Critically assess the view that Amos’s message of social justice has much to offer the modern reader
The message of Amos was a clear one “I will punish you for all your inequities”. He is the herald of judgement, the prophet of doom. Amos outlines exactly the nature of the transgressions for which the people were being punished in response to their inquiry as to what they had done wrong. Amos was predominantly concerned with wrongs done to people and society. They were judged because they had not lived as Yahweh’s chosen people but had sinned. Many of these wrongs that happened in Amos’s time are still happening and Amos spoke directly about the exploits for which the people would be punished. When looking at these exploits it is clear that many of these are still happening today.
Amos made specific references to the actions he considered to be immoral. Amos told the people “You oppress the poor and crush the needy”. In Amos’s time people would sell others into slavery for a debt as trivial as a pair of shoes. They had little regard for the poor and oppressed. This is a good parallel description of the situation of Third World countries in debt to banks and governments in the West to the modern reader. The interest on these loans has become a kind of tribute that the weak pay to the strong; in some cases it deprives the poor of even their means to eat.
Amos describes the wealthy women of Samaria as “cows of Bashan”. He holds them responsible for the oppression of the poor. They encourage their husbands to amass wealth for them at the expense of the poor. These attitudes are still active in our society as most people pursue happiness by the acclamation of material things. Individuals in an affluent society are not involved in direct oppression of the poor but the demands that are made have the same effect. We must think does our demand for the cheapest product drive down prices to farmers at home and abroad, result in poverty? God is looking for a fair...
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