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.
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.
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:
But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad.
I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.
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:
But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof:
And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.
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:
But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof.
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:
But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.
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:
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:
And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.
 

Introduction to Amos

Although Amos lived in Judah, he was greatly exercised about Israel’s increasing departure from the true faith in Jehovah, and so directed his prophecy mostly against the northern kingdom. He was a contemporary of Hosea, probably somewhat older.

Amos makes a special point of the fact that he had been merely a shepherd, rather than a priest or trained prophet when God called him to the prophetic ministry (Amos 7:14-16). His prophecies included divine judgments on various other nations (Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab) before turning his attention to the sins of Judah and Israel. His judgments were envisioning not only Israel, but “the whole family” that God had brought out of Egypt (Amos 3:1). They were directed especially at the northern kingdom, Amos firmly predicting that Israel was destined for captivity in Assyria (Amos 5:7; 6:9; 7:17).

Nevertheless, despite the imminent judgments, Amos closes on a great note of hope and assurance, promising the ultimate restoration of all the children of Israel in the Davidic kingdom, a prophecy that James cites in the New Testament as well (Acts 15:15-18).

1:1 among the herdmen. See Amos 9:11. Amos had not been trained as a prophet, nor was he a priest or a king. He was a mere shepherd and fruit-picker (Amos 7:14), yet God called him and used him. God gave him both the eloquence and courage necessary for his strong prophetic ministry, especially directed to the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel, but including also the whole nation. Note his warning to both the people of Zion and Samaria (Amos 6:1) and his promise concerning the future “tabernacle of David.”

1:1 the earthquake. This earthquake must have been very severe, for it was still cited in the days of Zechariah, three hundred years later (Zechariah 14:5). More geologic studies have recently confirmed the intensity of this earthquake.

1:2 roar from Zion. As in many of the prophecies, there often is both a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment in view. The use of “roar” in this type of context usually looks forward to the great “day of the Lord” (Zechariah 14:1) yet to come in the last days (compare Isaiah 42:13; Jeremiah 25:30; Joel 3:16; etc., especially the latter).

1:2 his voice from Jerusalem. Even though Amos was in Israel at Bethel (Amos 7:10-13), he knew that God would center His work at Jerusalem, when He would “roar out of Zion.”

1:3 three transgressions. This formula is repeated seven times against seven nations surrounding Israel (Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah, in Amos 1:3,6,9,11,13; 2:1,4, respectively) before finally focussing on Israel (Amos 2:6). It probably implies a great number of transgressions in each case—three being sufficient to incur God’s wrath, with four causing it to spill over.

1:4 a fire. A “fire” from God is promised to each offending nation (Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; 2:2,5) around Judah, implying severe destruction. The nations later implementing these fires were Assyria, Babylonia, Persia and Greece, but there may also be a secondary reference to the “fire on Magog” and his confederate nations around Israel in the last days (Ezekiel 39:6).

1:4 house of Hazael. Hazael and Ben-Hadad were kings of Syria who invaded Israel during the reign of Ahab, in the times of Elijah and Elisha. Both names have been found on archaeological inscriptions dating from this period, recognizing their importance as Kings of Syria.

1:5 captivity unto Kir. According to II Kings 16:9, this prophecy was explicitly fulfilled when Tiglath-Pileser III temporarily aided Israel against the Syrians. The Syrians had originally come from Kir, according to Amos 9:7, but its actual location is unknown.

1:6 Gaza. Gaza, along with Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron (Amos 1:8), were the main cities of the Philistines.

1:8 Philistines shall perish. Although the land of Palestine was named after the Philistines, the present-day Palestinians are not descendants of the Philistines. The Philistines, as prophesied, have perished.

1:9 transgressions of Tyrus. On Tyre’s destruction, see notes on Ezekiel 26.


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