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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.
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, Luk_12:47. The formula of three transgressions and for four, Amo_1:3, etc., means several or many. Compare Job_5:19.
The order followed is Syria, Amo_1:3; Philistia, Amo_1:6; Tyre, Amo_1:9; Edom, Amo_1:11; Ammon, Amo_1:13; Moab, Amo_1:1. 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.
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:
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, Psa_137:7-8. Teman and Bozrah were principal cities, the first being named after Esau’s grandson, Gen_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, Isa_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. Moab-the terrible act referred to here was probably associated with 2Ki_3:27. Alas that, in the divine vengeance, Judah should be associated with these heathen peoples! The indictment is not for sins against man, but for those committed against God. We are judged by the greater light and the higher standards that we possess. The fire here threatened was the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldeans, who have their modern counterparts. Man is often used by the Almighty for the chastening and purifying of his fellows.