1. The Text :

NAS, Amos 9:13 - When the plowman will overtake [וְנִגַּ֤שׁ] the reaper ...

2. Question, A Word-Study :

These are at least two very different understandings of "overtake" in this text.

How are those interpretations supported by the texts - and which translations are more valid? : overtake or bring together?

How should "Overtake" be interpreted?

  1. Overtake in Speed, or might? v.13 Treader of Grapes overtakes the sower or seed, because they are growing so fast; but - isn't this inconsistent in v.13, where the plowman overtakes the reaper - which may be expected/typical and therefore an unnecessary statement?
  2. To Bring Together, or To Draw Near? BUT - if "Overtake" is actually, "draw near", or "bring together", it feels as though the text is indicating a unity between people of different roles, laboring together, and enjoying the fruits of those labors together.

Which is supported by the underlying languages and contexts?

3. Hebrew Terms and Context :

Before and after this verse, I feel that the passage is speaking of restoration and unity between peoples, and fulfillment of duties - and everyone participating in unity - is this valid?

Further, the term "overtake" is used to translate, "וְנִגַּ֤שׁ" - and so in Amos 9:10 - but doesn't seem translated this way in the rest of Scripture ... But rather, "Come near, or become present", etc.

Note: I am hoping for an answer which cites another similar text / construction - as a guide to understand these constructions here: from Hebrew or Greek Scripture, or even secular literature of that time.

Thanks for the help!

  • Possibly what is meant in John 4:38 "I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labour: others have laboured, and you have entered into their labours." – Sola Gratia Dec 13 '17 at 11:49

Rashi states that the seasons will be so bountiful that the plowing and reaping seasons will overlap, therefore the plowman "will meet" (וְנִגַּ֤שׁ) the reaper. This is in keeping with the next phrase that the one shearing the grapes will meet the planter and the mountains will drip with juice.

  • "Meet" actually does make a bit more sense. Great insight. Thank you. +1 – elika kohen Jul 19 '17 at 23:52

The Plowman is one that digs deep turning up secrets of the soil or laying bare! He will overtake the reaper or those that are presently enjoying the life they live or enjoying the fruit of someones labor! The high places will give up their abundance for the high places are made low and the low places are made even. Finally those that have been forced to labour in another's field shall be shown to be worthy and blessing will be theirs.

The plowman is a servant, the reaper is a owner of the field! The one shearing grapes is a servant, the planter is the owner of the field. this scripture speaks of Gods chosen throwing off the shackles of oppression through revelation of the spirit!

  • +1, because I think I understand where you are going with this answer - that it is an example of Jesus' teachings about "The least will be the greatest". However, this is the Book of Amos - and it would help if we can find those teachings / ideas actually in this context. Can you provide a textual argument for this, (while considering that Amos was written before the Gospels were written)? And welcome to Hermeneutics! Most questions here are looking for well-referenced / expert answers. Thanks! – elika kohen Dec 13 '17 at 1:46

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