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The Prophecy of Amos, Part 8 - Christogenea on Talkshoe 3-22-2013
Most of the historical portion of our presentation is past. Now we shall focus on the pattern of sin and punishment suffered by the children of Israel.
KJV Amos 4:1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.
Bashan means fruitful. The land of king Og of Bashan fell to the lot of Manasseh when the land was taken from the Canaanites and divided by Israel (Joshua 17). The children of Israel are likened to kine. If we had to venture as to why, it is evident that they had worshipped the golden calves of Jeroboam I all throughout the period of the divided kingdom. Adam Was formed in the image of Yahweh his God, and these Israelite children of Adam would rather worship calves. They were therefore likened to calves. Later, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II, Azariah, Menahem, Pekah, all kings of Israel, and probably some others besides these, were all criticized for doing “evil in the site of Yahweh” and for not departing from the ways of “Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin”.
Yahweh had made much the same illustration through the prophet Hosea, on several occasions:
Hosea 4:16-17 “16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place. 17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.”
Hosea 10:11: “And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.”
Presenting the Book of Hosea here some time ago, this passage was interpreted as to mean that “although Ephraim deserves death for his sin, Jacob shall prevail against him, meaning that the promises which Yahweh made to Jacob shall prevail over anything which Ephraim does. The seed of Israel is preserved not for themselves, but for Yahweh, on account of His promises to the fathers.”
2 The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.
The Septuagint has “2 The Lord swears by his holiness, that, behold, the days come upon you, when they shall take you with weapons, and fiery destroyers shall cast those with you into boiling caldrons.”
As we witnessed when discussing the “captivity of Solomon” or the “prisoners of Solomon” which are found in the Septuagint version of Amos 1:6 and 1:9, in the prayer that Solomon offers to Yahweh upon the dedication of the temple which is recorded in both 1 Kings chapter 8 and 2 Chronicles chapter 6, Solomon foresaw the day when the children of Israel would sin before Yahweh, and for that reason they would be carried off by those whom they opposed in battle. However the warnings concerning these things are even much earlier than this. The first allusion to the captivity of Israel seems to be made even before the Israelites complete the conquest of Canaan. This is found in the attempted curses of Balaam upon Joshua's Israelites, in that part which is recorded in Numbers 24:17-22: “17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. 18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. 19 Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. 20 And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever. 21 And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock. 22 Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.”
In Deuteronomy chapter 28 there are the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience which are laid before the children of Israel by Yahweh. We read in Deuteronomy 28:25 that one of the consequences of disobedience is that “The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.” This is what Amos warns of here in his oracle against the children of Israel. It is the same thing which his contemporaries, Hosea and Isaiah, were also warning the nation of: that they were about to be carried into captivity for their sins.
In Deuteronomy chapter 30 we see a promise of recovery from that captivity, and we can see that the time for that recovery is near when the descendants of the children of Israel perceive what has become of them, and consider it, and repent of their sin: “1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: ”
This scattering and gathering of the children of Israel described in Deuteronomy is the same one referred to by the apostle John, in his gospel at John 11:52, where he says of Christ that He would die “not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” Of course, John was only referring to Israel, and not to any Jews.
3 And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.
Notice the reference to cows is in italics, which means it was added by the translators of the King James Version. From the NAS, Amos 4:3 reads thus: “You will go out through breaches in the walls, Each one straight before her, And you will be cast to Harmon," declares the LORD.”
From Brenton's Septuagint, Amos 4:3: “And ye shall be brought forth naked in the presence of each other; and ye shall be cast forth on the mountain Romman, saith the Lord.” The Greek says Ρεμμαν, a spelling which also stands for Rimmon in 2 Kings 5:18 where the “house of Rimmon” (in the King James Version) is a place of idolatry. Elsewhere in the Greek where Rimmon is mentioned the spelling is Ρεμμων.
Harmon, Strong's Hebrew Dictionary # 2038, is from a Hebrew word which means a castle or a high fortress, and that is the word which the King James Version translated palace. The Septuagint version seems to be derived from an errant transliteration of the word.
I have not yet seen a translation of this passage which may be easily understood. It seems to reinforce, in one way or another, the idea that captivity is imminent for the children of Israel. This punishment of captivity is against those who oppressed the poor of their own people. The next part of Amos' prophecy chastises the idolaters:
4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years:
The Septuagint has “and your tithes every third day.” Bethel was the seat of idolatry of one of the two golden calves set up by Jeroboam I, the other being Dan. Gilgal was a center for the prophets, and often criticized by Hosea. From Hosea 9:15: “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.”
5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
Leviticus 2: “11 No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire.” The word meat in the original English referred in general to food. The first ten verses of Leviticus 2 describe meat offerings in the form of cakes of flour. Leaven was forbidden in such offerings.
