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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:

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

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.

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