notes on 4:6-11

Form

This series of short speeches is not in the form of judgment oracles, there are no accusations, and the punishments are all expressed by verbs indicating past actions.

Isaiah (9:8-20) contains a similar series of warning punishments that had been ignored.

However, it is more interesting to compare this passage with curses elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible and other Ancient Near Eastern texts. Wolff, 213, provides a table showing the verbal similarity of this passage to the curses at the close of the Holiness Code (Lev 26) and in Dt 28 as well as those mentioned in the 1 Kgs 8:33-37 intercessory prayer of Solomon. While Paul, 142, n.28 deals with other Ancient Near Eastern texts.

Amos' use of Covenant Curse material is striking, in contrast to the usual forms of such curses (as of prophetic judgment speech) the verbs are past. These curses have already fallen upon Israel, yet they have not understood the lesson!

The opposite of Israel's "salvation story" (Heilsgeschichte), this sad tale of disaster-upon-disaster is an Unheilsgeschichte or catalog of calamities (see Paul, 143, n.39 for references to authors using such terms).

Function

This series explains disasters that have happened to Israel as Adonai's punishment, a series of warnings that have not been heeded. They lead naturally to v.12.


 

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