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.

Against the sacred trees (Isa 1:29-1:31)

“You shall be ashamed

Of the oaks In which you delighted.

You shall blush

For the gardens

That you have chosen.

You shall be

Like an oak

Whose leaf withers.

You shall be

Like a garden

Without water.

The strong shall become

Like tinder.

Their work shall become

Like a spark.

They shall burn.

Their work shall burn together

With them.

No one will quench them.”

Here Isaiah attacks the pagan practice as well as the practices in Samaria, outside of Jerusalem. These were the places where people worshiped at sacred trees. He wanted them to be ashamed of their oak trees and their wonderful gardens that so delighted them. These worshipers were like dying trees or gardens without water. Soon there would be no water, as the oak leaves would wither away. These strong trees would be like tinder kindling wood. They and their works would burn together in a fire that could not be put out. Thus he called for the destruction of the oak tree idol worship and their worshipers, preferably by an unquenchable fire.