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Abandoned and Forgotten


Amos 2:6–8 (ESV)

Thus says the LORD:

            “For three transgressions of Israel,
                        and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
            because they sell the righteous for silver,
                        and the needy for a pair of sandals—
            those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
                        and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
            a man and his father go in to the same girl,
                        so that my holy name is profaned;
            they lay themselves down beside every altar
                        on garments taken in pledge,
            and in the house of their God they drink
                        the wine of those who have been fined.

At this point, the Israelis might be thinking, “We’re the good guys and have escaped God wrath.” Not so. God has saved the best for last. He’s going to light into Israel for pretty much the rest of the book.

Amos lives in Israel and their transgressions are the main focus of his prophecy. Their violations of the covenant with the LORD are so numerous that they will take many chapters to list. This adds to our earlier explanation of the meaning of, “For three transgressions … and for four”.

In addition to meaning “many and more” there is a sense of completeness in the total being seven. This sense applies best to Israel. The other nations did terrible things, but there were plenty of things they didn’t do.

But the range of Israel’s violations is so vast that they give the impression that their covenant with God isn’t violated; it’s abandoned and forgotten.

They’re on a completely different path.

The individual sins listed here aren’t as horrifying as some of the ones we saw previously. Then again, this is just the beginning of a long list.

But there’s one offense mentioned here that’s especially troubling in Hebrew. Notice that this translation says, “a man and his father go in to the same girl,” not, “woman,” while saying “man,” (אִישׁ “eesh”) not “boy” (נַּעֲר “nar”), The Hebrew translated as “girl” (נַּעֲרָ֔ה “nar-ah”), literally means, “adolescent girl.”

There isn’t any specific prohibition in the law of the father-son combination, but this age gap is troubling. Even the son is older than the girl. This may be a reference to prostitution, even temple prostitution.

The father is easily old enough to be a grandfather.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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