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Does the cremator tell the survivor to hush up and not mention the name of the LORD, or does the survivor continue his response to the cremator's question, telling him that he is the lone survivor because his fellows did not remember the name of the LORD?

Usual translations (NIV, ESV, KJV, NLT, NASB, etc.) appear to disagree on what this verse says in the original Hebrew. Does the translation proposal below properly convey the Hebrew words and narrative intent over against the usual translations?

Proposed translation of Amos 6:10

And when the relative who is to burn the bodies picks them up to remove them from the house, he will call to the one inside, "Is anyone else with you or not?" That person will answer, "Only silence," and he will say, "For the name of the LORD was not remembered."

Compared with Amos 6:10 NASB

Then one’s uncle, or his undertaker, will lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, and he will say to the one who is in the innermost part of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” And that one will say, “No one.” Then he will answer, “Keep quiet! For the name of the LORD is not to be mentioned.”

EDIT: or what about this translation?

"Hush!" For the name of the LORD has not been remembered."

2 Answers 2

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The word at issue can indeed mean "bring to remembrance" (Strong's 2142) yet few translators use it. Their disagreement with each other is usually over whether the name of the LORD is not to be "mentioned/uttered" or "invoked." An important question to be considered here is whether the custom of not mentioning the LORD's name was followed in Amos' time. The Jewish Encyclopedia says:

To make mention of Yhwh's name is to assert confidence in His strength and present and efficient aid. The name excites emotions of love, joy, and praise (Ps. v. 11; vii. 17; ix. 2; xx. 1, 7). That name is, therefore, especially connected with the altar or sanctuary, the place where God records His name (Ex. xx. 24), or "the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there" (Deut. xii. 5; comp. I Kings viii. 16, 29; ix. 3; Jer. vii. 12). The Temple is "the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion" (Isa. xviii. 7). In one or two comparatively late passages "the Name" is used absolutely, doubtless as an equivalent for "the name of Yhwh" (Lev. xxiv. 11, 16; comp. Deut. xxviii. 58).

It became the custom at an early period to use the name of God in personal greetings, as "The Lord be with thee," or "The Lord bless thee" (Ruth ii. 4; Ber. ix. 1; comp. Mak. 23a). The Greek inquisition in Judea prohibited the utterance of God's name, but when the Hasmoneans became victorious they decreed that the Name should be mentioned even in notes and documents... The [later] sages, however, opposed this innovation, as they thought the Name would be defiled when the notes were canceled and thrown away as useless. Consequently on the third day of Tishri following, the record says, the Rabbis forbade the mention of God's name in documents (Meg. Ta'anit; R. H. 18b).

If this is true, then the supposed taboo against uttering God's name in Amos' time is an anachronism. So far so good, but a bigger problem for the OP's proposal is its conflation of "no one" (literally "none") with silence. In the text, these are separated by "and he will say." Moreover the word of silence (Strong's 2013) is always translated as a command (to be quiet) and not as the noun for silence.

Conclusion: The OP's proposal has some merit because the key verb could indeed be translated as "remembered" rather than "uttered" and the custom of never mentioning God's actual name may not have been in place yet in Amos' time. However, because the word for silence is a command and not a noun, that part of the OP's translation is flawed. The LORD's name is not to be brought up in this case because He should not be blamed and the only appropriate response is silent awe. Here is a compromise proposal:

"Hush!" And he will say, "For the name of the LORD is not to be called to remembrance."

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  • Could it be saying "has not" instead of "is not"?
    – Joshua B
    Commented Jan 29 at 19:45
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The simple answer to the OP's question is "Yes" that is exactly what the text says. Here is my attempt at a literal translation of Amos 6:10:

And when the relative who cremates the bodies, picks them up to take them out of the house, he will say to the one inside the house, "Any more with you?" And someone will reply, "None." Then he will say, "Hush! Do not repeat/remember the Name of the LORD."

Now, recall that this is in the context of Israel's apostacy why have stubbornly refused to worship the LORD and thus, God sends judgements upon the people as per V8 -

The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself—the LORD, the God of Hosts, has declared: “I abhor Jacob’s pride and detest his citadels, so I will deliver up the city and everything in it.”

In this miserable state of affairs with civil order collapsing, justice is no more, war and strife everywhere, people dare not utter nor remember the name of the LORD. If they did remember the name of the LORD, justice and mercy would follow but they stubbornly refuse to do so.

The Cambridge Commentary offers this remark:

for we must not mention, &c. lest, namely—such, at least, appears to be the meaning—by an injudicious utterance some fresh judgement should be invoked upon the panic-stricken survivors. It may have been the custom, upon occasion of a death, to offer some prayer or invocation to Jehovah; and the speaker, unmanned by the terrible mortality about him, feels a superstitious dread of mentioning Jehovah’s name, lest He should be moved by it to manifest some fresh token of His displeasure

This is a terrible irony - the LORD promised to go before the Israelites and protect them:

Ex 23:20, 21 - Behold, I am sending an angel before you to protect you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to his voice; do not defy him, for he will not forgive rebellion, since My Name is in him.

Thus Israel's greatest protector became Israel's greatest threat and in their rebellion, they dared not utter or even remember His name.

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    I think that's a clouded overall assessment. Yes of course Israel was under judgement, but wouldn't it make more sense that the cremator is reminding the survivor that all this has happened because the name of the LORD was NOT remembered? (Instead of telling him not to say the name, which would simply invite more judgement!) Consider Job, who after undergoing God's judgement did not avoid the name of the LORD, but worshipped it on the spot to invite God's mercy!
    – Joshua B
    Commented Jan 28 at 21:46
  • @JoshuaB - If you have a fixed view, answer the question yourself but do not label others' "lame".
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 28 at 21:48
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    Why would the cremator tell the survivor to shut up and not remember the name of the LORD? Is he not telling the survivor to find silence in the fact that the name of the LORD was forgotten, hence the judgement that they were all experiencing? Looking for a friend here.
    – Joshua B
    Commented Jan 28 at 21:52
  • @JoshuaB - I have given my answer. Pleas e read it. I addressed this question.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 28 at 21:54
  • I simply disagree at this point.
    – Joshua B
    Commented Jan 29 at 8:05

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