 But they refused to listen, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped …

for.

Amos 5:7,11,12 You who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth…

1 Kings 21:7-13 And Jezebel his wife said to him, Do you now govern the kingdom of …

Psalm 94:20,21 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with you, which frames …

Isaiah 59:13,14 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from …

Hosea 10:4,13 They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus …

Micah 7:3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asks, …

Habakkuk 1:3,4 Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for …

Acts 7:51,52 You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always …

(12) The questions require a negative answer, and show that the conduct of Israel is as inconsistent and senseless as the supposition involved in the interrogation: that horses should climb steep cliffs, or oxen plough in the rocky gorge. The conception of oppression, luxury, and pride being the forerunners of prosperity and peace is anomalous. The idea is, that that which should have insured the stability of the state, the embodiment of its conscience, had been turned into narcotic poison--the self-satisfaction of personal greed. Rsh, the Hebrew for "gall," is a poisonous kind of plant with bitter taste, and resembling, according to Jerome, stalks of grass, and propagating itself with such rapidity that it is difficult to exterminate it. (Comp. Hosea 10:4. Speaker's Commentary suggests "poppy-head.") In Amos 5:7 the word expressed here by "hemlock" is rendered "worm-wood," as in Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15; Deuteronomy 29:18, &c., a rendering which should have been retained here. Gall and worm-wood are constantly associated in Old Testament prophecy in this metaphorical sense.

Verses 12-14. - The prophet shows the folly of these evil doers who think in their own strength to defy judgment and to resist the enemy whom God is sending against them. Verse 12. - Shall horses run upon the rock? Can horses gallop safely over places covered with rocks and stones? Will one plough there with oxen? Do men plough the rock with their oxen? The answer, of course, is "No." Yet your conduct is equally foolish, your labour is equally lost. Some, dividing the words differently, translate, "Does one plough the sea with oxen?" which reminds one of the Latin proverb, "Litus arare bubus." Thus Ovid, 'Ep. Heroid,' 5:115 -

"Quid facis OEnone? Quid arenae semina mandas?
Non protecturis litora bubus aras."
For ye have turned; or, that ye have turned. Judgment into gall (see note on Amos 5:7). Hemlock. Some plant with an acrid juice. Ye turn the administration of justice, which is "the fruit of righteousness," into the bitterest injustice and wrong. It were "more easy," says Pusey, "to change the course of nature or the use of things of nature, than the course of God's providence or the laws of his just retribution." Shall horses run upon the rocks? or will one plough there with oxen?.... Will any man be so weak and foolish, to propose or attempt a race for horses upon rocks, where they and their riders would be in danger of breaking their necks? or would any man act so unwise a part, as to take a yoke of oxen to plough with them upon a rock, where no impression can be made? as vain and fruitless a thing it would be to attempt to bring such persons under a conviction of their sins, and to repentance for them, and reformation from them, who are given up to a judicial hardness of heart, like that of a rock, as are the persons described in the next clause; or as such methods with horses and oxen would be contrary to all the rules of reason and prudence, so as contrary a part do such persons act whose characters are next given, and there is no probability of bringing them to better sense and practice of things;

for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock; that which would be beneficial to a nation, than which nothing is more so, as the exercise of justice, and judgment, into that which is bitter and pernicious to it, as injustice and oppression; see Amos 5:7. 12. In turning "judgment (justice) into gall (poison), and … righteousness into hemlock" (or wormwood, bitter and noxious), ye act as perversely as if one were to make "horses run upon the rock" or to "plough with oxen there" [Maurer]. As horses and oxen are useless on a rock, so ye are incapable of fulfilling justice [Grotius]. Ye impede the course of God's benefits, because ye are as it were a hard rock on which His favor cannot run. "Those that will not be tilled as fields, shall be abandoned as rocks" [Calvin].6:8-14 How dreadful, how miserable, is the case of those whose eternal ruin the Lord himself has sworn; for he can execute his purpose, and none can alter it! Those hearts are wretchedly hardened that will not be brought to mention God's name, and to worship him, when the hand of God is gone out against them, when sickness and death are in their families. Those that will not be tilled as fields, shall be abandoned as rocks. When our services of God are soured with sin, his providences will justly be made bitter to us. Men should take warning not to harden their hearts, for those who walk in pride, God will destroy.
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