Amos was told to leave Israel (Am 7:11-7:13)

“Thus Amos has said.

‘Jeroboam shall die

By the sword!

Israel must go

Into exile

Away from his land!’

Amaziah said

To Amos.

‘O seer!

Go!

Flee away

To the land

Of Judah!

Earn your bread there!

Prophesy there!

But never again prophesy

At Bethel!

It is the king’s sanctuary.

It is a temple

Of the kingdom.’”

Amos had said that King Jeroboam II would die by the sword. Amos had also said that Israel would go into exile. Thus, Amaziah, the main priest at Bethel, told Amos to go back to Judah. There he could earn his keep and prophesize. However, he was to never again prophesize at Bethel, since that was the king’s sanctuary, the temple for the northern kingdom of Israel. This northern priest wanted Amos to go south to Judah, since he did not like what Amos was saying.

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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.

Against Ammon (Am 1:13-1:15)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions,

Of the Ammonites,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they ripped open

Pregnant women

In the Gilead.

They wanted to enlarge

Their territory.

So,

I will kindle a fire

Against the wall of Rabbah.

Fire shall devour

Its strongholds,

With shouting

On the day of battle.

There will be a storm

On the day of the whirlwind.

Their king

Shall go into exile,

He with his officials together.’

Says Yahweh.”

Ammon was east of the Jordan River, between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in the old Gad territory. According to Genesis, chapter 19, the Ammonites were the descendants of Lot through the incest he had with his daughter. Yahweh, via Amos, invoked the same language as he had used against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyre, and Edom. He used the same numeric formula of 3 and 4, as found in Proverbs, chapter 30. These Ammonites had killed pregnant women in the Gilead, the Israelite territory on the east side of the Jordan River, because they wanted to take over that territory. Thus, Yahweh was going to send fire down on Rabbah, the capital city that is today the capital of Jordan, Amman. This fire would destroy all their fortresses, like a storm or whirlwind. The king and all its officials would go into exile.

Against the Philistines (Am 1:6-1:8)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘For three transgressions

Of Gaza,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

Because they carried

Into exile

Entire communities,

To hand them over

To Edom.

So,

I will send a fire

On the wall of Gaza.

It shall devour

Its strongholds.

I will cut off

The inhabitants

From Ashdod.

I will cut off

The one who holds

The scepter

From Ashkelon.

I will turn my hand

Against Ekron.

The remnant

Of the Philistines

Shall perish.’

Says Yahweh

God.”

The Philistines had 5 major cities along the Mediterranean coast, west of Judah. The only city not mentioned here was Gath that had been wiped out by the Syrian King Hazael. Otherwise, Yahweh was going to punish the other 4 cities. Gaza was cited as the worst, since the numbering iniquities were about 3 and 4 things, just like the numerical Proverbs, chapter 30. Yahweh was not going to revoke his punishment against them. They were involved in the slave trade with Edom that sent whole communities into exile. Although fire would come to Gaza, Yahweh reminded them that Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron would also suffer. All the remaining Philistines would perish or die. This was clearly an oracle of Yahweh.

Joakim (Dan 13:1-13:1)

“There was a man

Living in Babylon

Whose name was Joakim.”

This chapter 13 story only appears in the Greek Septuagint version of the Book of Daniel. Thus, this story of Susanna and Daniel is sometimes called apocryphal literature. It probably should be at the beginning of this work, since it presents Daniel as a young man, but it is usually placed here at the end. This story is about the wife of Joakim, a Jewish man living in exile in Babylon. The name Joakim means that the Lord will establish him.

The conclusion about Yahweh (Ezek 39:28-39:29)

“‘Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

Their God.

I sent them

Into exile

Among the nations.

I then gathered them

Into their own land.

I will leave

None of them

Behind.

I will never again

Hide my face

From them.

I will pour out

My Spirit

On the house of Israel.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel summarized his main idea that the house of Israel would now know that Yahweh was their God. He had sent them into exile and now he would gather them back into their own land, with none left behind. Yahweh said that he would never again hide his face from his people. He was going to pour out his Spirit on the house of Israel.

Against Gog (Ezek 38:1-38:2)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Set your face

Toward Gog,

Of the land of Magog.

The chief prince

Of Meshech

With Tubal.

Prophesy against him!’”

This section represents an example of apocalyptic literature. The emphasis in this type of literature is on a future that would be better compared to the sufferings of the present time. This thinking predominated in Second Temple Judaism after the return from the exile. This Messianic hope prefigured a future victory of good over evil. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation or the Apocalypse are better examples of this apocalyptic literature. As usual, the word of God came to Ezekiel, the son of man. However, this time he was to prophesize against Gog. Who is this Gog? This is the first mention of Gog in the biblical literature, who clearly was an enemy of Yahweh. There appears to be no historical basis for this Gog from Magog. According to Genesis, chapter 10, Magog was descended from Japheth, the son of Noah. Here Gog is a person and Magog is the land where he comes from. However, in later literature they were usually combined into ‘Gog and Magog,’ perhaps due to the Septuagint Greek translation. Magog might have been a code name for Babylon. There were also other legends about Gog and Magog in the later Greek and Roman times. Both are mentioned in later Jewish and Muslim writings. Meshech and Tubal were 7th century BCE kingdoms in Asia Minor or present day Turkey. Gog appears to be the chief prince of these two kingdoms also.