Amos Chapter Two
Will He relent? The answer is “Most certainly not!” Because He is holy He is loving, because He is loving He is just, because He is just He cannot allow injustice to go unaccounted for.
This chapter concludes the opening prophetic indictment against the nations with words spoken against Moav (one of Israel’s greatest historic enemies). The last nation to be charged is, Y’hudah and Yisrael. No, this isn’t a grammatical error, Judah and Israel, in spite of their being divided into two separate kingdoms at this point in history, are nonetheless am echad, one people, a complex unity. So complex in fact as to be a divided unity. This in part is what God is addressing through the prophet Amos.
Reconciliation to God means reconciliation to one another. Through destruction and exile (Assyria, Babylon) God will unite and return Israel to the land as a whole people. That people will return to Judea to the remnant of the tribe of Judah and thus from the conclusion of the Babylonian exile onward all the tribes of Israel become known colloquially as “Y’hudiym” (Jews), from their association with Y’hudah (Judea).
Effectively the opening words of indictment expressed in the scroll of Amos (Ch. 1 & 2) have addressed the neighboring enemies of all Israel [all 12 tribes] (many of whom Israel had formerly been charged with eradicating from the land) in descending order, from the then most recently active to that first and perhaps most notorious of enemies Moav, who came against Israel seeking to curse and annihilate her as she wandered out of Egypt toward the land of promise (Num. 22-25).
The litany of charges (Ch. 1 & 2) addresses first the sin of the nations’ regarding universal moral law and then the sin of Judah and Israel regarding their violating of the sacred covenant made between God and their forebears.
The charges against Judah and Israel are more detailed and have far reaching consequences. However, ultimately the final consequences of Israel’s discipline are her redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. This, because YHVH (Mercy) the God of Israel has purposed in the love that radiates from His holiness, to redeem Israel and the nations by His own everlasting blood through the King Messiah Yeshua (Who is fully God and fully man).
Amos Chapter Two (Author’s translation)
1 Here is what YHVH, the Lord says: “Upon three rebellions of Moav, and upon four, I will not turn away, upon his burning bones of a king of Edom to whitewash. 2 And I will send fire in Moav and it will eat the citadels of Keriyot; and death in an uproar will come to Moav amid the sounding of judgement in the voice of a shofar. 3 And I will cut off a judge from her inner part and all her princes will be slain with him,” says YHVH the Lord. 4 Here is what YHVH, the Lord says: “Upon three rebellions of Y’hudah, and upon four, I will not turn away, upon their rejecting the Instructions YHVH of the Lord and the prescribed limits they have not guarded; and astray they wander because of lies which their fathers walked in. 5 And I will send fire upon Y’hudah, and it will eat the citadels of Yerushalayim.” 6 Here is what YHVH, the Lord says: “Upon three rebellions of Yisrael, and upon four, I will not turn away, upon their selling for silver a righteous one and the needy in order to get a pair of sandals. 7 That breathe heavily upon dust of the land on the head of the ones who are low, and the way of the humble they have bent, and a man and his father enter the same servant girl with intent to pollute My Holy Name. 8 And upon clothing bound in pledge stretched out near every altar (of slaughter), and the wine of those condemned, fined, they drink in a house of their God. 9 “And I, indeed I destroyed the Amorite from before their faces, whose height was like cedars height and strong was he, like oaks, yet I destroyed his fruit from higher up still and his roots from beneath. 10 And I, yes I caused you all to ascend from the land of Egypt and you all walked in the desert forty years to take possession of the land from the Amorites. 11 And I raised up from your children some to be prophets, and from your young men some to be Nazirites. Is this not so, children of Israel?” declares YHVH the Lord. 12 “And you forced the Nazarites to drink wine, and you placed upon the prophets, orders saying, ‘You shall not prophesy!’ 13 Behold, now, pay attention! I am making a rut beneath you, like that which is made by the pressing of the cart when it’s filled with sheaves of grain. 14 And escape will perish from the swift, and the strong will not be strengthened because of his power, and the mighty will not deliver his soul. 15 And the one who grasps the bow will not stand, the swift in foot will not slip away, and the rider of the horse will not save his soul. 16 And the mighty of heart among the mighty ones, will flee naked in that day,” declares YHVH the Lord.
Amos Chapter Two: Line Upon Line
1 Here is what amar YHVH (Mercy), the Lord says: “Al Upon sheloshah three pisheiy rebellions of Moav (from his father), ve'al and upon arba’ah four, lo ashiyvenu I will not turn away, al upon sarfo his burning atzmot bones of Melekh a king of Edom (red: descendants of Esau) lasiyd to lime, whitewash.
