March 21, 2011

Minor Prophets XLVI: Reaping Rotten Fruit

Amos in Chapter 8:1-3 is shown a basket of ripe fruit and is asked by God what he sees. Amos intelligently and observantly answers “A basket of ripe fruit”. Then LORD responds, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer” [In other words…the time has come]. God goes on to tell Amos that, “In that day,” …“the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”
I do not believe it is much of a stretch to say God means business here. He’s going to kick some tail and He isn’t going to take names. Bodies will be flying and hitting the floor…like fruit falling off a tree...or being cut from a tree. The impact of this passage is the alliteration used when Amos uses the word “ripe fruit” in Hebrew [qayis] which meant “summer fruit or end-of-the-year fruit”. This fruit had a short shelf-life or edible period. This time was also known as “ripe time” in Hebrew [qes]. It was within this time that the “cutting” needed to take place to get the fruit off the vine or tree while it was still worth “saving” . A reaping time. Death. Israel was ripe for the harvest. Their end had come. They would be cut down…or perhaps cut off from God.

We see a case study of the specific fruits that need to be cut down as they are long past harvest time in Amos 8:4-6. The rich and powerful have actually crossed the line into rottoness. It is only through God's grace and mercy that this entire basket of fruit has not been spilt over and trampled under foot like disease and worm ridden fruit.

The affluent of this society trample and tread on the the needy and do away with the poor of the land. The businessmen and uppity-ups oppressed them through a single-minded pursuit of profit, a common theme in this portion of the Bible. The dead giveaway for this is the comment, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?” They were pretentiously mention the Sabbath and feast of the New Moon (probably not really paying much heed to it) because it was an interruption to their selling and conniving, while simultaneously chomping-at-the-bit to sell their goods. But they don’t just want to sell their goods and grain; they are mostly likely using either mismarked weights or dishonest scales to measure and purposely skimp on the total weight while inflating the price. These folks are real scumbags. They then take their silver and buy the poor into slavery and give their sandals (and insignificant sum) to acquire the needy. They were such chiselers that they even swept up the trampled grains, dirt and debris with the wheat to make it part of the overall measure or weight to sell to people. Totally dishonest cheating jerks.

Are we in this day in age really that much different from those in Amos' day? Things may look okay or normal from a distance but both these societies upon closer inspection are bruised, partially rotten or totally rotten from sin. Their society and sadly ours also.

Sunukjian, Donald B.. "The Results of Judgment ." The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition Of The Scriptures. Ed John Walvoord & Roy Zuck. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1985. 1447. Print.

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