The “Letters” to the Seven Churches

May 29, 2013

Though almost universally called “letters” to the seven churches of Asia, this is rather insufficient to capture the urgency and message of these words from the risen and enthroned Messiah. The salutation of the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:4-8) bears all the earmarks of a letter, but the subsequent visionary markers (“in the Spirit”) remind us that […]


James Interprets Amos 9:11-12 (Acts 15:13-18)

May 10, 2013

The previous post explored the meaning of the only fundamentally positive text in Amos–its ending, Amos 9:11-15. The text of Amos envisions a future time when Yahweh would rebuild the “tent of David” with the result that Israel would “possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called” by Yahweh’s “name.” This […]


Amos 7:7-17 — Exile is Coming

April 11, 2013

In the first two visions (locusts and fire, 7:1-6) Amos interceded and Yahweh relented: “This will not happen.” Then Yahweh shows Amos a third vision (Amos 7:7-9). This time Amos does not intercede (as far as the text reveals) and Yahweh is resolute in judgment. Yahweh will destroy the idolatrous sanctuaries of Israel and put the […]


Amos 6:1-14: The Second Woe

March 28, 2013

This is the second of two woe oracles in Amos. The first (5:18-20) was followed by a legal indictment (5:21-27). The second (6:1-7) is followed by a judgment pronouncement (6:8-14). Together, as the third major section of Amos, they lament Israel’s sin and warn the nation about impending doom. The woe oracle in Amos 6 itself falls […]


Amos 5:1-17: Admonition and Lament for Israel

March 14, 2013

This is the third of Amos’s three prophetic speeches against Israel. They each begin with “Hear this word” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). The first announced God’s coming visit in judgment against Israel. The second highlighted divine patience and persistence in seeking to turn Israel from its sins. The third is a divine admonition and lament for Israel. Harold […]


Amos 4:1-13: “Yet You Did Not Return to Me”

March 4, 2013

This is the second of Amos’s three prophetic speeches against Israel. They each begin with “Hear this word” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). The first announced God’s coming visit in judgment against Israel while the third will voice lament. The second highlights divine patience and persistence in seeking to turn Israel from its sins. While this second […]


Amos 3:9-15 — An Oracle of Divine Punishment, Part 2

February 28, 2013

The second major section of Amos (chapters 3-5) contains three oracles describing the punishment, sin and lament of the northern kingdom of Israel. Each begins with “Hear this word!” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). In many ways, this is the heart of Amos’s work as it lays out Yahweh’s case against Israel. We might even imagine Amos […]


Amos 3:1-8 — An Oracle of Divine Punishment, Part I

February 20, 2013

The first two chapters of Amos set Israel’s sins within an international context.  As they heard Amos condemn one after another of their regional neighbors they were no doubt alarmed that Israel was included in the list and received the most attention. Israel is the focus of Amos’s concern. The second major section of Amos […]


Amos 2:9-16 — Yahweh Makes A Case

February 6, 2013

As the last in the list of nations and the major focus of Amos’s ministry, Israel receives the most attention. In Amos 2:6-8 the prophet identified the reasons why Israel (the northern kingdom) will go into exile. They will suffer for their sins. They abused the innocent and poor, pursued sexual immorality, and approached God […]


Malachi 1:6-14 — Treating the Lord’s Table with Contempt

July 12, 2012

Some seventy years, more or less, after the rebuilding of the temple, Malachi directs his attention to the priests of the Second Temple. Twice, in Malachi 1:6-2:9, addresses them directly which the NRSV translates as a vocative, that is, “O Priests” (1:6; 2:1). This divides Malachi’s oracle for the priests into two obvious sections (1:6-14 […]