About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Chapter 1 and 2
Commentary On The Book Of Amos
following commentary is based on the 1984 edition of the New
International Bible. Chapter
titles in this commentary correspond to the NIV Bible to make for easy
King Solomon died, Israel
had a civil war and divided into two, north and south.
The north was eventually overtaken by Assyria. Later, the south was
overthrown by Babylon.
north was often called Israel
or Ephraim. The south was
was a prophet that spoke the Word of the Lord to the northern kingdom of
Israel, even though he came from the southern kingdom. The
prophet Hosea was from the north and he prophesied to the north along
was sent to the northern kingdom at a time when they were militarily and
economically secure. These
were good times for Israel. That being said, they had
left their religious heritage, although they were a religious people.
northern Kingdom is much like the western world today, including the
name "Amos" means "a burden", and a "burden" is
what he became to
spoke of God's judgment on the northern kingdom which took place within
fifty years of his ministry.
thing we should note is that the southern kingdom was taken into
captivity and was subsequently set free.
The northern kingdom was destroyed and never did come back into
speaks of eight particular judgments.
From chapter 3 to 6 Amos gives 3 sermons concerning Israel's past, present and future. From
chapter 6 to 9 we see 5 visions.
and Amos both prophesied around the same time to the northern kingdom of
Israel. It seems to me that Amos'
message was directed to
need to give a brief history of Assyria because in both Amos and Hosea
has evolved into present day
605 B. C. Assyria had declined and was taken over by Babylon, one of their arch-rivals for centuries.
in our study of Hosea and Amos, we need to understand that Assyria
wasn't modern day Syria. Assyria's
control was much broader, spreading over much of the middle east, from
Iran to the east, Turkey to the north west, Cyprus to the far west,
Egypt to the south.
wrote these words around 760 B.C. We
know this because of the two kings mentioned in verse one.
at this point was divided into two parts, north, often called
1 also speaks of an earthquake, which there is some extra-biblical
evidence for. Zechariah 14:5
also makes note of this very same earthquake.
1 tells us that Amos was a shepherd in Tekeo, which is south of
2 speaks of "the Lord roaring".
A lion roars just before he is about to pounce an is prey.
Throughout the Bible we see this kind of language used when it
comes to God. When He roars,
He is about to pounce on His enemies.
He is about to bring judgment on those who rebel against Him, and
so it is here. God is
warning the northern
fact the God is roaring from Jerusalem
tells us something as well. The
northern kingdom did not view Jerusalem
as their capital.
also in verse 2 that God "thunders".
This too shows the soon to come anger of the Lord to be poured
out on Israel. You see the word
"thunder" used in the book of Revelation in regards to Jesus.
In Revelation you often see the phrase "the wrath of the
Lamb". The words
"wrath" and "lamb" don't often go together, but when
it comes to the Lamb of God, He is not the typical Lamb you see grazing
in a quiet field.
2 speaks of the pastures drying up.
This is one way, and always has been, that God judges people and
nations. This is
something we might want to think about today.
The idea that God still judges nations in these New Testament
times is not a well accepted truth any more.
here to the end of the chapter we see the judgment of God that comes on
those nations still left in Canaan that Israel
had not defeated in battle. These
are obviously pagan nations. So
we learn here that God does not only judge and punish Israel, but secular nations as well. I
suggest that He does the same today for the same reason He did back in
history states that these judgments came true, thus helping to validate
the Biblical account.
the remaining verses when you see the words "for three sins, and
even for four", this is merely a poetic form of writing.
Much of the book of Amos was written in a certain Hebrew style
common in those days, and thus the reason for the book's format and
it comes to the mentioning of three or four sins, some take this
literally as if God only had three or four things against these nations.
Most scholars however, say it's just poetic justice to say there
are a number of sins that the Lord is not happy with.
Thus again, This is more about writing style than counting sins.
3 to 5 speak of the judgment of
main reason for God judging
will not get into the details concerning how God judged these nations
and the historical outcome of God's judgments.
I let others do that. I
will also not comment on each nation that is judged, only to say that
again, you see the Abrahamic Covenant in effect.
He that curses
just mentioned that
Note in verse 11 the judgment on Edom. Edom was Esau, Jacob's brother. This verse seems to suggest the ongoing struggle between Jacob and Esau, which lasts to this very day. It is my understanding that the modern day Arab is a descended of both Esau and Ishmael. Esau, in disobedience, married a woman from the descendants of Ishmael, thus producing a lineage which we would call Arab today.
verse 4 of chapter 2 we depart from God's judgments on pagan nations to
God's judgment on Judah, the southern kingdom. Notice
the reason why God judges Judah. It is a different reason
for His judgments on the above mentioned
nations. He judged the pagan
nations for the way they treated
the last chapter God has just pronounced judgment on some pagan nations
around the northern kingdom of
says that He will not hold back His wrath.
He is not treating the northern kingdom any differently than how
He would treat a pagan nation. Sin
is sin, and sooner or later God's wrath comes against the sinner unless
he repents and puts his trust in God.
