Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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.Analysis and Annotations
I. JUDGMENT ANNOUNCED AGAINST THE NATIONS, JUDAH, AND ISRAEL
1. The introduction (Amos 1:1-2)
2. Damascus (Amos 1:3-5)
3. Philistia (Amos 1:6-8)
4. Tyre (Amos 1:9-10)
5. Edom (Amos 1:11-12)
6. Ammon (Amos 1:13-15)
Amos 1:1-2. It has been pointed out that Amos does not say like so many of the other prophets, “the Word of the Lord which came unto me,” but he begins his prophecy with the statement “the words of Amos.” The fact of divine inspiration, however, is expressed in the next words “which he saw.” His messages, like the messages of all the prophets, were given to him in vision. As stated in the general introduction to this book, this first verse determines the exact time when the herdman of Tekoa appeared with his message. The earthquake mentioned must have been a disastrous one, for there was a great flight of people Zechariah 14:5.
Then follows his first utterance which Joel recorded in his prophecy, “the LORD roars out of Zion.” Inasmuch as Joel prophesied in Judah and Amos appeared from Judah in Bethel of the ten-tribe kingdom, this sentence Of coming judgment was probably unknown to his hearers. He sounded the alarm at once as to the coming judgment on account of which the shepherds would mourn and the beautiful, luxurious Carmel would wither, it would bring disaster upon all.
Amos 1:3-5. Six nations are mentioned against which judgment is announced, five in this chapter and Moab in the beginning of the second. Eight times we read “saith the LORD.” Then in each judgment prediction we find the phrase, “for three transgressions or four ... I will not reverse it.” The meaning of it is that the measure is full and that the judgment cannot be averted. Fire is prominently mentioned as the mode of judgment. These nations were the enemies of Israel. The Syrians were the great enemies of Israel and treated them with awful cruelties. The threshing of Gilead with iron instruments took place when Hazael of Damascus conquered the land east of Jordan 2Kings 10:32-36; 2Kings 13:7. Hazael murdered Ben-hadad and Elisha predicted all the horrible things he would do to Israel. When the man of God wept and Hazael asked him the reason, Elisha answered, “Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel; their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child” 2Kings 8:12. Damascus was broken and the predicted judgment came. It was executed through the King of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser, who drove the Syrians back to Kir, from which they had come 2Kings 16:9.
Amos 1:6-8. Philistia is represented by Gaza. They also mistreated Israel and sold them into the hands of Edom. 2Chronicles 21:16. The cities of Philistia; Gaza and its palaces would be consumed by fire. There would be an end to the Philistines, “the remnant of the Philistines shall perish saith the LORD.”
Amos 1:9-10. Tyrus, the capital of Phoenicia, had also sinned against Israel by delivering them into the hands of their great enemy Edom. Their sin was especially heinous because David and Solomon had made a covenant with the King of Tyre, hence no King of Judah or Israel had ever warred against Tyre 2Samuel 5:11; 1Kings 5:1-18) .
Amos 1:11-12. Edom was closely related to Israel, yet they hated more than the heathen nations hated Israel. At every opportunity Edom expressed this hatred by deeds of cruelty. What an awful record! “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 forever.” In Obadiah we find more concerning Edom.
Amos 1:13-15. Wicked Ammon had tried to exterminate the people for selfish reasons “to enlarge their border.” What horrible deeds to rip open women with child! Nor is this confined to the barbarous warfare of 3,000 years ago; the same was done in other wars down to our own days. Judgment would overtake them also.
In meditating on these terse judgment messages we must remember while these nations of the past have ceased existing as nations, and the predicted judgment came long ago, that these nations are typical of the other nations, who also sin against Israel and whose judgment will come “in that day.”