|The Book of Amos|
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Go to Bible: Amos 1
“Tekoa.” Tekoa is a small town about 11 miles south and very slightly west of Jerusalem. It was on the western edge of the Judean Wilderness, in an arid and stony land. The soil was a kind of chalk-marl, and any cultivation was scant and in the valleys between the hillsides. Besides the grazing of sheep and goats, the land grew olives and “sycamore figs” (Amos 7:4). The land is dotted with caves that shepherds and flocks used for shelter.
“that he saw concerning Israel.” Amos lived in the Kingdom of Judah in the tribal area of the tribe of Judah, but God chose him to prophesy to the northern kingdom of Israel (the ten tribes of Israel). Sometimes God wants us to serve where we live, sometimes He wants us to serve somewhere else. The reason God did not choose a prophet from Israel to deliver the message Amos delivered is not known.
“Uzziah...Jeroboam.” Uzziah was the king of Judah, and he reigned 52 years. Jeroboam II was the king of Israel and he reigned 41 years. The two kingdoms had peace between them, and enemies were not very active, so from the outside looking in this might be seen as a very good time for both kingdoms. But an inside view revealed that there was a lot of sin and disobedience, so trouble was ahead and coming.
“two years before the earthquake.” The earthquake was not foretold by Amos, but between the time Amos saw the vision and when he penned the Book of Amos, there was a huge earthquake that was long remembered. It is likely the one mentioned in Zechariah 14:5. Large earthquakes produced tremendous damage to ancient cites. Mud-brick houses and temples collapsed, and often water sources were interrupted; often so badly that the town was abandoned.(top)
“Yahweh will roar from Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem.” This shows that God is still the God of both Israel and Judah, even though Israel had rejected him. After the death of Solomon, the ten northern tribes of Israel separated themselves from the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin and set up the “kingdom of Israel.” They abandoned Yahweh and set up golden calf gods in Bethel and Dan, and made priests from people who were not Levites (1 Kings 12:28-33). But in spite of human efforts to control their own life and destiny, Yahweh is still God and His Word is everlasting, and He spoke to the people from the city where His temple was—from Jerusalem.(top)
“For three transgressions...yes, for four.” The poetic expression “three…four” is an idiom for “many.”
“threshing instruments of iron.” For more on threshing grain, see commentary on Ruth 2:17.(top)
“the palace-fortresses.” The Hebrew word in Amos 1:4 translated palace-fortresses armown (#0759 אַרְמוֹן), and it can refer to a palace or a fortress. Although today people generally think of palaces and fortresses as being two different buildings, in the ancient world it was normal for a king to make the palace into a fortress that could withstand an attack from hostile forces. Herod the Great was known for building palace-fortresses and built them in Jerusalem, Jericho, Masada, Caesarea, and other places as well. Amos foretold that the palace-fortresses in Syria would be destroyed, and they were by the Assyrians.(top)
|Amo 1:5||- (top)|
|Amo 1:6||- (top)|
|Amo 1:7||- (top)|
“Ashdod.” A chief Philistine city. The Philistine city of Gath is not mentioned (see commentary on Zeph. 2:4).(top)
|Amo 1:9||- (top)|
|Amo 1:10||- (top)|
|Amo 1:11||- (top)|
|Amo 1:12||- (top)|
“For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, yes, for four.” The poetic expression “three…four” is an idiom for “many.” The Ammonites were a rather constant adversary to Israel, in spite of being descendants of Abraham’s nephew Lot. Nahash the Ammonite tried to take territory from Israel and humiliate God’s people (1 Sam. 11:1-2). Hanun the Ammonite humiliated David’s ambassadors (2 Sam. 10:1-4). And the trouble continued after the time of Amos. For example, Tobiah the Ammonite was an adversary to Israel in the time of Nehemiah (Neh. 2:10, 19; 4:3, 7; 6:12-14), and Baalis the king of Ammon hired a man to kill the Babylonian provisional governor of Judah after the Babylonian destruction of the country (Jer. 40:14).(top)
|Amo 1:14||- (top)|
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