Comparison of Translations
A number of major translations (KJV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, NIV, YLT) of Amos 9:5 have מוג (mûḡ) translated as "melt," "melts," or "melteth," but I will give the KJV translation (for reasons noted next):
And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, And all that dwell therein shall mourn: And it shall rise up wholly like a flood; And shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.
The NET Bible is slightly different, but related:
The sovereign LORD who commands armies will do this. He touches the earth and it dissolves; all who live on it mourn. The whole earth rises like the River Nile, and then grows calm like the Nile in Egypt.
Amos 9:5 has a qal vav imperfect form (תָּמ֔וֹג) of the verb.
However, in Amos 9:13, of the translations I looked at, most do not follow the KJV translation of "melt":
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; And the mountains shall drop sweet wine, And all the hills shall melt.
Others translate the last part of that verse variously, but under two general categories:
- Relating the reference to the juice/wine
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it (NKJV)
the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it (ESV)
New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills (NIV)
Juice will run down the slopes, it will flow down all the hillsides (NET)
- In accord with "melt" or a similar idea
When the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved (NASB)
And the mountains have dropped juice, and all the hills do melt (YLT)
Amos 9:13 has the hithpolel imperfect form of the verb (תִּתְמוֹגַֽגְנָה).
While the forms of the verb may be behind the differences in translation, that is not readily apparent, as there simply appears to be some issues regarding the meaning itself of the root term.
Disagreement on Basic Meaning
According to Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs in Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), the meaning of מוג is "melt," with possible ideas of "agitating, loosening, dissolving" and "soften," depending upon verb form. It does note it may be, in Amos 9:13, hyperbole for "flow." With the exception of this figurative notation at the end, however, the general nature of the word is taken to essentially match the idea of a breaking up of a solid, generally into a liquid (or more liquid) form, hence "melt" or "dissolve."
However, Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, M. E. J. Richardson, and Johann Jakob Stamm in The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999) give a different focus of meaning as primary, namely "waver," and "to wave, sway backwards and forwards, undulate," with a final "to soften, disperse." So the essential idea here is more of a nature of movement, rather than nature of the substance like BDB.
It is apparent that at the least a conceptual parallel is being made (more obvious in the KJV, YLT, or [more importantly] the original Hebrew; here again, the KJV):
Amos 9:5 — the land, and it shall melt Amos 9:13 — all the hills shall melt
Not so Obvious Intention of Meaning
What is the intention, however, of the parallel? What is the actual meaning in the two passages (and are the meanings similar)? It seems to me it is likely one of these:
- Noting the same event, thus taking what is indicated about the nature of God in v.5 (what He can do) and applying it in time at v.13 (what He will do).
- Noting a similar type of event, thus referring in v.5 to some past event in which God did this (demonstrating He is a God who can), and now in v.13 a future event of it.
- Noting distinctly different types of events, where the reference is parallel purely for literary purposes, but the nature of the events is far removed from one another.
Of course there may be some other position to take. But related to determining the above is tied to determining the correct meaning of מוג in each place (which also relates to whether it speaks more of a change of substance or a movement), and whether the meaning should be the same or not in both. That is:
If the same event, then is that event a more literal melting of the land (this could still be somewhat figurative), which from v.5 appears to be a judgment aspect, since "all who dwell there mourn," while in v.13, the context around it (v.11-15) is generally more of blessing; or that event more figurative in both places of flowing blessings?
If similar events, again judgement or blessing type events?
If distinctly different types of events, one judgment and one blessing, then why make the parallel appear to relate more closely to being a similar/same event (i.e. why use the term מוג at all in v.13)?
What is the proper meaning of מוג in both locations, and how (if at all) do the two statements relate to one another?