Amos illustrates how the LORD’s judgment on Samaria will decimate the population. Even if ten people gather in one house for safety, they will not escape judgment. Then if one relative comes to carry the dead bodies to burn them, he will be so afraid that if he finds a survivor hiding in the house, he will urge him not to mention the name of the LORD, lest the LORD becomes angry and takes further actions.
In this section, the prophet illustrated how the LORD would carry out His judgment on the disobedient Israelites living in Samaria. God’s judgment would decimate the Israelite population to the point that if ten men are left in one house, they will die. In other words, Amos envisioned a house where ten people are gathered for safety, trying to escape God’s judgment. But they, too, would die.
Later if one’s uncle or his undertaker (someone who would burn the dead corpses) arrived to lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, he would come under great fear from observing the devastation. Out of fear, he would say to the survivor who hid himself in the innermost part of the house, Is anyone with you? Then the survivor would say, No one. The relative would answer and say, Keep quiet. For the name of the LORD is not to be mentioned. God’s wrath was such that the Israelite citizens of Samaria would be reduced considerably, and the survivors would be so frightened by what the Suzerain (Ruler) God had done that they would be afraid to mention His name, lest they stirred up His anger to cause Him to take further actions against them.
The reason for not mentioning God’s name is spelled out in the next verse: For behold, the Lord is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments. The phrase great house likely refers to the dwelling of the wealthy citizens of Samaria. Similarly, the phrase small house describes the dwelling of the less fortunate. The two terms are used together here to describe every kind of house that would be destroyed in Israel. In both cases, only debris would be left.
This episode demonstrates the certainty that God would bring upon Israel massive devastation, and that it would be comprehensive.
9 And it will be, if ten men are left in one house, they will die. 10 Then one’s uncle, or his undertaker, will lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, and he will say to the one who is in the innermost part of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” And that one will say, “No one.” Then he will answer, “Keep quiet. For the name of the Lord is not to be mentioned.” 11 For behold, the Lord is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments.
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