Again the Septuagint reading is quite different: “And they read the law without [meaning publicly], and called for public professions: proclaim aloud that the children of Israel have loved these things, saith the Lord.”
The Dead Sea Scrolls version of Amos is heavily fragmented here. In the Masoretic Text, it seems the children of Israel publicly proclaimed the acts of their own idolatry, without shame. The Septuagint version seems to be saying that the law would be read publicly that the sin of the children of Israel would be openly confessed.
6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
Cleanness of teeth is famine. Even in famine Israel does not call on Yahweh their God. Cleanness of teeth and want of bread refer to the same thing. The language of the Bible often repeats itself in a different fashion in order to stress a point, even in the New Testament.
7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. 8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 10 I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
If we believe, as we should, that Yahweh created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them (except for that which man has corrupted), then we must believe that Yahweh has efficacy within His creation, and that famine and plenty, drought and rain, are indeed within His provenance.
Leviticus 26: “3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.”
The historical books of the Bible are indeed historical, as we have seen many corroborating witnesses from archaeology here in the first several segments of this presentation. However they are by no means complete. In many cases there are only brief descriptions of the reigns of kings who sat on the throne over Israel or Judah for years, and little about what transpired during those years is mentioned. There was a famine in the days of King David, mentioned in 2 Samuel 21, and a pestilence in 2 Samuel 24. There was a severe famine in the days of Elijah, mentioned in 1 Kings 18. Not long after, in the time of Elisha, there was a famine in Samaria as it was besieged by the Syrians which was so bad that women were eating their own children, described in 2 Kings 6. Yahweh delivered the city, and used four lepers – the most despised of men – to make that delivery evident. Another drought and a resulting famine occurred a short time later, and is only given a brief mention in 2 Kings chapter 8.
The children of Israel were not spared from destruction in these instances for their own sakes. The famine of Samaria described in 1 Kings 6 dd not end because the people repented. It ended because Yahweh wanted His people to have this example: the people were spared for the sake of God's word. Further on in 2 Kings chapter 8 we are told explicitly as to why our sinful ancestors were spared, in verses 16 through 19: “16 And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign. 17 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. 19 Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant's sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.”
For the sake of the promises made to the fathers do the children of Israel have deliverance, and never for their own merit. So it is today also, and we see as much in the announcement of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, which tells us the purpose of the ministry of his son and of the coming Christ, which is recorded in Luke 1:68-75: “68 Blessed is Yahweh the God of Israel, that He has visited and brought about redemption for His people, 69 and has raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant, 70 just as He spoke through the mouths of His holy prophets from of old: 71 preservation from our enemies and from the hand of all those who hate us! 72 To bring about mercy with our fathers and to call into remembrance His holy covenant, 73 the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, which is given to us: 74 being delivered fearlessly from the hands of our enemies to serve Him 75 in piety and in righteousness before Him for all of our days.”
In modern times we have floods and we have drought, we have pestilence and we have disease, and no one thus affected ever even considers what manner of sin they have committed, or what manner of sin they have allowed to exist in their communities, that they should suffer such things. These calamities are clearly punishments from Yahweh our God. We have only been deceived into thinking that natural disasters originate from other sources. Today we are even further deceived, by those who claim that such things are caused by man and that they can be controlled by man. In truth, man has no efficacy on nature outside of the provenance of God. When man tries to create his own world, he fails and his actions will only help to contribute to the punishment he shall receive for mocking God. Good stewardship is man who functions within God's law, and not in spite of it.
This understanding begs another question: should we help disaster victims, since disasters befall men when they dwell unrepentant in sin? As Christians we should indeed help our brethren who are fallen, no matter the reason for their fall. However we are also obligated to explain to them why it is that bad things happen to people, and even to apparently decent people. Christ informs us in Luke chapter 13 that tyrannical government as well as unexpected calamity are judgments from God: “1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
We often hear it argued, that if there was a beneficent and just God, that bad things would not happen to “good” people. But in whose eyes are people “good”? Leviticus chapter 5 tells us “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” It is not enough for us as individuals to simply be “good”. Rather, it is a matter of God's law, that if we do not stand against the evil which we witness, then we become responsible for it. Likewise, Paul tells us in Romans chapter 1 “ 28 And just as they do not think it fit to have Yahweh in their knowledge, Yahweh handed them over to a reprobate mind, to do things not fitting; 29 being filled with all injustice, fornication, greediness, wickedness; full of envy, murder, strife, treachery, malignity, slanderers, 30 loud talkers, haters of Yahweh, insolent, arrogant, pretentious, contrivers of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 void of understanding, covenant breakers, heartless, merciless; 32 such as these who knowing the judgments of Yahweh, that they practicing such things are worthy of death, not only they who cause them, but also they approving of those committing them.”
