Critical Note: Another Word-Play in Amos? -- By: Daniel Schmidt

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 08:1 (Spring 1987)
Article: Critical Note: Another Word-Play in Amos?
Author: Daniel Schmidt

Critical Note: Another Word-Play in Amos?

Daniel Schmidt

Commentators agree that the writer of the book of Amos uses a paranomasia involving a basket of summer fruit (קיחּ) and a prediction of the coming end (תקחּ) in 8:1–2 to make a specific point.1 Such word-plays are not uncommon in Scripture; their general function is aptly described by von Rad.2 It is suggested here that the device in 8:1–2 is actually the second of two used by the writer of this book.

The first word-play occurs on the root אמחּ, forms of which occur only three times in this book. In 2:14 a Piel form of the verb is used and in 2:16 an adjectival form. In both cases the prophet is speaking of those who are powerful by human standards but whose power is futile in the face of the harsh judgment of 2:14–16 .

The last instance of the root אמחּ appears in the proper name of the priest of Bethel: Amaziah (7:10, 12, 14). To suggest a word-play here in the conventional sense seems unfounded at first, since the terms are not physically adjacent in the text. But the likelihood that this is such a literary nicety grows once a larger part of this book is considered.

One of the dominant themes of Amos’s prophecy involves his denunciation of Israel. This begins at 2:6, and the prophet’s subsequent words show a repeated emphasis on the people’s refusal to acknowledge God. Because of this attitude, they are subject to judgment. One

aspect of the people’s obduracy is reliance on their own understanding and abilities: they reverse the proper procedure for prophets and Nazirites (2:12), oppress the unfortunate (5:12), worship false gods (5:26), and engage in insouciant lounging (6:4–6). All this contrasts with the acceptable attitude of respect and worship that is characteristic of an overt dependence on God.

Because of this independence, Amos predicts terrible d...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()