Too bad for Israel
Bad news for Moab1The LORD has this to say:
The nation of Moab has gone too far.
I won’t delay their punishment anymore.
They cremated the King of Edom.
They burned his bones to powder.
2They like fire, I’ll give them fire.
Flames will feast on the walls of Kerioth.
Moab will die screaming in the heat of battle,
To the cries of war and the music of trumpets.
Surprise, bad news for Judah4The LORD has this to say:
The nation of Judah has gone too far.
I won’t delay their punishment anymore.
They ignore what I teach them
And they break my laws.
They let themselves get conned into following fake gods
Just like their ancestors did.
5I’m going to rain fire on Judah.
It’s going to consume Jerusalem’s defenses.
Bad news for Israel, too6The LORD has this to say:
Israel, you have gone too far.
I won’t delay your punishment anymore.
You sold people into slavery
When they couldn’t pay off their debt.
They were honest people who didn’t deserve it.
All they owed you was petty cash
The cost for a pair of sandals.
7You abuse and exploit poor people,
Stomping their faces into the dirt,
And pushing them out of the way,
Off the road to prosperity.
Father and son have sex with the same woman,
Dragging my holy name in the mud.
8You relax by anyone’s altar,
In clothes you took as collateral
Off the backs of those who owe you.
You bring wine to my Temple as an offering
Bought with fines you imposed on the poor.
Israel, serial sinners9Remember the Amorites?
They used to live here.
They seemed as huge as a mountain of cedars
And as strong as a forest of oaks.
But I pulled them out by the roots
And smashed the fruit on their branches.
10I brought you here from Egypt,
I led you 40 years through deserts
And gave you this land of the Amorites.
11I let some of your children grow up into prophets.
I let some people take the Nazirite vow.
Isn’t that right?
Asks the LORD.
12You defiled the Nazirites.
You made them drink wine.
And you told the prophets,
“Oh shut up. No prophecies today.”
13I’m going to nail you to the ground.
I’m going to crush you like an overloaded wagon
So full of hay that the wheels pop off.
14You’re not going to get out of this alive.
Your fastest people won’t be fast enough.
Your strongest won’t be strong enough.
Your movers and shakers can’t shake this off.
They’re going to die.
15Your archers are going to fall.
Your fastest runners won’t get away.
People on horseback will only ride to the grave.
They are all going to die.
16Your bravest and strongest
Will drop their weapons
And run for their lives.
That’s the message.
It comes from the LORD.
Cremation killed the king’s chance to live forever, some seemed to believe. Scholars today speculate that many of Judah’s neighbors thought resurrection into an afterlife required a properly buried body. If so, Moab’s people sure hated the king of their neighboring nation to the south. Burning Moab’s king wasn’t neighborly at all.
Kerioth was just one city, but perhaps in this case a symbol for all Moab’s cities, since the verse adds that invaders would overrun Moab. Kerioth means “city.” Its location remains a mystery. Yet it was a religious capital of Moab, the main location for worshiping the nation’s god Chemosh. That’s reported in a stone slab from Moab inscribed in about 840 BC. It’s called the Moabite Stone or the Mesha Stele, after King Mesha.
Amos may be talking about sex with slave women, since the verse says the rich were exploiting the poor. There’s no more wrenching way to exploit a woman than to have sex with her, unless a person kills her.
Israelites were known as God’s people. They were to live in a way that honored their Master, not in a way that dishonored him.
Bible writers describe Nazirites as people who take “a special vow of devotion” to God (Numbers 6:2). They weren’t allowed to drink wine. Also, “When you’re living under a Nazirite vow, devoted to the LORD, let your hair grow. Don’t touch a dead person…Stay ritually clean for as long as you devote yourself to God—for the duration of this special vow” (Numbers 6:5-6, 8). For Samson, the intended duration was a lifetime.
Possibly as a bully’s joke, a way of demeaning Nazirites, who were otherwise considered uniquely devoted to God, and honored because of it.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.