These traits that Paul lists here are a perfect description of our society today. The rampant sexual deviancy among our young people, the race-mixing, the rebellion against traditional morals, the rebellion against parents, are all a punishment from God because our people did not seek knowledge of Him and His will. We can blame the enemies of God for all of our woes, but they are not the cause of the problem. Rather, they are the result of the problem! Evil prevails, because we refuse to open the Word of our God and read to understand what is Good. The seeds of today's problems were sown a hundred years ago, when we as a people accepted the economic rule of the Jew and slaughtered our own brethren at his beck and call in the wars which he created. We cannot justly expect our conditions to improve, so long as our people worship the enemies of our God. With the current state of what was once Christendom, it is a wonder that we do not yet suffer drought and famine.
Now today we hear a lot of talk of resistance against the present tyranny. We hear a lot of talk about guns and rights. But tyrants really don't care about rights, and all of the guns we can hold will do us no good unless we first turn to our God, and seek His will, cleansing ourselves of all that He rejects. From the thirty-third Psalm: “12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. 14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works. 16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” For us, there is no salvation without our God.
12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.
Israel would meet their God by experiencing His judgement, which he pronounces here through the prophet. These judgements were also being pronounced by Isaiah and Hosea at this same time. That God was true, the Israelites indeed learned when their cities were destroyed and when they were taken into Assyrian captivity as the prophets announced, and as we see here in Amos. Today we are in a similar situation. It can be established that the word of God forewarned us about the very tyranny we now suffer, that our “kingdom would be handed over to the beast” in Revelation 17:17. Only now we do not await entry into captivity, as the Israelites of Amos' time were warned. Rather, we await deliverance from captivity, the same captivity which the people of Amos' time were taken into.
The Septuagint version of Amos 4:12-13 is again quite different: “12 Therefore thus will I do to thee, O Israel: nay because I will do thus to thee, prepare to call on thy God [rather than “meet thy God”], O Israel. 13 For, behold, I am he that strengthens the thunder, and creates the wind, and proclaims to men his Christ [the anointed], forming the morning and the darkness, and mounting on the high places of the earth, The Lord God Almighty is his name.”
Amos 5:1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.
The virgin of Israel is a virgin no more, but she is now the great whore of the Revelation, which has joined herself to the beast.
3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.
Ninety percent of the people would die or go into the Assyrian captivity. That some were indeed left behind is revealed in the later Biblical records, such as those of the reign of Josiah. From 2 Chronicles 34: “1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. 4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. 5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.”
While not all of the Samaritans were Israelites, many of these Israelites left behind were among those peoples who were later known generally as Samaritans. Therefore we see the Samaritan woman at the well proclaim to Yahshua that “our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” and “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things” (John 4:20, 25).
4 For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: 5 But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. 6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.
From Isaiah 51, where the prophet is addressing the dispersed of Israel in the isles: “1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.”
From Jeremiah 50, where the prophet illustrates the fall of Babylon: “4 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. 5 They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.”
It was discussed earlier, that Gilgal was renowned as the home of the prophets. Bethel was one of the major seats of idolatry, and home of one of the two golden calves set up as the new state religion by Jeroboam I after the kingdom was split from Judah.
From Hosea 8, who was a contemporary with Amos: “4 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. 5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? 6 For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.”
The forsaking of idolatry by Israel is a major theme in the prophecy of Isaiah. Here from Isaiah 2: “12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: 13 And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, 14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, 15 And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, 16 And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. 17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 19 And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. 20 In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats”.
Our ancestors had put away such idolatry on more than one occasion. Today we must ask, whether we have taken to such idolatry again. It can be effectively argued that we certainly have, even if our idols are now more sophisticated. If we are to truly seek after our God, we must first lay these idols aside.
7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,
Judgement should be according to the Laws of God, lest it be bitter like wormwood. From Isaiah 10:1-3, where the prophet addresses the same people at around the very same time: “1 Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; 2 To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! 3 And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?”
The Septuagint interpreted verse 7 quite differently, where it is esteemed that Yahweh refers to Himself and says: “It is he that executes judgment in the height above, and he has established justice on the earth:”
8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:
Many people confuse God with Nature. Here we see that God is not merely Nature, but that He is indeed a being, a personality, which transcends Nature.
The stars in the night sky mean nothing to the ignorant and casual observer. However references such as this one bring to light the antiquity of the traditions which have been written into the sky of Western Culture for thousands of years. Orion is also mentioned in the Book of Job, along with others of the constellations, at Job 9:9 and 38:31. Orion indeed has seven stars, which are interpreted as representing a man. Some commentators have likened this to Christ, He who has the seven stars, which represent the messengers to the seven assemblies, and which are in His right hand. Revelation 1:20: “20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” It is also said that Orion forms a cross.
