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Amos Explained

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Book of Amos Explained

Title: As with each of the Minor Prophets, the title comes from the name of the prophet to whom God gave His message (1:1). Amos' name means "burden" or "burden-bearer". He is not to be confused with Amoz ("stout, strong"), the father of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).

Author - Date: The author of the prophecy is identified as Amos, a shepherd of Tekoa (1:1), a small village 10 miles south of Jerusalem. He was the only prophet to give his occupation before declaring his divine commission.

The prophecy is Amos's great burden from the Lord concerning the national sin of God's chosen people, as well as the judgment that must fall upon them unless they repent. No better testimony could be given concerning Amos than his own (7:14-15): "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son. But I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel." From his testimony we learn that Amos was not a graduate of the school of the prophets, nor had he any formal religious training or academic preparation for the mission to which God called him. Rather, he was a simple shepherd who also gathered sycamore fruit, and who in obedience to God was used mightily to deliver God's message of judgment against Israel, the northern kingdom.

The date of writing is mid-eighth century B.C., during the reigns of Uzziah, king of Judah (ca. 790 - 739 B.C.), and Jeroboam II, king of Israel (ca. 793 - 753 B.C.), two years before a memorable earthquake (1:1; compare Zech. 14:5).

Historical Setting: Amos provides the historical key for his ministry: the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake" (1:1). Uzziah's independent reign took place in 767-740 B.C., and the sole reign of Jeroboam II in about 782-753 B.C. Amos was a contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah, and Jonah. Amos and Hosea were co-workers and may even have gone on preaching tours through the land together, although Hosea continued his work after Amos passed from the scene. Isaiah and Micah followed Amos's ministry and may have heard him preach when they were lads.

We see from 7:10 that Amos's prophecy was issued primarily at Beth-el, the seat of idolatry in the northern kingdom. He attacks Satan's stronghold, Bethel, and when he is opposed by the idolatrous priest, Amaziah, he becomes even bolder in his preaching. Throughout, the prophecy is filled with references to rural life, indicating Amos's background as a shepherd. The prophet never put on pretenses. He was what he was, God's messenger for this hour to call the nation Israel to awaken to her responsibility and accountability for the national sins she had committed against God. In the process he shows himself to be an oratorical giant, in spite of the fact that he had no formal training.

Background - Setting: Amos was a Judean prophet called to deliver a message primarily to the northern tribes of Israel (7:15). Politically, it was a time of prosperity under the long and secure reign of Jeroboam II who, following the example of his father Joash (2 Kings 13:25), and significantly "restored the border of Israel" (2 Kings 14:25). It was also a time of peace with both Judah (5:5), and her more distant neighbors. The ever-present menace of Assyria was subdued, possibly because of Nineveh's repentance at the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:10). Spiritually however, it was a time of rampant corruption and moral decay (4:1; 5:10-13; 2 Kings 14:24).

The purpose of Amos's prophecy is to awaken Israel and its surrounding nations to the fact that the nation is both responsible and accountable for its sins. His theme then, is national accountability for national sins.

The prophecy of Amos is characterized by great boldness coupled with great tact. The prophet gains the attention of his audience by pronouncing judgment on Israel's enemies before delivering the main burden of judgment against Israel herself. In the delivery of his prophecy he is very courageous while being unusually stern and severe.

Historical - Theological Themes: Amos addresses Israel's two primary sins"

(1) An absence of true worship, and

(2) A lack of justice.

In the midst of their ritualistic performance of worship, they were not pursuing the Lord with their hearts (4:4-5; 5:4-6), nor following His standard of justice with their neighbors (5:10-13; 6:12). This apostasy, evidenced by continual, willful rejection of the prophetic message of Amos, is promised divine judgment. Because of His covenant, however, the Lord will not abandon Israel altogether, but will bring future restoration to the righteous remnant (9:7-15).


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Amos 1 Amos 6
Amos 2 Amos 7
Amos 3 Amos 8
Amos 4 Amos 9
Amos 5  

Amos 1

Amos Chapter 1

The book of Amos was penned by the prophet Amos. He was a shepherd, and a dresser of sycamore trees by trade. His prophecy was by inspiration of God, and lasted a very short time. Some scholars believe he prophesied just a few days. He prophesied during the reigns of Jeroboam the second in Israel, and Uzziah in Judah.

He used the expression "thus saith the Lord" 40 times. He did not claim to be a professional prophet, but actually admitted his lowly beginning. The name "Amos" means burden, or burden-bearer. He was of the tribe of Judah. He condemned the luxurious living of the wealthy.

He prophesied about 750 B.C. This was a time of much affluence in their land. Amos' message of coming punishment was not very well accepted.

Verses 1-2: "Two years before the earthquake": While earthquakes are not uncommon in Palestine, the one to which Amos refers must have been unusually severe; for it is mentioned again by Zechariah in his prophecy (Zech. 14:4-5), more than two hundred years later. It stands as a reminder of God's great power in nature and is a warning of His judgment that is about to overtake Israel. Amos begins his prophecy with words taken from Joel (verse 2; with Joel 3:16).

Amos 1:1 "The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake."

"The earthquake": Mentioned by Zechariah (14:5), Josephus (Antiquities, IX 10:4) connects it with Uzziah's sin of usurping the role of a priest (2 Chron. 26:16-23). An earthquake of severe magnitude occurred (ca. 755 B.C.).

Tekoa was a town about 12 miles south of Jerusalem. It was in a very rough area. The words came from the mouth of Amos, but he had seen this miraculously. The Words then, were from God spoken through the mouth of Amos. An earthquake is God dealing in judgment toward man. The following is another reference to this earthquake, even though the historical books have not mentioned it.

Zechariah 14:5 "And ye shall flee [to] the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, [and] all the saints with thee."

Amos 1:2 "And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither."

"Roar": In Joel 3:16, the Lord "roars" against the nations; here His wrath was directed primarily toward Israel (Jer. 25:30). Amos, a shepherd, courageously warned the flock of God's pasture that they were in imminent danger from a roaring lion who turned out to be the ultimate Shepherd of the flock (3:8).

"Carmel": Known for its bountiful trees and lush gardens. "Carmel" means "fertility" or "garden land" and refers to the mountain range that runs east to west in northern Israel and juts out into the Mediterranean Sea (9:3).

Notice, this voice comes from Jerusalem, and from the church (Zion). The "roar of the voice" is speaking of a thunderous voice. This is a warning from Jerusalem, even to Carmel, that judgment is coming. Mount Carmel was a beautiful green pastureland. It had been the sight of Elijah calling down fire from heaven to prove that God is God. Now even Carmel will not be spared.

Verses 3-5: Damascus is the capital city of Syria and is to be especially stricken in judgment because of the cruelties Syria had inflicted on Israel.

"For three transgressions ... and for four": (which introduces the message of judgment to all of the nations, including Israel), is a rhetorical way of saying that the offender has been guilty of an incalculable number of offenses.

From (verses 1:3 - 2:3), Amos began with Israel's enemies, and thereby gained an initial hearing. When he turned to God's judgment on Israel, the leaders tried to silence him (7:10-17).

Amos 1:3 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:"

"Three transgressions ... for four": This rhetorical device is repeated in each of the 8 messages, differing from a similar pattern used elsewhere. These are specific mathematical enumerations (e.g., Prov. 30:18, 21, 29), emphasizing that each nation was being visited for an incalculable number of infractions. With 3, the cup of iniquity was full; with 4 it overflowed. This judgment was to fall on Syria, whose capital is Damascus.

"Threshed Gilead": Large threshing sleds which, when dragged over grain, would both thresh the grain and cut the straw. Gilead, located in the northeastern, Golan Heights region of Israel, was vulnerable to Syria's cruel attacks (2 Kings 13:7; 18:12).

Damascus was a large city in Syria. They were opposed to Israel, and took advantage of every opportunity to destroy them. They are enemies of God, because of their foul treatment of God's people.

Amos 1:4 "But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad."

"Ben-hadad": Apparently a throne name, meaning "son of Hadad (the god)." Ben-hadad II was a son of Syrian king Hazael (841-801 B.C.).

Syria fell from its place of prominence during his reign. The palaces were speaking of the palaces in Damascus. This fire was probably a literal fire that destroyed them.

Amos 1:5 "I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the scepter from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD."

"Plain of Aven" Meaning "valley of wickedness," it may refer to Baalbek, the center of sun worship, located north of Damascus.

The "house of Eden": Meaning ("House of Pleasure"). It was located in eastern Syria across the Euphrates.

"Kir": Apparently the original home of the Syrians. It was a region to which they were later exiled (2 Kings 16:9). "The precise location of "Kir" is unknown.

The bar mentioned here, is possibly the bar closing the gate. If it were gone, it would make easy entrance into the city. There seemed to be worship of the sun going on at Aven. Eden will be included in this area that is cut off. This is speaking doom and desolation from God on Aven, Eden, and Syria. God is angry with them because of their constant conflict with Israel.

Amos 1:6 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver [them] up to Edom:"

"Gaza": Philistia's most prominent merchant city ideally situated between Egypt and Israel, here used to refer to the Philistine nation.

"Carried away captive the whole captivity" (Jer. 13:19). Possibly during the reign of Jehoram (2 Chron. 21:16-17, Joel 3:3; ca. 853-841 B.C.).

These lands were so opposed to Judah and Israel, that they would have done anything to help their enemies destroy them. Gaza is an area that contained five Philistine cities. The Philistines had always been enemies of God's people. The giant, Goliath, was representing the Philistines, when he came against God.

Verses 7-8: Four of the five major cities of Philistia are mentioned. The fifth, Gath, was not mentioned because it had been destroyed earlier by Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:6).

Amos 1:7 "But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof:"

An enemy that shall pull down and destroy the walls of it: this was fulfilled in the times of Uzziah, under whom Amos prophesied. And very likely in a very short time after this prophecy, went out and warred against the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gaza (2 Chron.26:6).

Or else in the times of Hezekiah, who smote the Philistines unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, (2 Kings 18:8).

As also in the times of Alexander the great, who, after he had taken Tyre, besieged Gaza, and after two months' siege took it, as Diodorus Siculus relates.

The wall being undermined and thrown down, he entered in at the ruins of it, as Curtius says. In the times of the Maccabees the suburbs of it were burnt by Jonathan, and the place taken.

This fire occurs during one of the wars that came against this area. It seemed as if God had a special punishment for each area, according to the injury they had done to others.

Amos 1:8 "And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the scepter from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD."

The mention of "Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron," and the "remnant of the Philistines" lets us know that the prophecy is directed against Philistia as a whole. Their crime was the taking of a whole population captive and delivering it over to Edom. (Joel 3:3-8), fills in the details that Amos's prophecy lacks.

Ashdod was a city about 35 miles from Gaza. The Philistines had been a strong enemy of Israel and Judah. They were an idolatrous people. Ashteroth was their most prominent false god.

Samson won great victories for Israel over these same Philistines. God had ample reason to destroy them. We see again, "saith the LORD God". Ashkelon was a city near Gaza. Ekron was a city about 11 miles from Bath. All of these were Philistine cities. God is taking vengeance Himself for the Israelites.

Amos 1:9 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant:"

Tyre "remembered not the brotherly covenant" which their king Hiram had made with David and Solomon. This covenant had been long-standing (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:2-6, 15-18; 9:11-14), and no king of Israel or Judah had ever made war on Phoenicia. Judah honored its side of the treaty; Phoenicia had sold Israelites to others (Joel 3:4-8).

Brotherly covenant": A longstanding brotherly relationship existed between Phoenicia and Israel, beginning with King Hiram's assistance to David in building his house and Solomon in the building of the temple (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 King 5:1-12; 9:11-14). And later cemented through the marriage of Jezebel to Ahab (1 Kings 5:16-31). No king of Israel ever made war against Phoenicia, especially the two major cities, Tyre and Sidon.

Tyrus is the Greek form of Tyre. This was the great Phoenician city of trade that was under siege 13 years by Nebuchadnezzar. They were into many types of false worship. Much of it was of the sensual type. They were very wealthy from their trade center here. They were greatly opposed to God's people. The condemnation that came upon them was for their worship of false gods, but also because they were opposed so fiercely to God's people.

Amos 1:10 "But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof."

"Tyrus": Alexander the Great conquered this stronghold (ca. 330 B.C.; Ezek. 26:1-18).

This city was great in its architecture. They were very wealthy, and their homes were like palaces. Their palaces were some of the most magnificent. They could not withstand the judgment of God, and they were burned.

Amos 1:11 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever:"

"Pursue ... cast off all pity": More than mere fighting, Edom pursued his brother, stifling any feelings of compassion. (See notes on Obadiah 1-14), for a more complete description of Edom's judgment.

Esau was the founder of Edom. Esau had never forgiven Jacob for getting his birthright. He held anger in his heart and this anger descended to his children and grandchildren. Edom is accused of their inhuman treatment of their relatives the Hebrews of the 12 tribes of Israel. The bitterness he felt for his brother lived on, and had never diminished. Soon after Amos wrote this, the Edomites as a separate people, vanish from the pages of history.

Amos 1:12 "But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah."

"Teman": The grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:11), after whom this town in northern Edom was named.

"Bozrah": A fortress city of northern Edom, about 35 miles north of Petra.

Teman is the southern portion of Edom, and Bozrah was its capital. This is destroyed as well by God Himself.

Verses 13-14: The Ammonites killed pregnant Israelite women to keep the population under control in hopes of conquering the Israelite region of Gilead.

Amos 1:13 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border:"

"Children of Ammon": Descendants of Ben-ammi, the son of Lot and his younger daughter (Gen. 19:34-38).

"Ripped up the women with child": Such inhumane treatment in wartime was not an uncommon practice (2 Kings 8:12; 15:16; Hosea 13:16).

It seemed the Ammonites were extremely cruel in battle toward the women and children of Israel. Ammon was descended from Lot. The Ammonites and the Moabites were descended from Lot and his 2 daughters. They were also accused of removing the sacred marker of the land.

Amos 1:14 "But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind:"

"Rabbah" (literally, "The Great"), was the capital city of "Ammon." Amos prophesies that it will be totally destroyed, and the king and his princes taken into captivity for its unspeakable atrocities against God's people.

This fire, even though from God, is during a battle. We studied in another book how the war came against the tents like a great whirlwind and destroyed them.

Jeremiah 23:19 "Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked."

This speaks of a judgment of God.

Jeremiah 49:2 "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD."

Amos 1:15 "And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD."

Not only shall the common people that are left of the sword be carried captive, but their king also. This was, Baalis their last king, who was accessary to the murder of Gedaliah (Jer. 40:14); whom the king of Babylon had set over the remnant of the Jews left in Judea. Which might provoke him to send Nebuzar-adan, his general, against him. Who put his country to fire and sword and destroyed his chief city Rabbah, and carried him and his nobles into captivity.

Jeremiah 49:3 "Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, [and] his priests and his princes together."

We see from these two Scriptures, that the king was taken. Some believe this is also speaking of their false god being taken, as well as the king. It does not matter. God passed judgment on them, and they fell.

Amos Chapter 1 Questions

1. What did Amos do to make a living?

2. How long do most people believe Amos prophesied?

3. Who were the kings of Judah and Israel when he prophesied?

4. How many times does he use the expression "thus saith the Lord"?

5. What does "Amos" mean?

6. When did he prophesy?

7. Where was Tekoa?

8. An earthquake is for what?

9. What is the "roar of the voice"?

10. What wonderful thing had happened at Mount Carmel?

11. Where was Damascus?

12. What does the name "Ben-hadad" mean?

13. Who was the father of Ben-hadad II?

14. What is the bar mentioned in verse 5?

15. Who were the Philistines always enemies of?

16. Where is Gaza?

17. Where was Ashdod?

18. What were the names of some of the Philistine cities?

19. What was another name of Tyrus?

20. How many years was Tyrus under siege?

21. How was Tyrus destroyed?

22. _______ was the founder of Edom.

23. Who were the enemies of Edom?

24. Why was Esau continuously with his wrath against the Israelites?

25. Who were the Ammonites?

26. ________ was the capital of Ammon.

27. Who passed judgment on them?

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Amos 2

Amos 2

Amos 2:1 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:"

"Moab": Descendants of Lot and his elder daughter (Gen. 19:37).

"Burned the bones": This event, where vengeance didn't stop at death.

Burning a dead person's bones ... into lime was not just despicable but was considered a desecration.

The Moabites were descended from Lot and his daughter. They and the Ammonites were not friends with Israel. They were very vicious in some of their battles. They were blood related to Israel, but they were enemies. It was the Moabites that hired Baalam to curse the Israelites.

2 Kings 23:16 "And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchers that [were] there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchers, and burned [them] upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words."

