notes on 5:2

Form

Amos' funeral song, though short, conforms well to examples of this genre elsewhere in the Bible. Although a 3:2 3:2 rhythm would be more usual 3:2 2:2, as here, is not unknown. Amos' first word, too, is typical (cf. David's famous lament for Saul & Jonathan, 2 Sam 1:19ff.: "How the mighty have fallen!").

Language and Imagery

The main difficulty in this verse is the phrase I have rendered "the Maid of Israel". There is little indication of the widespread portrayal of nations as female, there is such evidence for cities (Fitzgerald; Schmitt). Therefore I have preferred to render the phrase in the usual way for such phrases using construct pairs (as in Dt 22:19), the Maid of Israel thus becomes a personification of Samaria, the capital, and not a reference to one girl (despite the Targum). The same words occur in Jer 18:13; 31:4, 21 (cf. Isaiah's "daughter of Zion" / "daughter Zion" Is 1:8; 10:32; etc. cf. 2 Kgs 19:21 where the phrase is "maid daughter Zion").

"Left" suggests abandoned, a feeling reinforced by "with no one" the reference is presumably to those left behind after the transportation of the leaders into exile. "No one" presumably includes God, though in the next verse Adonai will join the funeral song over fallen Israel.


 

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