A heinous root of sin was established in Moab (a people related to Israel being descended from Lot Abraham’s brother) from conception. Moab being the son born to Lot’s eldest daughter through incest (Gen. 19:30-38).
Moab later became notorious as a people for their hatred of Israel and their calling on the false prophet Bala’am (not of the people) to curse Israel as she journeyed out of Egypt toward the land of promise (Num. 22-25).
Moab’s many sins included horrific idolatrous practices in worship of the false gods Chemosh (Subduer) and Ba’al Peor (husband, master, lord of the cleft/gap [2 Kings 11:7, 33]). Hosea, one of the contemporaries of Amos writes:
“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripeness in the fig tree in her first fruiting time: but they went to Baal Peor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according to their love.” -Hosea 9:10
Israel, having been delivered by God from slavery in Egypt and brought out of the desert into the land of promise, had none the less rejected YHVH and gone after the demonic husband Ba’al Peor, God of the Moabites (enemies and haters of Israel).
Jeremiah (48:13) likens the shame of Moab’s worship of Chemosh to Israel’s apostate worship at Bethel. God is indicting Moab while pointing toward Israel’s syncretism. Thus, the indictment of Moab is also the beginning of the indictment against all of Israel.
It’s worth noting that Moav means “from his father”. This is significant because it points to the indictment against Judah in verse 4 which says that Judah has gone astray “because of lies which their fathers walked in.”
“upon his burning bones of a king of Edom to lime, whitewash.”
The Targum (a second century CE Aramaic translation of the Scriptures), and the Jewish commentators Yarchi and Kimkhi say that a ruler of Moab burnt the bones of a king of Edom until they became powder likened to lime, and then used the powder in a recipe for plaster which he used to plaster the walls of his palace in order to show contempt for Edom.* This is consistent with what we know of the ancient practice of using bone ash in formulas for paint and cosmetics.
* Scholia in Targum in loc.
Bone ash (called “lime” in English translations of the TaNaKh [OT]) “was used in ancient formulas for white paint and cosmetic pigments, and in the cupellation process to separate silver from lead..”*
. Phosphate Minerals. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 2010. p. 3.
. Charvat, Petr (2003). Mesopotamia Before History. Taylor & Francis.
It appears highly likely that the king in question was the heir to the throne of Edom whom the king of Moab offered as a burnt sacrifice to his gods on the wall of Edom’s defences, as recorded in 2 Kings 3:26-27.
While in many cases the bone ash used to whitewash tombs and that utilized in ancient cosmetics was derived from the calcination of animal bones, the indictment used here infers the use of the ash of the bones of a king of Edom as whitewash. This is a vile desecration of moral law concerning the sanctity of human life and the honouring of human remains. The Torah says that blood guilt remains on the land and cannot be atoned for except by the blood of the one guilty of shedding that innocent blood (Num. 35:33).
This reference to whitewash may also further illuminate the meaning of Yeshua’s words:
“27 Alas, Oiy, a warning to you, scribes and Perushiym (Set apart ones), hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed (limed) tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 In the same way, you appear outwardly righteous to people, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and devoid of law (without Torah).” -Mattitiyahu (Matthew) 23:27-28 (Author’s translation)
2 Veshilachtiy And I will send eish fire bemoav in Moab ve’achlah and it will eat armenot the citadels of ha-Keriyot (literally “cities”: specifically a city in the territory of Moab); umeit and death beshaon in an uproar will come to Moav bit’ruah amid the sounding (teruah: shofar sound of warning and judgement) bekol in the voice shofar of a ram’s horn.
“And I will send fire in Moab and it will eat the citadels of ha-Keriyot”
Ha-Keriyot can be understood as both “all the cities” and as a specific city of Moab (Jer. 48:24). Either way, destruction against the entire people of Moab is denoted.
Just as Moab had offered a king of Edom on the walls of Edom’s defences, as a burnt sacrifice to their false gods (2 Kings 3:26-27), so now God will burn Moab and devour its cities.
“and death in an uproar will come to Moav amid the sounding (teruah: shofar sound of warning and judgement) in the voice of a ram’s horn.”
It’s not a “trumpet” as many English translations mistranslate (a trumpet is usually made of silver, brass etc.), but a shofar (ram’s horn) that is sounded in this verse. The symbolic significance of the ram’s horn finds its origin in Ha-Akeidah (the Binding of Isaac Gen. 22).