God will not allow such sin to go unnoticed.

Amos 2:2 "But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, [and] with the sound of the trumpet:"

"Kirioth": An important Moabite city, either as a capital or center of worship.

The following companion Scripture shows that God gives the same message to more than one prophet.

Jeremiah 48:41 "Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs."

The fire that came on Moab was in war. The trumpet was blowing and they were destroyed. Kirioth is a city.

Amos 2:3 "And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD."

"Judge": Possibly denoting the king, who was often so designated (2 Kings 15:5; Dan. 9:12).

"Judge" was translated from shophet, which could also mean ruler. The king and his sons will all be slain.

Verses 4-5: Israel was probably as pleased at this pronouncement of judgment as she was with all the others. Judah's sin is similar to Israel's, for they have despised the law of the Lord. Israel should realize that if God would judge Judah, then certainly He would also judge Israel herself. Judah's sin is worse than those of the nation, because Judah has violated the law of God that was delivered to her by direct revelation.

Amos 2:4 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:"

"Judah": With the judgments against the nations finished, the prophet proceeded to address Judah, moving ever closer to his ultimate target of Israel.

"Despised the law of the LORD": The nations were judged because they had sinned against the law of God, which was written in the heart and conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). Judah and Israel were judged because they sinned against God's revealed, written law.

Judah's enemies were dealt with first, but God does not overlook the sins of Judah either. The main reason that their enemies had been punished by God was because of their cruelty toward God's people. We see that Judah was punished for her unfaithfulness to God. They worshipped false gods along with their worship of the One True God and He was jealous.

We studied in Hosea about the harlot wife of God. His chosen people were unto Him as a wife. God had given them His law, but they had not kept that law. They did not keep His commandments either, they had become liars. They sought the false gods of the heathen around them. God gave them ample time to repent but they did not.

Amos 2:5 "But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem."

"Fire upon Judah": The Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar fulfilled this judgment (ca. 605-586 B.C.; 2 Kings Chapters 24-25).

We studied in some other prophetic books, how the Babylonians took Jerusalem and Judah and burned them. Jeremiah dealt with this more fully than Amos.

Jeremiah 17:27 "But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched."

Verses 6-7: Greed, so all-consuming that for insignificant debts they would sell another into slavery (Matt. 18:23-35), was accompanied by uncontained sexual passion. Care for the poor is a prominent Old Testament theme (e.g. Prov. 14:31; 17:5), and sexual purity is mandated repeatedly. Violations of both are an affront to God's holy name.

Israel's social injustice, materialism, self-centeredness and willful ignorance of God were rampant. Notice that Israel's list is the only one that names "four" crimes. The other nations; lists are deliberately shortened, as if to say that Israel's sins accumulated faster than their counterparts.

Amos 2:6 "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;"

God had declared that "the poor" be afforded the same privileges and care as the rest of society (5:11; 8:4-8; Prov. 22:2, 22-23; Isa. 10:2-3), yet the Israelites were selling their brothers and sisters into slavery.

This is speaking of the judges taking bribes and condemning the innocent. The sandals were very important in their land. For a man to take your shoes was cruel and unusual punishment.

Amos uses hyperbole to demonstrate how seriously the rich extorted the poor: to the point of desiring the "dust" on their heads to this sin of greed he adds injustice. "Turn aside the way of the meek", sexual sin, and the cruelty of not retuning "clothes" to the poor so they could keep warm at night (Exodus 22:26-27).

Amos 2:7 "That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the [same] maid, to profane my holy name:"

"Go in unto the same maid": In the context of oppressing the helpless, the reference was probably to a slave girl (Exodus 21:7-11).

It is difficult to determine who the maid belonged to, but the following Scriptures cover the sin.

Leviticus 18:8 "The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father's nakedness."

Leviticus 18:15 "Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she [is] thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness."

The needy were to be cared for, and not abused. We see in the following Scriptures, they did sin against the poor.

Job 24:4 "They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together."

Job 24:10 "They cause [him] to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf [from] the hungry;"

These people have rebelled against God and His law.

Amos 2:8 "And they lay [themselves] down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned [in] the house of their god."

"Clothes laid to pledge": Outer garments used to secure a loan to be returned before sunset (Exodus 22:25-27; Deut. 24:12-13). Instead, they used them to engage in idolatrous acts.

We see they had no compassion at all for the poor. They took the things away from the poor that were necessary for them to live and used them. They did not need these things but they took them from the poor anyway. The poor had pledged them and the rich took the clothes away. Notice, the word god is not capitalized. This is speaking of their worship of false gods. They were a greedy self-indulgent society. They hated the authority of God.

Verses 9-12: God's faithful provision to Israel included military victory, deliverance, and spiritual leadership. As part of their consecration to the Lord, the "Nazirites" were to drink no wine (Num. 6:1-21). Yet Israel had spurned God's messengers by tempting them to sin.

Amos 2:9 "Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height [was] like the height of the cedars, and he [was] strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath."

"Amorite": The pre-Conquest inhabitants of Canaan, whom God defeated for the Jews (in Joshua 10:12-15). Their giant stature was said to make the spies look like grasshoppers (Num. 13:32-33).

These had been God's people and He had been with them in battle against the Amorites. The Amorites were like giants yet God helped Israel defeat the Amorites. God had been faithful to them in every way, but they had not been faithful to God. They disobeyed God and ran after false gods.

Amos 2:10 "Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite."

Where they were bond slaves in great affliction and distress, unable to help themselves. But the Lord brought deliverance for them, and took them out of this house of bondage with a high hand and a mighty arm.

"And led you forty years through the wilderness": Going before them in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; providing them with all things necessary, with food and raiment, and protecting them from all their enemies.

To possess the whole land of Canaan, so called from a principal nation of it.

God had miraculously delivered them from the rule of Egypt and fed and protected them for 40 years in the wilderness. They had need for nothing. He even took the land from the evil Amorites, and gave it to them. They are a very ungrateful people.

Amos 2:11 "And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. [Is it] not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD."

Such were Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and many others; and of your young men for Nazirites. Who, by devoting themselves to God's service in a peculiar manner, and by observing peculiar rites, was an honor to Him. But ye gave the Nazarites wine, and ye tempted the Nazarites to violate their vow and contemn God's law, persuading them to drink wine.

And commanded the prophets, saying, prophesy not. You bid the prophets hold their peace, and not speak against your actions, nor denounce any punishments against you for them. An example of this we have in Amos himself (see chapter 7).

(See Numbers 6:1-21).

They were God's chosen people. They were to be the religious standard for all the heathen nations. God communicated with them regularly. God had endowed some of their people to speak to them the wishes of God. On occasion, God had spoken directly to them Himself.

"Nazirites" are those who have taken a special vow to God. They had paid no attention to the messages these prophets had brought them. The prophets were chosen of God for this special purpose, and were actually speaking words that God placed in their mouths. The Nazarite was chosen to live an example for the others to follow. The question here is saying, have you forgotten all of this?

Amos 2:12 "But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not."

Ye so despised these My favors, as to tempt the Nazarite to break his vow; and forbade the prophets prophesying (Isa 30:10). So Amaziah forbade Amos (Amos 7:12-14). Contrary to their vow and calling, and in contempt of it, and to make them like themselves; they either persuaded them, or forced them to it.

"And commanded the prophets, saying, prophesy not": Hard and heavy things, judgments and denunciations of vengeance, only smooth things; by this authoritative language it appears that this is said of the rulers and governors of the people, as king, princes, and priests.

One of the requirements of the Nazarite vow was, they were to drink no strong drink. They tried to tempt the Nazirites to be like them. The holy life the Nazarite lived was a constant reminder of their sins. They had ears to hear, but they paid no attention to the messages the true prophets brought them from God.

Verses 13-16: Because of Israel's flagrant violations of God's righteous law and His gracious provisions, inescapable judgment must inevitably fall, though it will fall only after God has permitted Himself to endure Israel's many and grievous sins far beyond what might ordinarily be considered the breaking point.

Amos 2:13 "Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed [that is] full of sheaves."

With the weight of their sins, with which they had made him to serve, and had wearied him; his patience was quite wore out, he could bear them no longer.

Jehovah, in the awful judgment which He inflicts, is symbolized by the heavily-laden wagon. The expression "beneath you" suggests that the evil is not confined to the present. Israel, the nation weighted with the doom of past iniquities, bequeaths a yet more crushing load to future generations. If the text is sound, this appears the only satisfactory rendering of a difficult passage.

The heaviness this has placed on God's heart is almost more than He could bear. They have greatly disappointed God.

Verses 14-16: Neither personal strength nor military armament was sufficient to prevent the Lord's hand of judgment by the Assyrians (ca. 722 B.C.; 2 Kings Chapter 17).

The seven statements in these verses describe how completely devastated the Israelite army would be.

Amos 2:14 "Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself:"

Israel relied, against God, on his own strength. "Have we not," they said, "taken to us horns by our own strength?" (Amos 6:13). Amos tells them then, that every means of strength, resistance, flight, swiftness of foot, of horse, place of refuge, should fail them. Three times he repeats, as a sort of dirge, "he shall not deliver himself."

"Therefore the flight shall perish", (probably place of flight; Job 11:20; Psalm 142:5; Jer. 25:35). They had despised God, as their place of refuge, so the place of refuge, should perish from the swift, as though it were not. He should flee at full speed, but there would be no place to flee unto. God alone "renews strength;" therefore "the strong" man should not "strengthen his force" or might. Should not be able to gather or "collect his strength" as we say. Fear should disable him.

There will be no escape for the punishment God must bring to them for their sinful ways. There is no place to run and hide from God who is angry. Their strength was in the Lord and now that He has left, their strength left with Him.

Amos 2:15 "Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and [he that is] swift of foot shall not deliver [himself]: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself."

That is, at some distance, and can make use of his instruments of war afar off. Yet will not think it safe to stand his ground, but will betake himself to his heels as fast as he can to save himself.

"And he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself"; this is repeated, lest any should place confidence in their agility, and to show how complete and inevitable the affliction will be.

"Neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself": By fleeing on horseback, no more than he that is on foot. No ways that can be devised or thought on would preserve from this general calamity (see Psalm 33:17).

There will be no fight in them. The following Scriptures show the futility of trying to run or fight, without God's help.

Psalms 33:16-17 "There is no king saved by the multitude of a host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength." "A horse [is] a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver [any] by his great strength."

We can take a lesson from this. To depend on one's self or the things we possess, is an action in futility. We must depend upon the God who created us.

Amos 2:16 "And [he that is] courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the LORD."

A description of the most famous warriors amongst Israel, such as were known for valor among the mighty and valiant ones, like David's men, such as had the heart of a lion.

"Shall flee away naked in that day": All throw away his armor and put off his clothes, as being both a hindrance to him in his flight; that he may make better speed.

"Saith the Lord": Which is added to show the certainty of all this; it might be depended upon that so it would be, since the Lord God of truth had spoken it; and it was fulfilled about eighty years after this prophecy.

Even if a person were to get away in such a heated battle, it is certain they could carry nothing with them. He would have to leave all behind to hurry away. Again, I say to depend on things of this earth to help, brings destruction.

Colossians 3:1-2 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

To depend on things of the earth brings heartache and failure, as these Israelites found out. Their only help was God.

Amos 2 Questions

1. What terrible thing had Moab done against Edom?

2. Who were these Moabites descended from?

3. They were blood related to Israel, but they were __________.

4. What had the Moabites hired Baalam to do?

5. What did God send on Moab?

6. What does the word "judge" in verse 3, probably mean?

7. Why had God determined to punish Judah?

8. Why had God punished their enemies?

9. They sought the ________ _______ of the heathen around them.

10. Who took Jerusalem and Judah?

11. The Israelites had done what terrible sin?

12. What is verse 6 speaking of?

13. Give the two laws in Leviticus that forbid a man and his son sleeping with the same Maid?

14. What did God say that sin did to the name of God?

15. They had no ______________ for the poor.

16. Why is god not capitalized in verse 8?

17. They were a _________ _________________ society.

18. The Amorite was so tall, they were compared to __________.

19. How many years did He lead them through the wilderness?

20. God had raised up ______________, and of their young men for ____________.

21. What was the prophet to speak?

22. What was a "Nazarite"?

23. They had given the Nazirites ________ to drink.

24. They had ears to hear, but they did not _____ ___________ ___ the message of the prophet.

25. What heaviness is spoken of in verse 13?

26. Where can they escape to?

27. The courageous shall flee away ________.

28. To depend on things of the earth, brings _________ and ________.

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Amos 3

Amos Chapter 3

Verses 1-8: God emphasizes His intimate relationship with Israel by the repeated mention of "family" and the word "known". It is because of His love for His chosen people that their sin must be judged (Prov. 3:12; Jer. 31:35-36; Heb. 12:6).

Amos 3:1 "Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,"

"The whole family": The primary recipient of these messages was Israel; Judah was not excluded.

This is speaking of all the twelve tribes of Israel that God brought to the Promised Land out of Egypt. They were not thankful for the fact that God had brought them out of great darkness into His marvelous Light. Because God had entrusted them with His law, and He had done that with no other nation, they were more responsible for their sins. Notice, it is the Word of the LORD coming from the mouth of Amos that has spoken against them.

Amos 3:2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

"You only have I known": God's sovereign choice of Israel did not exempt her from punishment for disobedience.

"Have I known": (Hebrew yada') should be understood in the sense of God's setting Israel apart to bring her into covenant relationship with Himself. It is used with similar meaning (in Psalms 1:6; 147:19-20; and Ezek. 20:5).

Those who enjoy a close relationship with God are not insulated from divine punishment; God expects His people to live by a higher standard. Their sins may not seem as bad as those of the pagans, but in His sight, they may be worse, because His children should know better.

They had known God and yet, they had turned from Him to the worship of false gods. The very first commandment that He had given them had forbidden this very thing. God had accepted them as His wife during the wilderness wanderings. Their unfaithfulness to Him has not been overlooked. He still loves them, but He is just, and He must punish them for their sins.

The agreement God had made with them was; He would bless them as long as they were obedient to Him. He also promised to curse them, if they turned from Him and did not obey His voice.

Verses 3-6: By way of rhetorical device, Amos shows the reality of God's righteous judgment on Israel: it will happen just as prophesied.

Amos 3:3 "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

(From verses 3-8), the Lord posed a series of questions to show that, as some things are certain in nature, surely nothing happens in Israel that is outside His sovereignty. Certain actions have certain results! The Lord had spoken a word, and therefore the prophet was to speak, and the people were to listen with trembling. Instead, they tried to silence the prophet (2:12; 7:12-13).

In this Scripture Amos is saying, the message he brings is in total agreement with the wishes of God. The answer to the question above of course is no, they would stumble and fall.

Amos 3:4 "Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?"

He will not, unless he has it in his sight, or in his paws; he roars when he first sees it, whereby he terrifies the creature, that it cannot move till he comes up to it; and when he has got it in his paws, he roars over it, to invite others to partake with him. Now prophecy from the Lord is compared to the roaring of a lion (Amos 1:2); and this is never in a way of judgment without a cause. The sin of men, or of a nation, which makes them a prey to the wrath and fury of God.

"Will a young lion cry": Or "give forth his voice".

"Out of his den": If he has taken nothing? That is, if the old lion has taken nothing and brought nothing unto him; which signifies the same as before. Unless by the young lion is meant the prophets of the Lord, who never prophesy but when they have a commission from him, and a people are pointed out to them as the just prey of his wrath and vengeance.

The comparison here is that a lion, who is about to attack, roars. The young lion cries out from the den because he does have the prey. Amos is crying out like this lion. Israel is like this prey. They are helpless to get away from this threatening roar from God that comes through Amos.

Amos 3:5 "Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin [is] for him? shall [one] take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?"

When a bird, trying to fly upwards is made to fall upon the earth snare, it is a plain proof that the snare is there. So Israel, now that thou are falling, infers that it is in the snare of the divine judgment that they are entangled.

"Shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing": The bird-catcher does not remove his snare off the ground till he has caught some prey; so God will not withdraw the Assyrians, etc., the instruments of punishment, until they have had the success against you which God gives them. The foe corresponds to the "snare," suddenly springing from the ground and enclosing the bird. The Hebrew is literally, "Shall the snare spring from the earth?" Israel entangled in judgments, answers to the bird that was "taken."

A "gin" is a noose for catching animals. The trap that all sinners set for themselves is sin. These Israelites are no different. They have worshipped false gods, now they are caught in a net of their own making.

Amos 3:6 "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]?"

The people of Amos' time should have realized that the judgment they had already experienced was due to God's displeasure.

The trumpet being blown is a warning of impending danger. Amos' message from God to these people is like the trumpet blowing. It is warning of impending danger. The trumpet blowing causes terror to rise in the hearts of the people. The warning from Amos should do the same thing.

