The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah…
There must be some special reason why this prophet putts upon record the employments in which he spent his earlier years, and from which he was called to assume the office of the Lord's messenger to Israel. On the barren hills to the south of Bethlehem, where there is no tillage, and where the population must always have been scanty, Amos tended flocks of sheep or of goats, and at certain seasons of the year gathered the fruit from the wild sycamore trees.
I. RURAL AND MENIAL OCCUPATIONS WERE NO BARRIER TO THE ENJOYMENT OF DIVINE FAVOUR OR TO ELECTION TO SPECIAL AND HONOURABLE SERVICE. This lesson, taught by the career of Amos, was taught again by the election of the apostles of the Lord Christ. The great of this world are often apt to regard men of lowly station with disdain, but God takes no heed of social and artificial distinctions.
II. THE SECLUSION OF A PASTORAL LIFE WAS A SUITABLE TRAINING FOR THE PROPHETIC VOCATION. As David, when guarding the sheepfolds and leading the flocks to water, enjoyed many opportunities for solitary meditation and for devout communion with God, so Amos in the lonely pastures of Tekoah must have listened to the voice that speaks especially to the quiet and the contemplative, the voice of inspiration and of grace.
III. THE RURAL SURROUNDINGS OF THE PROPHET AFFORDED HIM MUCH APPROPRIATE AND STRIKING IMAGERY. The rain and the harvest, the sheep and the lion, the bird and the snare, the fish and the hook, the cart and the sheaf, the earthquake, the fire, and the flood, etc., are all pressed into the service of this poetic prophecy. God taught his servant lessons which stood him in good stead in after years.
IV. BY RAISING AMOS FROM THE HERDSMAN'S TO THE PROPHET'S LIFE GOD MAGNIFIED HIS OWN GRACE. The cultivated and the polished are liable to take credit to themselves for the efficiency of their ministry. But when the comparatively untaught and those who have enjoyed but few advantages are raised to a position in which they do a great work for God, "the excellency of the power is seen to be of God himself." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen 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.