The shofar warning of coming judgement through warfare which is sounded from the beginning of the scroll of Amos (in the name of his town), is here reiterated against Moab. In the midst of battle and destruction she will hear again the warning call of the shofar of God, a reminder that she had every opportunity to repent and did not. In like manner the final great shofar blast (Tekiah Gedolah) announcing Yom Ha-Din (the Judgement Day) will strike terror into the hearts of those who have rejected God’s warning and offer of redemption.
3 Vehichratiy And I will cut off (kill) shofeit a judge mikirbah from her inner part vekol-sareyah and all her princes eherog will be slain imo with him,” amar says YHVH (Mercy) the Lord.
“And I will cut off (kill) a judge from her inner part and all her princes will be slain with him,” says YHVH (Mercy) the Lord.”
Most scholars agree that the judge in question is probably the king of Moab who acted as judge over the people. This is supported by the following clause which alludes to the princes or sub-rulers of Moab being slain. This took place five years after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem (589-587 BCE).*
* Josephus Antiquities of the Jews l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.
4 Here is what amar YHVH (Mercy), the Lord says: “Al Upon sheloshah three
pisheiy rebellions of Y’hudah (Praise), ve'al and upon arba’ah four, lo ashiyvenu
I will not turn away, al upon mo’osam their rejecting et-torat the Instructions YHVH (Mercy) of the Lord vechukayv and the prescribed limits lo shamaru they have not guarded; vayat’um and astray they wander kizveiyhem because of lies asher-halechu avotam achareiyhem which their fathers walked in.
“Upon three pisheiy rebellions of Y’hudah, even upon four”
Having addressed all the neighbours of Israel and Judah, the prophet now speaks the word of the LORD to the chosen people Israel, beginning with the tribe of Judah (including Benjamin) and concluding with the northern tribes, here called Israel as distinct from Judah. We note that God is just, judging Judah with the same formula used in judgement of the heathen nations that neighbour her.
“upon their rejecting the instructions of the Lord and the prescribed limits, they have not guarded;”
The indictment against Judah differs in regard to the specific laws that Judah has broken. Being ignorant of the specific laws of distinction commanded to Israel the nations had nonetheless sinned in regard to the universal laws of morality contained in the Torah as an indictment against all sin. Judah on the other hand had sinned not only in regard to general morality but also in regard to the very specific laws given by God to His chosen, set apart people. Laws relating to identity, purity, cleanliness, worship etc.
Judah has rejected “et-torat” the instructions contained within the wealth of holy Scriptures which were accessible to them at that point. Including, but not limited to the Torah, parts of the record of the kings, the writings of Solomon, the psalms of David, and numerous early prophetic works.
We note that while many claim “torat”, (teachings), refers to the Torah alone, they can’t explain why the text uses “et-torat”, meaning the instructions or teachings, rather than “Ha-Torah”, which refers specifically to the five books of Moses. The Torah is of course part of the greater number of instructions being alluded to, but it is not the only instruction that had been given to Israel by that time in her history.
The Hebrew “vechukayv” translated “and commands” in most English versions of the Bible, does not carry the same meaning as the Hebrew “mitzvot” but is from the root “chok” meaning “limit”, denoting prescribed boundaries, portions, and civil conduct. It is specifically used to point toward the social injustices being committed within the framework of God’s justice.
“and astray they wander because of lies which their fathers walked in.”
Judah hasn’t just wandered, she continues to wander. She has gone astray because of generational sin. Her father’s, forebears, having adopted the idolatry of the inhabitants of the land and syncretised (mixed it into) their worship of YHVH the God of Israel, have passed on their sin to the subsequent generations.
The Jewish commentator Kimkhi notes that the “lies” referred to were those of the false prophets. Regardless of the origin of the lies, the point is that Judah had traded the truth of HaShem for lies.
5 Veshilachtiy And I will send eish fire bey’hudah upon Judah (Praise), ve’achlah and it will eat armenot the citadels of Yerushalayim (Flood of Peace) Jerusalem.”
“And I will send fire upon Judah, and it will eat the citadels of Jerusalem.”
“God is no respecter of persons”, meaning, He shows no partiality. Thus the punishment against Judah mirrors that of her neighbours (Aram [1:4], Gaza [1:7], Tyre [1:10], Edom [1:12], Amon [1:14], Moab [2:2]).
The temple of the most High God (YHVH), and the palaces of the king of Judah and his princes were burned with fire when Jerusalem was taken by the Babylonian army, approximately two hundred years after this prophecy (589-587 BCE).
