“A Basket of Summer Fruit”
At times Jehovah God conveyed a message to his prophets by means of simple illustrations. An example of this is found at Amos 8:1-3, where we read: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah caused me to see, and, look! there was a basket of summer fruit. Then he said: ‘What are you seeing, Amos?’ So I said: ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ And Jehovah went on to say to me: ‘The end has come to my people Israel. I shall no more do any further excusing of them. “And the songs of the temple will actually be a howling in that day,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. “There will be many a carcass. In every place one will certainly throw them out—hush!”’”
In the Hebrew text the expressions “summer fruit” (“qayits”) and “end” (“qets”) are very similar, resulting in a play on words. The “basket of summer fruit” points to the fact that the harvest, and, hence, the agricultural year, was coming to a close. Likewise unfaithful Israel was facing its end. Jehovah God would no longer excuse or pardon the sins of the people. At the time of the execution of his judgment, the songs of praise sung at the temple would become a “howling,” a loud and bitter lamentation over the many slain ones. In view of this awesome manifestation of God’s displeasure, only silence was appropriate.