Some Homework for the Serious

Posted by Major Dave on 10:07 PM in

As we discussed our reactions to Amos chapters 1 - 4, there were a few questions raised for which we did not have ready answers.... so here's a homework assignment for the serious. Find an answer or weigh in with your opinion.

  1. What is the meaning of the "for three transgression and for four..." repeated as a formula for the various judgements? (Major Dave offered to begin research on this one).

  2. What was so serious about Edom burning the bones of the King? (I think I heard Jay volunteer??? Maybe!??)



For 3 transgression and for 4 might be interpreted as 3 + 4 = 7, therefore perfect or full completion of guilt.
Another suggestions is that 1 or 2 might mean a few sins therefore pardonable, and 3 or 4 means many offenses, therefore judgement would have to fall.
What do you think?

Anonymous says:

Hello everyone. We both enjoyed ourselves last night! Jean Calvin’s commentary on Amos suggests that the crime of the Moabites was not simply burning the body of the King, but digging up a corpse and burning the corpse and the bones into powder as a way to hurt and be cruel.

To dig up the bodies of enemies, and to burn their bones, - this is an inhuman deed, and wholly barbarous.


Stephen Crosby says:

Hi David,

Amos is one of my favorite books. The 3/4 issue is nothing more than a Semitic/Hebraic metaphor for "innumerable amount."

In the burning of the bones issue. It was a cultural act of utter degradation. In the New Testament era, Jews/Semites, believed that upon death the soul lingered around the body for at least a year, as the decomposition of the flesh was considered as "atoning for sin" in itself-the soul was not "released" until the flesh had completely decayed. They also believed, as some do today, that the bones were necessary for the resurrection. So, to desecrate or burn ones skeletal remains (in NT times) is an act designed to be as offensive as it can be, with hopefully, implications that transcend time and space.

I do not know specifically if these value systems were in place in the time of the passage in question, but they may have shared some of these Semitic beliefs.

Bless you

I hope I'm buried after death just in case my spirit is still around. I wanna keep my options open. on the other hand, if I'm cremated does that mean I get to get to 'be with him' quicker?

running away from God is a right of way right? ... right?? RIGHT!!

-sp son ahh!

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