Sunday, September 19, 2010

What is Amos’s point in these weird verses?

4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey?
will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?
5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him?
shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?
6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city and the people not be afraid?
Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not [known] it?
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:4-7)
We know verse 7 pretty well, but what is far less clear is the three verses that lead up to it. It is easy to just gloss over them and stick to what we know.

Today after our reading, my husband and I tackled these verses. One thing I have discovered really helps me to figure out strange verses is to try to pin down just what it is that confuses me about them. As I was looking at verses 4-6, I noticed that they were all questions. It seemed like they were all rhetorical questions that Amos was using to try to develop some kind of idea. But I couldn’t get what point he was trying to make because the imagery just seemed too odd. A bird falling into a snare where no gin (trap) was laid? That’s weird. A lion roaring in the forest when he has no prey? Wouldn’t that frighten all the animals away and make it harder? All the images seemed like they were completely unnatural.

That’s when it hit me—that’s what Amos was trying to say! It would be completely unnatural for a bird to to get caught where there was no trap. It would be unnatural for a lion to roar when he doesn’t have prey yet. (It would scare the prey away!) It would be unnatural for trumpet to be blown (presumably as an alarm) and for people not to be scared. He was pointing out that just like it would be unnatural for those things to happen, it would be unnatural for the Lord to do something without revealing it to His servants the prophets first.

2 comments:

Roger and LeAnn said...

Great thoughts! I love the idea of searching and pondering. I love it when my husband and I share our thoughts on the scriptures. Thanks for you insight today. Blessings to you! LeAnn

Calba Savua said...

Spot on. A lion roars BTW to paralyse his prey with fear. Lions did live in the uninhabitated regions of ancient Israel