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The Book of Amos
Chapter 1

Judgment on Surrounding Nations (Amos 1:1-8)

Amos was fearless as he brought his message from God. Hosea’s message emphasized the love of God, but a God of love who also intends to judge. Amos spoke of the exalted justice and the inflexible righteousness of God which leads Him to judge. He spoke to the great world powers of that day, like the later prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, did.

When Amos first spoke in Beth-el, saying that God was going to judge Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, they filled the king’s chapel. He really drew a crowd. It pleased them for him to preach on the sins of the Moabites, but NOT on their sins. What about today? Do you like to hear about YOUR sins?

Amos 1:1 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. (KJV)

Two years before the earthquake” this earthquake is also mentioned by Zechariah nearly 200 years later (Zec.14:5). This helps us to see that Amos was contemporary with Hosea, he was one of the first prophets, and he was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. Tekoa, Amos’s hometown, was located in the rugged sheep country of Judah, about ten miles south of Jerusalem. Long before Amos was born, a woman of Tekoa had helped reconcile David and his rebellious son, Absalom (2 Samuel 14:1-23).

Amos 1:2 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. (KJV)

Joel also used this expression. It suggests the roar of a lion as it pounces upon its prey. What a way for Amos to begin his message! It speaks of the coming judgment of God upon the nations which were round about. Apparently, a drought and a famine would come upon that land, a famine that would cover the entire land. In the Bible, God is often pictured as a Shepherd and His people as sheep. As a Shepherd, God leads and protects His flock. But Amos depicts God is as a ferocious lion ready to devour those who are evil or unfaithful. (Hosea 11:10.)

This section of prophecy deals with the judgments of God upon the nations that surrounded Israel. The Word of God, even the Old Testament, shows that God is not only the God of the nation Israel but He is also the God of the Gentiles. In the New Testament, Paul is the one who makes that abundantly clear. And since God is the God of ALL people, He shall judge the nations. Although in this day of grace God has one great purpose, that of calling out a people to His Name, that does not mean that He has quit taking care of the affairs of this world . . . He has not. He still moves in judgment upon the nations of the world, and this Book of Amos has a tremendous message along that line.

JUDGMENT AGAINST SYRIA FOR CRUELTY

Amos 1:3 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: (KJV)

The cup of iniquity was filled up, and nothing could now hold back the judgment of God that was coming upon Syria. The atrocity which Syria had committed and for which they were to be judged, was in using sharp, iron threshing tools on the people of Gilead, causing torn and mangled bodies.

Gilead was on the east bank of the Jordan River. It was the land which came up as far as the Sea of Galilee where the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh remained on the wrong side of the Jordan. Syria is located right to the north and came down against them. There is still bad blood between Syria and Israel around the Golan Heights which would correspond to the ancient land of Gilead. In that day, Syria had come down against God’s people and simply threshed them, and He says He is going to judge them for their cruelty and for their brutality.

Amos 1:4-5 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad. [5] 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. (KJV)

A fire is to come upon Hazael, the king, and upon the palaces of Ben-hadad. "I will send a fire," meaning the flame of war (Psalm 78:63). It occurs also in Amos 1:7, 10, 12, 14, and Amos 2:2, 5; Jer.49:27; Hosea 8:14.

God will send down fire on King Hazael's palace, and the fortresses of King Ben-hadad will be destroyed. God will break down the gates of Damascus and slaughter its people all the way to the valley of Aven. I will destroy the ruler in Beth-eden, and the people of Aram will return to Kir as slaves. God has spoken, through Amos.

JUDGMENT AGAINST PHILISTIA FOR MAKING SLAVES

Amos 1:6-8 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: [7] But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: [8] 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. (KJV)

As in verse 3, this means the cup of iniquity had been filled up. “Gaza” was the Philistine empire. God’s judgment against the Philistines was for making slaves. They took the Israelites, and they sold them into slavery to Edom and also to Phoenicia. The Phoenicians in turn sold them as prisoners of war into slavery elsewhere. They would send them all over the Mediterranean world. Because of this, God says that He intends to judge Philistia.