6 Here is what amar YHVH (Mercy), the Lord says: “Al Upon sheloshah three pisheiy rebellions of Yisrael (overcomes in Elohiym), ve'al and upon arba’ah four, lo ashiyvenu I will not turn away, al upon, michram their selling bakesef for silver tzadiyk a righteous one ve’evyon and the needy ba’avur, in order to get na’alayim a pair of sandals.
“Upon three rebellions of Yisrael, and upon four”
While Israel in the form of the northern tribes is being delineated as a unique entity, the pursuant allusion to the deliverance from Egypt draws on the united experience of the twelve tribes of Israel. Therefore, in part, the judgement against the northern tribes is also an indictment against Judah. This is of course not the case where specific northern locations and sin practices are referred to.
“upon, their selling for silver a righteous one”
In this context, given that disregard for God’s et-torat (instructions) is the premise for the judgement, it is likely that the plain meaning “selling for silver a righteous one” alludes to the sale of a man who is without debt, this being akin to slavery and contrary to Torah (Deut. 15:7-11; Lev. 25:39-43).
The singular phrasing “a righteous one” seems intentional and looks back to the sinful actions of Joseph’s brothers and forward to the sinful actions of Judah Ish-kariyot. Notice that Judas Iscariot is Judah “ish” a man from “keriyot”, Judas who betrayed Messiah was from the chief city of Moab (which in the first century C.E. was no longer a Moabite city).
The rabbis who arranged Amos 2:6-3:8 as the Haftarah (completion/fulfilment of instruction) portion for Va-yeshev [And dwelt Jacob] (Gen. 37:1-40:23) [the Torah portion that recounts the selling of the righteous man Joseph into slavery] clearly understood this phrase to have prophetic significance.
“and the needy, in order to get a pair of sandals.”
This describes the heinous act of selling on an indentured poor person for a pitiful sum, thus openly devaluing that person. This is also in direct opposition to the command concerning those poor who have no other choice but to sell themselves into indentured service. The Torah requires justice in these circumstances and the release of that person at the end of their term of service (Lev. 25).
7 Hasho’afiym That breathe heavily al upon afar-eretz dust of the land berosh on the head daliym of the ones who are low, vederekh and the way anaviym of the humble yatu they have bent, ve’iysh and a man veaviv and his father yelechu enter el-hana’arah the same servant girl lema’an with intent to chaleil pollute et-sheim kadshiy My Holy Name.
“That breathe heavily upon dust of the land on the head of the ones who are low”
This is a Hebrew idiom that speaks directly to the oppression of those in the community who are suffering. Again, this contradicts the Torah, which states:
“You shall not pervert the justice that is owed to your needy brother in his dispute. 7 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty.” -Shemot (Exodus) 23:6-7
“and the way of the humble they have bent”
The humble are not synonymous with the poor as some wrongly conclude. This is in fact referring to the righteous remnant who walk humbly before God (Micah 6:8). This particular indictment therefore, regards the intentional harming of the livelihood and future of the righteous ones living among the community.
“a man and his father enter the same servant girl”
Not only is the sharing of the same woman by father and son considered repugnant universally, it is also very specifically outlawed by Torah (Lev. 18:7-8, 15; 20:11-12). Additionally, using any woman in this way, be she a servant or otherwise, was strictly forbidden. According to the Torah, women were to be honoured and cared for in the ancient Israelite community. Where a man received sex from a woman he was obligated to marry and provide for her in a age when survival as an abandoned woman was difficult (Ex. 22:16; Deut. 22:28-29).
“with intent to pollute My Holy Name.”
While many read this phrase as being a separate indictment against idolatry which is unrelated to the sexual sin named in the previous clause, I understand it as being related.
The sexual sin in the previous clause is made more heinous due to the fact that the man and his son in question are performing these acts as part of a syncretised worship practice which names the God of Israel. It is an abhorrent desecration of the Holy Name that unites the immoral sexual sin act with the worship of false gods, and links the entire practice to the worship of the God of Israel.
As modern believing men we may look upon this vile sin retrospectively from our position in history and say, “Thank God that I haven’t done anything that terrible”. And yet, today, believing men and their sons lust after the same actresses, sportswomen and models. Yeshua says:
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 And I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” -Matthew 5:27-28
Rather than smugly tutting our tongues at Israel, we would do well to repent and rely on Messiah’s strength to maintain our walk with integrity.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Exodus 20:17 KJV
8 Ve’al-begadiym And upon clothing chavuliym bound in pledge yatu stretched out eitzel near kol-mizbeiach every altar (of slaughter), ve’yiyn and the wine of anushiym those condemned, fined, yishtu they drink in Beit a house Eloheiyham of their God.
