james r. linville 400 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2000 Biblical Interpretation 8, 4 WHAT DOES ‘IT’ MEAN? INTERPRETATION AT THE POINT OF NO RETURN IN AMOS 1-2 JAMES R. LINVILLE University of Alberta Re-Reading ‘It’ This paper is a synchronic study of the enigmatic phrase (‘I will not cause (him/it) to return’) that occurs in each of the eight formally linked oracles against different nations, includ- ing Judah and Israel, in Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6. To emphasise the thematic unity of the eight oracles, I label Amos 1:3-2:16 the ‘Poem against the Nations’. 1 I explore the wide vari- ety of meanings that the expression can have and am particularly interested in how the ambiguity in the expression can be related to the problem of the book’s ‘happy ending’ (Amos 9:11-15), which seems so at odds with the judgmental character of the rest of the book. Each of the eight oracles begins with the same formula in which only the national or ethnic name changes: [NAME] . This may be translated literally as ‘Thus says Yahweh, “Because of the three transgressions of [NAME] and because of four, I will not cause him/it
Biblical Interpretation – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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