March 11, 2011

Minor Prophets XXXV: An Enigmatic Sofa

"This is what the LORD says: “As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued, with only the head of a bed and a piece of fabric from a couch.”

What is the meaning of Amos 3:12?

As with all the pronouncements of Amos he prefaces with the prerequisite, “This is what the LORD says” as an indicator of the source of the authority for the proclamation. A shepherd retrieves the remains of an animal (sheep/God’s sheep?) from the mouth of a lion (God). This seems to be analogous to / or reflect the Law. A shepherd that is able to retrieve remains from the mouth of a lion and can show things like claw and teeth marks can prove that he himself did not kill it but managed to help spare a piece of it from being devoured. This imagery is strongly suggestive of the remnant/remains of a body of a person…or people…a remnant of people being spared or saved. The images of rescuing Samaria with only the “head of a bed” and “a piece of fabric from a couch” is cryptic and puzzling. I believe it perhaps alludes to the remnant or remains of a once affluent person or nation. Like a piece of fabric off or a once luxurious couch.

Longman, Tremper, and David E. Garland. "Lesson Based on Cause and Effect." The Expositor's Bible Commentary-Daniel-Malachi . Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2006. 383. Print.

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