The assembly at Samaria (Am 3:9-3:11)

“Proclaim to the strongholds

In Ashdod!

Proclaim to the strongholds

In the land of Egypt!

Say!

‘Assemble yourselves

On Mount Samaria!

See what great tumults

Are within her!

See what oppressions

Are within her midst!’

‘They do not know

How to do right.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They store up violence

In their strongholds.

They store up robbery

In their strongholds.’

Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘An adversary

Shall surround the land.

He shall strip you

Of your defense.

Your strongholds

Shall be plundered.’”

Amos wanted the enemies of Samaria, the Philistines and the Egyptians, to gather at Mount Samaria to see what was going on there. There was a great uproar and oppression there. Yahweh said that they did not know how to do what was right. They stored up violence and robbery in their fortresses. Thus, Yahweh said that an adversary was going to surround their land, strip them of their defenses, and plunder their fortresses.

Advertisements

Yahweh is the cause (Am 3:6-3:8)

“Is a trumpet

Blown in a city,

With the people not afraid?

Does disaster befall a city,

Unless Yahweh has done it?

Surely Yahweh God

Does nothing,

Without revealing

His secret

To his servants,

The prophets.

The lion has roared,

Who will not fear?

Yahweh God

Has spoken.

Who can but prophesy?”

It turns out that the cause of everything is Yahweh. If a trumpet blows in a city, the people are afraid. No disaster comes to a city, unless Yahweh had decided to make it happen. However, Yahweh God revealed his secrets to his servants, the prophets. When the lion roared, people were afraid. Thus, when Yahweh speaks, the prophets must prophesize.

Why things happen (Am 3:3-3:5)

“Do two people walk together,

Unless they have made

An appointment?

Does a lion roar

In the forest,

When it has no prey?

Does a young lion cry out

From its den,

If it has taken nothing?

Does a bird fall

Into a snare

On the earth,

When there is no trap

For it?

Does a snare spring up

From the ground,

When it has taken nothing?”

Amos asked a series of questions. Certain things happen because it is the normal thing for them to do. People who walk together have usually set up a time to do so. A lion roars in the forest when it has taken some prey. A young lion in a den has found something when it cries out. A bird does not fall into a snare if there was no trap set up. A snare does not spring up without being set. Thus, there is a natural reaction that takes place in all these cases.

The chosen ones (Am 3:1-3:2)

“Hear this word

That Yahweh has spoken

Against you!

O people of Israel!

He has spoken

Against the whole family

That I brought up

Out of the land

Of Egypt!

You only

Have I known

Of all the families

Of the earth.

Therefore,

I will punish you

For all your iniquities.”

Yahweh, via Amos, wanted the people of Israel to listen to his word. This diatribe was against the whole family of Israel. Yahweh had chosen them as the special ones from all the families on earth, when he took them out of Egypt. They were special. Nevertheless, he was still going to punish them for their iniquities.

The punishment of Israel (Am 2:13-2:16)

“‘So,

I will press you down

In your place.

Just as a cart

Presses down,

When it is full of sheaves.

Flight shall perish

From the swift.

The strong

Shall not

Retain their strength.

The mighty

Shall not

Save their lives.

Those who handle the bow

Shall not stand.

Those who are swift

Of foot

Shall not save themselves.

Those who ride horses

Shall not save their lives.

Those who are stout

Of heart,

Among the mighty,

Shall flee away naked,

In that day.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Amos, issued his punishment. The Israelites were going to be pressed down like a bundle of hay or sheaves. The swift people would lose their quick agility. The strong people would lose their strength. The mighty people would lose their lives. The archers would not be able to stand. The fast people would not be able to save themselves. The horse riders would lose their lives also. The mighty strong people would run away naked. Yahweh said that all this would take place on the appointed day.

The role of the prophets and the Nazirites (Am 2:11-2:12)

“I raised up

Some of your children

To be prophets.

I have raised up

Some of your young men

To be Nazirites.

Is it not indeed so?

O people of Israel?’

Says Yahweh.

‘But you made

The Nazirites

Drink wine.

You commanded

The prophets,

Saying.

‘You shall not prophesy.’”

Yahweh, via Amos, said that he had raised up some of their children and young men of Israel to be prophets and Nazirites. The Nazirites took a vow not to drink wine, as explained in Numbers, chapter 6. However, the people of Israel would have none of it. They wanted these Nazirites to drink wine and their prophets to stop prophesizing. In other words, the Israelites wanted to ignore the holy men that Yahweh had sent to them.

The destruction of the Amorites (Am 2:9-2:10)

“Yet I destroyed

The Amorites

Before them.

Their height was

Like the height of cedar trees.

They were

As strong

As the oak trees.

I destroyed

His fruit above.

I destroyed

His roots beneath.

I brought you up

Out of the land of Egypt.

I led you forty years

In the wilderness.

Thus,

You possess

The land of the Amorites’”

The literary tone changed, as Yahweh, via Amos, reminded the people of Israel on how he had destroyed the Amorites, the people who lived in the Promise Land before the Israelites arrived. These Amorites or Canaanites were very tall like cedar trees and very strong like oak trees. However, Yahweh completely destroyed them including the fruit of their trees above ground as well as the roots of their trees beneath ground, a complete annihilation. After all, he had brought the Israelites out of Egypt. He had protected them for 40 years, while they were in the wilderness or desert. Finally, Yahweh let the Israelites possess the land of the Amorites.