The woeful bad situation in Israel (Am 6:4-6:7)

“Woe to those

Who lie on beds

Of ivory!

Woe to those

Who lounge

On their couches!

Woe to those

Who eat lambs

From the flock!

Woe to those

Who eat calves

From the stall!

Woe to those

Who sing idle songs

To the sound of the harp!

Like David,

They improvise

On instruments of music.

Woe to those

Who drink wine

From bowls!

Woe to those

Who anoint themselves

With the finest oils!

But they are not grieved

Over the ruin of Joseph!

Therefore,

They shall now be

The first of those

Who go into exile.

The revelry

Of the loungers

Shall pass away.”

Yahweh, via Amos, pointed out the woeful bad situation in Israel. Those lying on beds of ivory, lounges, or couches would be cursed. Those eating lambs or calves would also be cursed. Even those who sang idle songs on the harp or other improvised instruments would also be cursed. Those who drank wine from bowls or anointed themselves with fine oil would also be cursed. They would not grieve for the ruin of Joseph, that is Israel. Now all these who were lounging around will be the first to be sent into exile. All of these pleasures among the overconfident people in Israel would pass away.

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Against Israel (Am 2:6-2:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Israel,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they sell

The righteous

For silver.

They sell the needy

For a pair of sandals.

They trample

The head of the poor

Into the dust

Of the earth.

They push the afflicted

Out of the way.

A father

With his son

Goes into the same girl.

So,

My holy name

Is profaned.

They lay themselves down

Beside every altar,

On garments

Taken in pledge.

In the house

Of their god,

They drink

The wine

Bought with fines

They imposed.”

Finally, Yahweh issued a diatribe against Israel itself. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language or literary form as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah. He also used the same non-forgiving numeric formula of 3 and 4, as in Proverbs, chapter 30. The Israelites were, also involved in the slave trade, as they sold the righteous ones for silver. At the same time, they sold the needy for a pair of shoes or sandals. They trampled the heads of the poor into the dust of the earth. Both father and son would have sex with the same temple female prostitute. They profaned the holy name of Yahweh, as they laid down at any altar, with garments that they had taken as interest down payments. They drank wine in the houses of their gods bought with the fines that they had imposed on the poor people. They had committed serious crimes.

The call of Yahweh (Isa 22:12-22:14)

“In that day,

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Called for weeping.

He called for mourning.

He called for baldness.

He called for putting on sackcloth.

But instead

There was joy.

There was festivity.

They killed oxen.

They slaughtered sheep.

They were eating meat.

They were drinking wine.

‘Let us eat!

Let us drink!

For tomorrow we die!’

Yahweh of hosts

Has revealed himself

In my ears.

‘Surely

This iniquity

Will not be forgiven you

Until you die.’

Says Yahweh,

God of hosts.”

On that day, Yahweh called on his people to weep and mourn. He wanted them to shave their heads and put on sackcloth because of the impending disaster. Instead, the people of Jerusalem decided to have a joyous festival. They killed oxen and sheep for their celebration, as they drank wine and ate meat. Then we have the famous saying that has endured through time. They cried out, “Let us eat and drink because tomorrow we die.” Yahweh of hosts was not pleased at this response. In fact, he told Isaiah explicitly that their iniquity would not be forgiven as long as they lived.