Amos 3:7 "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."

Judgment is coming, but the Lord graciously warned the nation in advance through His prophets (e.g., Noah, Genesis Chapter 6; Abraham, Genesis Chapter 18).

God did not keep His "secret" (His sovereign plan), of pending judgment to Himself. He sent a prophet to denounce the people's sin and warn them so that they might repent.

Before God acts in judgment against His people, He tells the prophet what He is going to do. The prophet tells the people so they will have time to repent, and not be punished. God gives them every opportunity to repent and they do not.

Verses 8-12: Amos employs a sight he probably saw as a shepherd; the parts of a mutilated sheep which was killed by a lion, to describe Israel's coming destruction. It will be complete; the Lord has spoken ("A lion has roared").

Amos 3:8 "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?"

Amos was compelled to "prophesy" what the "Lord God" had "spoken" (Jer. 20:9; Acts 3:8).

When the lion roars, it strikes terror in his prey. God has spoken through the prophet. It would be impossible for the prophet to withhold this message.

Amos 3:9 "Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof."

The heathen nations, such as the Philistines and Egyptians, were rhetorically summoned to witness God's judgment. If they condemn Israel, how much more will a righteous God?

"Ashdod" is used figuratively of all of Philistia, who with "Egypt:" is summoned to "Samaria" to view the unrest and oppression within it.

The Philistines and the Egyptians were both to be witnesses to the happenings in Israel. The Israelites had sought treaties with them. God had called them Israel's lovers. God was their only true help. Even the heathen would have condemned some of the terrible things they had been doing. God has turned His back on them. God wants the heathen to see that He is just and punishes His own when they do evil.

Amos 3:10 "For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces."

Not merely have lost the perception of what is and what is not right, but are indifferent to such distinctions. They know not and care not; the awful state of utter moral impotence, wherein not only the intellectual consciousness, but the impulses to action, are languid or even paralyzed. A dead conscience! Nothing is more condemnatory than this brief sentence. The light within them is darkness.

"Who store": (Literally, with indignation, "the storers").

"With violence and robbery": They could not understand what was right, while they habitually did what was wrong. They "stored up," as they deemed, the gains and fruits. The robbery and injustice they saw not, because they turned away from seeing. But what is "stored" up, is not what wastes away, but what abides. Who doubts it? Then, what they treasured, were not the perishing things of earth, but in truth, the sins themselves, as "a treasure of wrath against the Day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Rom. 2:5).

They have turned against the righteous teachings of their God, and gone for false gods. They have turned completely away from a life of justice and righteousness. They are doing what is right in their own sight. The office that goes with living in a palace is also one of great responsibility. It seems justice has been forgotten, they are violent robbers. They are even worse than the heathen who live around them.

Amos 3:11 "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; An adversary [there shall be] even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled."

"An adversary": The Assyrians who captured and deported Israel (in 722 B.C.).

Their adversary is really the LORD. Their land will be desolate around them. God has spoken judgment upon them. God will send an army against them that will destroy the palaces and take all the goodly things home.

Amos 3:12 "Thus saith the LORD; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus [in] a couch."

"Two legs, or a piece of an ear": A small and insignificant remnant will be salvaged from God's judgment. This remnant will be saved, not because they deserve it, but because of God's future messianic plans for Israel, which cannot be allowed to be thwarted by the nation's sin.

The Lord gives a vivid description of the small remnant left in Israel after the Assyrian invasion.

There will be only a very few saved in all of this. That is what is intended by finding a leg or an ear left in the lion's mouth. They will be carried away with none of their wealth. This is speaking of the remnant of the twelve tribes being very small and scattered in the lands around them. There are so many lost, that they are spoken of today by some as the 10 lost tribes of Israel. They are scattered in other lands.

Amos 3:13 "Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,"

"Hear ye, and testify" (as in verse 9), the heathen nations were once again called upon to witness and testify.

This is a call to hear and understand. They must tell this in the house of Jacob. The house of Jacob speaks of all 12 tribes of Israel. This double announcement of this being from God is the fact of God's great power in the heavens and in the earth to execute judgment on whomever He will. This is speaking of the self-existent Eternal One.

Amos 3:14 "That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Beth-el: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground."

"Beth-el": The principal place of idol worship in Israel (1 Kings 12:25-33).

People seeking asylum could grab the "horns" (or four corners), of an altar, assuring them of a just trial (Exodus 21:14; 1 Kings 1:50-51; 2:28). The picture of detached horns warns Israel that they will find no asylum from God's well-deserved judgment.

The horns of the altar were cut off, because that was where the blood had been applied. God will not allow them to sacrifice the blood of the lamb on the altar again. Judgment has come from God. They had greatly angered God, when they brought a calf into His house to be worshipped. This happened at Beth-el. The idol worshippers and their idols are destroyed.

Amos 3:15 "And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD."

Kings would sometimes build both "summer" and "winter" palaces. The rich people of Israel were living like kings at the expense of the oppressed.

They were so affluent, that the kings and princes had winter and summer homes. They had pampered themselves to the extent, that they had put walls of ivory in these palaces. God will destroy all of this finery; they have made to spoil themselves. God said it and it will be done.

Amos Chapter 3 Questions

1. Who had God spoken against in verse 1?

2. Who had brought them out of Egypt?

3. Why were the Israelites more responsible for their sins?

4. They had known God, and yet, they had done what?

5. God had accepted them as His _______.

6. What agreement had God made with them?

7. Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

8. What is the comparison of the lion and its prey with what was happening to them?

9. What is a "gin"?

10. The trap that all sinners have set for themselves is ______.

11. What was the trumpet in the city blown for?

12. Amos' message from God to these people was like the _________ ____________.

13. What had God done, prior to sending judgment upon His people?

14. When the lion roars, it strikes _________ in its prey.

15. Who were to witness this action of God?

16. Why did God call them to be witnesses?

17. They had turned against the ___________ teachings of their God.

18. They are doing what is right in their own _______.

19. Who is their true adversary?

20. Who will God send against them?

21. What is meant by verse 12?

22. What happens to the remnant?

23. What is verse 13 a call to do?

24. Where does God cut off the horns of the altar?

25. What terrible thing had they brought into worship in God's house?

26. Who is the God of hosts?

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Amos 4

Amos Chapter 4

Verses 1-5: The husbands of "Samaria" met their wives' demands for luxury by denying "the poor" justice, and then by taking their land through excessive taxation and usury. These wealthy women ("cows of Bashan"), were in turn using their wealth to enrich themselves rather than to help the needy, unaware that they were "fattening" themselves for the slaughter of God's devastating judgment.

Amos 4:1 "Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that [are] in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink."

"Ye kine of Bashan" is an indictment against the women of Samaria. The "cows" of Bashan were noted for being well fed and strong because of the lush pastures of the area. The women of Samaria lived in luxurious wantonness, enjoying their luxury because they oppressed the poor and crushed the needy. When the women of the land sink to such a low moral and degraded state, God's judgment must fall, for the entire land is degraded.

Bashan was a fertile region below Mt. Hermon east of the Jordan River known for its lush pastures. Under Jeroboam II, Israel was enjoying great prosperity.

"Kine", in the verse above, means a heifer. This is not a female cow, but speaking of women. It is terrible when a woman has no compassion on the poor. In the 31st chapter of Proverbs, there is a description of a virtuous woman. Read it all. I will give one verse here.

Proverbs 31:20 "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."

The woman (in verse 1 of this lesson), is the opposite of a virtuous woman, and is a disgrace to womanhood. She is not only greedy and hurtful to the poor, but it appears she is a drinker as well. It is bad enough to see an evil man, but an evil woman no one can bear.

Amos 4:2 "The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks."

As sure as God is holy and true, so certainly will he bring the threatened judgment upon you.

Days shall come (literally, are among), upon you. God's Day and eternity are ever coming. He reminds them of their continual approach. He says not only that they will certainly come, but they are ever coming. They are holding on their steady course. Each day which passes, they advance a day closer upon the sinner. Most people put out of their minds what "will come;" they "put far the evil day."

That he will take you away with hooks, and your future descendants with fish hooks. The enemy, the king of Assyria, or God by him, would take them out of their own land, as fish out of water. Out of their own element, and carry them captive into a strange land, both them and their posterity. And which should be as easily done as fish are taken with the hook, even though they were as the kine of Bashan.

God swears by Himself, because there is no one above Him, He is Holiness. God is absolute Truth and Holiness. The mention of the "hooks" means that the people will be helpless to save themselves. God will take them away as if they had a hook in their mouth. A fish is helpless when he has a fishhook in his mouth.

Amos 4:3 "And ye shall go out at the breaches, every [cow at that which is] before her; and ye shall cast [them] into the palace, saith the LORD."

At the breaches ... into the palace": Captives will be led out of the city through breaches in the walls, depicting massive overthrown. The location of the palace is unknown.

Cattle find a hole in the fence and go through it. These women will find a break in the wall and go out at it. They will be carried away by the enemy to their stronghold.

Verses 4-5: With poignant sarcasm, Amos indicted Israel for idolatrous sacrifices and ritualistic religion.

The people of Israel upheld the elements of religion they preferred. The feasting and festivals, while ignoring God's real priorities such as justice (5:14-15, 21-24; Hosea 6:6). They even set up a shrine in "Beth-el" so they would not have to travel to the temple in Jerusalem for worship. So God sarcastically told Israel to continue their hypocritical worship.

Amos 4:4 "Come to Beth-el, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, [and] your tithes after three years:"

"Beth-el ... Gilgal": Beth-el, the place of Jacob's dream (Gen. Chapter 28), and Gilgal, where Israel was circumcised before surrounding Jericho (Joshua 5:1-9), were sacred to Israel.

"Gilgal" represents Israel's early faithfulness (Joshua 5:10; 9:6).

Beth-el and Gilgal had been places of true worship in the past. These of Israel had turned both places into a place for false worship as they both were places where idols were worshipped. It is so strange that all the time the Israelites were worshipping false gods; they were still going through the motion of worshipping God. They were still sacrificing every day as they had before they started worshipping false gods.

There was a tithe that took place every third year, but most believe this is speaking of a tithe every three weeks which is not the law. This tithe had to be associated with their worship of false gods. (In 2nd Timothy chapter 3), we read that even in our day, people will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.

Amos 4:5 "And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim [and] publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD."

"Offer ... leaven": Though prohibited from most offerings, leaven was required as a part of the thank offering (Lev. 7:11-15).

Leaven symbolizes sin. The law forbids any leaven in any meat offering consumed by fire. Leavened bread was never to touch the altar. We see they had strayed very far from the law of their fathers.

Verses 6-11: Past warnings were futile, a fact repeatedly emphasized by "Yet you have not returned to Me" (verses 6, 8-11).

Before confronting sinners in final judgment, God has often used drastic measures, in this case, famine (4:6), drought (4:7-8), the devastation of crops (4:9), plague (4:10, and warfare (4:10); in an effort to get people's attention and bring them to repentance. Still, Israel would not return to Him. Every person must "prepare to meet ... God", either as loving father or as divine Judge (Heb. 10:31; Rev. 20:15).

Amos 4:6 "And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD."

"Cleanness of teeth": Amos employed this euphemism to depict the absence of food during the famine and drought sent by God to warn Israel, which he described (in verses 6-9; Deuteronomy 28:22-24; 47-48; Lev. 26:18).

The fact that their teeth were clean indicates a famine in the land. God brought the famine to cause them to repent and return to Him. Even the famine did not cause them to repent of their sins.

Amos 4:7 "And also I have withholden the rain from you, when [there were] yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered."

The withdrawal of rain at this period (February and March), is at the present day most calamitous to the crops in Palestine.

That you might see my hand in it and be instructed, I gave rain to one city, and withheld rain from the next neighbor city. Nay, one part of a field, the same field, was watered and flourished, another part dry and withered. All this was done to convince and turn you.

I stopped the rain until the fruits of the earth were destroyed with drought, and yet you would not consider and to return to me by repentance.

This is speaking of a drought coming. Again, God did this to get them to repent and turn back to Him, but they did not. He caused such selective places to rain so that it should have been obvious that this was a judgment of God upon them.

Amos 4:8 "So two [or] three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD."

Two or three cities, that is, the inhabitants of them, being without water, went up and down in quest of any city or place where they could find water for themselves and cattle to drink.

"But they were not satisfied": Could not get enough for their present use and much less to carry back with them to supply them for any length of time. Such a scarcity there was of it in other parts (see 1 Kings 18:5).

"Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord": This had no more effect upon them than the other to relinquish their former courses, and return unto the Lord by humiliation and repentance.

Sometimes the drought was so bad that they had to go to another city to get water. They still did not recognize God's hand in this and did not repent.

Amos 4:9 "I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured [them]: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD."

Literally, "an exceeding scorching," such as the hot east wind produced and "an exceeding mildew," a blight, in which the ears turn untimely a pale yellow, and had no grain. Both words are doubly intensive. They stand together in the prophecy of Moses (Deut. 28:22), among the other scourges of disobedience.

The palmer worm devoured them; just when they were budding and blossoming, and bringing forth fruit; and so what the blasting and mildew did not consume, the palmer worm, a kind of locust, did. Which has its name from its biting and cutting off the leaves and branches of trees, as of those mentioned vines, olives and fig trees, with which the land of Canaan abounded, the cutting off which was a great calamity.

"Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord": This dispensation of Providence was also without its desired fruit and effect (see Amos 4:6).

Even when they did make a crop, God sent mildew and ruined the fruit and vegetables. They still did not realize they were being punished for sin in their lives, and they did not repent and turn to God. Even the palmerworm (a type of locust) did not cause them to repent.

God's promise had been to bless them if they obeyed Him, and to curse them if they did not. If they had known His Word, they should have understood what was happening. It was within their own power to stop all of this. They just needed to repent and return to God.

Amos 4:10 "I have sent among you the pestilence 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 to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD."

"I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt": That is, after the way in which God had dealt with Egypt. God had twice promised, when the memory of the plagues which He sent on Egypt was still fresh in their minds: "if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, I will put none of the diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians" (Exodus 15:26; Deut. 7:15).

"Your young men have I slain with the sword": Of the enemy in battle; or as they were in the way to Egypt, being sent there to fetch food, but were intercepted by the enemy.

"And have taken away your horses": On which they rode to Egypt on the above errand. Or rather which they brought up from thence, contrary to the command of God.

"And have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils": Such numbers of their armies being slain, and these lying unburied, the smell of them was very noisome.

"Yet have ye not returned unto me saith the Lord": Still they continued to be obstinate and impenitent (see Amos 4:6).

Each punishment that God sent on them became a little worse, but it did no good at all. They did not repent. Even the loss of their sons to the sword, did not cause them to repent. The loss of their horses did not affect them either. The stink comes from the unburied dead bodies, possibly from some battle.

Amos 4:11 "I have overthrown [some] of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD."

"Firebrand plucked out of the burning": Only because of God's mercy was Israel saved from extinction (Zech. 3:2; Jude 23).

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone falling from God in heaven. A very similar thing had happened to some of them, but they were not moved enough to repent and return to God.

The general concept was first used of Israel's preparation to receive the covenant at Sinai (Exodus 19:11, 15); here she was implored to prepare for His judgment.

Amos 4:12 "Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: [and] because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel."

"Prepare to meet thy God" warns that God is not going to visit Israel with salvation, but rather with inevitable and complete judgment.

This last punishment will be so great, that they will die. All of the plagues God had sent before to warn them had not caused them to repent. God does not tell them exactly what this next punishment is, but frightens them by telling them to prepare to meet their God.

Amos 4:13 "For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what [is] his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, [is] his name."

This is the God whom they were to be prepared to face. He is the Lord God Almighty.

This is a declaration that Creator God will bring this punishment on them. This is no idle threat, but is made by the Ruler of the universe. The mountains are from generation to generation, and are one of the most permanent of His creations. No one knows where the wind comes from, but God created it too. God is God of all His creation. The Lord, Jehovah, the Eternal One, Alpha and Omega, the One who exists, the All Powerful, is still in control of all. He can do with any of it whatever He chooses. It all belongs to God.