We note that this is speaking of the ten northern tribes, so that when the text says “Beit Eloheiyham”, (a house of their God), it is not speaking of the temple in Jerusalem, something that is wrongly inferred by the standard English translation, which reads “in the house of their God”.
The northern tribes were not worshipping God at the appointed place (the temple on Mt Zion in Jerusalem) according to the command of Torah (Deut. 12:5-12; Josh. 21:41-43), but were instead worshipping Him, and or other deities along with Him at various high places in the north, one of the chief locations being Beit-El (Bethel). Therefore, God is commanding punishment upon the northern tribes regarding their practice of syncretism, the assimilation of heathen practices into their worship of the God of Israel. Which is one of the reasons HaShem has said “a man and his father enter the same servant girl with intent to pollute My Holy Name”.
“upon clothing bound in pledge stretched out near every altar”
This refers to withholding the garments taken from poor people in pledge (Deut. 4:17; Job 22:6, 24:3-4, 9) and compounding the sin by laying the garments out in worship of either false gods or in hypocritical worship of the God of Israel in syncretism with false gods (Ex. 22:26). Thus the poor are left shivering in the night while their garments are used as an offering to God by wicked people who have plenty.
“the wine of those fined, they drink in a house of their God.”
The Hebrew allows for the readings “in a house of there god”. In other words, they are not necessarily even worshipping the God of Israel.
The wine can be understood as the wine that should have been given to the poor, suffering and the dying as a means of pain management (Proverbs 31:6-7), or it can be understood as wine gained by fining innocent people. Either way, and whether or not they are drinking the wine in worship of the God of Israel or some other deity, their sin is a vile desecration of the Torah.
9 “Ve’anochiy And I, indeed hishmadtiy I destroyed et-ha’amoriy the Amorite (public speaker) mipeneiyhem from before their faces, asher whose kegovah height was like araziym cedars gaveho height vechason and strong hu was he ka’aloniym like oaks va’ashmiyd yet I destroyed piryo his fruit mi’ma’al from higher up still (above) vesharashayv and his roots mitachat from beneath.
What follows is a summary of Israel’s journey. Throughout God is faithful, and throughout Israel is rebellious, unfaithful, in need of discipline.
We note that this is a reference to Numbers 13 and 14 which record the sending of the spies and the rebellion of Israel, born of a fearful report concerning the inhabitants of the land (Num. 13:33). Therefore, this rebuke likens the rebellion of the northern tribes to that of all Israel in approaching the land of promise, a rebellion that resulted in their wandering for another 40 years.
The metaphor used points to the fact that when a people gives in to the fear of anyone or anything other than YHVH, that people are prone to rebel against Him. Instead of trusting in YHVH, they have trusted in the strength of the false gods of the land, gods which HaShem has and will uproot and remove. We remember that the fear of YHVH is an end to fear and its fruit.
The metaphor of the mighty oaks is meant to show that even something as strong and enduring as the oak is subject to God’s might. Where the Cedars of Lebanon are high, they are nonetheless vulnerable to strong winds, whereas the oak is both high and strong (thick), able to withstand strong winds. However, God is higher and stronger, and His Spirit (wind) can tear up even the strongest tree. Thus, the intimidating Amorites whom Israel feared when told of their stature (Num. 13:28), were uprooted, that is the source of their strength was removed.
10 Ve’anochiy And I, he’eleiytiy etchem I caused you all to ascend mei’eretz from the land mitzrayim (double distress) of Egypt va’oleich etchem and you all walked bamidbar (in and from the Word) in the desert arbaiym shanah forty years lareshet to take possession et-eretz of the land from ha’emoriy Amorites.
This is a reminder of the consequences of Israel’s rebellion, as well as being a reminder of God’s faithfulness. In spite of Israel’s rebellion God made the defeat of the Amorites possible.
11 Va’akiym And I raised up mibeneichem from your children lin’viyiym some to be prophets umibachureiychem and from your young men lin’ziriym some to be Nazirites (consecrated ones). Ha’af eiyn-zot Is this not so, beneiy-Yisrael children of Israel?” neum declares YHVH (Mercy) the Lord.
