Form (see on 7:1-3, and on the series as a whole)
This vision is the exact twin of the first. The imagery is different and there are differences of wording too.
judgment by fire: compare Is 66:14-15:
"For the Lord will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to pay back his anger in fury,
and his rebuke in flames of fire.
For by fire will the Lord execute judgment,
and by his sword, on all flesh;
and those slain by the Lord shall be many."
The expression קֹרֵא לָרִב בָּאֵשׁ however, is problematic. the preposition בְ b (in, with, by...) usually introduces the accused not the agent of the trial, Andersen & Freedman (746-747) provide a good discussion of the issues but arrive at the opposite conclusion, translating "summoning showers of fire".
had eaten... was eating reflects the difference of the two verb forms, thus situating the moment the vision takes place, cf. v.2.
The great deep has mythological overtones and refers to the water "under the earth". Remember the biblical world-view is of a three tier universe with the land surrounded by water and above the "vault" of sky.
The fire is going on to eat (notice the same verb is used of the locusts in v.2) the promised land (literally the word means allotted portion) the fact that this land was promised, and given, to the ancestors by Adonai, does not protect it from his punishment. Israel's flagrant covenant breaches submitted even the promised land to devastation.
Amos' request please stop is less specific than the first please forgive (v.2). Does the continued sinning mean that the prophet can no longer hope for forgiveness, only stay of execution?
For the rest of v.5 and the start of v.6 see above on vv.2-3.
"This also", with this phrasing Adonai draws attention to the fact that this is the second time he has acceded to Amos' request to spare Israel.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.