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 futile activities of these temple priests (Bar 6:33-6:35)

“The priests

Take some

Of the clothing

Of their gods

To clothe

Their wives

Or their children.

Whether one does

Evil

To them

Or good,

They will not be able

To repay it.

They cannot

Set up a king.

They cannot

Depose a king.

Likewise

They are not able

To give

Either wealth

Or money.

If one makes a vow

To them,

Then does not

Keep it,

They will not

Require it.”

These priests of the temple take some of the clothing from their gods to give to their wives and children. Whether anyone does good or evil to them, they are not able to return the favor or resist. They are unable to set up or depose a king as the God of Israel can. They seem to have no control over wealth or money. If someone makes a vow, they do not require them to keep their vows.

Temple offerings (Ps 66:13-66:15)

“I will come into your house

With burnt offerings.

I will pay you my vows

That my lips uttered.

My mouth promised

When I was in trouble.

I will offer to you

Burnt offerings of fatlings,

With the smoke of the sacrifice of rams.

I will make an offering of bulls and goats.”

Selah

Now this psalm turns personal as the psalmist tells what he was going to do. He was going to make Temple offerings at the house of God. He was going to make burnt offerings, which was common in the Middle East, but became more important with the altar just outside the Temple. It is mentioned in Genesis, chapters 8 and 22, (well before the Temple) Exodus, chapter 29, Leviticus, chapters 1, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17, Numbers, chapters 6, 8, 15, and 28, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 2. The psalmist has made a vow to offer this sacrifice. His lips and mouth had uttered this vow when he was in trouble. Now he was able to offer the burnt offering of rams, bulls, and goats. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.