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Bible Study, The Minor Prophets: Amos, chapter 3 and 4

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The Minor Prophets Study Index page.

      This is a long term, in depth, wide focus study of the Minor Prophets, drawing as much from the history of their times as possible, as well as looking at the original language of the prophet.

Chapter 3

      'Hear YHWH's word against you' “be ne” (children / sons) of yis·ra·’el, “'al” (against) the whole “ham·mis·pa·hah” (clan / family) that I brought out of Egypt.

      only you “ya·da‘·ti” (know / have regard for / etc) of all the “mis·pe·ho·wt” (clans / families (form of same word from verse 1)) of all the “ha·’a·da·mah” (the land portion of the earth) - upon thus “'ep qod” ('held to account') for all your “‘a·wo·no·te·kem” (iniquity / perversity).

      'can walk two together except unless they are agreed'

      The translations are good on the lions....

      ... and the bird hunting with baited snares....

      ... and the ram's horn alarm trumpet in a city...
     ... if there is a “ra 'ha” (evil / adversity) in a city and YHWH not “'a sah” (accomplished / made it).

7 Another paraphrase:
      you know, GOD doesn't do anything without revealing His “so·w·dow” (secret / counsel) through His Prophets

      the 1611 sounds good, but they missed the somewhat subtle point:
“The lyon hath roared, Who will not feare? the Lord God hath spoken, Who can but prophecie?”

      The verse seems to be saying that the lion is asking “Who will not fear The Lord”, the question mark is between “Lord” and “God”. Then comes the statement from God: “Who can not but prophecy”

      Ashdod was a Philistine city on the coast, about five miles south of what is today Tel Aviv. Now, it is the location for the somewhat self-contradictory named “Museum of Philistine Culture”, the first and oldest museum in Ashdod, opening in 1990, and is the only known museum in the world dedicated to the history of the Philistine people. See link below.

      The end of the verse is predicting a violent uprising from the “wa 'a su qim” (oppressed / extorted) within Samaria.

      For they “ya de 'u” (don't know / cannot distinguish) to do right, says YHWH, “ha·’o·ws·rim” (save / store / treasure) “ha mas” (violence / cruelty / maliciousness (yes, it is the word used by the Islamic group)) “wa sod” (violence, havoc, devastation, ruin) in their palaces / citadels.

      The translations are on the mark.
      The line about the adversary surrounding and slowing wearing down their strength implies a siege, that ends with the city being “we·na·boz·zu” (plundered / despoiled).

      The gist of the first half of the verse is that a shepherd that tries to rescue a lamb from a lion only gets part of it back
      - so shall be snatched away the sons of Israel in Samaria, on the corner of a bed, or “u·bid·me·seq” ((uncertain meaning) of a “'a res” (divan / couch).

      “sim 'u” (listen / obey) “we·ha·‘i·du” (admonish / repeat) against the house of ya·‘a·qob; says the “’a·do·nay YHWH” Lord GOD, God of hosts.

      The translations are good on the transgressions.
      The horns of the altar are part of the original altar of burnt offering, on which the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled, see Exodus 29, also see Ezekiel 6 and 43 : 15, and 2 Kings 16. They speak in Revelation 9: 13 after the sixth trumpet.
      If the horns are not there, it is just another altar. Such as the ones they are building to Ba'al.

      “we·hik·ke·ti” (I will strike / smite) “bet- ha·ho·rep” (house autumn / harvest / winter) along with house “haq·qa·yis” (fruit / 'dry season' (summer)), and shall “we·’a·be·du” (perish / be destroyed / vanish) the houses of “has sen” (ivory (also used to mean 'front')), and “we·sa·pu” (cease / end) the houses “bat tim” (great / of abundance) says YHWH.

      First we'll look at the 'winter house'. The most famous scriptural example is the one owned by King Jehoiakim where he was staying when he did something stupid in Jeremiah 36.
      We can stop by the summer place of King Eglon of Moab, who had a weight problem, but we should do it before Ehud the Left Handed arrives and things get ugly. See Judges 3 beginning at verse 12 and following.

Chapter 4

      Hear this word you “pa·ro·wt” (cows / heifers) of Bashan (a region east of the Jordan), who are on the mountain of Samaria, who “ha·‘o·se·qo·wt” (oppress / extort / do wrong) the “dal lim” (poor / weak), “ha·ro·se·so·wt” (crush) the needy, who say to their “la·’a·do·ne·hem” (master / lord / 'important man' (meaning 'husband') “ha·bi·’ah” (bring / come) “we·nis·teh” (that we may drink ('wine' is implied)).
      The word 'kine' in the 1611 means 'cows' in Middle English, the term was already obsolete when the KJV was written.
      The 'Mountains of Samaria are likely the trio of hills called Mount Gerizim which have been considered sacred by the Samaritan peoples since ancient times. The site is thirty miles due north of Jerusalem near Nablus, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, see link below.
      See Matthew 11 and Luke 7 where Christ tells John's disciples to report what they've seen, the exact opposite of what the “cows” in Samaria were doing in Amos.

