The God of Israel is the God of all the earth,
and the nations that refuse to worship Him,
and who persecute His people will be made to know that they are accountable to Him as Judge.
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.
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.
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:
4 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.
6 ¶ 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.
9 ¶ 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.
11 ¶ 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.
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:
14 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.
Amos 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Amos 1:1-10 – Outside Nations Shall Suffer Judgment
Amos opens his prophecies with predictions against neighboring peoples, that Israel may be led to appreciate her guilt and to bear the approach of God’s righteous judgment (Luke 12:47). The formula of three transgressions… and for four (v. 3, etc.), means several or many (Job 5:19).
The order followed is Syria (v. 3); Philistia (v. 6); Tyre (v. 9); Edom (v. 11); Ammon (v. 13); Moab (v. 1). Each of these neighboring kingdoms was successively overwhelmed by the invasion of the great countries that lay in the valley of the Euphrates. Tiglath-pileser began and ultimately Nebuchadnezzar finished the work of desolation. But in turn the conquerors, becoming enervated by uninterrupted success and prosperity, were also swept away. We may be sure that there is One who judges in the earth and that, although might may assert its claims to be right, it is but for a moment. The constitution of the universe is in harmony with Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Calvary: and only a Christian civilization can be permanent. (Meyer)
Amos 1:1—The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa.
God does not hesitate to employ a herdman, if only his heart is pure and devoted to his service. He calls such an one out of the midst of his fellows, designating him for his sacred ministry. And when the fire of God burns within, very common clay becomes luminous and transparent. An ox-goad, a ram’s-horn, a sling of stone, will serve his purpose. It is not what a man has, but what he is, that matters.
As we look through this strong book of ancient prophecy, and notice how it abounds with references and imagery peculiar to a herdsman’s life, we feel that a noble spirit of devotion to God may elevate the meanest employments and dignify the most ordinary subjects. The common incidents of the farm may convey the Divine meaning not less than the sacred scenery of the Temple, which was familiar to Ezekiel. There is nothing which is intrinsically common or unclean. We profane things by a profane spirit. But if we view all things from the Divine standpoint, we shall find that a sacred light will beat through them, like that which transfigured the coarse garments of Christ so as no fuller on earth could whiten them. The glory streamed through from his heart! It is comparatively seldom that God calls one of the upper classes of society to conspicuous usefulness. “Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen… the weak things;… and base things,… and things which are despised” (1 Corinthians 1:26-28). Here and there a noble of great authority, a Zinzendorf, a Shaftesbury: but most often fishermen and publicans; Luther, the miner’s son, Tersteegen the ribbon-weaver, Carey the cobbler. (Meyer)
Amos 1:3 – Everything we believe as doctrine, everything we do as duty, and everything we observe as worship, must have this authority – “The Master saith it.” All tampering with Scripture as the sole and sufficient rule of faith and practice, and all tampering with conscience as bound by that rule, is a guilty resistance of the authority of Christ, and a perilous thing to our own welfare. (James)
Amos 1:11-15 – Judah Shall Be Judged Also
Edom was Esau; that is, the people were closely akin to Israel; perhaps for that very reason the hatred on either side became more and more inveterate from the days of the Exodus to the siege and fall of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7-8). Teman and Bozrah were principal cities, the first being named after Esau’s grandson (Genesis 36:11). Isaiah, in after years, saw the warrior Angel of Jehovah coming up from Edom to the foothills of Palestine, his garments stained with the blood of the foe whom he had overthrown (Isaiah 63:1). Thus Jesus Christ has overcome our foes, and now stands sentry between us and them.
Rabbah was the capital city of Ammon. The strife between the citizens and the Chosen People smoldered from the days of Saul, flaming out from time to time in terrible intensity. (Meyer)