The Prophet Amos on Gaza


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With apologies to the eighth-century Hebrew prophet, Amos, whose opening sermon to ancient Israelites–a back-handed, hard-hitting diatribe due to ethical and moral lapses–has been adapted here to the situation in Gaza 2008-2009. Prophetic speeches against foreign nations, like this one, were not addressed to the foreign nations, but to Israel, and were calculated to give Israel hope for survival against external threats. A master of cruel irony, the prophet pretends to please the crowd gathered at Bethel with a rhetorical flourish against surrounding nations, all the while preparing to turn the tables, lower the boom, and blast his own people with a scorching indictment for social crimes of the worst kind. Amos 1-2, re-versed: _____________ The words of Amos, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of the King of Israel in 2008-2009, the time of the conquest of Gaza:

Judgment on Israel's Neighbors And he said:

“The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds wither, and the top of the mountains melt.”

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have threatened our lands and caused fear in the hearts of many. So I will send a fire on the house of Assad, and it shall devour the strongholds of Syria. I will break the gate bars of Damascus, and cut off inhabitants from the Golan Heights, and the one who holds authority in the capital; and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Baghdad,” says the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because their leaders are listed among the terrorists, and because the people, deprived of everything they had, are a threat. So I will send a fire on the houses of Gaza, fire that shall devour everything in sight. I will cut off the inhabitants from Zeitun, and the one who holds the scepter from Gaza City; I will punish them one hundred-fold for what they have done to us, and the remnant of the Palestinians shall perish,” says the Lord God.

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Lebanon, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they too accommodate terrorist elements, and did not remember to control these terrorists. So I will send a fire on the camps of Beirut, fire that shall devour all their people.”

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of Jordan, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because in the past they were our enemies and had cast off all pity; they continue demonstrating in the streets, and have kept their wrath forever. So I will send a fire on Amman, and it shall devour the strongholds of the country.”

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of the Egyptians, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have not stepped up against Gaza in order to protect our territory. So I will kindle a fire against the inhabitants of Cairo, fire that shall devour their cities and streets, with shouting on the day of battle, with a storm on the day of the whirlwind; then their king shall go into exile, he and his officials together,” says the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

“For three transgressions of all Arab lands, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they have resisted our military assaults, and continue to grow terrorists in their cities. So I will send a fire on them, and it shall devour the strongholds of Iraq, and Iran shall die amid uproar, amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet; I will cut off the rulers from their midst, and will kill all their officials with them,” says the LORD.

Judgment on Israel

Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell their souls for more land, their integrity and humanity for another settlement– they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; politician and soldier brutally destroy an occupied, humiliated people, so that my holy name is profaned; they set themselves up as above the law, above scores of United Nations resolutions, above signed conventions of international law, above principles of basic human decency, above the laws I gave them in the Bible, above what any prophet would sanction, above their own best interests.

They have ceased being human, exacting a ‘shock-and-awe’ toll in Gaza far beyond anything rational or moral; their policies have created an oppression of unparalleled proportions; they continue incubating the next generation of those who will hate them forever; they skew the media to justify their cruel cause to a world that no longer believes them, to an informed humanity that finds no humanity in their policies and practices.”

Thus says the LORD:

“I brought you up out of the land of the Third Reich, and brought you to this place, but not to possess the land of others. I raised up your children to be strong in spirit and morality, and some of your youths to be leaders in world prosperity. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” says the LORD.

“But you turned your children into a military machine, and commanded the youths, saying, ‘You shall occupy the land, whoever it belongs to and at whatever cost.’

So, I will press you down in your place, just as a cart presses down when it is full of sheaves.

Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain their strength, nor shall the mighty save their lives; those who handle the assault rifle shall not stand, and those who are swift in jets shall not save themselves, nor shall those who ride in tanks save their lives; and those who seem stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day,” says the LORD.

__________________________ Douglas R. Clark, Ph.D. Professor of Hebrew Bible and Archaeology School of Religion La Sierra University Riverside, CA


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1345