Amos 5.21->

I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.

Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings
I will not accept them
and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts
I will not look upon.

Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen–
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Did you bring to Me sacrifices and offerings
the forty years in the wilderness, oh House of Israel?

You shall take up Sakkuth, your King,
and Kaiwan your star-god,
your images which you made for yourselves.
Therefore I will take you into exile
beyond Damascus,
says the Lord.
whose name is The God of Hosts.


4 responses

  1. My Bible has it that Sakkuth and Kaiwan were Assyrian deities.I'm reading a book which strongly suggests (I wouldn't say "demonstrates") that the first written form of the Exodus story was probably written in the Kingdom of Israel soon after the break with Judea, when 'slavery' under Pharaoh and 'forced labor' under Solomon were starting to look much alike, and Jeroboam's freeing of Israel from Solomon's son could be seen as much like Mose's freeing of Israel from Pharaoh. But the viewpoint of the Jerusalem priesthood got into the story too, at least by the time the texts were edited by the exiles in Babylons. Hence, Jeroboam and Aron both being quoted as saying: "These are your gods, oh Israel, who led you out of Egypt", within the Golden "Calf" stories in Exodus and in 1 Kings.————–Anyway… God gets tired of church, wants to see some justice– but people are so fond of church: "Look what we're doing for You this week!"

  2. Something new here for me. I’m hearing Martin Luther King Jr., and his cite to this verse. Alongside his non-violent approach. It occurs to me for the first time that this particular language in Amos is militaristic or violent. I’m not deriving an ethic. Just making an observation – perhaps about how ethics of non-violence can be read backward by me into this text to sanitize out the inherent violence in it. The language about justice rolling down like waters and about righteousness as a mighty stream (different version) alongside the Lord God of Armies (hosts) really strikes me as violent. I’m nearly needing to resist the temptation to apologize for the text. Crazy.

  3. "Salvation" in those days means approximately: "not having your home destroyed and your whole family, yourself included, massacred and/or enslaved."So we have God depicted as an intervener in battles, for those decisive moments between: "They run and we kill them" or "We run and they kill us," (your basic bronze age military technique… which continued to apply into some pretty recent history.)The historical penalty for "injustice" is "Your people won't put up much of a fight for your regime."As the prophets get more and more critical of their compatriots… their recurring, inescapable final sanction becomes: "If you can't behave, you just wait till the ___'s defeat you and carry you off!"More and more, I think, they come to see the ultimate sign of faithlessness… to be counting on military power and violence for your security.

  4. Great observation. Thank you. Simple. But particularly pertinent at this time of year when domestic abuse increases and I see battered women (a few men too) who want exactly this kind of salvation – salvation from being beaten, abused, neglected, or otherwise enslaved. It’s a true definition of salvation too – I want no part of an ‘eternal’ (whatever 'eternal' really is) life that includes the abuses and hells we often see all around. I’m going on a drive around Tahoe on Christmas Eve (I think). I hope to detail a little bit about this drive in another post. Because the drive involves a dream. And an obedience to a dream. Obedience in the willing way of wanting-to. More on that later.

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