9 That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.
Matthew 23:12: “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
From 1 Peter 5:5-7: “5 … God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
The Septuagint reads verses 8 and 9 quite differently, even wanting the reference to Orion and the seven stars: “8 who makes all things, and changes them, and turns darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night: who calls for the water of the sea, and pours it out on the face of the earth: the Lord is his name: 9 who dispenses ruin to strength, and brings distress upon the fortress.”
10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. 12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.
Isaiah 29:20-21 “20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: 21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”
13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.
Proverbs 22:3: “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
The prudent may be silent on account of what evil may befall them, however Christ tells us that “22 ... The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Luke 9:22-24)
15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
So we see that while the prudent are silent, because it is an evil time, they are not doing that which is Godly. Here Yahweh is chastising those in Israel who have committed evils, and those who seek good are to oppose them as well.
16 Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing. 17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD. 18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
While there are many parallels between the “Day of the Lord” which brought judgement upon the old kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the situation which the people of God are in today, and while the similarities help us to see the necessity of that judgement upon the present world which we now anticipate, the parallels are not complete. Rather, the judgement upon this old world was one fit for lamentation because the Kingdom of God was being brought to nought and His people, those who were destined to survive the carnage, were entering into a period of prolonged captivity.
In contrast, in reference to the return of the Son of Man Christians are told to rejoice. From Luke 21, where Christ is asked about His return and the end of the age: “27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Likewise from Revelation 18:20, when Babylon falls, we see the command to “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”
At the fall of the old world, Israel went into captivity. At the fall of the present world, Israel shall be regathered to Christ.
19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
For most of Israel, there was no escaping the expected calamity. One would be slain, or taken captive. Even if one survived, there would be little left of his old life once the Assyrians were done destroying the kingdom.
21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
It is evident that the sacrificial rituals were abused and that the people were unrepentant of their sin, not offering their sacrifices sincerely. Neither did the people judge one another justly, but commonly took advantage of the disadvantaged. Christ quoted from Hosea 6:6 , which is recorded in both Matthew 9 and Mark 12: “6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Likewise in Isaiah, it is seen that the sacrifices of the people became an abomination to Yahweh for much the same reasons that Amos gives here. From Isaiah 1: “10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.
The offerings of the children of Israel were apparently insincere from the beginning. At verse 26 the Septuagint has: “Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Raephan, the images of them which ye made for yourselves”
This passage of Amos is quoted in Acts chapter 7, where we are also given more insight into some of the events of the Exodus, which we do not find in the Old Testament: “37 This is Moses who said to the sons of Israel: ‘Yahweh shall raise up a prophet for you from among your brethren, even as me.’ 38 This is he who had been among the assembly in the desert with the messenger speaking to him and to our fathers at Mount Sinai, who received the living oracles to give to you. 39 To whom our fathers did not wish to be obedient, but rejected and turned in their hearts to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron ‘Make for us gods which shall go before us, for this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what happened to him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days and conducted a sacrifice to the idol and rejoiced in the works of their hands. 42 Then Yahweh turned, and gave them over to serve the hosts of the heaven just as it is written in a book of the prophets: ‘Have you offered to Me victims and sacrifices, forty years in the desert, house of Israel? 43 And you have taken up the habitation of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you have made to worship them, and I shall move you beyond Babylon.’” Yet in the books of Moses as they are presently we see only prohibitions and warnings concerning the worship of the “host of heaven”, such as at Deuteronomy 4:19 and 17:3.
The Hebrew Chiun, Strong's Hebrew Dictionary # 3594, is simply a statue or pillar. The word comes from a verb which means to stand erect. As for the name Rompha, which is the Codex Vaticanus reading of Acts, there are at least seven different spellings among the major extant manuscripts. The Greek words Raiphan and Rompha are unknown outside of the Biblical literature, and therefore they are not Greek substitutes for the Hebrew name Chiun which appears in the Masoretic Text.
There are many who would want to connect the modern Jewish so-called “Star of David”, which has no relation to David or his successors, to this star mentioned here in Amos. However all such explanations seem to be merely conjectural, and stars with various numbers of points were used in many pagan contexts in ancient times.
Note also that all of the ancient manuscripts of Acts have Babylon at 7:43, and not Damascus as we find in the King James Version and, so far as can be told from the Hatch and Redpath Concordance, allextant versions of the Septuagint. This is an anomaly which cannot be explained. The relevant section of Amos chapter 5 is wanting in the Dead Sea Scrolls.