The Prophet Amos ● lived in the Northern Kingdom around 750 BC ● Shepard and tree pruner and not a professional prophet
A Prophet was as an intermediary between God and the people.
Amos gave “prophecies of the approaching end of the existence of God's people based upon God's judgment of them for failing to to live according to divine standards.” - New Interpreter's Bible Comentary
“reasserts the unacceptable message first announced in the book of Amos... For this reason alone the book has rightly been marked by modern scholarship as one of the most important turning points in the history of the religion of Israel.” -New Interpreters Bible Commentary
For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; -Amos 2:6 NRSV
because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— 7 they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way; father and son go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; 8 they lay themselves down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge; and in the house of their God they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.... -Amos 6:6-8 NRSV
10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. 11 And I raised up some of your children to be prophets and some of your youths to be nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel? says the Lord. -Amos 6:10-11
What does it mean then when the poor are exploited and there is no justice in Israel?
These aren’t moral guideline, these are Laws of the Land with a capital L.
4:1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!” 2 The Lord God has sworn by his holiness: The time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. 3 Through breaches in the wall you shall leave, each one straight ahead; and you shall be flung out into Harmon, says the Lord. - Amos NRSV
6:4 Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; 5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; 6 who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! 7 Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile, and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away. -Amos NRSV
17 Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parceled out by line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’” -Amos 7:17
“It is...an overstatement of the judgmental aspect of God, which can be understood as the natural accompaniment of Amos's discovery that it was all over for Israel. That message was so new, and its implications so terrible, that it had to be stated in the most extreme form possible, and that included extreme statements about God.” -New Interpreters Bible Commentary
Affluenza "a painful, contagious socially transmitted condition of overload,debt,anxie ty, and wqaste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more"
What that means is inequality makes our desire to keep up with the Jones' more intense. That desire and intensity is then feed even more by the advertising industry who constantly tell us the cure to unhappiness is to buy more. The result is the more we acquire and hyper-consume the less happy we become.
The more we consume to try to achieve happiness, achieve a sense of personhood, and numb ourselves to inequality, the farther we fall away from true contentment.
“In December 2013, State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a North Texas teenager, Ethan Couch to 10 years probation for drunk driving and killing four pedestrians and injuring 11 after his attorneys successfully argued that the teen suffered from affluenza and needed rehabilitation, and not prison.
The defendant was witnessed on surveillance video stealing beer from a store, driving with seven passengers in his father's Ford F-350, speeding (70 MPH in a 40 MPH zone), and had a blood alcohol content of.24‰, three times the legal limit for an adult in Texas, when he was tested 3 hours after the accident.
Traces of Valium were also in his system. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist hired as an expert by the defense, testified in court that the teen was a product of affluenza and was unable to link his bad behavior with consequences due to his parents teaching him that wealth buys privilege.
The rehabilitation facility near Newport Beach, California that the teen will be attending will cost his family $450,000 annually." -Wikipedia.org Article: Affluenza
If “Affluenza” is real, then I posit that my newly coined “Povertenza” be considered
Essentially, the poor are expected to be more accountable for their actions while the wealthy are viewed as inherently respectable (especially if they’re white). Being from what people view as a “good” family can go a long way. This opens the door for more opportunities and the right to be viewed as non-threatening even when your actions prove otherwise. This is exactly why racial and economic inequalities are an on-going battle.
For CEOs and minimum-wage workers, the difference in pay is $5,000.00 per hour vs. $7.25 per hour.
At the other extreme, the 400 wealthiest Americans own as much wealth as 80 million families – 62% of America. The reason, once again, is the stock market. Inflation-adjusted wages have gone down. But the stock market has increased by over ten times, and the richest quintile of Americans owns 93% of it.
The U.S. is nearly the most wealth- unequal country in the entire WORLD! Out of 141 countries, the U.S. has the 4th-highest degree of wealth inequality in the world, trailing only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon.
In a winter day in 2012 over 633,000 people were homeless in the United States. Based on an annual single room occupancy cost of $558 per month, any ONE of the ten richest Americans would have enough with his 2012 income to pay for a room for every homeless person in the U.S. for the entire year. These ten rich men together made more than our entire housing budget....it should be noted that most of the Forbes 400 earnings came from minimally-taxed, non-job-creating capital gains.
“'The 80's were all about acquiring – acquiring wealth, power, prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth, power and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty.' He warned that there was “a spiritual vacuum at the heart of American society, a tumor of the soul.”