Monday, September 26, 2011

Amos, Chapters 1-5: Biblical dental care

Chapter 1

God is angry, though he isn't exactly sure why or who at. First he's pissed at Damascus for beating Gilead with threshing instruments, but then he's going to set fire to Hazael. Then he's mad at Damascus again, but he's going to punish the people of Aven. There are a number of other tribes he's got a beef with, most notably the Ammonites, who have been killing the women of Gilead in a territorial expansion effort.

Chapter 2

God is still listing his grievances, but at least the reasons are getting more interesting. Now he's angry at the Moabites for burning the king of Edom's bones until they turned to lime. For that, he's going to burn them and kill their princes. He's going to burn Judah for lying, Israel for trading the poor for a pair of shoes, and for fathers and sons sleeping with the same women. Yuck.

The Amorites are too tall, so clearly they need to go. Also, they day of judgement is coming, and even the bravest men will run away naked.

Chapter 3

God is going to punish the Israelites because you always hurt the ones you love. How exactly? Carrying them off to Syria in the corner of a bed, then tearing down altars and smashing houses together. After 1300+ pages, this is getting old.

Chapter 4

God has done everything to the Israelites: given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities (v. 6), famine, drought, flooding, blasting (v. 9), which apparently means blight, pestilence, war, lack of sanitation, and still the Israelites won't worship him exclusively. What is an abusive deity to do?

Chapter 5

God is going to kill 90% of the Israelites in hopes of convincing the other 10% to just like him on Facebook. For those who survive, he has some advice: Seek good, and not evil (v. 14) and hate the evil, and love the good (v. 15). Wow. Avoid evil. That is some profound thinking that is totally worth killing 9 out of 10 people for.

There will be lots of wailing, followed by a day of Judgement that sounds extraordinarily unpleasant. Then he just gets mean, telling the Israelites he hates their sacrifices, worship, music and festivals so he's going to exile them in Syria.

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