The allegation “For three sins. . . even for four” means that these nations had sinned again and again. This phrase echoes throughout these verses as God evaluates nation after nation. Each nation had persistently refused to follow God’s commands. A sinful practice can become a way of life. Ignoring or denying the problem will not help us.

We must begin the process of correction by confessing our sins to God and asking Him to forgive us (1 John 1:8-10). This country in which we live is in great danger of God’s wrath and judgment. America was once a “nation under God.” That is NO longer true. Let us believers stay close to our Lord God, for we shall be judged by our works. Are you ready to stand before the awesome Judge?

JUDGMENT AGAINST PHOENICIA FOR BREAKING TREATY

Amos 1:9-10 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: [10] But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof. (KJV)

Tyre was the great city of the Phoenicians. God could have listed many sins, but He will mention the main ones. They had broken a covenant that they had made with Israel. Tyrus also has the same charge as that against the Philistines (verse 6), they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom. Many parts of Tyre were burnt by fiery missiles of the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar. Alexander of Macedon subsequently overthrew it. Amos’ prophecy concerning Tyre was literally fulfilled.
It is most important that we treat people right and keep our promises.

JUDGMENT AGAINST EDOM FOR REVENGEFUL SPIRIT

Amos 1:11-12 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: [12] But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah. (KJV)

Edom . . . did pursue his brother (Isaiah 34:5). The chief provocation to Edom's violence against Israel was that they both came from the same parents, Isaac and Rebekah (Gen.25:24-26; Deut. 23:7-8; Obadiah 10, 12; Mal.1:2). "Cast off all pity" literally did suppress all the natural feeling of pity for a brother in distress.

Kept his wrath for ever . . . Esau kept up his grudge against Jacob, for having twice supplanted him, namely, as to the birthright and the blessing (Gen.27:41), so Esau's posterity against Israel (Num.20:14, 21). Edom first showed his spite in not letting Israel pass through his borders when coming from the wilderness, but threatening to "come out against him with the sword"; next, when the Syrians attacked Jerusalem under Ahaz (2 Chron. 28:17; 2 Kings 16:5); next, when Nebuchadnezzar assailed Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7-8). Edom chose the day of Israel's calamity for venting his grudge. God punishes the children, not for the sin of their fathers, but for their own filling up the measure of their fathers' guilt, as children generally follow in the steps of, and even exceed, their fathers' guilt (Ex.20:5).

Teman was a city of Edom, called from a grandson of Esau (Gen.36:11, 15; Obadiah 8-9); located about five miles from Petra; south of the present Wady Musa. Its people were famed for wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7). In the rock-hewn city of Petra, the capital of Edom, which is located in Teman, everything was destroyed that would burn. The palaces of Bozrah have been destroyed and have disappeared. This prophecy against Edom has been literally fulfilled. Judgment came upon them because of their revengeful spirit, because they were jealous of their brother, Israel. Let us not be guilty of a revengeful spirit.

JUDGMENT AGAINST AMMON FOR VIOLENT CRIMES

Amos 1:13 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: (KJV)

The Ammonites were located over on the east bank of the Jordan, and they joined the Syrians in fighting against the two and one-half tribes of Israel which were in the land of Gilead. They did it “that they might enlarge their border.” They committed horrible, violent crimes against Israel as they ripped up the women with child.

Amos 1:14-15 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: [15] And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the Lord. (KJV)

The Ammonites had descended from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his younger daughter (Gen.19:30-38). Their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child (2 Kings 8:12). The Ammonites were brutal, blood thirsty beasts.

The Ammonites were hostile to Israel; and although Israel began to worship their idols, the Ammonites still attacked (Judges 10:6-8). After Saul had been anointed Israel’s king, his first victory in battle was against the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11). Rabbah was Ammon’s capital city. Amos’ prophecy of Ammon’s destruction was fulfilled through the Assyrian invasion. Modern Jordan has been built upon the ruins of the Ammonite nation.

Amos

Ch.1 . Ch.2 . Ch.3 . Ch.4 . Ch.5 . Ch.6 . Ch.7 . Ch.8 . Ch.9

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