Jews and Joes

Is it Time for the Wise to Remain Silent? Amos 5:13

Note: Scripture text occasionally placed in red for emphasis.

Does Amos 5:13 indicate that during times of evil we are to be silent (if we are wise)? Is that not the message English translations of the verse plainly convey?

(Amos 5:13)  Therefore the wise keep silent [H1826] at that time, for it is an evil time.

The specific Hebrew word used in this passage can indeed mean "silent", but it can also be defined as "die", "caused to die", "destroyed", which makes sense... for an individual put to death indeed becomes silent. 

BDB Definition:
1) to be silent, be still, wait, be dumb, grow dumb
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to be silent
1a2) to be still, die
1a3) to be struck dumb
1b) (Niphal) to be silenced, be made silent, destroyed
1c) (Poal) to make quiet
1d) (Hiphil) to make silent (cause to die)

If we look at the context of Amos 5:13 (the surrounding verses and chapters), we will see many contradictions to the commonly translated and interpreted meaning of verse 13 as it stands alone in English. It simply cannot mean "the wise keep silent", but instead: "the wise are put to death" for it is an evil time. Historically, evil leaders such as Queen Jezebel and King Ahab hunted down the righteous and slaughtered them. Why do we think we are entitled to something different? יהוה will preserve who He wishes and will allow the flesh of some to perish, but we should not think that our beings perish with our flesh. 

The House of Joseph (10-Israel) is called by name in verse 5:15, and like their first captivity (by the Assyrians), there will be many who will perish again in the Last Days, but a "Remnant of Joseph" will survive, but their survival will NOT be contingent upon their Silence, but rather upon the Favour of יהוה. Simply read what the passage says in context. 

Amos 5:10-15:
(10)  They hated the one who reproves in the gate, and they despise the one who speaks the truth.
(11)  Therefore, because you trample on the poor and take grain taxes from him – you have built houses of hewn stone but you are not going to dwell in them, you have planted pleasant vineyards but not drink wine from them.
(12)  For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, afflicting the righteous and accepting bribes, and turning aside the poor at the gate.
(13)  Therefore the wise keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time [margin: "the wise are put to death, for it is an evil time" may be a better translation].
(14)  Seek good and not evil, so that you live. And let יהוה Elohim of hosts be with you, as you have spoken.
(15)  Hate evil and love good, and set up right-ruling in the gate. It might be that יהוה Elohim of hosts shows favour to the remnant of Yoseph.

The "Wise" and the "Righteous" are names for the same people. For the wise fear יהוה and live righteously. So look how the righteous are afflicted in verse 5:12. Look how verse 5:14 has the righteous "speaking" about יהוה Elohim being "with" them. And look how in verse 5:15, the righteous are told to setup right-ruling in the Gate.

Damascus GateThe Gate is where "everyone" passes through in and out of a city. Depending on which gate, it can be heavily traveled, so if the "wise" are suppose to be silent in order to survive, then why are they being told to declare things in the Gate where everyone will most certainly hear? In ancient cities of Israel, it was in the Gate where many Prophets delivered their message and were ridiculed and/or murdered by those who did not want to hear the warnings of יהוה

In truth, the Wise live and speak the Truth... and sometimes their flesh perishes for it. On the contrary, it is not "WISE" to be silent while Darkness abounds. Look how our ultimate Example was put to death. And He instructed us not to hide our Light under a basket.

When evil abounds, do the Wise disappear? Has not the history of man been riddled with times of great evil? What makes this particular time of evil different than the evil of last year, of the last decade, or of the last millennium? Did the Wise before us sit idly and bury their talents in some remote field of safety? In reality, we would probably not exist today had they not sacrificed their flesh in times of evil.

For the christians and messianics (since they are generally the ones advocating "going dark"): Look how the words of Yeshua (Jesus) directly contradict the most common translation of Amos 5:13. Note: He does not tell us to "be silent", but "beware of men" and "do not fear them". 

Matthew 10:16-32
(16)  “See, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
(17)  “But beware of men, for they shall deliver you up to sanhedrins and flog you in their congregations.
(18)  “And you shall be brought before governors and sovereigns for My sake, as a witness to them and to the gentiles.
(19)  “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it shall be given to you in that hour what you shall speak,
(20)  for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking in you.
(21)  “And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and a father his child. And children shall rise up against parents and shall put them to death.
(22)  “And you shall be hated by all for My Name’s sake. But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.
(23)  “And when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For truly, I say to you, you shall by no means have gone through the cities of Yisra’el before the Son of Adam comes.
(24)  “A taught one is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
(25)  “It is enough for the taught one to become like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more those of his household!
(26)  “Therefore do not fear them. For whatever is covered shall be revealed, and whatever is hidden shall be made known.
(27)  “What I say to you in the dark, speak in the light. And what you hear in the ear, proclaim on the house-tops.
(28)  “And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the being. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both being and body in Gehenna.
(29)  “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground without your Father.
(30)  “And even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
(31)  “So do not fear, you are worth more than many sparrows.
(32)  “Everyone, therefore, who shall confess Me before men, him I shall also confess before My Father who is in the heavens.

Today, where are "the Gates"? Our cities do not have walls. TV, Radio, and the Internet are some of the modern "Gates" where the developed-world travels to and fro... and it is there where we must proclaim the warnings and teachings of יהוה. It is not time to shutdown and hide. The Days are indeed Evil, but they have been evil in the past and they will get worst in the future, but יהוה will cause us to shine brighter even as the world becomes more dark. Look how liberal and lawless elements of modern societies always want to "silence" the message of morality and the message of eternal absolutes. Why do communist countries control their media outlets? Why does the current Socialist administration in America want to silence conservative talk radio? And why have so-called secular educational institutions gone to such great lengths to silence Intelligent-Design advocates?

SPOKEN Truth is Dangerous to a World of Wickedness (see the article What does the word "Wickedness" mean in Hebrew?). 

We should be careful that we not work on the side of darkness in order to censor or shut-off Light just because times are dangerous. Of course, we should be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16), but that does not mean we should be silent just because we "think" the Great Tribulation is upon us. What if we have 20, 40, or 400 years before the Time of the Wrath of יהוה? Even if we are about to enter the time of Tribulation, the 144,000 Sealed in Revelation seem to be SPEAKING. The Two Witnesses are certainly SPEAKING and the World celebrates when they are put to DEATH. 

SILENCE and INACTION have never equaled WISDOM when confronted with EVIL. For example, look at the result of Silence and Inaction when Britain and the rest of Europe was first confronted with Adolf Hitler. 

Could the modern translation of Amos 5:13 be a sly way of Ha-Satan (the-Adversary) to silence the servants of the Most High? When Silence prevails in a Wicked World, the only kingdom that advances is the kingdom of Ha-Satan. Some unknown statesmen once said something similar: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" (usually falsely attributed to Edmund Burke).

Selah (think about it)!
Hanok ben-Isaak