Amos – Chapter 8

The End of The Word As We Know It

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

(No, the title of this chapter synopsis does not contain a typographical error. Keep reading.)

In a vision, G-d showed Amos a basket of late-ripening figs. Just as the figs ripen and are plucked, some to be eaten and some to be dried, the time has come for Israel to be “plucked.” The songs the people sing in their pagan temples will turn to crying. There will be corpses everywhere, requiring removal.

Listen up, those who oppress the poor! You calculate when prices will rise and take advantage of people. You have crooked weights and measures to cheat people. You make the less fortunate indebted to you, then seize their land or make them servants, all so that they can buy the worst part of the grain from you. Isn’t this serious enough to warrant the impending destruction? G-d will bring this disaster upon them when they least expect it, like the sun setting in the middle of the afternoon. Holidays will turn to mourning, like for an only child.

A famine is coming, G-d says, but not for bread and water. The people will be hungry and thirsty for the word of G-d. (The Radak tells us that this refers to the end of prophecy, which occurred during the period of the second Temple. As much as people resent the intervention of the prophets, don’t we miss it and wish we had it now?) People will run all over, from one end of the land to the other, but they won’t find the Divine guidance they seek. Those who worship the idols of Samaria will fall and never rise again.

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