Amos Chapter 4 Questions

1. What does "kine" mean?

2. Who are the kine in verse 1?

3. Where, in Proverbs, do we read about the virtuous woman?

4. This woman, in verse 1, is a disgrace to ______________.

5. What had God sworn by?

6. Why did He swear by that?

7. What does the mention of the "hooks" mean?

8. Where do the women go to find a way of escape?

9. What did Beth-el and Gilgal have in common?

10. What terrible thing had happened to them?

11. What do we read about in 2 Timothy 3, that is similar to their problem?

12. Leaven symbolizes ____.

13. The law forbids leaven in what offering?

14. Why were their teeth clean?

15. Why had God allowed this to happen to them?

16. What is verse 7 speaking of?

17. How bad was the drought?

18. When they did make a crop, what did God do to destroy it?

19. Each punishment that God sent on them became a little _________.

20. What did the stink come from?

21. How were Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed?

22. What did God tell them to prepare to do?

23. What is verse 13 a declaration of?

24. Why can God do this?

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Amos 5

Amos Chapter 5

Verses 1-2: A funeral dirge was taken up for Israel, likened to a young woman who had died.

Amos 5:1 "Hear ye this word which I take up against you, [even] a lamentation, O house of Israel."

In order to impress Israel the more, Amos begins this his third appeal by a "dirge" over its destruction, mourning over those who were full of joy, and thought themselves safe and enviable. As if a living man, in the midst of his pride and luxury and buoyant recklessness of heart, could see his own funeral procession, and hear, as it were, over himself the "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

It would give solemn thoughts, even though he should impatiently put them from him. So must it to Israel, when after the tide of victories of Jeroboam II, Amos said, "Hear this word which I am lifting up." As a heavy weight, to cast it down "against" or "upon you," a funeral "dirge," O house of Israel.

Amos is so sure this is going to happen that he brings a funeral message of mourning against the house of Israel.

Amos 5:2 "The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; [there is] none to raise her up."

"The virgin of Israel": The Israelite state heretofore unsubdued by foreigners (compare Isaiah 23:12; Jer. 18:13; 31:4, 21; Lam. 2:13). This may be interpreted: Thou who wast once the "virgin daughter of Zion."

There is none to raise her up: her princes and people are either slain by the sword, famine, and pestilence, or carried captive, and so can yield her no assistance; her idols whom she worshipped cannot, and her God she forsook will not.

Israel had been God's love but Israel did not give love in return to God. Even though God had protected and taken care of all of Israel's needs, they were not loyal to God, they went after strange gods. This is as if God has forsaken Israel. This is like a bill of divorcement. God was the only One for Israel, but now there is no one to lift her up.

Amos 5:3 "For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out [by] a thousand shall leave a hundred, and that which went forth [by] a hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel."

Many were to be killed in battle or taken captive; only a handful would return (3:12; Isaiah 6:11-13).

Only one out of ten will be saved, the rest are totally destroyed. It will not matter whether the city is small or large, only a tenth of those will return.

Verses 4-6: God will not be found in religion or empty ritual (symbolized here by "Beth-el") but in a whole hearted quest for Him ("Seek Me and live"). He promises He will be found by those who seek Him (Deut. 4:29; Isa. 55:6; Jer. 29:13).

Amos 5:4 "For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:"

Three times the invitation, "Seek ye me, and ye shall live," is given (verses 4, 6, 14). Though God's judgment is imminent, it can be avoided, or at least postponed, by seeking the Lord. The only hope is to seek the Lord in true repentance and thus avoid the judgment of God.

We see one more plea for them to repent and turn to God. If they would heed the warning and turn to God, even now, they would live.

Amos 5:5 "But seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought."

"Beth-el ... Gilgal" (see note on 4:4).

"Beer-sheba": Located in southern Judah, 50 miles southwest of Jerusalem, Beersheba had a rich Israelite history (Gen. 21:33; 26:23; 1 Sam. 8:1-3; 1 Kings 19:3-7). Apparently, people from the north crossed over the border to worship there (8:14).

In a previous lesson we saw these cities mentioned here, were changed into evil cities, where worship of their false gods was practiced. Both Gilgal and Beth-el are already condemned of God.

Amos 5:6 "Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour [it], and [there be] none to quench [it] in Beth-el."

"House of Joseph": Refers to the northern kingdom, since Ephraim and Manasseh, sons of Joseph, were two of its largest tribes.

The false gods of Beth-el would not be able to help them.

Hebrews 12:29 "For our God [is] a consuming fire."

Deuteronomy 9:3 "Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God [is] he which goeth over before thee; [as] a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee."

God needs no assistance. He can destroy by fire whatever He chooses. God was always fond of Joseph, but even Joseph's descendants could not get away with worship of false gods.

Verses 7-15: What does God require of His people? To do the opposite of the world: "hate the evil ... love the good ... and establish judgment."

Amos 5:7 "Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,"

"Judgment to wormwood": Justice was so perverted that it was like wormwood, an herb known for its bitter taste (Rev. 8:11).

The word "wormwood" means bad water. Even their judgment was corrupted. The wormwood plant gave a terribly bitter taste. Their judgment then, was bitter, instead of being righteous.

Amos 5:8 "[Seek him] that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name:"

"The seven stars and Orion": The seven stars, Pleiades, part of the constellation Taurus, and Orion depict God's creative power and wisdom (Job 9:9; 38:31-35). Israel was guilty of worshiping the stars (verse 26), instead of their Creator.

The seven stars are possibly, the constellation of the Pleiades. I really believe the number seven is not to be taken literally, but speaks of the completeness of the stars that God created. Probably, this shepherd was used to seeing the ones mentioned here. The mention of "death turning into the morning" has to do with darkness being turned into the Light that God provides.

We are all condemned to death, until the Light of God shines into our lives and brings us everlasting life. We remember that God turned the day into darkness at the crucifixion of Jesus. God can bring a flood, or a drought, at His call. The LORD is Ruler of it all.

Amos 5:9 "That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress."

You have been exceedingly weakened and spoiled by your enemies; yet return, repent, seek God, for he can renew your strength, that you shall spoil your spoilers who are strong.

"Against the strong": The mighty, victorious, and insolent.

"The spoiled": Those that had lost their strength, and were as conquered.

"Shall come against the fortress": Shall rally, re-embody, and form a siege against their besiegers: so God, whom you should serve, will soon turn all from dark and dismal into light and pleasing unto you and yours; in your apostasy all will be misery and darkness, but in your return all shall be well and prosperous with you.

God can stop the strong and give them over to the spoiled in the fraction of a second. He speaks and it becomes. God caused a little shepherd boy to kill the giant Goliath. It is nothing for God to cause the oppressed to win over the oppressor.

Verses 10-13: The fabric of justice had been destroyed, causing pervasive corruption "in the gate," the place where justice was administered (verse 15, Deut. 21:19; Joshua 20:4).

Amos 5:10 "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh Uprightly."

The usual place of administering justice and of reproving and passing judgment on iniquity. The prophet now, after having descanted upon God's wondrous power, returns to enumerate the crimes of the Israelites. And begins with telling them, that they in general hated the judges who reproved them for their injurious conduct and acts of fraud or violence, and endeavored to do justice to the oppressed.

And besides this, they hated the prophets and private persons who rebuked ungodliness and unrighteousness, and exhorted men to the practice of piety and virtue.

The one who rebuketh in the gate was probably the prophet. They did not want to hear his message, so they hated him. They felt they were above rebuke.

Amos 5:11 "Forasmuch therefore as your treading [is] upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them."

Ye take gifts of sifted corn, as a contribution to your own luxury, and which the poor man was not bound to offer, and only would offer to purchase your good will. Therefore, your pomp and luxury shall be of no avail. Such is God's judgment on indifference to the wants and feedings of the poor.

"Ye have built houses of hewn stones": In a very grand and pompous manner for themselves and their children, with money they had extorted from the poor, and got by oppression and injustice.

"But ye shall not dwell in them": At least but a very short time; for quickly and suddenly the enemy will come and turn you out of them, and destroy them, which would be a just retaliation for their spoiling the houses of the poor.

"Ye have planted pleasant vineyards": Well situated, and filled with the choicest vines, which promise a large produce of the best wine. But before the grapes are fully ripe they should be either taken away by death, or be carried captive and others should dwell in their houses, and drink the wine of their vineyards.

They had no compassion for the poor, so God had no compassion on them. They had literally robbed from the poor, by the tribute they required them to pay. Stone houses were the sign of wealth. They had lived in luxury and took no thought for the poor. God will take it away from them. They will not have a chance to live in those houses.

Amos 5:12 "For I know your manifold transgressions, and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate [from their right]."

Their sins were numerous, and of the first magnitude, attended with very heavy aggravations; and these with all their circumstances were well known to the omniscient God, and therefore he determined to punish them as he had threatened. Some of their transgressions are pointed out.

"They afflict the just": Who are so both in a moral and evangelic sense; not comparatively only, but really. And particularly whose cause was just, and yet were vexed and distressed by unjust judges, who gave the cause against them, made them pay all costs and charges, and severely penalized them.

"They take a bribe": Of those that were against the just, and gave the cause for them. The word signifies "a ransom".

"And they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right": In the court of judicature, where they should have done them justice, such courts being usually held in the gates of cities; but instead of that they perverted their judgment, and did them wrong.

Their sins were against their fellowman as well as against God. They were not honest. They took bribes and had their judgment tainted by those bribes. They oppressed the poor every chance they had. They were respecters of those who could bribe them.

Amos 5:13 "Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it [is] an evil time."

"Therefore": Because that men are so universally impatient of hearing reproof, and yet their sins so much abound, and so much deserve reproof; since they will sooner turn against the speaker, than turn from the sin spoken against.

"The prudent": The wise men; prophets, say some, but I rather think other private men are here meant, whose private capacity allow them to keep silence when others must speak.

"Shall keep silence": Be forced to it, say some, they shall be silenced; this is true. But rather here is a voluntary, chosen silence toward vile corrupters of law and justice, who will nothing change though reproved. Or a silence before God, owning his justice in punishing such sinners.

"For it is an evil time": Both for the sinfulness of it, which provoked God to wrath, and for the sorrows, troubles, wars, and captivity of this people, by the Assyrians.

This is a time of such moral decay, that even the prophets could not sway them away from their sins. It was no use to try to warn them, so it was wise to just say nothing.

Amos 5:14 "Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken."

"Seek good and not evil": Turn to the law of God, study it, that ye may do the good it required in works of piety, justice, and charity. You have devised evil, and done it in works of impiety, injustice, and cruelty. Or this may be the same with (Amos 5:4-6), which see.

"That ye may live" (see Amos 5:4).

"The Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you": The eternal glorious God, who is Lord of all, and can help you, having all the hosts of heaven and earth at his disposal; he will be with you to bless and save you yet, notwithstanding all your former sins.

"As ye have spoken": You have boasted his being with you, you think he is bound to be with you and own you; so he will indeed, but it is if you repent, cease from idols and violence.

Amos did not take his own advice; he kept trying to reach all that he could. He continued to tell them to seek good and not evil. He was warning them so they could save their own lives. They thought because of their covenant relationship with God, they could do whatever they wanted to do and get away with it.

Amos 5:15 "Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph."

These words were echoed by the prophet Micah and by Jesus (Micah 6:8; Matt. 19:19). Slight dislikes will do little in this ease. You rulers and judges must heartily "hate" and show that you hate, the evil, both ways, doings, contrivers, and abettors of the evil among the people and yourselves.

"And love the good": Commend, encourage, defend, and reward all good in others, and do it yourselves. Let your heart be toward good things and good men.

"Establish judgment in the gate": By this it is evident the prophet speaks to governors and judges among them. What the import of the phrase is (see Amos 5:10, 12). Set up honest and upright judges in every gate where judges did sit in those days.

It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious. Possibly he will forgive, or abate or respite the evil days. Possibly he may give you his gracious presence, and yet save.

"The remnant of Joseph": What the invasions of enemies, or the civil wars. have spared and left in Samaria and Israel, the ten tribes (Amos 5:6).

Hate for evil and love for good, was a condition of their hearts. This would be having your heart right with God. Their judgment should be based upon truth. The descendants of Joseph were Ephraim and Manasseh, or the 10 tribes of Israel.

Acts 8:22 "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."

Hebrews 1:9 "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

Verses 16-20: In Amos' day, the Israelites looked forward to "the Day of the Lord." Expecting it would be one of "light", symbolizing deliverance, prosperity and restored political greatness. But in fact, that day would bring them the "darkness" of divine judgment (5:20).

Verses 16-17: Looking back at the accusations made earlier, Amos pictured the people mourning as the Lord passed through their midst, executing His sentence of judgment (Exodus 11:3).

"I will pass through you" may be an allusion to (Exodus 12:12), where the Lord announced He would pass through Egypt and kill the firstborn of Egypt. If so, there is great irony in God judging His own people as He had once judged their ancient enemy.

Amos 5:16 "Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing [shall be] in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skillful of lamentation to wailing."

The prophet, foreseeing their obstinacy, proceeds in denouncing judgments against them. And the word "therefore", which introduces his threatening's, is to be referred to the twelfth verse and not to the verses immediately foregoing. As if he had said it is on account of your evil deeds, and because you will not be persuaded to hate the evil and love the good, that "the Lord saith thus".

"Wailing shall be in all streets, and in all the highways": There shall be a general lamentation of all orders and degrees of men. Of the citizens for the loss of their wealth and substance plundered by the conquerors. Of the husbandmen and vine-dressers for the loss of the fruits of the earth, destroyed or eaten up by the enemies' army.

"And such as are skillful of lamentation": Let those, whose profession it is to make lamentation at funerals, join in this public mourning, to make it more solemn.

The LORD prefers to bless them. They will not do as Amos has told them from God, therefore, God has no choice but to punish them. God has punished them in several ways to get them to repent, but they repented not. God has no choice but to allow His judgment to come upon them. They will feel great sorrow and despair as they have gone too far.

Amos 5:17 "And in all vineyards [shall be] wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD."

"And in all vineyards shall be wailing": Where there used to be shouting and rejoicing, when the summer-fruits were gathered in.

"For I will pass through thee, saith the Lord": To punish all everywhere: I will act like an enemy that invades and destroys a country as he marches through it.

Generally, the vineyard brought great joy to the owner of the vineyard. Now there is great despair. They will weep for the failure of the vineyard.

Verses 18-20: Even the wicked wanted the Day of the Lord to come, mistakenly thinking that it would bring victory instead of judgment (Zeph. 1:14-18).

The word "woe" (or "alas"; 1 Kings 13:30; Jer. 22:18-19), was used at funerals to lament the loss of the deceased. Amos uses this language and two hypothetical scenes to depict the inescapability of God's judgment if his audience does not repent (5:4-5; 9:1-4).

Amos 5:18 "Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end [is] it for you? the day of the LORD [is] darkness, and not light."

Scoffing, not believing any such day will come. For this seems to be spoken of some among them, who, in mockery, expressed a desire of seeing those things which the prophet predicted brought to pass. Or, it may respect those who, notwithstanding all the prophet had said, still expected God would appear in their favor, not to their destruction (see Isaiah 5:19).

"To what end is it for you?" why do you desire it? What benefit do you expect to get by it?

"The Day of the Lord is darkness, and not light": It will bring on affliction, calamities, miseries, and distress, which are often in Scripture expressed by "darkness", and not prosperity and happiness, which are sometimes signified by "light" (see Isaiah 5:30).

And even the day of the coming of Christ were to the unbelieving Jews darkness, and not light. They were blinded in it, and given up to judicial blindness and darkness. They hating and rejecting the light of Christ, and his Gospel, and which issued in great calamities, in the utter ruin and destruction of that people (John 3:19).

They thought "the Day of the LORD" would be a restoration to them. They thought the punishment would be against their enemies. They had never imagined the punishment would have been on them for their sins. Amos explains to them here, this judgment is against them. It is not a day of the Light coming to them, but a day when God withdraws from them and darkness prevails. This darkness is a spiritual darkness where the Light of the world is gone from them.

Amos 5:19 "As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him."

"As if a man did flee from a lion": The Day of the Lord is a day of terror on every side. Before and behind, without and within, abroad under the roof of heaven, or under the shelter of his own, everywhere is terror and death.

The Syrian bear is said to have been more fierce and savage than the lion. For its fierceness and voracity (Daniel 7:5). God made it in Daniel's vision, a symbol of the empire of the Medes. From both lion and bear there might be escape by flight.

When the man had "leaned his hand" trustfully "on the wall" of his own house, "and the serpent bit him," there was no escape. He had fled from death to death, from peril to destruction.

They felt secure in the fact that they were God's chosen. They felt sure they had been freed from all danger, when in fact; the danger to them had increased. They were like the man thinking he was safe from the lion, and was destroyed by the bear. He was also, like the man that went into the safety of his house and then was bitten by a serpent. There was no safe place to hide from the judgment of God.

Amos 5:20 "[Shall] not the day of the LORD [be] darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?"

The design of such a question is strongly to affirm that, in this Day of the Lord spoken of; there should be nothing but misery and distress and no prosperity and happiness. At least to the wicked Israelites or the unbelieving Jews.

"Even very dark, and no brightness in it": Signifying that there should be no deliverance, nor the least glimmering view or hope of it. That the calamity should be so very great and the destruction so entire, that there should be no mixture of mercy, nor the least appearance of relief.

Matthew 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:"

Any time a person or a nation has gone completely away from God, is a day of darkness.

Verses 21-24: When performed with a corrupt heart, even the savored festivals and offerings were despised by the Lord (Lev. 26:27, 31; Psalms 51:16-17, 19).

Amos 5:21 "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies."

"I hate, I despise your feast days": Religious activity without heart reality is repugnant to God. God-ordained forms of worship and religious expression without heart reality become only nauseating, empty formalism; and they anger rather than appease God.

God was very aware, that their worship of Him had fallen to just a formality. They were not in love with God at all, the desire of their hearts was to follow after false gods. God hated their form of religion.

1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams."

God did not want their sacrifices; He wanted their loyalty and love. The fact that he would not smell, meant that He would not accept their sweet smelling savor. The following Scripture is what He really wants.

Mark 12:33 "And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Amos 5:22 "Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept [them]: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts."

The daily burnt offerings, morning and night, and others which were wholly the Lord's. And the "minchah", or bread offering, which went along with them. In which they thought to do God service, and to merit his favor. But instead of that they were unacceptable to him, being neither offered up in a proper place, or in a right manner according to the Law of Moses. However, not in the faith of the great sacrifice, Christ; nor attended with repentance towards God.

"Neither will I regard the peace-offerings": Your thank-offerings too (Lev. 6:12; 7:15). Praises for your prosperity are no better pleasing either.

"Of your fat beasts": In these peace-offerings, though you bring the best and the fattest, yet you bring nothing but a beast; for you leave your hearts with your sins. You have no warrant from God to do this, nay; you are prohibited, for you are to offer only at Jerusalem and at the temple.

They had mixed their idolatry with the worship with sacrifices and burnt offerings. This was an abomination to God.

Luke 16:15 "And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

Amos 5:23 "Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols."

"Take thou away from me": Literally, "from upon me," that is, from being a burden to me or a weight on Me. So, God says by Isaiah, "your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth; they are a burden upon Me; I am weary to bear them" (Isaiah 1:14). Their "songs" and hymns were but a confused, tumultuous, "noise," since they had not the harmony of love.

"For I will not hear the melody of thy viols": Which may be put for all instruments of music used by them, as violins, harps, psalteries, etc. The sound which no matter how melodious; the Lord would turn a deaf ear unto and not regard.

Songs which were sung to God were a sweet, sweet sound in His ear. They were another way of praising God. Songs that did not come from the heart were noise to the Lord. A "viol" was like a lyre.

Amos 5:24 "But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."

The Hebrew verb form indicates that "Let judgment run" is a call to establish justice as recorded (in verse 15). "In the gate", meaning as an ongoing, daily part of life (Micah 6:8).

Judgment will come as rain falls from heaven. God's judgment will be under His control alone. God's judgment is also righteous.

Verses 25-26: In addition to worshiping the Lord in the wilderness, Israel also worshiped other gods, carrying along "Sikkuth (or "tabernacle"), your king (or "Molech"), and Kiyyun, your images." Molech worship included the astrological worship of Saturn and the host of heaven and the actual sacrificing of children (2 Kings 17:16-17).

Warned against Molech worship (Deut. 18:9-13), Israel nevertheless pursued all facets of it. Continuing with Solomon (1 Kings 11:7), and his descendants (1 Kings 12:28; 2 Kings 17:16-17; Jer. 32:35), until Josiah (2 Kings 23:10). Stephen recited (Amos 5:25-27), when he recounted the sins of Israel (in Acts 7:42-43).

Amos 5:25 "Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?"

"Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings": No; they were not offered to God, but to devils, to the golden calf, and to the host of heaven: so their fathers did.

"In the wilderness forty years": Where sacrifices were omitted during that time, a round number for a broken one, it being about thirty eight years; and these their children were imitators of them, and offered sacrifice to idols too, and therefore deserved punishment as they.

"O house of Israel?" These are the ten tribes (northern tribes), who are here particularly charged and threatened (see Acts 7:42).

God is showing them, that even from the very beginning; they did not worship God in sincerity. Their worship even then was out of obligation, instead of because of their pure love for God. They have never changed.

Amos 5:26 "But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves."

Your ancestors manifested their want of true devotion toward me, in that they were so prone to practice those idolatries which they learned in Egypt, or which they saw practiced in the countries through which they passed (see Num. 25:2; Jos. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7; 20:16; 23:3; 23:8).

The worship was certainly some form of star-worship, since there follows, "the star of your god." It took place after the worship of the calf. For Stephen, after having spoken of that idolatry says, "Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets" (Acts 7:42).

Upon their rebellions, God at last gave them up to themselves. Stephen calls the god whom they worshiped "Rephan," quoting the then existing Greek translation, "having regard".

They had worshipped false gods all along. They physically carried these idols with them wherever they went. God was carried in their hearts but they would not accept God as their only Lord. The star is possibly Saturn. There was much worship of false gods associated with stars.

Moloch was also a false god, as were these images (Chiun). We have said it over many times, that things you can create with your own hands are not gods. God is Spirit, if you can see Him with physical eyes, it is not God. The True God is Spirit and is taken on faith.

Amos 5:27 "Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name [is] The God of hosts."

Assyria conquered Damascus (in 732 B.C.), and then overtook Israel (in 722 B.C.).

Now we see the punishment for their unfaithfulness to God for worshipping false gods. They were taken to Damascus as captives. This happens because God has judged them, and found them guilty of worshipping false gods. God brings the captivity.

Amos Chapter 5 Questions

1. What type of message does Amos bring?

2. Why does he bring this type of message?

3. What is verse 2 saying?

4. The city that went in by the thousand shall leave an _________.

5. What is verse 4 pleading with them to do?

6. What do Beth-el and Gilgal have in common?

7. What sin had Joseph's descendants committed, that God would not overlook?

8. What does "wormwood" mean?

9. The wormwood plant gave off a ________ taste.

10. What are the seven stars, possibly?

11. What does the author believe about the seven stars?

12. What does "death turning into the morning" have to do with?

13. When is a specific time, when God turned the day into darkness?

14. God caused a _________ ____ to kill the giant, Goliath.

15. Who was the one who rebuked in the gate?

16. Who lived in houses of hewn stone?

17. What were some of their transgressions?

18. Why was it wise to just say nothing?

19. Seek _____, and not ______, that ye may live.

20. Hate for evil, and love for good, was a condition of their ________.

21. Who were the descendants of Joseph?

22. In all the vineyards shall be __________.

23. The Day of the Lord is ____________, and not ________.

24. There was no safe place to hide from the _________ of God.

25. What had their worship of God become?

26. God did not want their sacrifices; He wanted their __________ and ________.

27. Why would God not accept their offerings?

28. Songs are another way of _____________ God.

29. What is a "viol"?

30. What will God's judgment on them be like?

31. Their worship of God, even in the wilderness, had been out of _____________.

32. Things you can create with your own hands are not ______.

33. The True God is _________, and is taken on ________.

34. What will happen to them in punishment for their sins?

35. What was their sin?

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Amos 6

Amos Chapter 6

Verses 1-2: The two capitals of Judah and Israel, Zion and Samaria, were invited to look around. If Calneh (possibly the Calno of Isa. 10:9), and Hamath (Syria), and Gath (Philistia), could not put off judgment, how could they?

The people were enjoying a life of "ease", but Amos seeks to disrupt their complacency by again prefacing his message with "woe", a word that would have stirred up images of death in the minds of his audience (Luke 6:24).

Amos 6:1 "Woe to them [that are] at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, [which are] named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!"

"Woe To them that are at ease": This comprised many and great sorrows, all that God intends against these sinners. Who live in abundance, eat, drink, sleep, and are secure. That think tomorrow shall be as this day; and neither fear nor believe the threatened judgments of God. Zion, by a word put for the kingdom of the two tribes, and principally the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Zion; the ten tribes were therefore threatened. Now the prophet warns the two tribes.

"And trust in the mountain of Samaria": Woe to them also who rely upon the strength, wealth, and policy of the king, princes, cities, and kingdom of Samaria or Israel!

"Which are named chief of the nations": Which two cities, Zion and Samaria. Accounted chief cities among the known cities of that part of the world. Others refer this passage to the nobles, wise men and great men of each place; men that were heads among their own people.

"To whom the house of Israel came": To which places all Israel had recourse; so the two tribes went up to Zion, the ten tribes went to Samaria. Or, to whom, i.e. to which nobles and rulers, the people of each kingdom did go on all occasions for judgment, counsel or refuge.

They were living in an affluent time and also felt that they were secure. They were doing things pleasing in their own sight. Samaria seemed to be perfectly safe, where no one would dare attack them. The very first word in the warning above is "woe". This is a warning that things will change for the worse. "Zion" speaks spiritually of the church. The church is dwelling at ease today. It is a dangerous thing to get satisfied with self.

Amos 6:2 "Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: [be they] better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?"

Pass over to Calneh - He bids them behold, east, north, and west, survey three neighboring kingdoms, and see whether God had not, even in the gifts of this world, dealt better with Israel. Why then so requite Him? "Calneh" (which Isaiah calls "Calno" Isaiah 10:9, Ezekiel, "Canneh Ezekiel 27:23), was one of the four cities, built by Nimrod "in the land of Shinar (Genesis 10:10, at the beginning of his kingdom.)"

"Go ye to Hamath the great": A city of Syria, on the Orontes. It was conquered by Jeroboam (2 Kings 14:25); and by the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:34). Called here Hamath the great to distinguish it from Hemath, mentioned in (Amos 6:14), which was the northern boundary of Palestine.

"Then go down to Gath": This city was taken by Uzziah, in whose reign Amos prophesied (2 Chron. 26:6).

"Be they better than these kingdoms?" The kingdoms of Judah and Israel? The answer seems to be yes, they were better.

"Their border greater than your border": So that they had more reason to be confident of their safety than you have; yet you see what is become of them, and dare you be secure? Thus Nahum asks Nineveh (Nahum 3:8,)

God invites them to go and compare the countries around them and see that God has blessed them far above their neighbors. Calneh is one of the five great Babylonian cities. It is an ancient city pertaining to Nimrod's kingdom. This specific mention of Calneh may be speaking of modern Kullanhu. Hamath was the principle city of Syria and Gath is a Philistine city. They were great cities, but not as blessed as Samaria.

Amos 6:3 "Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;"

They choose to think that the day of reckoning is far off, and cling yet closer to their habits of defrauding the poor at the seat of judgment (Ezekiel 12:21-28).

"And cause the seat of violence to come near": Boldly venture upon the commission of acts of injustice, seizure, and violence, on a presumption the evil day threatened will never come. Or place themselves on the bench in courts of justice and there, without any manner of concern. Commit the greatest acts of unrighteousness, as believing they shall never be called to an account for them by God or man.

Wickedness and oppression ruled in their land as if they were king. They did not feel that the judgment Amos spoke of was near. They felt it was somewhere in the far distant future, when in fact, it was to happen very soon.

Amos 6:4 "That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;"

That lie upon beds (that is, sofas), that is probably inlayed with ivory. The word might, in itself, express either the bed, in which they slept by night, or the divan, on which the Easterners lay at their meals. "And stretch themselves," literally, "are poured" out , stretching their listless length, dissolved, unnerved, in luxury and sloth, "upon their couches," perhaps under an awning.

"And eat the lambs," probably fatted lambs (as in Deuteronomy 32:14; Psalm 37:20; 1 Samuel 15:9; Jeremiah 51:40).

"Out of the flock": Chosen, selected out of it as the best, and "calves out of the midst of the stall;" that is, the place where they were tied up (as the word means), to be fattened. They were stall-fed, as we say, and these people had the best chosen for them.

They were living in luxury. These beds seemed to have ivory inlay in them. Stretching themselves on their couch makes them appear to be lazy, they are indulging themselves with every pleasure. This speaks of a people who are pampering and petting themselves. They are eating the lambs and the calves. This speaks of someone who lies around doing nothing except stuffing themselves. They indulged themselves in every way.

Amos 6:5 "That chant to the sound of the viol, [and] invent to themselves instruments of music, like David;"

"Chant to the sound of the viol ... like David": They displayed a genius and creativity similar to that of King David, but with one great difference: David's music was inspired by God and directed man's heart to praise Him. Their music turned a man's heart away from God to their own lusts.

Chanting is not the same thing as singing songs of praise to God. This could be worldly songs they are singing just to pass the time, or it could be chants made to a false god. They have turned the use of the beautiful instruments of music to instruments used for the wrong purpose. David used His instruments of music to worship and praise God. That is not the purpose of the instruments of music these people were using, this was part of their self-indulgence.

Amos 6:6 "That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph."

"Drink wine in bowls": These large bowls, usually used for sacrificial purposes, here typify the excesses of their lifestyle.

As if lying around eating and singing idle songs are not enough, they drink along with it. The "drinking wine in bowls" had to do with the worship of false gods. I believe the chanting was to false gods as well. They used the beautiful perfume for themselves. They are not even interested in the coming fall of the ten tribes of Israel. First of all, they did not even believe it would happen.

Amos 6:7 "Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed."

The punishment fits the crime. Those who thought of themselves as more important than others (6:1), and demanded the very best oil for themselves (6:6), would be at the head of the line ("the first of the captives"), when the enemy took the nation into exile.

They will go into captivity even before Judah and Jerusalem. In the very first of the captives, these who have indulged themselves will be taken. There will be no more banquets for them.

Amos 6:8 "The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein."

"Sworn by himself" (Genesis 22:16; Hebrews 6:13-14).

They had become something that God did not like. He did not bless them for them to oppress others. He intended for all of His people to be blessed, not just those in power. God swears by Himself, because there is no greater to swear by. This punishment will come upon them, because God has spoken it. God will break the arrogant attitude of Israel. They have put their confidence in things rather than in God.

Verses 9-10: The judgment was so comprehensive that even small remnants were sought out and killed.

Amos 6:9 "And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die."

The thing is decreed, and shall take effect.

"If there remain": Or escape the enemies' sword, or the famine of Samaria, besieged three years.

"Ten men in one house": If as many as ten (Lev. 26:26; Zech. 8:23), remain in a house (a rare case), and only in the scattered villages, as there will be scarcely a house in which the enemy will leave any.

"That they shall die": Either of pestilence or by some other stroke of God's hand; though they escape a while they shall not finally escape (2 Kings 17:5).

This is probably speaking of the ten men living in luxury. If they are not killed by war they will be killed by a famine.

Amos 6:10 "And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that [is] by the sides of the house, [Is there] yet [any] with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD."

"A man's uncle": Or undertaker, literally "one who burns him." This could refer to cremation, demanded by the excessive number killed and because of fear of epidemics. With rare exceptions (1 Sam. 31:12), corpses were buried in ancient Israel.

"Not make mention of the name of the Lord": Previously welcomed as a friend, the Lord came in judgment as a foe; survivors would not want to invoke His name out of fear.

We see in this the terribleness of the siege on Samaria as it lasts for 3 years. The uncle here, is speaking of the near kinsman that comes to bury the body of the deceased. There are so many dead that they burn them, instead of putting them in graves. They cannot call upon the name of the LORD, because His judgment has already come.

Amos 6:11 "For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts."

Consider this well: it seems to be the continued speech of him who took care of the dead (Amos 6:10).

"And he will smite the great house with breaches": Or "droppings"; so that the rain shall drop through.

"And the little house with clefts": So that it shall fall to ruin; that is, he shall smite the houses both of great and small. Of the princes, and of the common people, either with an earthquake, so that they shall part asunder and fall; or, being left without inhabitants, shall of course become desolate, there being none to repair their breaches.

Some understand, by the "great house", the ten tribes of Israel; and, by the "little house", the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The futility of praying now is what was spoken of in the previous verse. Whatever God commands, He does. The houses will be destroyed.

Verses 12-14: Amos offers a pair of ridiculous rhetorical questions, "Horses" trying to "run" on rock walls and farmers trying to "plow" a rocky cliff, to illustrate how unnatural and unsustainable Israel's views of justice were. Because Israel relied too much on its military strength and too little on God, they would lose the cities they had overtaken.

Amos 6:12 "Shall horses run upon the rock? will [one] plow [there] with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:"

"Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen?" The two questions are rhetorical and demand a negative answer. Horses do not run on rocks, or else they would become lame; nor does one plow rocks with oxen, or else the plow would be broken. To violate natural law is to reap the consequences of it. Even more, Israel's folly in transgressing God's law will bring certain judgment.

Israel's exercise of justice was as absurd as running horses on rocks or plowing rocks with oxen.

Horses cannot walk very fast on rock strewn roads. The oxen cannot plow a field full of rocks either. They have turned judgment into bitterness. This is just an explanation of the foolish things they had done. Hemlock is the same as wormwood. Their righteousness was as filthy rags. Their righteousness was polluted.

Amos 6:13 "Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?"

This sarcastically points out that Israel's "great" gain will amount to nothing. The "horns", Israel foolishly believed they had conquered in their own strength.

They had rejoiced in the unimportant things of this world. They were not depending on God's strength but upon their own strength (horns). They could not depend upon themselves.

Amos 6:14 "But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness."

The Assyrian nation, under its king, Shalmaneser; who invaded Israel, came up to Samaria, and after a three years' siege took it, and carried Israel captive into foreign lands (2 Kings 17:5).

"And they shall afflict you": By battles, sieges, forages, plunders, and burning of cities and towns, and putting the inhabitants to the sword.

"From the entering in of Hemath": A city of Syria bordering on the land of Israel north-east, and was an inlet into Syria from the north of Canaan.

"Unto the river of the wilderness": This is Sichor, in the most southwest parts of Canaan towards Egypt. So all your country, Judah, and all shall be oppressed by that nation which I will raise and strengthen against you.

This is speaking of the Assyrians coming against Israel. The Assyrians do the fighting, but it is actually judgment of God against these people. This just means the whole land is under attack.

Amos Chapter 6 Questions

1. Woe to them that are at ease in ________.

2. What was named chief among nations?

3. What does "Zion" speak of spiritually?

4. Why did God invite them to compare themselves to their neighbors?

5. Calneh is one of five great ______________ cities.

6. Hamath was the principle city of __________.

7. Gath is a ____________ city.

8. _______________ and _____________ ruled in their land.

9. Why did they not take more heed to Amos?

10. That lie upon beds of ___________.

11. They were living in _____________.

12. Stretching themselves on their couch makes them appear to be ______.

13. What is the chanting in verse 5?

14. What had David used his instruments of music for?

15. "The drinking wine in bowls" had to do with what?

16. What will happen to these self-indulgent people?

17. Why does God swear by Himself?

18. Where had Israel placed their confidence?

19. What does verse 10 show us?

20. How long did the siege last on Samaria?

21. Why did the near kinsman burn their bodies?

22. What is intended by "shall the horses run upon the rock?"

23. Hemlock is the same as _____________.

24. Their righteousness was as ________ _____.

25. Whose strength were they depending on?

26. Who is the nation God raises up against them?

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Amos 7

Amos Chapter 7

Verses 7:1 - 9:10: Amos introduced 5 visions, with a historical interlude (7:10-17). The first two depict the Lord's commitment to spare a remnant, while the last 3 announce the inevitability of judgment.

Verses 1-6: These first two visions ("locust swarms" and "fire"), represent the Lord's rescue of a remnant from judgment. After the first vision, Amos prays to God to "forgive" the people. After the second vision, Amos is so overwhelmed by the coming destruction that he asks the Lord to "cease" from judgment.

Amos 7:1 "Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, [it was] the latter growth after the king's mowings."

The Lord also showed me the following things. Here the prophet mentions the first of five prophetic representations of what was coming upon this people.

Each of the visions is introduced with closely resembling words. For "grasshopper," read locusts. The phrase "king's mowings" suggests that the king claimed tyrannically the firstfruits of the hay harvest, which was ordinarily followed by the early "rain upon the mown grass." (1 Kings 18:5).

"The king's mowings" of the first crop may signify the distresses of the people of Israel, in the times of Jehoahaz king of Israel. By Hazael and Benhadad kings of Syria (2 Kings 13:3), when things revived again. Like the shooting up of the later grass in the reign of Joash. And especially of Jeroboam his son, who restored the coast of Israel, the Lord having compassion on them (2 Kings 13:25).

But after his death things grew worse. His son reigned but six months and he that slew him but one. And in the reign of Menahem that succeeded him, an invasion of the land was made by Pul king of Assyria (2 Kings 15:19); which is generally thought to be intended here.

This is like a vision, or either a knowing within Amos. We do know that God showed this to Amos, regardless of how it came. God uses things like grasshoppers to carry out His judgment. Everything and everyone are in the control of God. It appears there was some sort of taxation on the crop. We see this comes after the king has his portion of it. Grasshoppers are locusts that devour the crops.

Amos 7:2 " And it came to pass, [that] when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he [is] small."

That is, the locusts; when in the vision it seemed to the prophet that almost all the grass of the land was eaten up, and they were going to seize upon the corn, and other fruits of the earth and spreading themselves over the land, threatened it with desolation, as these locusts seemed to have wholly consumed all the grass of the land.

"By whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small": Or "little", like the first shooting up of the grass. Or, as Noldius renders it, "how otherwise should Jacob stand?" and so Kimchi, how should there be a standing for him? That is, unless God forgives his sin and turns away his wrath, how shall he stand up under the weight of his sins, which must lie upon him unless forgiven?

And how shall he bear the wrath and indignation of God for them? And so if any sinner is not forgiven, how shall he stand before God to serve and worship him now; or at his tribunal with confidence hereafter? Or sustain his wrath and displeasure to all eternity (see Psalm 130:3).

We see Amos intercedes for the people, after he has this vision. He pleads with God to lift this judgment on the people. He does not know how they will live, if God does not. He is afraid this plague of locust would totally destroy the family of Jacob (Israel).

Verses 3-6: Just one person's prayers can make a difference (Gen. 18:22-23): The Lord "relented", agreeing to spare a remnant because of Amos' intercession.

Amos 7:3 "The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD."

"The LORD repented": Much like he did at Abraham's pleading over Sodom (in Gen. 18:22-23).

God heard the prayers of Amos and did not bring this last plague on Israel. To say the "LORD repented", means that He changed His mind about this punishment.

Verses 4-6: Under the figure of fire, the second vision concerns a devastating drought, causing the underground water supplies to dry up and the fields to be consumed (Deut. 32:22). Amos again pleaded Israel's cause (verses 2-3).

Amos 7:4 "Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part."

"Great deep" means the vast reservoir of underground water, as well as the sea. Such a fire would be inextinguishable (Gen. 7:11; 8:2; 49:25; Isa. 51:10).

Now we see the prophet is shown a vision, or a knowing within himself, of another, more devastating plague that God will bring upon Israel. This fire would also be a judgment from God. It appears this fire was on the ocean and would dry up a portion of the ocean itself.

Amos 7:5 "Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he [is] small."

From destroying the land; suffer not this calamity to proceed any further; using the same argument as before.

"By whom shall Jacob arise?" for he is small" (see Amos 7:2).

We see Amos praying for Israel, again. He reminds God that He might destroy all of them with this judgment and they would not be able to overcome this.

Amos 7:6 "The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD."

He heard the prophet's prayer, and desisted from going on with the threatened destruction.

"This also shall not be, saith the Lord God": The whole land shall not be destroyed, only a part of it carried captive.

Again, God heard the prayer of Amos and changed His mind. He decided not to do this terrible thing to His people.

Verses 7-9: The true spiritual nature of Israel was here tested (and found wanting), by God's plumb line of righteousness in this third of 5 visions. The sword of judgment was to come from Assyria.

The next three visions (8:1-3; 9:1-6) declare the certainty of the Lord's judgment on the unrepentant. In the vision of the "plumb line," Israel is portrayed as a misaligned wall that is leaning and ready to fall over.

Amos 7:7 "Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall [made] by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand."

This vision lets the prophet know that all hope for Israel has been exhausted, and judgment must come. The purpose of the "plumbline" is to illustrate how far Israel has strayed from God's righteousness, and that it must be destroyed.

This "plumbline" is a measuring device. This means that God has come and examined them Himself. He has measured their sinfulness.

Amos 7:8 "And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:"

"What seest thou?" (2 Tim. 2:19). God had twice heard the prophet. Two judgments upon His people He had mitigated, not upon their repentance, but on the single intercession of the prophet. After that, He willed to be no more entreated. And so, He exhibits to Amos a symbol, whose meaning He does not explain until He had pronounced their doom.

"The plumbline", as used in pulling down, as well as in building up, whereby Jeremiah says:

"The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion. He hath stretched out a line; He hath not withdrawn His hand from destroying; therefore He made the rampart and wall to lament; they languished together" (Lam. 2:8).

"He shall stretch out upon it the line of barrenness" (as in Genesis 1:2), "and the stone of emptiness" (Isaiah 34:11; as in Gen. 1:2): and God said of Judah, "I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab" (2 Kings 21:13).

"Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting" Daniel 5:27, so God here applies the plumbline, at once to convict and to destroy upon conviction. In this Judgment, as at the Last Day, God would not condemn, without having first made clear the justice of His condemnation. He sets it "in the midst of" His "people," showing that He would make trial of all, one by one, and condemn in proportion to the guilt of each. But the day of grace being past, the sentence was to be final.

"I will not pass by them," literally, "I will not pass over" (that is, their transgressions), "to them (as in Amos 8:2), anymore." That is, I will no more forgive them.

This measurement has proved that God's judgment of them is correct. God is exacting with His building and He is exacting with His destruction. He measured Israel's conduct and found them out of line. God needs no further evidence of their inconsistency.

Amos 7:9 "And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."

Such as the ten tribes of Israel, who descended from Isaac, built at Beersheba, in imitation of Isaac, and pleading his example. Who worshipped there, though not idols, as they, but the true God; and in commemoration of his being bound upon an altar on Mount Moriah. But these, as the Septuagint version renders it, were "high places of laughter", ridiculous in the eyes of the Lord, despised by him, and so should be made desolate.

"And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste": The temples built for the calves at Dan and Beth-el, and other places:

"And I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword": Or, as the Targum, "I will raise up against the house of Jeroboam those that slay with the sword". This was fulfilled by Shallum, who conspired against Zachariah the son of Jeroboam, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, which put an end to the family of Jeroboam (2 Kings 15:10).

The high places were associated with idol worship, as they were all over Israel. Even in the sanctuary, they had set a calf up to be worshipped as God. Jeroboam was the king when this happened, in fact he did it. God will punish this to the utmost. This is the breaking of the first commandment. One thing God would not overlook was the worship of false gods.

Verses 10-17: The words of Amos cut deep into the heart of Israel's leadership, causing them to accuse him of conspiracy against the king (Jer. 26:11; 37:11-13; 38:1-6).

Amos' confrontation with "Amaziah", the priest of Beth-el, leaves no doubt in his mind about God's purpose in judging Israel.

Amos 7:10 "Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words."

This was a priest not of the tribe of Levi, but such a one as those were whom Jeroboam I had consecrated to perform the idolatrous services at Beth-el (see 1 Kings 12:31).

"Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst": That is, in an open and barefaced manner. He represents the prophet as exciting sedition, because he denounced destruction against the kingdom, and threatened the house of Jeroboam. The same crime was objected to (Jeremiah 26:9-10); to Christ (Luke 23:2); and to Paul (Acts 24:5).

"The land is not able to bear all his words": The friends of the government cannot patiently hear his words, and the enemies of it will take advantage from them to make some disturbance. If he proceeds to speak in this manner, the inhabitants will be moved to take up arms against each other.

We see that Amaziah, the priest in Beth-el, has suddenly realized that Amos is prophesying against them. He sends word to king Jeroboam, that they must stop these words of Amos before he stirs up the people. He tells Jeroboam that the prophesies are directly against him, to get Amos in trouble.

Amos 7:11 "For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land."

"Amos saith": Which was not saying truth; for Amos said not that Jeroboam should die by the sword, but that God would rise up the sword against his house or family. Nor did Jeroboam die by the sword, but his son Zachariah did.

"And Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land": This was true; Amos did say this, and he afterwards confirms it. This is the amount of the charge brought against the prophet, which has some truth and some falsehood mixed together; and by which method the priest hoped to gain his point, and get the prophet either banished or put to death.

Amaziah does not recognize Amos as bringing a message from God to the people. He speaks as if the message that Amos brings, is a fabrication of his own imagination. Amaziah believes that Jeroboam will have Amos killed and get him hushed up, when Jeroboam hears that he prophesied of his death by the sword. Jeroboam is a self-centered man and Amaziah is depending on that to get Amos stopped. He speaks of Amos prophesying the land will be taken captive, but fails to mention that it is a judgment of God upon them.

Amos 7:12 "Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:"

Jeroboam treated the charge made by Amaziah with indifference, or perhaps with awe: at least, with silence. And so the priest of Beth-l takes upon himself to dismiss the prophet from the kingdom. The word for "seer" is here chozeh, one who has visions, a word not used in a contemptuous sense here or in the Old Testament generally.

The expression "there eat bread and prophecy" means "there live on your profession as a prophet," not here.

Amaziah tries to frighten Amos into leaving Israel and going to Judah to prophesy. We do not hear that Jeroboam followed Amaziah's advice. Jeroboam could have been fearful of a revolt of the people if he came against this prophet. He just did not do anything. Even the evil kings feared the prophets.

Amos 7:13 "But prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it [is] the king's chapel, and it [is] the king's court."

"Prophesy not again" as a friend I advise thou do not, and as having authority from the king, I do declare thou shalt not, prophesy in Beth-el (see notes on Amos 2:12). At Beth-el, Amaziah wants to be let alone at least in his own residence.

"The king's chapel": Beth-el was preferred by the king to Dan, the other seat of the calf-worship, as being nearer Samaria, the capital, and as hallowed by Jacob of old (Gen. 28:16, 19; 35:6-7). He argues by implication against Amos' presumption, as a private man, in speaking against the worship sanctioned by the king, and that in the very place consecrated to it for the king's own devotions.

"King's court": That is residence, the seat of empire. Where the king holds his court, and which ought to have reverence. Samaria was the usual king's residence: but for the convenience of attending the calf-worship, a royal palace was at Beth-el also.

We see from this, that the worship of this calf as god is the king's preference. He worshipped the calf instead of God. This is all too familiar today. The compromise that is going on in some churches, to please the wealthier and more powerful of its members, is very similar to this. Nevertheless, this type worship displeases God. They are preaching to itching ears.

Amos 7:14 "Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I [was] no prophet, neither [was] I a prophet's son; but I [was] a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit:"

So soon as this false accuser had under the guise of friendship given advice, and withal intimated his resolution to use his authority to make Amos desist if he did not do it voluntarily. Amos gives him answer readily, boldly, and yet smoothly, and outshoots the court pontiff with his own bow.

"I was no prophet": Not originally, or by succession, or by study, or by any human designation and preparation, as many have been.

"Neither was I a prophet's son": My father was no prophet, nor was I bred up in the school of the prophets (such as 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15; 4:38; 6:1). Though you call me seer, whether ironically or seriously, I matter not, but assure you I am not such by art, trade, or for a livelihood.

"But I was a herdsman": By breeding, choice, and occupation I was and still am a herdsman and have my concerns in that mystery in or near Tekoa in Judah, on which I can live. Though I prophesy without stipend or salary, I needed not to run into the prophet's work for my bread.

"And a gatherer of sycamore fruit": The tree and fruit is known by one name. Palestine abounded with both; and the fruit was sweet, not large, yet good for food for man or cattle, as some fruits are with us. On these I could still, as I formerly did, live and be content.

Amos reminds Amaziah that he did not train to be a prophet and that he, Amos, is called of God to prophesy. He was a herdsman by trade, and made his living that way. God sent him to prophesy. If Amaziah does not accept the message, he is actually going against God.

Amos 7:15 "And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel."

Or "from behind" it; a description of a shepherd, such a one Amos was, and in this employ when the Lord called him and took him to be a prophet. He did not seek after it, nor did he take this honor to himself; by which it appears that his mission was divine, and that he did not enter on this work with lucrative views.

Thus, God took David in a like state of life, and made him king of Israel; and Elisha from the plough, and made him a prophet. And Christ took several of his disciples who were fishermen, and made them fishers of men, or ministers of the word. And so, their calls appeared more clear and manifest.

"And the Lord said unto me": In a vision or dream by night; or by an articulate voice he heard. Or by an impulse upon his spirit, which comes from the Spirit of God.

"Go, prophesy unto my people Israel": For so they were by profession, and notwithstanding their apostasy; as yet they were not tallied "Loammi" (Hosea 1:9). To these the prophet was bid to go out of the land of Judea, where he was a herdsman, and prophesy in the name of the Lord to them. Therefore, what he did was in obedience to the command of God, and he did his duty. And what he in this verse and (Amos 7:14), declares, is a sufficient vindication of himself, his character, and conduct. And having done this, he has something to say to the priest.

Amos was not a professional prophet. It is interesting to note, that those that should have been speaking of the sin in the land, had fallen down in their duties. God picked up an unknown, and sent him with a message to these people. He was not influenced by position of power. He spoke the Words God put in his mouth.

Amos 7:16 "Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not [thy word] against the house of Isaac."

Amaziah then was in direct rebellion and contradiction against God. He was in an office forbidden by God. God's word came to him. He had his choice; and, as people do, when entangled in evil courses, he chose the more consciously amiss. He would have had to resign his lucrative office and to submit to God speaking to him through a shepherd, or to stand in direct opposition to God, and to confront God. And in silencing Amos, he would silence God.

"Prophesy not against Israel": When God has bid me prophesy.

"And drop not thy word against the house of Isaac": Say nothing against it, though in ever so soft and gentle a manner. It designs the same thing as before, only in different words; and is a prohibition of the prophet to prophesy against the ten tribes that descended from Isaac, in the line of Jacob.

It is as if Amos is telling this supposed man of God, that he had better listen. Amos expresses again, that this is the Word of the LORD, not Amos' words. The priest has not done his duty and is trying to stop Amos. Amos says I will listen to God and not to you.

Amos 7:17 "Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land."

"Therefore": Because thou hast so directly and strenuously opposed the Lord.

"Thy wife shall be a harlot": These were, and still are, among the horrors of war. His own sentence comes last, when he had seen the rest, unable to hinder it. Against his and her own will, she should suffer this. Jerome: "Great is the grief, and incredible the disgrace, when the husband, in the midst of the city and in the presence of all, cannot hinder the wrong done to his wife, for the husband had rather hear that his wife had been slain, than defiled."

What he adds "thy daughters" (as well as his "sons") "shall fall by the sword," is an unusual barbarity, and was not part of the Assyrian customs, which carried off women in great numbers as wives for their soldiery.

"Thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword": Which in all likelihood intimates their slaughter by Shallum when he slew Zachariah, Jeroboam's son, with whom no doubt but his friends fell, among which this family was. Or else by the sword of Menahem, who slew Shallum.

"Thy land shall be divided by line": Thy estate, which no doubt was large, shall be shared among the soldiers and courtiers of Menahem.

And thou shalt die": Thy dishonor by a lewd wife, the childless loneliness, and poverty shall come on you before you die. It is probable he fled to save his life.

"In a polluted land": Among the heathen, where thou may be sure my word was true. Israel, the ten tribes, shall surely go into captivity from off his land (9see Amos 7:11).

Priests were supposed to have wives that were pure. To tell a priest his wife would be a harlot, is more than he can comprehend. When the city is taken they will suffer all of these things. This is a judgment of God against a people who are far from God. The priests were even guiltier than the people because they should have known better.

Amos Chapter 7 Questions

1. How did God make Amos aware of this prophecy?

2. Where did the grasshoppers come from?

3. What was meant by "after the king's mowings"?

4. What does God control?

5. What are the grasshoppers like?

6. What is Amos doing in verse 2?

7. Who does Amos call Israel in verse 2?

8. Did the LORD listen to Amos?

9. What is meant by the "LORD repented"?

10. What was the next thing God showed Amos?

11. What would happen with this fire in the deep?

12. What was Amos' reaction to the plague of fire?

13. What did God do about this second plague?

14. What is a "plumbline"?

15. What did God measure?

16. What did the measurement prove?

17. What will happen to the high places?

18. What had they put in the sanctuary to worship?

19. Who was king at this time?

20. Who was the priest at Beth-el, when Amos prophesied?

21. What was the priest's opinion of Amos?

22. What does he tell Jeroboam, to get Amos in trouble?

23. What does Amaziah say, that Amos said about the king?

24. What does the priest fail to mention to the king?

25. Where did Amaziah tell Amos to go?

26. Did Jeroboam do anything about Amos' prophesying?

27. Why did the priest tell Amos not to prophesy at Beth-el?

28. What was Amos' reply to Amaziah?

29. What did Amos speak?

30. Amos expresses, again, that these are not his words, but ________.

31. What prophecy did Amos make against Amaziah?

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Amos 8

Amos Chapter 8

Verses 1-3: The Hebrew word for "end" (gets), sounds like the word for "summer fruit (qayits), which was harvested at the end of Israel's agricultural season. This wordplay indicates that Israel's end is near.

Amos 8:1 "Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit."

In this fourth vision, as fruit was fully ripened by the summer's sun, so Israel was ripe for judgment. The vision of the "summer fruit" shows that Israel is ripe for judgment, which will come very soon.

This basket of summer fruit is speaking of the fact that the people are ripe and ready to be condemned of God. Again, this is like a vision that God has given Amos. Their sins are like this ripe fruit.

Amos 8:2 "And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more."

Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to be eaten; which signified, that the people were ripe for destruction and that the year of God's patience was drawing towards a conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, but must be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw from them any acknowledgement, either of God's righteousness or their own unrighteousness.

Sinners put off repentance from day to day, because they think the Lord thus delays his judgments.

"I will not again pass by them any more": Pass by their offences, and forgive their sins; or pass by their persons, without taking notice of them, so as to afflict and punish them for their iniquities. Or, "pass through them and more"; God is now making an utter end of them (see Amos 7:8).

There is a time when God will not go any further and that is what He is saying to Amos here, and to Noah in the next Scripture.

Genesis 6:13 "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."

Notice God still calls them His people. His indignation is full.

Amos 8:3 "And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: [there shall be] many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast [them] forth with silence."

The songs of the temple shall be howlings - Literally, "shall howl." It shall be as when mirthful music is suddenly broken in upon, and, through the sudden agony of the singer, ends in a shriek or yell of misery. When sounds of joy are turned into wailing, all must be complete sorrow. They are not hushed only, but are turned into their opposite.

Since Amos is speaking to and of Israel; "the temple" is doubtless here the great idol-temple at Beth-el. And "the songs" were the choral music, with which they counterfeited the temple-music, as arranged by David. Praising (they could not make up their minds which), Nature or "the God of nature," but in truth, worshiping the creature.

"There shall be many dead bodies": So there were when Shallum slew Zachariah, so there were when Menachem slew Shallum, when he came with his army against Samaria, when he ripped up the women with child in Tiphsah (2 Kings 15:16). Or when other usurpers pressed, through blood and treason to the crown. Beside the howlings when Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser cruelly wasted all.

"In every place": In cities, towns, and country, in palaces and temples too. In all which the bloody effects of enemies' swords, the wastes of famine and pestilence, should be seen.

"Shall cast them forth with silence": Either shall secretly bury some, or to rid themselves of that trouble, shall cast them out wherever they can, with silence, that none may observe them. So great calamitous mortality, that the living suffice not to bury the dead. Or so great cruelty by the enemy used against them, that they dare not bury them, or if they do, it must be undiscerned (see Amos 6:10).

In this time of the end for the house of Israel, there will be great sorrow and crying, dead bodies will be everywhere. We studied earlier how the near kinsman burned the bodies, because there were too many to bury. There will be no more singing and laughter in the temple. There will be a silence that accompanies death. God will not hear their cries anymore.

Verses 4-12: Israel's wealthy eagerly awaited the end of "feasts" and the "Sabbath" so they could continue exploiting the poor. But in the Day of Judgment, not only would those celebrations be turned into "mourning" but there would be a "famine" of "the words of the Lord", His truth would no longer be revealed through His prophets. Today, the Bible is available nearly everywhere, but deaf ears can still produce spiritual drought.

Amos 8:4 "Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,"

Like a man that pants after a drink of water when thirsty; and when he has got it, greedily swallows it down at one gulp. So, these rich men swallowed up the poor, their labors, gains, and profits and persons too. They got all into their own hands, and made them bondsmen and slaves to them (see Amos 2:7).

These are called upon to hear this dreadful calamity threatened, and to consider what then would become of them and their ill-gotten riches. And suggesting that their oppression of the needy was one cause of this destruction of the land.

"Even to make the poor of the land to fail": Or "cease", to die for want of the necessaries of life, being obliged to such hard labor. So unmercifully used, their faces ground and pinched with necessity. And so sadly paid for their work, that they could not live by it.

This is just one of the sins they committed, that brought them to this judgment. This sin was a direct disobedience of God's Word, which taught to help the poor.

Amos 8:5 "Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?"

"New moon": Based on a lunar calendar, Israel would celebrate the day with a festival. Like the Sabbath, no work was to be done (1 Sam. 20:5-6; 2 Kings 4:23; Ezek. 46:3). The merchants' eagerness for the day to end revealed their appetite for greed.

"Ephah small ... shekel great": By dishonest weighing, the merchant decreased the actual amount received and increased the cost of the merchandise (see note on Prov. 11:1 for other passages on dishonest measures).

They ritualistically kept the Sabbath and the new moon, but their hearts were not in it. They were wishing for them to be over so they could get back to the things of commerce they were really interested in. To keep the Sabbath, or new moon out of being bound, was unacceptable of God. He wanted them to love these times. He wanted them to keep these days for love of Him, not for obligation. They even had dishonest weights which were strictly forbidden.

Amos 8:6 "That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat?"

"Refuse of the wheat": This denotes the chaff, which was mixed into the good wheat to cheat the buyer.

They had no regard for others at all. They only liked the wealth they acquired from others. They took advantage of the poor, and bought them for silver and a pair of shoes. They sold the extra wheat, instead of feeding the hungry.

Amos 8:7 "The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works."

"Excellency of Jacob": As surely as the nation was filled with excellency "pride", so the Lord would not forget her works (6:8).

Such total disregard for the covenant God had made with Jacob will ruin the structure of their relationship with God. God had never overlooked any of their work.

Amos 8:8 "Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as [by] the flood of Egypt."

"Cast out and drowned, as by the fold of Egypt": Like the Nile, which annually provided water and rich soil deposits for farmers by greatly overflowing its banks, so judgment would overflow the land.

God had promised to bless them, if they kept His commandments. He also told them He would curse them, if they did not keep His commandments. The whole land should tremble in fear of the curse of God. They know they have not kept God's commandments. There will be an earthquake when the Lord comes against them in judgment, and the land will truly tremble. The whole land will be covered with the judgment, as the sea rises in a flood.

Amos 8:9 "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:"

"The sun to go down at noon": Probably referring to the total eclipse of the sun ca. 763 B.C. as a picture of God's coming judgment.

This speaks of the time when the sun will not give its light. This also speaks of a time of great calamity coming upon the people. It is a time when they will no longer have the Light of God. This very thing happened at the crucifixion of Jesus. It was dark for three hours in the middle of the day. This removing of the light here, is a judgment against these people.

Amos 8:10 "And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only [son], and the end thereof as a bitter day."

God commanded the Jews to celebrate their festivals with joy and gladness. But this it would be impossible for them to do under such melancholy circumstances and manifestations of the divine displeasure.

"And I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins": Of high and low, rich and poor; even those that used to be covered with silk and rich embroideries. Sackcloth was a coarse cloth put on in times of mourning for the dead, or on account of public calamities. "Sackcloth" (see note on Joel 1:8).

"And baldness upon every head": The hair being either shaved off or pulled off; both which were sometimes done, as a token of mourning.

"And I will make it as the mourning of an only son": As when parents mourn for an only son. Which is generally carried to the greatest height, and continued longest, as well as is most sincere and passionate. The case being exceeding cutting and afflictive, as this is represented to be.

"And the end thereof as a bitter day": A day of bitter calamity, and of bitter wailing and mourning, in the bitterness of their spirits. Though the beginning of the day was bright and clear, a fine sunshine, yet the end of it dark and bitter, distressing and sorrowful. It being the end of the people of Israel (as in Amos 8:2).

A "lamentation" is like the mourning that goes on at a funeral. This will be the death of Israel. This will be the saddest day of their lives, because they have no God to call upon. He has removed Himself from them. "Sackcloth and baldness" had to do with great mourning. Baldness on a woman indicated she was a harlot. The whole country, who had been the wife of God, are now harlots. They had committed spiritual adultery by worshipping false gods. The bitterness of this Day of Judgment will live on.

Verses 11-12: During prosperity, the nation rejected the prophets (7:10-17); in captivity no word from the Lord could be found (1 Sam. 28:6).

Amos 8:11 "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:"

This is spoken of events which were yet at some distance.

"That I will send a famine in the land": Which, in a literal sense, is one of God's arrows he has in his quiver, and sends out when he pleases. Or one of his sore judgments, which he sometimes orders to come upon a people for their sins: which here is meant.

"Not a famine of bread; or through want of that, which is very dreadful. As was the famine of Samaria, when an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and a certain measure of dove's dung for five pieces of silver (2 Kings 6:25).

Or as were the famines of Jerusalem, when taken both by the Chaldeans and Romans, when women boiled and ate their own children (Lam. 4:8).

"Nor a thirst for water": Which is more distressing and tormenting than hunger. And to be slain with thirst is to be destroyed in the most afflictive manner (Hosea 2:3).

"But of hearing the words of the Lord": The word of prophecy, and the preaching of the word, or explaining the Scriptures. Of this blessing the ten tribes were deprived at their captivity, and have been ever since. And the Jews, upon their rejection of Christ, have had the kingdom of God, the Gospel of the kingdom, the word and ordinances of God, taken from them and remain so to this day.

There will be no more prophets bringing them Words from God. They would long to hear from God, but He will not send them His Word. In our nation today, there is a famine of the True Word of God. The Word that we get is watered down and compromised, to the extent that it is hardly recognizable. As many prophecies, this is for their day and our day as well. There must be people of God who are willing to speak the Word of God at any cost, if our land is to be saved.

Amos 8:12 "And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find [it]."

"They shall wander": Literally, "reel." The word is used of the reeling of drunkards, of the swaying to and fro of trees in the wind. Or the quivering of the lips of one agitated, and then of the unsteady seeking of persons bewildered, looking for what they know not where to find.

"They shall wander from sea to sea; search all places for a prophet or a preacher from the Syrian or Midland Sea to that of Tiberias, to the Dead Sea, and to the Red Sea.

"From the north even to the east": That mountainous tract whither persecuted Elijah fled, and perhaps other prophets in like circumstances retired. Proverbially, they shall search all corners for a prophet.

"They shall run to and fro": Throughout the whole land and all over it.

"To seek the word of the Lord": Not the written word, but the interpretation of it. Doctrine from before the Lord, as the Targum; and the preaching of the word or ministers to instruct them in it. Or the word of prophecy and prophets to tell them when it would be better times, and how long their present distress should last.

"And shall not find it": There should be no ministry, no preaching and no prophesying; as never since among the ten tribes. So, it has been the case of the Jews and the two tribes, upon the rejection of the Messiah; the Gospel was taken from them. No tidings could they hear of the Messiah, though they ran to and fro to find him, it being told them Lo, here, and Lo, there (see John 7:34).

The following Scripture reminds me of this.

2 Timothy 3:7 "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

This is spoken of as the last days. The only truth is found in God's Word and is understood by the Holy Spirit of God teaching us the meaning of that Word. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He cautioned us not to go looking for Him as He will appear in the eastern sky. Read His Word (Bible), every day, and pray the Holy Spirit will reveal its meaning to you. Hide His Word away in your heart, then nothing can take it away from you.

Amos 8:13 "In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst."

In this hopelessness as to all relief, those too shall fail and sink under their sufferings, in which life is freshest and strongest and hope most buoyant. Hope mitigates any sufferings. When hope is gone, the powers of life, which it sustains, give way.

"They shall faint for thirst," literally, "shall be mantled over, covered", as one fainting seems to feel as if a veil came over his brow and eyes. "Thirst," as it is an intense suffering than bodily hunger, includes sufferings of body and mind. If even over those, whose life was firmest, a veil came and they fainted for thirst, what of the rest?

This is a physical and a spiritual thirst.

Matthew 5:6 "Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

Look with me, at what Jesus said about this.

John 4:14 "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Amos 8:14 "They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beer-sheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again."

"Samaria ... Dan": Jeroboam I built altars at both locations in an effort to keep Israel from going to Jerusalem to worship (1 Kings 12:26-29).

"Beer-sheba" (see note on 5:5).

This is speaking of those false gods they worshipped. Those who persist in following false gods will die in their sins. This is primarily speaking of that golden calf at Samaria they worshipped. There was another false god erected at Dan, and it is included in this damnation. The road from Dan to Beersheba was a 140 miles long. It seemed the way to this false god was evil. God has judged them guilty, and will not allow them to rise again.

Amos Chapter 8 Questions

1. What did the Lord show Amos in verse 1?

2. What is this speaking of?

3. The songs of the temple shall be ____________.

4. Why had the near kinsman burned the bodies, instead of burying them?

5. What was their sin in verse 4?

6. The _________________ kept the new moon and the Sabbath.

7. Why were they wishing for them to be over?

8. God wanted them to keep these days for love of Him, not from ______________.

9. They even had ____________ weights.

10. They bought the poor for _________.

11. What did they do with the extra wheat?

12. The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of ________.

13. What was meant by the land trembling?

14. What is compared to the sea that rises over the land?

15. The sun will go down at ________.

16. What two things is this speaking of?

17. I will turn your feasts into ____________.

18. What is a "lamentation"?

19. "Sackcloth and baldness" symbolize what?

20. Baldness on a woman indicated what?

21. How had they committed spiritual adultery?

22. What was the famine in verse 11?

23. There is a famine of the ________ _______ of God in our land today.

24. What must happen, if our land is to be saved?

25. Where is the only Truth found?

26. How can you avoid having the Word of God taken away from you?

27. What type of thirst is verse 13 speaking of?

28. What is verse 14 primarily speaking of?

29. Where was another false god erected?

30. How long was the road from Dan to Beersheba?

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Amos 9

Amos Chapter 9

Amos 9:1 "I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered."

In another vision, Amos sees judgment arrive, and it begins at the "altar." Whether this refers to the altar at Beth-el or the altar in Jerusalem's temple, the point is that judgment begins where forgiveness should have been sought (3:14).

This fifth vision opens with the Lord standing beside the altar in Beth-el, commanding that the temple be torn down, thus falling upon the worshipers. He would spare none.

This final vision of the prophecy, of "the Lord standing upon the altar," portrays the destruction of the idolatrous temple at Beth-el. This temple has given cohesiveness and direction to Israel in her idolatrous defection from the Lord."

Now Amos sees the destruction coming on Israel. The altar had been a place of forgiveness. The standing on the altar here shows He has risen in judgment against these people. This striking of the lintel is as if God has smitten the temple, so that it did shake. God has broken off fellowship with these people. Cutting them in the head shows they are no longer in communion with their God. God will slay them with the sword. Someone else may strike the blow, but it is truly from God. They can run, if they want to, but they will not escape the judgment of God.

Verses 2-4: Desperate to escape, none will successfully hide from the hand of judgment. Righteous David found solace in the omnipresence of God (Psalm 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24); the wicked find only His wrath (Rev. 20:13).

Amos 9:2 "Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:"

"Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them": That is, they that endeavor to make their escape from their enemies, though they seek for places of the greatest secrecy and privacy. Not hell, the place of the damned; nor the grave, the repository of the dead. Neither of which they chose to be in rather, sought to escape them.

But the deepest and darkest caverns, the utmost recesses of the earth, and the very center of it which, could they get into, would not secure them from the power and providence of God. And from their enemies in pursuit of them by his permission.

Though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down; the summit of the highest mountains, and get as near to heaven, and at as great a distance from men, as can be, and yet all in vain. The Targum is, "if they think to be hid as it were in hell, from thence their enemies shall take them by my word. And if they ascend the high mountains, to the top of heaven, thence will I bring them."

This just goes to the extreme, showing there is no place far enough away that they can be delivered from the wrath of God.

Luke 10:15 "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell."

Luke 10:18 "And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."

Amos 9:3 "And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:"

"Carmel": One high woody mountain, shelter and hiding-place for wild beasts, by a figure put for all the rest. If they think to be safe where wild beasts find a refuge, they are deceived. This is a mountainous region that rises 1800 feet above the Mediterranean Sea, known for its many caves and forests (see note on 1:2).

"I will search and take them out thence": I will, saith God, hunt them out, and take them.

"And though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea": This is an irony like brutish atheists, they think to hide themselves in the bottom of the sea.

"Thence will I command the serpent": Crocodile or shark some sea monster.

"And he shall bite them": Devour them. Miserable Israel to whom sea, mountains, heaven, or hell will afford a hiding-place!

Even the serpent is at the command of God. When God commands him to bite someone, he is compelled to do it. There were woods and thickets on Carmel, but they could not go deep enough into the woods to get away from God. Be sure, He will find you.

Amos 9:4 "And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good."

Those excluded from safety everywhere else may perhaps hope that yet the enemy may spare them. Captives are the slaves, the possession of their conquering enemies. These make profit of them by selling them to others, or employing them in labor and service.

"Before their enemies": This seems to intimate some voluntariness in these people going before the conqueror, whom they hope to mollify and sweeten, that he may use them well. Yet this hope shall fail them too.

"Thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them": The enemy should, either out of cruel humor and hatred against them, or on any slight occasion and disgust, slay them as if they had commission from me so to do. Neither propriety in them, nor service by them, nor profit in the sale of these poor and miserable captives, should be safety to them. They should be accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

"I will set mine eyes upon them": I will perpetually watch over them, and then be sure no opportunity will be let slip.

"For evil": To afflict and punish them.

"And not for good": Or for their benefit. Thus, was the course of God's providence against them from the days Amos aimed at unto this very day. God until now has and still does, make good his threat against this idolatrous, cruel and oppressing people.

Their captivity is not a safe haven either. God will see that the sword of the enemy comes and brings judgment upon them. God is now, not looking for good in them. Their sin blots out any good they might do.

Verses 5-9: Lest anyone question the Lord's power, they are reminded of His omnipotence revealed in creation and in His sovereign rulership of the nations. Other nations have been transplanted from their homelands; why not Israel?

Amos 9:5 "And the Lord GOD of hosts [is] he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as [by] the flood of Egypt."

Accumulate in grand imagery the majesty, power, and irresistible resources of the Lord, who has at length become their enemy. The very world itself melts, as Sinai did, at His touch.

"The land": Either the inhabitants, or rather the land itself in which they dwelt, the land of Canaan. Or more likely the whole earth, how firm and hard so ever it seems to be.

And it shall melt": As snow before the sun in its hottest influences, or as wax before a mighty fire. He who can do this, can do all that I have denounced against you, O Israel.

"And all that dwell therein shall mourn": Their houses destroyed, their substance consumed, and all that is near and dear to them swallowed up.

"The flood of Egypt": The Nile (see note on 8:8).

God is all powerful. He can send fire so hot it would actually melt the earth. He can also, send a flood that would drown everyone. God is in control of all of nature. The earth shakes at His command and the wind blows at His command. God is omnipotent. He is all power.

Amos 9:6 "[It is] he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name."

The prophet, in this vision, saw the Lord standing upon the idolatrous altar at Beth-el. Wherever sinners flee from God's justice, it will overtake them. Those whom God brings to heaven by his grace, shall never be cast down; but those who seek to climb thither by vain confidence in themselves, will be cast down and filled with shame.

That which makes escape impossible and ruin sure, is, that God will set his eyes upon them for evil, not for good. Wretched must those be on who the Lord looks for evil, and not for good.

"He that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth": he laid the foundations of this lower world, and can as easily shake or overturn as at the first he laid them. All that is below the royal pavilions of God is but as a little bundle which he can soon untie and scatter about. Nor are the things tied up of such worth and value that he should lose by doing it.

How much easier is it for him to destroy (as he hath spoken), your land and cities, which are a very small thing compared with the whole world. And this as a point compared with the unmeasurable greatness of the heavens! You set a value on yourselves, and are proud, and think that God will not lose such jewels. As if a king in his royalty should fear to lose a pin's head, or one atom of dust that lieth on his footstool.

"He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth, the Lord is his name": Either to drown it, as at the general deluge; or to water and refresh it, as he does by exhaling water from the sea. And then letting it down in plentiful showers upon the earth (see Amos 5:8). Now all these things are observed to show the power of God, and that therefore there can be no hope of escaping out of his hands.

We know that Paul went to the third heaven. This indicates there are stories, like in a hotel, in the heavens. We read in an earlier Prophetic book of the Holy Place having chambers. We do not know what heaven is really like, because we have not been there. Look with me, at the following Scripture about heaven.

John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

It was God who created the heavens and the earth. During the Noah flood, not only did it rain from above, but the water came up from beneath as well. God can do with His creation whatever He chooses. He is God.

Amos 9:7 "[Are] ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?"

"Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me?" Israel had become like the pagans who surrounded her.

"Kir" (see note on 1:5).

Ethiopians are mentioned here, in connection with them being a heathen nation. The disobedient children (Israel), were no better off than the heathen. God would punish them as if they were not His own. God had brought Israel out of Egypt and made covenant with them, but they did not keep the covenant. The Syrians were saved from the ditch (Kir). The Philistines from Caphtor are probably speaking of the Phoenicians. The important lesson in this is, God's children would be punished the same as the heathen's world, if they broke covenant with God.

Verses 8-12: Although judgment would be severe, God would preserve a "remnant" that would include "all the Gentiles (heathen), ... called by" His "name" (Acts 15:16-18). This should encourage the people of God who live in a corrupt world. God designates His judgment for the unrepentant, not the righteous.

Amos 9:8 "Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD [are] upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD."

The kingdom of the ten tribes which had so utterly revolted from the true center and spiritual ideas of the worship of Jehovah.

"And I will destroy it from off the face of the earth": And I will ruin any such kingdom for their sins that it shall cease to be a kingdom on earth.

"Saving that I will not utterly destroy": And so, would I do with the kingdom of Israel, but that I have by covenant with their fathers engaged to be their God for ever, which promise I will keep to a remnant of their seed for ever.

"The house of Jacob": The seed of Jacob, which God will not utterly destroy, though he did destroy other nations (Jer. 30:11).

"Saith the Lord": This is added to confirm the gracious word concerning the remnant which shall be spared.

After the Assyrians took them, the ten tribes of Israel were never a kingdom as such, even unto this day. God kept a remnant of the people however as He would never utterly destroy His family. They have been scattered among the other nations, but they are still His. The house of Jacob includes the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah, as well.

Amos 9:9 "For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as [corn] is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."

"Sift ... among all nations": Only the chaff was to be punished; His remnant was to be preserved to inherit the blessings spoken of in the following verses.

Now we see they were dispersed into many nations. They have never yet come back together. They will be persecuted, but will live. Some will cling to the Lord no matter how many trials they face. My personal belief is that many of them receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

Amos 9:10 "All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us."

Those who do not repent and renounce their false gods will die.

Verses 11-15: Millennial blessings await the final faithful remnant, when Messiah personally reigns over all nations in Jerusalem upon the throne of David, and the Jews are never again pulled up from their divinely inherited land.

Verses 11-12: The "tabernacle" that has "fallen" refers to the fragile state of the Davidic dynasty. The northern tribes rejected the Davidic king and broke away, leaving a divided nation. Yet God would be faithful to His covenant and rebuild the house of "David" (2 Sam. 7:15-16; Psalm 72:17).

Amos 9:11 "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:"

A reference to the dynasty of David. God will "raise up" and "rebuild" this tabernacle on earth for Christ to rule in His millennial kingdom (Zech. 14:9-11). The apostles used this passage to illustrate that Gentiles could thus be a part of God's redemption (see notes on Acts 15:13-18).

"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David" Even though Israel has sunk to an all-time low, and judgment must fall, still God's plan for the house of David and His promises to Abraham have not failed and will ultimately be realized. Though it is marred, it is not beyond God's ability to repair. Peter quotes these verses at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:16-17), to demonstrate God's intention to save Jews and Gentiles alike.

The church of the living God is open to Jew and Gentile. All who accept Jesus as their Savior shall be saved. The tabernacle of David that is raised is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will reign as King forever. God brings their redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. God provides their redemption; it is a free gift of grace offered to all. All who will accept it shall be saved. A gift becomes real to us, when we accept it. God restores His kingdom. Jesus gave His body on the cross at Calvary for whosoever will receive Him.

Amos 9:12 "That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this."

This the restored Jews did in the time of Hyrcanus, when they made an entire conquest of Edom, as Josephus relates.

Or that these may be possessed; that is, by David or Christ, who shall have the Heathen given him for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession (Psalm 2:8). When the remnant, according to the election of grace, in those nations that have been the greatest enemies to Christ and his Gospel. Signified by Edom, shall be converted. And call upon the name of the Lord, and worship him; and be called by his name.

"Saith the Lord, that doeth this": Whose word is true, whose power is great, whose grace is efficacious, to accomplish all that is here promised and foretold.

The heathen that are called by His name are the Christians.

Luke 1:32 "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:"

Colossians 3:11 "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all."

Verses 13-14: Prosperity, in hyperbolic fashion, is here described (Lev. 26:5; Joel 3:18; Contrast Isaiah 5). Fruitfulness is so enormous that planting and reaping seasons overlap. This prosperity will encourage massive repatriation (Isaiah 11:15-16), and reconstruction (Zech. 2:1-5).

Amos ends his prophecy with one of the most stunning pictures in all of Scripture: that of unimagined prosperity in Israel during the millennial kingdom, the thousand year reign of Christ before the final judgment. The crops will be so plentiful that the seasons for planting and harvesting will run together.

Amos 9:13 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt."

Or "are coming" and which will commence upon the accomplishment of the above things, when the church of Christ is raised up and established, the Jews converted, and the Gentiles brought in.

"That the ploughman shall overtake the reaper": or "meet the reaper"; or come up to him, or touch him, as it may be rendered. And so the Targum; that is, before the reaper has well cut down the grain, or it is scarce gathered in. The ploughman shall be ready to plough up the ground again, that it may be sown, and produce another crop.

"And the treader of grapes him that soweth seed": Or "draws seed" out of his basket and scatters it in the land. Signifying that there should be such an abundance of grapes in the vintage, that they would continue pressing till seedtime. And this denotes a great affluence of temporal good things, as an emblem of spiritual ones (see Lev. 26:5); where something of the like nature is promised and expressed in much the same manner.

"And the mountains shall drop sweet wine": Or "new wine"; intimating that there shall be an abundance of vines grown upon the mountains, which will produce large quantities of wine, so that they shall seem to drop or flow with it.

"And all the hills shall melt": With liquors; either with wine or honey, or rather with milk, being covered with flocks and herds, which shall yield an abundance of milk. By plenty of spiritual things, as the word and ordinances, and rich supplies of grace; as well as of temporal things is meant (see Joel 3:18).

This speaks of a time when the curse is off of the land, and one crop is not fully eaten, until another crop is ready to be picked. There will be an abundance of food in that day. No one will be in want. When Jesus sets up His kingdom here on this earth, there will be no need at all. Everyone will have all their needs taken care of. This will be that Sabbath of rest for the believers in Christ.

Amos 9:14 "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them."

I will restore them to their own country, and settle them in it. See the following verses and notes (on Isaiah 11:12; and Ezekiel 28:25).

"And they shall build the waste": Cities of Judah and of Israel too, as well as Jerusalem. Many of which we meet with in the latter histories of the Jews and their wars.

"Inhabit them": So they did from the time of their return until the Roman captivity, and were not by the space of six hundred years, pulled out of their habitation.

"Shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof": Be blessed in the increase of them and enjoy it, freed from the curse (Deut. 28:39).

"They shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them": These, planted for delight, should be blessed too. Both vineyards and gardens should be fruitful, and they that planted them should dwell in their houses safely and eat the fruit of them.

This is actually taking place in the land of Israel today on a small scale. This will become more and more productive, when the Lord Jesus comes back and reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Old Satan, and all of his problems, will be locked away for a thousand years. There will be no negative influence in the earth during that time.

Amos 9:15 "And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God."

"They shall no more be pulled up out of their land": The ultimate fulfillment of God's land promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 15:7; 17:8), will occur during Christ's millennial reign on earth (Joel 2:26-27).

Their promise of eternal inheritance of the Promised Land will be fulfilled. God will not allow them to ever be overrun again. This was never true of the literal Israel, but it will be true of spiritual Israel. All of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ make up spiritual Israel. God said it, it is so.

Romans 11:26-27 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" "For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."

Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Amos Chapter 9 Questions

1. I saw the Lord __________ upon the altar.

2. What causes the posts to shake?

3. What is He showing Amos in verse 1?

4. How can they escape the judgment of God?

5. What does verse 2 mean about heaven and hell?

6. What unusual thing does God punish those in the sea with?

7. There were ________ and _______ on Carmel.

8. Their captivity is not a safe _________ either.

9. When God touches the land, it ________.

10. God is omnipotent, all ____________.

11. We know that Paul went to the _________ heaven.

12. Where did the water come from in the flood of Noah?

13. Why are the Ethiopians specifically mentioned?

14. The disobedient children (Israel), were no better off than the____________.

15. What is the important lesson in verse 7?

16. What will happen to the sinful kingdom?

17. Does this mean that every Israelite will die?

18. Where have they been?

19. Who does the house of Jacob include?

20. They were _____________ into many nations.

21. All the sinners of my people shall die by the _________.

22. The church of the living God is open to ______ and ___________.

23. What saves everyone who will accept it?

24. The heathen that are called by His name are ____________.

25. Where will Satan be during the reign of Jesus?

26. If ye be Christ's, then are ye ______________ seed, and heirs according to the promise.

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