BST201 OLD TESTAMENT EXEGESIS
Thebook was written during the rule of King Jeroboam II, the King ofIsrael (789-748 BC) and Uziah, King of Judah (785-733 BC). The exacttime of Amos’s prophetic mission remains unknown. It is possiblethat he completed his assignment before 745 BC, as he does notmention the political affairs after the death of Jeroboam II. He alsodoes not mention the expansion of Assyria under the reign ofTiglatpileser III. During his time, Israel was at the peak of itspolitical power and economic prosperity only comparable to the era ofSolomon and David.
Amos is the author of the book, he was not a professional prophetand didnot indicate prophetic authority at the beginning of the book.However, he was not shy of his humble beginning. He says, “I wasneither prophet nor a prophets son, but I was a herds man and adresser of sycamore figs” but the Lord took me from following theflock. The Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people of Israel’”(7:14).
Amos1:1 describes the key recipient of his message to be Israel. The bookdescribes the punishment against Judah but Israel’s Judgment islengthier. Amos had a close look of the social injustices conductedin Israel. Consequently, it is easy to believe that the book waswritten in Israel.
Thebook of Amos entails various genres divided into three compositesections. The first section entails chapter 1-2 and contains theoracles against foreign nations, Israel and Judah. In the sub-secondsection 2:6-16, Amos provides a final oracle as an introduction tothe key aim of the message to Israel. The Second section containschapter 3-6 that entails a majority of Amos’s message to Israel.‘Hear his word’ (3:1 4:1 5:1) and ‘woe’ (5:18). The finalsection entails chapter 7-9 that entails the visions of Amos,biographical materials in 7:10-17 and an epilogue 9:7-15.
Thecurrent paper discusses the rhetoric message contained in Amos 5:18-24. The passage is located in the second section that containschapter 3-6. It contains the majority of Amos’s message to Israel.
OUTLINEOFTHE BOOK OF AMOS 5:18-24
5.18:Amos warns Israel against waiting for the day of the Lord. (v.18).
5.19: Amos describes the day of the lord as inevitable. (v.19).
5.20:Rhetoricquestion to describe the day of the Lord.(v.20).
5.21: Delivery of the Lords hatred attitude to Israelites.(v.21).
5.22:The lord disregards Israel’s offerings.(v.22).
Disregard for burnt offerings.(v.22).
Disregard for fellowship offerings.(v.22).
5.23:TheLord’sprotest to listen to Israel’s songs.(v.23).
Protest to listen to the music of Israel’s harps.(v.23).
5.24: The lord communicates about his desire for Israel.(v.24).
InAmos 5:18-24 there is an effective rhetoric situation. In theologicalterms, Amos addresses the nation of Israel by use of convincingfigurative language. Irony in verse 18, Amos is warning theIsraelites against waiting for the day of the Lord. He uses irony tothe Israelites. For example, in verse 18, Amos asks why do you waitfor the day of the Lord? The Israelites were in anticipation for theday of the Lord, as they believed it would be the day for theirsalvation.
Theuse of rhetoric persuasiveness by Amos is convincing as he furtherillustrates that the Israelites should not wait for the day of theLord. He emphasises that the day of the Lord will be filled withdarkness and not light.1 The conviction emergesince Israelites hoped that the Lord shallcome to save them from their enemies but instead, Amos preaches theopposite and claims that the Lord shall come to pass judgement on thepeople of Israel.
Inverse 19, there is comparison and Imagery to enhance persuasion .Amoscreates the various scenarios for the day of the Lord. He says thatthe day of the Lord will be as if a man fled from a lion, only tomeet a bear illustrating for Israel judgement shall be in multiples.
Besides,he uses rhetoric entrapment and chiasm to attract his audience ratherthan push them away. Amos prefers to use the house to depict ashelter where one runs to rest and shelter them from the sun or therain. Amos is convincing the Israelites that Gods Judgement to themshall be inevitable they shall not find refuge even from the safestavenues.
Inverse 20 there is convincing rhetoric question and comparisons, “will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light, pitch-dark,without a ray of brightness? Amos is asking whether the Israelitesare convinced enough that the day of the Lord holds no salvation butjudgement.2
TheRhetoric entrapment in verse 20 to 24, continues to suppress theactions of the Israelites he says,” I hate, I despise yourreligious festivals your assemblies are a stench to me.” The Lordexplicitly states that he shall not take the offerings made by theIsraelites.3
Besides,he states that he has no regard for the fellowship offerings. TheLord also states that the Israelites should not sing to him for heshall not listen. Finally, in verse 24 he says the will of the Lordthat is for the Israelites to let justice roll on like a river andrighteousness like a never-falling stream. If the Israelites did whatthe Lord asks of them, they would obtain his forgiveness. Besides,the Lord would fulfil their requests. The Lord is telling theIsraelites to change their ways. He is telling them that they have tolove one another through justice and freedom for their sacrifices toappease God as opposed to singing and burning sacrifices.
Themajor assumption made about God is that he is righteous, forgiving aswell as judgemental, and revengeful. Consequently, he is asking forthe Israelites to change their ways and seek the Lord by first,loving the human next to them through justice and freedom. People arealso assumed to seek God during their times of trouble. Humans alsobelieve that God is the reason various occurrences happen in thecourse of their lives. Consequently, humans beseech God to bless themwith good fortunes.
Regardingjustice, Amos is working to illuminate that the Lord will do justicefor the people that Israelites have denied freedom and justice. Inplace of them, the Lord shall revenge against the Israelites. Amos isconsequently advising the Israelites to work on their human-to-humanrelationship before seeking the Lord.
Duringthe times of Amos, the Israelites were under siege. Consequently,they were asking the Lord to come and save them from their troubles.However, the Israelites were full of unjust systems to their fellowhumans in neighbouring countries. I am also aware that Amos used topreach outside the Bethels that were the worship places of theIsraelites. Consequently, I can see the scenario as if it were live.Besides, I can tell the emotional appeal of the Israelites especiallyas they enter in their worship places after hearing the words ofAmos. The background enables me to relate the teachings of Amos andview the reasons behind the verses. It is due to the Israelitesbehaviour and hypocrisy that the Lord is unhappy about them.
Aitken,Robert. TheHoly Bible.American Bible Society ed. New York: Arno Press, 1968
1Aitken, Robert. The Holy Bible. American Bible Society ed. New York: Arno Press, 1968 p. 9
2Aitken, Robert. The Holy Bible. American Bible Society ed. New York: Arno Press, 1968 p. 19
3Aitken, Robert. The Holy Bible. American Bible Society ed. New York: Arno Press, 1968, p. 37