notes on 5:21-23


The bulk of these three verses reads like the judgment from a judgment oracle, with its list of what God will do. This is preceded, not by an accusation, but by the simple statement "I hate, I reject your festivals".

However this is read, it is abrupt and shocking. Yet, if Adonai's day was a religious festival, it is not also a change of subject.

Language and imagery

"Festivals" and "assemblies" refer quite clearly to religious celebration.

Prize beasts - "Cow eye contact" by Michel Lalonde

The three sorts of sacrifice mentioned:

burnt offerings
grain offerings
peace offerings

are the first three discussed in Leviticus, and in the same order.

In addition, the music of their songs and "guitars" is rejected too.

This sounds like a blanket condemnation of Israel's cult. Other prophets contain similar passages, so some scholars used to claim that the prophetic movement fought for true interior worship against a debased public religion (cf. John 4:21-23).

The next verse suggests that Amos' aim is less radical and more politically dangerous...



This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,

© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.