notes on 6:8

Language and Imagery

Adonai's oath is terse and shocking. Swearing by "himself" he declares his loathing for the "pride of Jacob" and hatred of "his/its citadels" announces that he will "deliver it up".

God swears by himself for who, or what, else may the creator swear by! It is not necessary here to imagine an echo of ancient Mesopotamian oath formulae in which the throat was touched (Wolff, 281)

The exact referent of the "pride of Jacob" is less evident, though the expression seems to be proverbial (cf.Ps 47:4 [v.5 in Hebrew]; Nah 2:3; Am 8:7).

In Amos, if we accept his connection to wisdom circles, reference to Israel's arrogance seems likely at first sight. However "arrogance" will not work in 8:7 for Adonai hardly swears by Israel's arrogance! Since גְּאוֹןga'on "pride" with the name of a people or land could indicate the main city, and since here the expression is in parallel with "his/its citadels" this is the most likely (and will work for the same expression in 8:7).

Jacob refers to Israel, naming the ancestor for the people. So the sense is:

  I loathe Israel's capital
    its citadels, I hate
  so I will deliver up the city
    and all in it.

 


 

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