Friday, May 6, 2016


Two verses repeat in Amos, Amos 9:5 = Amos 8:8 and Amos 9:6 = Amos 5:8. This creates a bit of a circular structure with Amos 8:9 to 9:4 in the middle.

That section contains the apocalypse.

And what is that?

After that section comes another promise of extermination. Amos 9:8 - will post the chapter soon...
Behold the eyes of my Lord Yahweh are on the kingdom of sin and I will exterminate you from off the surface of the ground
but, ... for not to exterminate do I exterminate the house of Jacob, an oracle of Yahweh.
This leads me to another comment on doubled words: A few weeks ago I suggested that doubled words are more for rhythm than for intensity. Traditionally they are seen as intensifying the word, and they can be read that way, but sometimes there is also a question in them like the doubled אישׁ (someone, or person) yesterday, or they are a legitimate phrase, one a verb, the other a noun, as in keep watch.

Here I suggest a paradox, or a mystery, or a puzzle in the doubled exterminate, in typical form: infinitive followed by verb.

I say this is mystery for Christian reasons. Not that Christ is in or not in the text. Christ, the anointed is in all texts. And the anointing Spirit is in all texts. This is part of God with us which is equally in all these texts but not exclusively, for in these texts, the Spirit does not exclude the rest of the created order, all of which is, as they say, God's other book or God's other peoples...

Now my Christian reason is this. It is in the death of Jesus, called the anointed, i.e. Messiah, i.e. Christ (a Greek form of Messiah), it is in this death that we die. We are exterminated in him but not so that we are no longer alive. Since he was raised from death by God, we also are alive to that same Spirit in a wholly new way, a way that we could not have discovered without this particular death in and of our world. They say he gave his life for the life of the world. That's us. We are 'in him' to live not to die, but we must first die to live. But it is life and a new world in this present time, whatever else this hope leads to.

Hey - is this new world any good? Or does it need fixing also (tikkun olam)?
It needs fixing also, but it is good, like the good of Genesis, and the good of the Psalms, and a good that cannot be fully spoken or explained. Taste and see.

It's not original with me. It permeates Paul's writing in the NT. And if I learned from him, he yet did not explain what he meant. Such explanation is impossible. We are mystery to each other and to ourselves. If I say the mystery is resolved by this conundrum, it is only in doing that it is found by anyone else based on whatever pointer is tested. Paul is a pointer. He at least is recognized, if hated by many. I am also pointing. I am not an authority. I have like Amos, no standing anywhere in particular. I am outside the guild of scholars and I am not ordained. Why would anyone want such a difficult job? But it is no game that I am playing, even if I must play by so called 'secular' rules.

And I must play by these rules for very good equally Christian reasons. (O adjectives!) The reason is simple, any imposition of explanation on another person or any living being is abuse of power.

You are absolutely entitled to ignore me. Mind you, you don't have to. Comments are open.