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Chapter Five: AM 6, 4-6. The Mrzḥ Institution

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Chapter Summary

The sixth chapter of the Book of Amos appears to form a coherent unity, the composition being rather similar to that of the preceding chapters. The important implications of the word Mrzḥ for a proper understanding of the words of the prophet in Am 6, 4-6 have more and more impressed the scholarly world. However, as these implications are above all bound up in the existence of the Mrzḥ "institution" in the cultures surrounding ancient Israel, it seems right to give a short survey of the general Ancient Near Eastern evidence relating to the Mrzḥ before anything more is said about the context of Am 6, 4-6. The only pIace in the Old Testament besides Am 6, 7 which has the word mrzḥ is Jer 16, 5. The community which has contributed most towards increasing knowledge of the Ancient Near Eastern mrzḥ institution is undoubtedly the Palmyrean.

Keywords: Ancient Near Eastern evidence; Book of Amos; Mrzḥ; Old Testament; Palmyrean



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