Amos 4:11 – When God Overthrew Sodom

“I have overthrown some of you, As when God [Hebrew, ELOHIM] overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a burning stick plucked out of the fire; Yet you haven’t returned to me,” says Yahweh. — Amos 4:11, World English Bible.

This scripture is often cited as proof that Yahweh is more than one person. The claim by some trinitarians is that in some vague manner two persons of their trinitarian philosophy are represented in this scripture. According to one trinitarian: “One must assume that the speaker is the Lord Jesus Christ and that the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah was a judgment of the whole Godhead.” It is true that some kind of assumption needs to be made; it is not true that one “must” assume that the speaker is Lord Jesus Christ, nor that Jesus is a person of a alleged “Godhead” of persons, etc.

Indeed, the trinitarian dogma is imagined, assumed and then placed into the scripture; without the added assumptions that are based on the added-on trinitarian dogma, the idea of more than one person in Yahweh is not seen in the scripture. Thus, what is presented as proof of the trinity in Amos 4:11 is not the scripture itself, but rather what has to be imagined, assumed, added to, and read into, in the scripture in order to make the scripture appear to support the added-on dogma.

The speaker is directly identified as Yahweh, not Jesus. We have shown elsewhere that on several occasions Bible personages refer to themselves in the third person, even as many orientals and others sometimes do to this very day. Yahweh is simply identifying himself as the God of Israel who overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. This can be seen from Amos 4:12,13: “Therefore thus will I do to you, Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, Israel. For, behold, he who forms the mountains, And creates the wind, And declares to man what is his thought; Who makes the morning darkness, And treads on the high places of the Earth: Yahweh, the God of hosts, is his name.” From this we can see that the God who overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah is none other than Yahweh, the God of hosts, the God of Israel.

We need to remember that Amos himself was writing this book in address to Israel. With this in mind, another view presented by some is that Amos is quoting Yahweh indirectly, and refers back to the Pentatech with references to God in the third person. This view is stated by James Coffman:

Some critics make a big thing out of God being referred to in this verse (Amos 4:11) in the third person, whereas, the first person is otherwise prominent throughout; but this is not due to any interpolation, and only signifies that Amos unconsciously reverted to quotations from the Pentateuch in mentioning Sodom and Gomorrah, as any one familiar with the Bible would have done.
Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Amos 4”. “Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament”.
Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Still remembering that it is Amos who is delivering the message to Israel, another way of looking at the scripture is that Amos interjected the thought parenthetically. We need to remember that there was no punctuation in the Hebrew. With this thought, the verse could be read as: “I have overthrown some of you,” — (As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah) — “And you were like a burning stick plucked out of the fire; Yet you haven’t returned to me,” says Yahweh. From this standpoint, it would be understood as the prophet himself interjected the point while quoting Yahweh.

Regardless, the idea that this offers proof of the trinity depends on accepting belief in the trinity to begin with and then using circular reasoning to say that because one believes this is speaking of the trinity, then this is proof of the trinity. In actuality there is nothing in this scripture that offers any proof of the trinity or plurality of persons in the Almighty God, and it offers no reason for adding to the scriptures a story about three persons in God.

Upon further investigation, we have added some more thoughts at:

Amos 4:11 – Does This Speak of Two Yahwehs?

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Copyright 2009 Jesus and His God

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