So back when i upgraded this blog, I started a little language section called “Word Woche” or “Word of the Week” My goal was to look at interesting words in other languages and provide some definition. Only problem: not everyone knows every language 🙂
(wait, I know that)
So as a result, I decided to change my thoughts on Word Woche. Instead of being translations of words, I am going to set this up as a mini-translation of Bible verses with some minor thoughts by yours truly. Now–this also goes along with my new mantra about translating the Bible and healthy living for next year. It gives me a place to dump my thoughts in the hopes it motivate someone.
So…. until the week of October 1st, here is a little teaser from one of my papers from the class on Amos 5:8-10. The following is my own personal translation (paper completed 6/2014)
8 He who made Pleiades and Orion — he who changed deep darkness to morning and darkened day to night. The one who called to the waters of the sea and poured them onto the face of the earth–YHWH is His Name! 9It is he who flashes devastation upon the strong so that violence comes upon the fortress. 10They hate him who judges fairly and they abhor he who speaks blamelessly.
… and commentary:
Yahweh’s Power and Authority (8-10)
Verses 8-10 present the description of Yahweh almost in contrast to the previous verses about Israel’s failed worship. Unlike Israel-who will die based on their idol worship, Yahweh is presented as the Almighty Creator and sustainer Power of Life. The imagery focuses on creation images, walking through day and night, stars (Orion and Pleiades), through the creation of land and water and eventually destructions over those who are not just and fair (a reference back to v7). It is very consistent with hymn language and the structure leading up to “YHWH is His Name! is at the center of the descriptions.(1) There is also a dispute over whether verse 9 was even originally part of the oracle as most of the references to God are in a cosmic sense, not in a violent, destructive nature.(2) Despite this fact, many of the translations have this verse and it appears to reinforce ideas already found present in Amos’ message.
The references to the “fortress” and the “gate” are to the economic and judicial structure of the town. Both of these fixtures were the location of the town meetings and politics. So to present hating justice and righteous in the place of where justice and righteousness are administered is a drastic contrast to the purpose the gate and fortress served in the community. “Therefore to hate the advocate of right and abhor those who speak ‘the whole truth’ is tantamount to personal opposition to the essence of the system.”(3) Again, Israel is being accused of practices religious traditions in opposition to God’s law and covenant.
1. Andersen & Freedman, Amos: A new translation and introduction with commentary, 486-7
2. Ibid., 241
3. Mays, Amos: A Commentary, 93
Andersen, Francis I. & Freedman, David N. Amos: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. (Anchor Bible 24A, New York: Doubleday, 1989)
Mays, James L. Amos: A Commentary (Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1969)