I’m marking at present, therefore in a stroppy mood.
So, when in a students comments on Amos 5:19:
- Like someone escaping from a lion,
- who meets a bear;
- and entering the house,
- leans a hand on the wall,
and a snake bites him. (Amos 5:19, TempEV)
Hubbard’s commentary is cited saying:
The lion and bear are signifiers of God; the snake of evil and craftiness.1
I was about ready to consign Hubbard’s commentary to the waste bin. What a load of cobblers’! Isn’t it obvious that for Amos here the animals are simply natural threats? Why spiritualise them? Such over-spiritualising is typical of the worst of old-fashioned Evangelical biblical studies!
But, of course, I should have known, Hubbard is a much better reader than that. The over-spiritualising was my student’s – students are even more prone to such a penchant than old-fashioned Evangelical scholars ;) What Hubbard actually did was to rehearse both the historico-zoological facts of the dangers of these animals, and their possible metaphorical or symbolic significance,2 before concluding:
We view, therefore, Amos’ three figures as well-understood symbols of danger rather than as images with any deeper spiritual meaning.
Oh, that students actually read the works they cite! My blood pressure would be lowered, and their education raised ;)