6 says that "they sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a
pair of sandals". The
point here is the injustice seen in the northern kingdom of Israel. The Law of Moses taught
and demanded justice in society, but Israel
had forsaken this justice. Both
the needy and those who wanted to live righteously were taken advantage
of . Life was all about
prosperity, even if the righteous and the needy had to suffer, those
with influence took advantage of the less fortunate for personal gain.
That sounds like the western world today. Beyond
overtly oppressing the needy and poor in our society, the rich, the
politician, oppress the poor
and needy in a more covert way, and maybe not even knowing they do so.
The rich, the politician, for the most part, have forgotten what
it is like to be poor and needy, or, maybe they never were poor and
needy and don't know what that is like.
Therefore, their economic and political policies don't take into
consider the needy and poor, who suffer because of their policies.
7 continues on the same thought. "They
trample on the heads of the needy".
The needy are "oppressed".
Former Prime Minister Trudeau of
7 states that "father and son" use the same girl.
There is some debate among Bible teachers to what this is
speaking of, yet many believe this is speaking of sexual immorality.
Compare that to today, and there's not much difference. Because
of these sexual sins "God's holy name is profaned" among the
nations. Throughout the Old
Testament you notice that this is one thing that really bothers God.
His good name is extremely important to God, more than we can
ever know, and when Israel, or us, misrepresent His name, we profane His name.
I suggest that the modern church does that all the time by
misrepresenting the name of Jesus. All
we do is supposed to be done in the name of Jesus, but in reality, what
we do is in our own name. We
promote ourselves more than Jesus, and then we say we do it in the name
of Jesus. That is blasphemy.
That is profaning the name of our Lord.
That is misrepresenting the Lord's name to the world, and if
someone did that to our good name, we wouldn't be very happy about that
fundamental problem with both the northern and southern kingdom
8 speaks of the worship of the Canaanite gods they were to reject.
Instead of worshiping their God only, they worshipped other gods.
So not only did Israel
profane God's name, they basically replaced it with the name of other
word "garment" in verse 8 is probably in reference to certain
Jewish religious clothes that would have been warn by the priests.
They wore these clothes min pagan worship.
reference of wine received from fines seems to be debatable among Bible
teachers. It seems that the
poor who were unjustly fined could pay with wine if they had no money.
So the wine that these Israelis were drinking was gotten through
9 we see reference to God destroying the Amorites.
This took place when Joshua and
Amorites are compared here by God to a tall and strong tree.
God destroyed the whole tree, from the fruit above, right down to
the roots below. When God
pours out His wrath in judgment, He goes all the way.
There are no half way measures concerning the judgment of God.
In Genesis 16:16 we see that the Amorites were sinful way back
then, way back in Abraham's day, but they had more sin to commit.
They had to get worse. There
comes a tipping point with God. Once
sin in a nation has reached a certain point, there is no return, no
getting around God's judgment. It
took more than 400 years, but the Amorite sin did reach its climax, and
they were destroyed by Israel
as an act of God's judgment. This
act of judgment was two fold. It
punished the Ammorites for their sin and blessed
10 continues the short history lesson.
If you notice as you read how the Lord speaks to Israel
in the Old Testament, He often reminds them of the past, what He has
done for them, and what they have or have not done for Him in return.
Remembering the past is something that the Lord wants us to do.
It should not become a matter of tradition and routine though.
Remembering the past is meant to be instructional.
We need to learn from both our successes and our failures.
We also need to remember how good the Lord has been to us.
verse 11 God states that He caused both prophets and Nazirites to rise
it comes to Nazirites, there are two classes of Nazirites.
There were life-long Nazirites and there were short term
Nazirites who took the oath of the Nazirite vow for one reason or
another. The Hebrew word
translated as Nazirite means, to separate, to consecrate, or, to devote.
The whole idea of
being a Nazirite, whether for long term or short term, was to devote
yourself totally to the Lord and abstain from anything remotely
associated with the world. They
could not drink any wine or alcoholic drink, or any
stimulating drink, such as coffee, which they would not have had
in those days. They were to
only drink water. They
were to grow their hair long and ware torn old clothes.
They were not to bathe. During
the life of the Nazirite, he was to look disgusting to the world, but in
his inner self good towards the Lord.
Being a Nazirite was a matter of self denial. There
were specific instructions in the Law of Moses for Nazirites and how
they should live.
for some reason the person taking the Nazirite vow broke the vow, there
was a purification process that he would go through in order to pick up
the vow where he left off.
Samson and Samuel were Nazirites in the Old Testament, while John the
Baptist was one in the New Testament.
Some say that the apostle Paul took a Nazirite vow in Acts 18:18,
and 21:22 to 26. In my
thinking this might be somewhat questionable.
Paul actually shaved his head in this vow.
He didn't grow his hair long.
in Amos 2, both the prophet and the Nazirite was meant to be a
godly witness to Israel, but as is often the case, Israel paid no
attention to these witnesses.
verse 13 to the end of this chapter we see God pronouncing judgment on