“And I raised up from your children some to be prophets”
Throughout Israel’s history up to that point in time God had raised up prophets, from Joseph the son of Jacob to Moses, Joshua, Samuel and so on. All Israel is included here. At this point in the indictment Judah and Benjamin are implicitly included in the phrase “beneiy-Yisrael”.
Upon hearing these words from Amos few Israelites would have been able to forget the following words of the Torah:
“15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” 17 The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.” -Deuteronomy 18:15-19 NIV
“from your young men some to be Nazirites”
The Hebrew “nazir” (Nazarite) from the root “nazar”, means “consecrated”. Numbers 6:1-21 explains that the Nazarite vow was one that a person chose as an act of their freewill and out of a desire to set themselves apart as devoted to God (Judges 13:5).
“Is this not so, children of Israel?” declares YHVH (Mercy) the Lord.”
To paraphrase, “Have I not given you ample warning children of Israel?”
12 “Vatashku et-hanezitiym yayin And you forced the Nazirites to drink wine, veal-haneviyiym and you placed upon the prophets, tziviytem orders leimor saying, ‘lo tinaveu You shall not prophesy!’
In spite of the goodness of God in giving Israel righteous ones to direct them toward Him, Israel rebelled by defiling those righteous ones, either by tempting or by forcing violation of their vows upon them. In the case of the prophets Israel had hated what they heard and had told the true prophets of God to be silent while inviting the false prophets to speak.
Ironically, Amaziyah the apostate priest of Bethel would later tell Amos to go away and prophesy to Judah (7:12-13). Following this Amos speaks the word of the LORD which quotes the people of Israel as saying:
“You say, ‘Don’t Prophesy against Israel’, and ‘Don’t drop the Word against the house of Isaac’.” -Amos 7:16b (Author’s translation)
Therefore, for the duration of the ten years of the prophetic ministry of Amos, Israel had wilfully ignored his warning to repent for their having demanded that the prophets of God be silent, and instead, nearing the end of his ministry, they repeated this sin like children with their fingers in their ears yelling “La, la, la…”
13 Hineih Behold, now, pay attention! Anochiy I am mei’iyk making a rut tachteiychem beneath you, ka’asher like that which is made ta’iyk by the pressing ha’agalah of the cart hamleiam lah when it’s filled amiyr with sheaves of grain.
“Hineih” is a wakeup call. “Pay attention now!”, would be a better modern translation than the old English “Behold”.
The metaphor of the heavily laden cart at harvest time is poignant. At this time in history Israel was heavily laden with riches and success, just like the overloaded cart at harvest time. However, her successes would soon weigh her down so as to make a rut beneath her that she will not be able to climb out of. This is essentially a metaphor describing the fruit of the love of worldly wealth (1 Tim. 6:10). The love of worldly wealth being a form of idolatry. Israel had planted the seed of rebellion in the soil of her abundance and would soon reap the fruit of rebellion. Destruction.
14 Veavad manos And escape will perish mikal from the swift, vechazak and the strong lo-ye’ameitz will not be strengthened kocho because of his power, vegibor and the mighty lo-yemaleit will not deliver nafsho his soul.
Although Israel considered herself strong at this point in history, she would nonetheless be unable to escape. Her strong men will be unable to overcome in the coming fire of judgement in spite of their strength, they will not even be able to deliver themselves.
15 Vetofeis And the one who grasps hakeshet the bow lo ya’amod will not stand, vekal the swift beraglayv in foot lo yemaleit will not slip away, verocheiv and the rider of hasus the horse lo yemaleit will not save nafsho his soul.
The bowman will fail to have an effect in the coming battle that will topple the northern kingdom, and the fastest runners will not be able to escape, nor will the rider on the swiftest horse be able to save himself.
16 Veamiytz And the mighty libo of heart bagiboriym among the mighty ones, arom yanus will flee naked bayom-hahu in that day,” neum declares YHVH (Mercy) the Lord.
The most courageous of Israel’s warriors will flee naked, meaning “unarmed”, shaking like terrified children in that promised day when God brings the fire of His discipline against the northern tribes. This is something God declares through Amos as a foregone conclusion. Will He relent? The answer is “Most certainly not!” Because He is holy He is loving, because He is loving He is just, because He is just He cannot allow injustice to go unaccounted for.
We know that “God is love”, good! Now let’s go and learn what love is. We don’t define love, God does. Any love founded in the temporal fallen emotion of humanity is false love. We know that “God is love”, good! Now let’s go and learn Who love is.
Copyright 2022 Yaakov Brown
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Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,