In the Bible we read that the prophet was a dresser of sycamores. What is a dresser of sycamores?
sorry, couldn’t resist
That’s what happens to my washing when it is windy.
Or that is my excuse after I hang it up.
Sycamore (sometimes spelled sycomore) is a name given to several different tree species. In the Bible, it is a Middle Eastern fruit tree, related to the fig tree. The “dresser” is the farmhand appointed to take care of the trees, like the “dresser of the vineyard” in Luke 13:7.
(Can’t have them sycamore trees runnin’ around nekkid, can we?)
It seems that the trees called ‘sycamores’ produced a small fruit of little taste. It was the fruit of the poor. To succeed in getting it even to that poor state someone had to puncture the skin of the fruit while on the tree. That’s what the ‘dresser’ did.
Thanks for asking this. I learned something!
This may have meant the prophet literally had this job, or may have been figurative speech saying the prophet was a humble man who would do what the world saw as “menial tasks” for the poor.
A dresser prunes the vine or tree so that it will bear more fruit. The prunings are then cast into the fire.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere…
Well said…this is how the Fathers of Alexandria would have read the scriptures.
It seemed pretty literal in its original context. Amos worked with the sycamore-figs and also herded sheep.
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, then sent a report to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is plotting against you among the people. His speeches will destroy the country. 11This is what he says: ‘Jeroboam will die in battle, and the people of Israel will be taken away from their land into exile.’”
12Amaziah then said to Amos, “That’s enough, prophet! Go on back to Judah and do your preaching there. Let them pay you for it. 13Don’t prophesy here at Bethel any more. This is the king’s place of worship, the national temple.”
14Amos answered, “I am not the kind of prophet who prophesies for pay. I am a herdsman, and I take care of fig trees. 15But the LORD took me from my work as a shepherd and ordered me to come and prophesy to his people Israel. 16So now listen to what the LORD says. You tell me to stop prophesying, to stop raving against the people of Israel. 17And so, Amaziah, the LORD says to you, ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your children will be killed in war. Your land will be divided up and given to others, and you yourself will die in a heathen country. And the people of Israel will certainly be taken away from their own land into exile.’”
(Also translated as:
Amos answered Amaziah, "I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.
Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs.
Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
Then answered Amos, and said to Amatzyah, I was no navi, neither was I a ben navi; but I was a herder, and a dresser of sycamore-fig trees;
Amos replied in answer to Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor am I a prophet’s son, for I have been shepherding and picking the fruit of sycamore trees.
In the Old Testament, there are layers of meaning to important things.
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