(阿摩司書 Amos 8:1-14) 結局的異象 A VISION OF THE END

祈禱:  求主教導我喜悅你的法度,如同喜悅一切的財物。(詩一一九14)

PRAYER:  Teach me Lord to rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. (Psalm 119:14)                                     

讀經:  摩八章1~14節

SCRIPTURE READING:  Amos 8:1-14

釋義:  這個異象好像上章第三個一樣,開始描寫一些阿摩司所看到的;隨後是神和阿摩司之間的對話,並在對話中發出審判的聲明。

INSIGHT:  This vision, like the third one in the previous chapter, begins by describing what Amos sees; a dialogue between God and Amos follows, then a statement of judgment is issued during the dialogue.

神問阿摩司看見什麼,他回答說:「一籃夏天的果子(qayits)。」對此,耶和華說:「結局(qets)已到了!」這裏的兩個字qayitsqets,在詞源上並無關係,倒是它們的發音有點相似。但是它們的象徵性,更遠超過發音上的意義:正像果子是夏天的結局一樣,照樣以色列人

的夏天也即將過去,收成審判的果子時機已經成熟。

God asks Amos what he sees, and he replies, “A basket of summer fruit (qayits).” In response, the Lord says, “The end (qets) has come!”   The root of these two words “qayits” and “qets” are not related at all, but they sound somewhat similar.  However,  their symbolism goes far beyond their pronunciation:  Just as the fruit marks the end of summer, so the summer for the Israelites is about to pass,  the time has come to harvest the ripened fruit of judgement.

這個到來的結局,可分成四個部分,每一部分藉用自然界的現象,重點說明這個結局: (一)地震(4-8節); (二)日蝕(9-10節);(三)饑荒(11-12節); (四)乾旱(13-14節)。

The end that is about to come can be divided into four parts, each of which uses a phenomenon of nature to emphasize this ending:    (1) earthquake (v. 4-8);  (2) solar eclipse (v. 9-10);   (3) famine (v. 11-12);   (4) drought (vs. 13-14).

這些審判的行動,相當明顯是與以色列人道德的失敗聯結在一起的。而這裏的焦點, 是觸犯屬靈原則的商業行為, 正好對現代經濟掛帥的生活提出警惕:

These judgments were quite clearly linked to the moral failure of the Israelites.   The focal point here is about business practices that violate spiritual principles; something to be wary about regarding the life style of our modern economic society:

(1)  貪婪 —  商人問月朔幾時過去,安息日幾時過去(5節),這樣他們好販賣糧食,恢復他們的生意。對於他們來說,安息日和月朔不是敬拜神的日子, 而是浪費一天,失去一次剝削窮人和積蓄財產的機會。他們這種心態犯了十誡中的兩條誡: 第四誡, 「當記念安息日,守為聖日」和第十誡, 「不可貪戀」。

(1) Covetousness —The merchants asked when will the New Moon and the Sabbath pass (v. 5),  so that they can sell their grain and resume their business. For them, the Sabbath and the New Moon were not days to worship God, but days wasted and opportunities lost to exploit the poor and accumulate possessions. Their mentality violated two of the Ten Commandments:   The fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” and the tenth commandment, “You shall not covet.”

(2)  欺詐 —  「賣出用小升斗,收銀用大戥子,用詭詐的天平欺哄人」(5)採取欺騙的手段謀暴利, 觸犯了第八誡, 「不可偷盜」。

(2) Fraud –  “Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit.” (v. 5)  Using deceptive means to make huge profits; thus, they violated the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal.”

(3) 草菅人命 —  當貧窮的人付不起買糧的價錢時,商人則販賣人口;為了謀利,窮人被商人賣作奴隸: 「用銀子買貧寒人,用一雙鞋換窮乏人」(6)。這是違反了第六誡, 「不可殺人」。

(3) Disregard for human life  — When the poor couldn’t afford to buy food, they would be sold as a thing to make a profit; the merchants would sell the poor as slaves:  “That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.” (v. 6).  This is a violation of the sixth commandment: “You shall not murder.”

               在人類社會中,貪婪(強奪)是最普遍和最危險的罪。渴望得到更多的金錢和勢力,就不擇手段;掠奪的本性,為求自己進取而不惜殘踏別人;詭詐被接受為做買賣的正常現象,所有的目標都是為了滿足自己,它為個人目的犧牲那些弱者。這是一種反神信仰,喚起人去損人利己。

這個情況的出現, 「乃因不聽耶和華的話」(11)。所以培養每天讀經、聆聽神說話, 是基督徒一個不可或缺的靈性修煉。

In human society, covetousness (strong craving for possessions) is the most common and dangerous sin. Desperate to get more money and power, unscrupulously; the natural instinct to steal and to reach to the top for personal gain at the expense of others.  Deceitfulness is accepted as a normal phenomenon of doing business, all aimed at satisfying oneself, sacrificing the weak for personal purposes.   Evoking people to profit at the expense of others is a belief that goes against God.   This situation arises due to “a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” (v. 11)  Therefore, nurturing daily Bible reading and listening carefully to God’s word is an indispensable spiritual exercise for every Christian.

by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung