Commentary on Amos


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We reject the notion that he was a wealthy owner of flocks and orchards for he later described himself as "a dresser of sycamore trees" Amos , in language which, according to Keil indicates that he lived upon this fruit, an article of diet widely associated with the very poorest people.


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See under Deane was correct, it appears, in his opinion that Amos here alluded to it, "as a token of the judgment which he foretold, such catastrophes being regarded as signs Some scholars believe that this earthquake was the one mentioned by Josephus who gave the account of a very great earthquake in the reign of Uzziah, an earthquake so great that it was remembered generations afterward when Zechariah referred to it Zechariah That earthquake, according to Josephus, made a breach in the temple, ruined the gardens and palace of the king, and occurred simultaneously with the smiting of Uzziah with leprosy.

Shultz did not hesitate to write, "This verse is the text of the book. This expression is usually cited as proof that Amos was an outdoors man, well acquainted with the roar of the lion attempting to feed upon his flock. This viewpoint seems to be compromised by the existence of the same passage in Joel; and the more pertinent observation would appear to be that Amos knew the Scriptures. Still, we cannot deny that the figure, even if he got it out of Joel, would have appealed to one who had heard a lion roar. Adam Clarke has this: "The roaring of the lion in the forest is one of the most terrific sounds in nature; when near, it strikes terror into the heart, both of man and of beast.

Online Text for Amos

In Joel , Jehovah is represented as roaring on behalf of Israel, but in the stern denunciations of Amos, he is represented as roaring against Israel. It was calculated to strike terror into the hearts of the wicked and lead them to repentance. This appears quite early in the Bible, where it is related that God "cursed the ground for Adam's sake" Genesis , a curse which has never been repealed and is still in effect. God providentially bends nature itself to provoke man to repentance, and thus the purpose of the primeval curse must be seen as beneficient.

Mount Carmel was the scene of Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal and consists of a bold mountain forming the terminus of the Samaritan range and dropping off abruptly into the sea. Whatever the ancient excellence of the place, it has long ago disappeared. It was an outstanding city of the nation of Syria, one of Israel's principal adversaries, "throughout the incessant border wars which ran from the ninth century to the beginning of the eighth. Hazael was the founder of the dynasty that included two or three kings named Ben-Hadad; so this is the equivalent of saying that the royal family would be destroyed.

These, and the other judgments to follow are truly terrible; and there are always people who cannot understand why God should deal out such awful judgments; but Morgan has a word of explanation, thus:. These movements of terror are necessary to, and will issue in, the victory of God Out of ruin and wreckage, God will bring again his divine order. Keil summarized the meaning of this verse thus:. This attestation occurs throughout Amos in several variations:.

No less than fifty times within the brief compass of this little book, its author solemnly declared his message to be the true word of Almighty God, the very last word in the prophecy being, "saith Jehovah thy God.

Amos 1 Commentary - James Burton Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Note that the whole of a nation was represented by one of its principal cities, Syria by Damascus, Amos , and here, Philistia by Gaza. Amos has in mind such carrying away of captives as occurred in the events recorded in 2 Chronicles The Phoenicians probably sold them, in turn, to the Greeks, as indicated by Joel Although specific punishments are connected here with certain cities, in all probability, "The calamity of each is common to all.

The cities mentioned in this verse were some of the principal cities of Philistia, Gath being the only one omitted of the five provincial capitals; and O.

It was not Amos' purpose to list all the cities of Philistia; and it is clear enough that the fate of each city mentioned is actually the fate of all of them. Again, we refer to Amos , where Damascus alone stands for all of Syria. The notion that this mention of four of the great capitals of Philistia should not include cities not mentioned is ridiculous. The same kind of reasoning imposed upon the prophecy of the fall of Syria would mean that the whole nation had already perished with the sole exception of its capital city!

This too is a gross error. The arguments in support of it, such as those grounded in these verses, are weak, unreasonable, and trifling.

Mentor Commentary: Amos

The awful prophecies of the destruction of Syria and Philistia, uttered in the solemn name of God himself, as repeatedly affirmed by Amos, appeared to the people who received them, not as belated predictions of events which had already occurred, but as events impossible of ever happening at all! Regarding Damascus. Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria fulfilled this prophecy when Ahaz applied to him for help.

The Assyrian monarch destroyed the royal family, captured Damascus and carried its people captive into Kir. Regarding Philistia. Sennacherib fulfilled Amos' prophecy regarding Philistia; and his exploits against the very cities mentioned in these verses is recorded in cuneiform inscriptions of how he humbled the kings of Ashkelon, Ekron, etc. In fact, it was the dramatic, startling, and complete fulfillment of these tremendous prophecies that led to the retention of this book among the sacred writings of the Jews, who placed it in their canon of scripture, despite the terrible warnings and predictions it contained with reference to the Jews themselves.

The great sin of Tyre mentioned here is their delivery of Hebrew slaves to their bitterest enemies, the Edomites, and that this was done despite the long record of friendship between Israel and Tyre, dating back to the days of Solomon, and the brotherly covenant of mutual respect and honor which existed between the two peoples. The friendliness between Tyre and Israel is mentioned in the O. The Tyrians had considered themselves bound by no consideration of human rights and free to violate any honor for the sake of their profitable slave trade. Note the similarity with Amos , both predictions being somewhat stylized prophecies of the destruction of the places indicated.

This prophecy was fulfilled, as were all the others.

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Within the space of little more than half a century, Tyre was made a vassal city of Assyria, was besieged and captured by "Nebuchadnezzar after a thirteen years siege B. Having dealt with three pagan neighbors of Israel, Amos here moved to address his prophecy of punishment to three pagan relatives of Israel, namely, Edom, Moab, and Ammon. The Edomites were descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob, and were thus blood relatives of the chosen people, being "the seed of Abraham" in a fleshly sense, no less than Israel itself.

The great sin of this people was their "perpetual" hatred of Israel, going back to the time when Jacob had cheated their ancestor out of the birthright. Their hatred, anger, and wrath have continued throughout history; and the prophet's charge that "they kept their wrath forever" has literally come to pass. Note that God disapproved of this vindictive hatred.

True, they had grounds for anger at Jacob and his posterity; but God had ratified the covenant in the seed of Jacob, passing Esau for moral and religious reasons, and not because of Jacob's shameful act in cheating his brother. This judgment of God the Edomites never accepted.

Amos 1-9

Perhaps Schultz is right in seeing this verse, not as recounting specific sins of Edom, but as a reference to, "the traditional attitude of Edom toward Israel. The stark effectiveness of the prophet's language here is attested by the fact that "rip off" has passed into a proverb for wicked and wholesale exploitation, an expression that appears to be derivative from Amos' words here.

The Ammonites were descended from the incestuous union of Lot with one of his daughters; and it would appear that the character of the people thus originated partook in every way of the shameful and unlawful deeds of their ancestors. Amos warned of the judgments that were about to come upon the people of Israel because they had rejected the prophets. This prophecy was initially fulfilled following the apostasy of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

After the ministry of Malachi, more than years passed without prophets ministering in the land of Israel.

After Jesus Christ established His Church on the earth, it too eventually fell into apostasy. Revelation for guiding the Church ceased, and the people of the earth were not able to receive the word of God through prophets for more than 1, years. Amos 1—2 Amos prophesies that the Lord would pour out judgments upon Syria, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, the people of Ammon, and Moab because of their wickedness. Amos also preaches that Judah and Israel will be punished for embracing wickedness and rejecting the Lord. Amos 3—4 Amos describes the various efforts of the Lord to save His people, including sending prophets to warn them, withholding rain, and allowing pestilence and war to trouble them.

However, the people did not humble themselves and return to the Lord. Amos 5—6 Amos teaches that if the people repent and sincerely seek the Lord, they can avoid destruction.

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