The end is near (Am 8:2-8:3)

“Yahweh said.

‘Amos!

What do you see?’

I said.

‘A basket of summer fruit.’

Then Yahweh said to me.

‘The end has come

Upon my people Israel.

I will never again

Pass by them.

The songs of the temple

Shall become wailings

In that day.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘The dead bodies

Shall be many.

They shall be cast out

In every place.

Be silent!’”

Yahweh asked Amos to tell him what he saw.  Amos responded that he saw a basket of summer fruit, not the first fruits.  Yahweh said that these late ripening fruits indicated that the end of the Israelite people was near.  Yahweh said that he was not going to pass by them again.  The songs in their temple would turn to mourning wailing.  Yahweh God added that there would be many dead bodies cast out all over the place.  However, they were to be silent.

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The destruction of Israel (Am 7:8-7:9)

“Yahweh said to me.

‘Amos!

What do you see?’

I said.

‘A plumb line.’

Then Yahweh said.

‘See!

I am setting

A plumb line

In the midst

Of my people Israel.

I will never again

Pass by them.

The high places

Of Isaac

Shall be made desolate.

The sanctuaries of Israel

Shall be laid waste.

I will rise against

The house of Jeroboam

With the sword.’”

This time, Amos had no response to this vision about the plumb line. Yahweh asked Amos what he saw. Amos responded that it was a plumb line. Then Yahweh told him that he was going to place it in the middle of the people of Israel. He was not going to pass by them again. The high places and the sanctuaries of Israel would be laid waste and become desolate. Yahweh was going to rise up against the house of King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), meaning his son, King Zachariah, who did not last a year in 743 BCE.

The restoration of shepherds and flocks (Jer 33:12-33:13)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘In this place

That is a waste,

Without human beings

Or animals,

In all of its towns,

There shall again

Be pastures

For shepherds

Resting their flocks.

In the towns of the hill country,

Of the Shephelah,

Of the Negeb,

In the land of Benjamin,

In the places around Jerusalem,

In the towns of Judah,

Flocks shall again pass

Under the hands

Of the one

Who counts them.’

Says Yahweh.”

Despite the wasteland that did not have humans or animals in any of its towns, there would be once again pastures for shepherds to bring their flocks. As in the preceding chapter, this restoration would take place in the hill country of Judah, in the towns of the Shephelah, the old Dan territory next to Benjamin, in the Negeb, the semi arid land southeast of Jerusalem near the Dead Sea, in the Benjamin territory, around the city of Jerusalem, and in the towns of Judah. Flocks and shepherds would once again pass by with a shepherd counting them. However, there was no mention of the northern territory from the old northern Israelite kingdom and its tribes.

The cause of the punishment for Jerusalem (Jer 22:8-22:9)

“Many nations

Will pass by this city.

All of them

Will say to one another.

‘Why has Yahweh dealt

This way

With this great city?’

They will answer.

‘Because they abandoned

The covenant of Yahweh

Their God.

They worshiped

Other gods.

They served

Other gods.”

If anyone was to pass by this destroyed city of Jerusalem, they might ask why Yahweh had dealt with this great city in this way. The answer was simple. These people had abandoned the covenant that they had with Yahweh, their God. They worshipped and served other gods. Thus they were disloyal to their God Yahweh.

The horrible city (Jer 19:8-19:8)

“I will make this city

A horror,

A thing to be hissed at.

Everyone who passes by it

Will be horrified.

They will hiss

Because of all its disasters.”

This is somewhat reminiscent of chapter 18. Their city would become horrible. People would shake their heads and hiss, as they pass by, because of all the disasters there.

Israel forgot Yahweh (Jer 18:13-18:17)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh.

‘Ask among the nations?

Who has heard the like of this?

The virgin Israel has done

A very horrible thing.

Does the snow of Lebanon

Leave the crags of Sirion?

Do the mountain waters run dry?

Do the cold flowing streams stop?

But my people have forgotten me.

They burn incense to a delusion.

They have stumbled in their ways,

On the ancient roads.

They have gone into bypaths.

They have not gone on the highway.

They are making their land a horror.

This is a thing to be hissed at forever.

Everyone who passes by it

Is horrified.

They shake their heads.

Like the east wind,

I will scatter them

Before the enemy.

I will show them my back.

I will not show them my face,

In the day of their calamity.’”

Yahweh wants to know why the Israelites have forgotten him. This virgin Israel has done a horrible thing. He asks whether the snow leaves the mountains of Lebanon at Mount Hermon. Sirion is another name for Mount Hermon. Do the mountain waters dry up? Do the cold streams disappear? Do these sources for the Jordan River stop? Of course not, yet Yahweh’s people have forgotten him. They have turned to offering incense to false delusionary idol gods. They were stumbling along. They have gone off the main highways into the side roads. Their land has become horrible. People shake their heads and hiss as they pass by. Thus Yahweh was going to be like a wind from the east and scatter them to their enemies. When the day of troubles would begin, he would show them his back and not his face.

The eternal fire in Edom (Isa 34:8-34:10)

“Yahweh has a day of vengeance.

He has a year of vindication

For Zion’s cause.

The streams of Edom

Shall be turned into pitch.

Her soil turned into sulfur.

Her land shall become a burning pitch.

Night and day,

It shall not be quenched.

Its smoke shall go up forever.

From generation to generation,

It shall lie waste.

No one shall pass through it forever and ever.”

Isaiah says that Yahweh will have his day of vengeance and a year of vindication for Mount Zion. The water streams of Edom will be turned into oily pitch, while the land will become like sulfur. Thus the whole land will become a burning pitch of fire and brimstone. Both day and night, forever, this fire with its smoke will not go out. For generations to come, this land will lay wasted so that no one will ever pass by there again. Its sounds like some kind of deserted smoking volcano, suffering the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapter 19.