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The power of poetic imagination: "waters and stream" in Amos 5:24

I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:21-24).

Amos uses his poetic imagination to challenge Israelites to live by justice and righteousness. Justice must run like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Justice must sound bigger than any other thing. The prophet says that God does not want festivals, burnt offerings, or noisy music. Rather, God wants to hear a big sound of justice rolling like a river. Justice must be heard everywhere and it requires a fair distribution of wealth, economic justice for all. Waters symbolizes the vibrant, dynamic power of justice effective to all.

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