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FRAMEWORKS: Amos

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FRAMEWORKS: Amos 4: Israel has not returned to God

 

[Preliminary Comment: The chapter divides as follows:

PART ONE: v.1-3: Warning of the Judgment to come

PART TWO: v.4,5: Call to Repent

PART THREE: v.6-11: Five failures to respond to God's disciplinary judgments

PART FOUR: v.12,13: Get ready for the final judgment on this land

The purpose is quite clear: you have failed to repent, despite all the lessor disciplinary judgments that God has used, so nothing is left but the final destruction by God.]

 

 

PART ONE: v.1-3: Warning of the Judgment to come

 

v.1 Rebuke for the women of Israel

v.1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
     you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
     and say to your husbands, ‘Bring us some drinks!'
      

[Notes: The plain of Bashan was a large fertile plain used for pasture in the north eastern part of Israel (Deut 3:10, Josh 20:8). It was famous for its rich pasture used for raising well-fed, contented cattle. Amos disparagingly calls the self-concerned callous women of Basha, by the name, ‘cows' because they are like their famous cattle.]

 

v.2,3 He warns them their time is limited

v. 2  The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness:
     ‘The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
     the last of you with fishhooks.

v. 3  You will each go straight out
     through breaches in the wall,
     and you will be cast out towards Harmon,'
declares the Lord.
   

[Notes: The name Harmon is not used elsewhere in the Bible but the imagery is clear – these women will be dragged off from their place of security to some unknown destination.]

 

PART TWO: v.4,5: Call to Repent

 

v.4 Bethel and nearby Gilgal, where Jeroboam's sin began [1 Kings 12] are now to be places of repentance

v. 4  ‘Go to Bethel and sin;
     go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
     your tithes every three years.
   

v.5 Present meaningless self-centred offerings if that is what you want to do

v. 5  Burn leavened bread as a thank-offering
     and brag about your freewill offerings –
boast about them, you Israelites,
     for this is what you love to do,'
declares the Sovereign Lord.

 

PART THREE: v.6-11: Five failures to respond to God's disciplinary judgments

 

v.6-8 [i] Although famine and drought came you didn't repent

v. 6  ‘I gave you empty stomachs in every city
     and lack of bread in every town,
     yet you have not returned to me,'
declares the Lord.

v. 7   [ii] ‘I also withheld rain from you
     when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
     but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
     another had none and dried up.

v. 8  People staggered from town to town for water
     but did not get enough to drink,
     yet you have not returned to me,'
declares the Lord.

 

v.9 Your lands suffered but still you didn't repent

v. 9   [iii] ‘Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
     destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
     yet you have not returned to me,'
declares the Lord.

 

v.10 You suffered plagues but still you didn't repent

v. 10   [iv] ‘I sent plagues among you
     as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
     along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
     yet you have not returned to me,'
declares the Lord .

 

v.11 Destruction came to some through invaders, but still you didn't repent

v. 11   [v] ‘I overthrew some of you
     as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire,
     yet you have not returned to me,'
declares the Lord.

 

PART FOUR: v.12,13: Get ready for the final judgment on this land

 

v.12,13 Very well, get ready for your final judgment brought by God

v. 12  ‘Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
     and because I will do this to you, Israel,
     prepare to meet your God.'

v. 13  He who forms the mountains,
     who creates the wind,
     and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
     and treads on the heights of the earth –
     the Lord God Almighty is his name.
      

    

     

Continue to Chapter 5