What is God saying in this verse that, "I have given you cleanliness of teeth"?

And I also have given you cleanliness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have yet not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

Amos 4:6

ESV - 6 I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me," declares the Lord.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 06 2015 Mini ernest johnson

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The way in which this passage is worded (as it appears in the English Standard Version of the Bible [as noted in the question], as well as in the King James Version) may result in questions from the modern reader as to its meaning.

At first reading, the phrase "cleanness of teeth" (which is apparently the literal word-for-word translation of the text) might even sound as if it were a positive thing related to good dental hygiene.

However, the context of the verse, as well as the reference in the verse itself to "lack of bread", indicate that God was referring to the fact that He had given His people (in both the Southern [Judah] and Northern [Israel] Kingdoms) such a shortage of food as punishment for their sins (and also as an inducement to forsake their sinful ways and return to God) that they had not been able to even eat enough for their teeth to require the cleaning of food particles from them (as we do today by brushing our teeth after eating).

This point is made clearer in other translations of this passage, which render it through wordings such as, "I gave you empty stomachs" (New International Version), or "I brought hunger" (New Living Translation), or "I gave you absolutely nothing to eat" (Holman Christian Standard Bible), or "I have scheduled food shortages for you" (International Standard Version). These translations (and many others) for this verse (or any other verse that a person may select) are available at http://www.biblehub.com.

June 07 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Philip medium Philip Davies
It means they didn't really have much to eat. They had very little food to put in their mouths and that should have been enough to turn them back to God, who provides all things. But it wasn't, sadly.


June 07 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Pastor Shafer
[And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places] 
Five judgments that did not break Israel, but only hardened her: 

1. I have sent famine and you have not returned to Me (Amos 4:6). 

2. I have withheld rain from you, when there were three months to the harvest. I caused it to rain upon one city, and not upon another; one piece was rained upon and not another. Several cities wandered into one city to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet you have not returned to Me (Amos 4:7-8). 

3. I have smitten you with blasting and mildew; when your gardens and your vineyards your fig trees and your olive trees were increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet you have not returned to Me (Amos 4:9). 

4. I have sent pestilence among you after the manner of Egypt; your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps come up into your nostrils: yet you have not returned unto Me (Amos 4:10). 

5. I have overthrown some of you, as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet you have not returned to Me (Amos 4:11). 

Notes For Verse 12
a [I will do this unto thee] From the fact that all these judgments did not cause Israel to turn back to Him, God concluded that there was only one thing to do immediately -- destroy them as a nation and scatter them among the Gentiles. In view of this He commanded them to prepare to meet their God. 

b [prepare to meet thy God] Eight things to "prepare": 

1. Prepare yourselves to meet God (Amos 4:12). 

2. Prepare a way for yourselves (Dt. 19:3). 

3. Prepare your hearts (1Sam. 7:3; 1Chr. 29:18). 

4. Prepare themselves without fault (Ps. 59:4). 

5. Prepare mercy and truth (Ps. 61:7). 

6. Prepare work (Prov. 24:27). 

7. Prepare the way of the Lord (Isa. 40:3; Mt. 3:3). 

8. Prepare the ways of the people (Isa. 62:10).

June 15 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining