Amos Exegesis Essay Example
Exegesis is the process of interpreting a text or a passage and making a critical explanation of the text. Biblical exegesis is a theoretical term which describes the process of approaching Bible interpretation with an open mind and a humble spirit. It entails reading the context around the passage, comparing it with the rest of the book, understanding the customs at the time of writing and the language used. The purpose of exegesis is to extract the inherent meaning in a passage and to gain a true understanding of God’s Word (Zuck, 1991 ).
Amos was deeply troubled by the contrast created between the rich and the poor in Israel. As he pondered on the situation he began to have dreams and visions. Amos began to declare his dreams publicly which directly challenged the religious practices of his time. Two major themes that come up in the book of Amos are the down fall and the utter collapse of the northern kingdom. Amos is convinced that Yahweh is a God of justice and according to him Israel’s fate is fully deserved (Andrew, 2000).
In Amos 2:6 the Lord says:”For three sins of Israel even four, I will not turn back my wrath. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals” (NIV, 1984). During that time it was legal to sell slaves but the court made it easy for the rich people to get slaves through bribery. Judges could give a false ruling against an innocent man in favor of an unjust man who bribed them. A poor debtor could be sold to slavery to his creditor for a pair of shoes that he was unable to pay.
In Amos 2:7 “They trample over the heads of the poor as the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.” (NIV, 1984). This text shows how rich Israelites coveted land owned by the oppressed even the small dust they threw over their heads that symbolized their lose of ancestral properties and whereas the duty of the king was to protect the poor, they failed them. They instead turned aside the way of the humble, perverted it and declined them justice. During the time it was forbidden for a father to marry his son widow and the son to marry his father’s widow. This sin was much rather connected to idol worship. Amos declared this as blaspheme to God and anyone who committed it was guilty and would suffer punishment by God.
In Amos 2:8 “They lie down besides every altar on garments taken in pledge. In the house of god they drink wine taken as fines” (NIV, 1984) .Under the old covenant, a person’s cloak could be taken as security for a loan but was to be returned every evening since it also served as blanket during the nights which were cold in Israel. On the contrary, the rich Israelites lay these clothes down and sat on them as they worshipped God .God considered this as taking advantage of the poor. When found guilty by the court, a person had to pay a fine or pay in produce if he did not have enough to pay for the fine. For example vintners paid wine as fine. This wine was drunk at festivals in the temples of their idols as they were not contented with drinking it in their own houses.
From the context Amos describes Yahweh as a God of justice and unlike other god’s is universal and His commands affect all nations alike. Israel is no exception as their dishonesty and oppression of innocent people would bring them destruction as was the case with Gaza, Trye and Moab. As God is fair so should we and it is expected of us to treat everyone with equality and not based on their economic status, tribe or even race.
Andrew, E. (2000) «Places, Times and Identities in the Book of Amos,» Asia Journal of Theology,» 14.2 328-344.
Zuck, R. (1991). Basic Bible Interpretation. Victors Publications, London.
The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® ( 1984). Biblica, Inc. ™
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