Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Turn aside

The goal of Amos’s intercessory appeals is to prevent the divine punishment in the respective vision. In Amos 7:2, the verb סלח (“pardon!”[slḥ]) means “do not destroy” or in Milgrom’s terms, “reconcile.” He argues that there is no nuance of exoneration in this term, which signals rather the cancellation of punishment in order to maintain the covenant. According to Milgrom, “when God extends to man His boon of salaḥ, He thereby indicates His desire for reconciliation with man, to continue His relationship with him—in Israelite terms, to maintain His covenant. . . . Thus, the reaffirmation of the covenant is the most apposite form for divine ‘pardon.’” The verb חדל [ḥdl] in 7:5 has the sense of “refrain from, not to do” a specific action. In Jer 41:8, the verb is used specifically in the sense of “refrain from putting to death.” Often it appears in the context of paired options—either to do something, or not to do it (חדל). Again, there is no nuance of sin being wiped away. Rather, Amos asks that YHWH refrain from bringing the predicted punishment.—Forestalling Doom page 190

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