      The Lord YHWH has sworn by His Holiness....
      The term used for what will 'take them' and their “we·’a·ha·ri·te·ken” (issue (children) posterity) away' is “be·sin·no·wt” (barbed hook). It was a way of restraining slaves while in transit so they didn't escape.
      See 2 Kings 21, 2 Chronicles 33:11, and Habakkuk 1 : 14 - 16

      Through “u·pe·ra·sim” (breached 'walls') “’is·sah” (woman) in front of her “ha·har·mo·w·nah” (to Harmon (the word means fortress, but no certain location has been determined)), YHWH says.
      Amos makes it clear that he's been talking about the women of the kingdom.

4 This section has an overarching theme, we'll look at the verses, then discuss the central idea.
      “bo·’u” (come / go (the word can mean either) to Bethel and “u·pis·‘u” (revolt / transgress), at Gilgal “har bu” (much / become many (multiply)) 'transgressions', bring your sacrifices every morning, and every three “ya·mim” (days / years(see discussion below)) your tithes.

      The Third Year tithes comes from Deuteronomy 14 :28 and 29, and it specifies every three years, Not 'days' like some of the translations make it. This was to support the priestly class who didn't have any inheritance Deut 12 : 12 and 14 : 27, and especially 26 beginning in verse 12.

      Paraphrased “make your offerings and then announce it to the world as you love to do, says YHWH.”
      The leaven in the offering was specified in Leviticus 7 : 13 and is also called a peace and fellowship offering, with the freewill offering following in verse 16. Freewill offerings are also discussed in Leviticus 22 : 17 and following. Also see 2 Chronicles 31:14
      The shadow of this verse is cast all the way to Mark 12 : 41 and Luke 21 where Christ watches rich people make a lot of noise casting their offerings into the treasury 'trumpet'.

6 and 7
      The line about “clean teeth” is referring to famine which is the 'lack of bread', and they did not return to God.
      The famine is caused because God withheld the rain at critical times for the farms, raining here and not there, so the crops withered.

      Paraphrased: they wandered between cities looking for water because of the drought, and they didn't return...

      I “hik·ke·ti” (smote / beat down) with “bas·sid·da·po·wn” (refers to extremely hot and dry desert wind called the Sirocco around the Mediterranean, and Simoom in the Jordanian desert) and with “u·bay·ye·ra·qo·wn” (mildew (microscopic fungus that stinks, yes, mildew)) when they increased 'agriculture' then locusts came, and they still did not return to the Lord
      Amos referencing Deuteronomy 28:22

      'the translations are correct, but we'll look at it anyway': I sent “de ber” (plague / pestilence) like in Egypt, “ha·rag·ti” (I murdered / slew) with “ba·he·reb” (sword) “ba·hu·re·kem” (young men), along with your horses... 'and their camps stink'

      OK, now we'll look at Amos's message.
      He is talking to Israel, the Northern Kingdom, but he has included Judah, see chapter 2, in his general condemnation of all and sundry. And he is addressing the nation as a whole, the “you” in “you have not returned to Me” is the general plural that encompasses everybody. And yes, there were a remnant that believed and served and worshiped GOD, there always is. However, the nation as a whole, and especially the aristocracy, had made a show out of doing everything but serving YHWH, and, at least according to Amos's verses about the 'cows of Samaria' took joy in oppressing the poor and weak.
      Once again, it was exactly those people who welcomed The Messiah, while the rich and powerful conspired with the ruling powers to kill Him.

      It doesn't end well for the nation as an entity.

11 - 12
      “ha·pak·ti” (I overturned / overthrew) 'some of you' “ke·mah·pe·kat” (like the overthrow) 'by God' of Sodom and Gomorrah, 'and you were pulled like a burning stick from the fire', and they....
      “la ken” (thusly) will I do to you Israel - 'and because I will do this', “hik·kon liq rat ’e·lo·he·ka, yis·ra·’el” (prepare to meet your God, Israel)

      The line at the end of 12 is positively chilling in its implications. Israel. As a nation, if not as a People, will stand before Him.

      Even the 1560 got this one pretty well on message.
      YHWH, as Creator, is the one sending you this 'text'.

End 3 and 4

Selected Sources for this book:

The Corinne Mamane Museum of Philistine Culture

UNESCO World Heritage Site:
Mount Gerizim and the Samaritans

”The difference between mold and mildew,of%20multicellular%20filaments%2C%20called%20hyphae.

You can't say we don't cover EVERYTHING in this study

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