The Israelite prophets had various definitions of sin in the bible. Sin is associated with Idolatry. Sin is associated with idol worshipping and is outlined by the six prophets of Israel, Amos, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah. It is my aim to provide a clear understanding of sin based on the six-prophet’s ideology and perception. In a simplistic view sin is defined as any worship of other gods or objects aside from their one true God is idolatry, which creates social injustice, economic injustice and pride.
After their redemption from Egypt from slavery, God had clearly outlined in his commandments the rules they were to follow (Micah 6:3-4). In the book of Hosea, the prophet uses his relationship with his wife as a metaphor for the relationship between God and the Israelites. In Hosea 1, the bible speaks on how, God advises Hosea to marry a promiscuous woman and bear children with him. The adulterous nature of his wife was similar, to the way the Israelites behaved with God. The prophet uses his wife’s infidelity to show how the Israelites had been unfaithful to God through their practices and worship of other gods.
In the book of Micah, the prophet also shows how the Israelites continued to practice idolatry which is considered a sin by God. Micah talks of how the Lord sees all the injustices committed by the Israelites including worshipping other gods. He talks of how the Israelites are committing atrocities by worshipping idols that were purchased by money from prostitutes (Micah 1:7). Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah also touch on the sin of worshipping idols in their teachings. Jeremiah illustrates the case in the bible when God sent him to communicate with the Israelites on the punishment for choosing other gods than him (Jeremiah 3:12-23).
The prophet Ezekiel showed idolatry as a sin in his book when, the Lord guides him to the temple through a spirit and shows him the idols and sacrifices the priests were making to the gods (Ezekiel 8). This is clearly an act of betrayal and viewed as God’s displeasure. In the book of Isaiah, there are many cases displayed of idol worship and condemnation for its practice. In the chapter two, Isaiah talks of how the Israelites worshipped idols. Sin is also associated with social injustice. In the bible, the Israelites displayed various forms of social injustices to others.
God regarded this as a sin and used the prophets to deliver the message and warnings for the consequences of their actions. In the book of Amos, the prophet shows how the poor were oppressed and not given any help by their people. The chapter talks of how people who were well off sold the poor into slavery for money, refused to provide help to the poor when they were at their worst and fathers and sons laid with the same woman in God’s name. Amos showed how these behaviours was unacceptable and considered a sin in God’s eyes. The other prophets that showed cases of social injustice as a sin were Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah.
Micah condemned in his teachings the way of life of Israelites who also oppressed the poor. Micah refused to condone this type of behaviour of stealing from them would only make them poorer (Micah 2:1-13). Isaiah talked on social injustice in many scriptures in the bible. In the first chapter, Isaiah talks of how Israel has changed from a righteous city to one that did not defend the cause of the poor. Jeremiah addressed the kings of Judah in regards to their oppression of the poor. Jeremiah talked of God’s punishment for their ways in committing crimes against the poor (Jeremiah 21-22). Sin was also associated with economic injustices.
In the bible, on several occasions the Israelites displayed dishonest practices that led to the impoverished lives of others. Micah outlines this in the second chapter when he condemns the behaviour of people who seize lands and defraud people of their inheritance. Micah talks of the business practices that were crooked and warned of the eventual downfall of the city. Micah also condemned the corruption that the people practiced that led to inequality and the horrible economic situation. Amos also talks of the same injustice in regards to tax. Amos would not stand for the tax hypes where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
The increased tax was designed for the poor so they can be able to build houses that they were not going to live in (Amos 5:11). Sin was also associated with pride. In the bible God hated pride and considered it a sin that warranted punishment. Amos despised people who pumped themselves up and only thought of themselves. The Amos spoke on the punishment that God was going to inflict on the people of Jacob (Amos 6:8) for their prideful nature by destroying the physical possessions that they valued. Amos showed how Israelites were prideful by talking of the way they ate and dressed in silver while not talking of the destruction of Joseph
The definition of sin varies within the bible. The prophets in the bible had an accurate definition of sin but the most surprising thing is the punishment allocated for the sins. The prophets in the bible described the punishment that God is to inflict on the Israelites. They were harsh and excessive for the sins. The prophets talked of how God was to destroy their cities for the crimes committed. In Isaiah, the prophet talks on how God will take away everything from the Israelites including food and water.
Amos talked on how God will use their enemies to destroy Israelites (Amos 3:1-8). The use of his power to render punishment was sometimes guided by jealousy and pushed God to convey the messages to the prophets which would lead to their destruction. The prophets were loyal and conveyed what God had talked on without looking at its devastating effects. Ezekiel also communicated the punishments Israel were to expect for their sins. He talked of how God would punish them worse that He did Sodom and bring them more shame in front of people.