The sacrifices at Bethel (Am 4:4-4:5)

“‘Come to Bethel!

Transgress!

Go to Gilgal!

Multiply transgressions!

Bring your sacrifices

Every morning!

Bring your tithes

Every three days!

Bring a thank offering

Of leavened bread!

Proclaim freewill offerings!

Publish them!

You love to do this!

O people of Israel!’

Says Yahweh God.”

Amos has another oracle of Yahweh that was an ironic description of the sacrifices at Bethel and Gilgal. Yahweh wanted them to come to either Bethel or Gilgal, so that they could transgress the law of Yahweh many times. Ironically, he wanted them to bring the daily morning sacrifices and pay their tithes every 3 days. They were to bring thanksgiving offerings and proclaim freewill offerings. The people of Israel loved to do this.

Collection of materials (Ex 35:4-35:29)

“Moses said to all the congregation of the Israelites.  ‘This is the thing which Yahweh has commanded.  Take from among you an offering to Yahweh.  Whoever is of a generous heart bring Yahweh’s offering.  The offering is gold, silver, and bronze.  It also is blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linens, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins and fine leather.  It also includes acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, and onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breast plate.’”

Like in chapters 25, the people are to bring gold, silver, and bronze.  They are to bring blue, purple, and crimson yarns and fine linens, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, and fine leather.  They also should bring acacia wood, oil and spices, as well as onyx stones gems for the ephod and breast plate.  This offering is for those with a generous heart.  It does not seem to be an obligation.

“All who are skilled among you shall come and make all that Yahweh has commanded.  That is the tabernacle, its tent and its covering, its clasps and its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases.  There is also the Ark of the Covenant with its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtains for the screen.  Also there is the table with its poles and all its utensils and the bread of the Presence.  Also there is the lamp stand also for the light, with its utensils and its lamps, and the oil for the light. There is the altar of incense, with its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the entrance, the entrance of the tabernacle.  Also there is the altar of burnt offering, with its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin with its stand.  This also included the hangings of the court, its pillars and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court.  There are also the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court, and their cords.  Finally there are the finely worked vestments for ministering in the holy place, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron, and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests.”

Next there seems to be a call for skilled volunteers to work on these gifts. The list of items is as above in chapters 25-30 and includes:

1)      the tabernacle;

2)      its tent and its covering, its clasps and its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases;

3)      the Ark of the Covenant with its poles, the mercy seat, and the curtains for the screen;

4)      the table with its poles and all its utensils;

5)      the bread of the Presence;

6)      the lamp stand also for the light, with its utensils and its lamps, and the oil for the light;

7)      the altar of incense, with its poles, and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense;

8)      the screen for the entrance, the entrance of the tabernacle;

9)      the altar of burnt offering, with its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils, the basin with its stand;

10)  the hangings of the court, its pillars and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court;

11)  the pegs of the tabernacle and the pegs of the court, and their cords;

12)  and the finely worked vestments for Aaron, and his sons.

 “Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses.  They came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought Yahweh’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments.  So they came, both men and women.  All who were of a willing heart brought brooches, earrings, signet rings, and pendants, all sorts of gold objects, everyone bringing an offering of gold to Yahweh.   Everyone who possessed blue, purple, or crimson yarn or fine linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins or fine leather, brought them.  Everyone who could make an offering of silver or bronze brought it as Yahweh’s offering.  Everyone who possessed acacia wood of any use in the work brought it.   All the skilled women spun with their hands, and brought what they had spun in blue and purple and crimson yarns and fine linens.  All the women whose hearts moved them to use their skill spun the goats’ hair.   The leaders brought onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and the breastplate, and spices and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the fragrant incense.   All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anything for the work that Yahweh had commanded by Moses to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to Yahweh.”

Here everyone contributes gold, silver and bronze as well as the many other things such as wood, spices, gems, and yarn.  Somehow they seemed to have a lot of these precious items to contribute, even though they are in the middle of the wilderness.  Both men and women come forward to help.  The women came forward to spin the yarns and make the vestments.  They all did it as a freewill offering because of their stirred willing hearts.