Amos – Chapter 5

Bring It On!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Since the people refuse to listen to G-d, the words of warning are turning into a dirge. The northern kingdom of the Ten Tribes will fall and they will never have their own king again after that. The population will be devastated; only one person in ten will survive. G-d would prefer that people seek Him and live! If they continue to pursue their idols, the people will be exiled and destroyed. The kings have perverted their judgments; this angers G-d as much as the idolatry.

G-d made the constellations; He turns night into day and vice versa. He controls the water cycle. He will give the weak the power to overthrow the mighty. The people hated the prophets for rebuking them over their sins. Therefore, because they oppressed the needy, they will not be able to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth. The sins of the people are many, so the wise will not question G-d when payback comes.

Pursue good, not evil, so that you may live and that G-d will be with you. If not, there will be mourning throughout the land. Woe to those who say, “Bring it on!” because they don’t really believe. Really, don’t go looking for trouble, because it will find you soon enough. It’s like a person who flees from a lion, only to run into a bear. He runs home, where he is bitten by a snake. (This either refers to running from trouble to trouble or the various beasts represent the different kingdoms that will conquer Israel: the Babylonians, the Persians and the Romans.)

G-d rejects the people’s sacrifices; He won’t accept them. Don’t bother having the Levites sing in the Temple because He’s not listening. If you want G-d back on your side, uncork all the justice and righteousness that you’ve bottled up for so long! Our relationship with G-d isn’t about sacrifices. You’ll go into exile carrying the idols you loved so much.

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