Reading the poetic portions of the Old Testament in English, especially in the Prophets, can be challenging. But the fact is that the more familiar one becomes with the poetic sections of the Prophets, the more one sees that they are absolutely, vitally central to the NT. In the end, the way to make OT poetry interesting and understandable is not by retreating from it but by studying it even more intensely using all the imaginative and scholarly resources at your disposal.
Isaac’s behavior and characterization in Genesis has long struck commentators as odd for his passivity, repetitiveness, and imitativeness of his father Abraham. Interestingly, much of the peculiarity of Isaac’s behavior fits the profile of a high functioning autistic individual.
The biblical Book of Job addresses the problem of suffering in a way that is superior to the way moderns tend to talk about it in three ways: (1) it never questions God’s sovereignty; (2) it recognizes our human tendency to assume that God’s righteous judgments will be intelligible and relatively immediate; (3) it emphasizes the role of dialogue (including especially dialogue with God) as the path of resolution for the problem of suffering.
Psalm 2 is a celebration of the unquestionable supremacy of God and his Messiah over all the rebellious forces of humanity. Not only is this the message of the Psalm’s content, it is even embedded in the Psalm’s concentric structure.
Amos 9:1-4 recapitulates many themes from earlier in the book of Amos for climactic effect and even intensifies these themes. Amos says that a fate worse than death is coming for the Israelites, and this fate is absolutely inescapable.
Yahweh is not only the Creator but the sustainer of all that is. To try to live without the Creator while holding onto the creation is folly. In the same way, to try to hold onto peace and joy without source of all peace and joy is folly. Humans were created to be joyful, but when we displace God from the throne of our life, joy goes with him. It can be no other way, because he alone is the source of all joy.
Amos’ confrontation with the priest Amaziah illustrated how his prophecy acted as a plumbline in Israel, clearly demarcating the innocent and upright from the guilty and crooked. The proclamation of the gospel of Jesus has the same galvanizing effect on an unjust society today.
Amos 5:16-17 describe a time of intense mourning for the people of Israel as a result of Yahweh “crossing over into their midst.” Reminiscent of the 10th Egyptian plague, this phrase reverses the typical significance of Yahweh being with or among his people from indicating favor or good fortune to indicating judgment.
Amos calls on Israel to repent so that God will be with them to protect and prosper them the way they think he is. Because no matter how far we have fallen, we can always know that God will be merciful when no one else would be.
The oracle against Judah in Amos 2:4-5 is typically regarded by scholars as a later insertion due to its use of Deuteronomic language and the apparent vagueness of its accusation. This article argues that dating a text late solely because of the presence of so-called “Deuteronomic” language is logically circular, and it proposes a reading of the first two chapters of Amos that makes the oracle against Judah an integral part of the passage’s rhetoric rather than an obligatory insertion.