Amos 8

A Basket of Ripe Fruit

1 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit.
2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered. Then the LORD said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
3 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing.[a] Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”
4 Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land,
5 saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”— skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales,
6 buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
7 The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
8 “Will not the land tremble for this, and all who live in it mourn? The whole land will rise like the Nile; it will be stirred up and then sink like the river of Egypt.
9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.
13 “In that day “the lovely young women and strong young men will faint because of thirst.
14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria— who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’ or, ‘As surely as the god[b] of Beersheba lives’— they will fall, never to rise again.”

Amos 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

The near approach of the ruin of Israel. (1-3) Oppression reproved. (4-10) A famine of the word of God. (11-14)

Verses 1-3 Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to be eaten; which signified, that the people were ripe for destruction, that the year of God's patience was drawing towards a conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, but must be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw from them any acknowledgement, either of God's righteousness or their own unrighteousness. Sinners put off repentance from day to day, because they think the Lord thus delays his judgments.

Verses 4-10 The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty of oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our time better than in communion with God? When employed in religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no regard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will not long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they deal with. They take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance or necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouring poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord, we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker; as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get them. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks the case of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed, miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation every where. It shall come upon them when they little think of it. Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments, even life itself; in the midst of life we are in death. What will be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful and sensual pleasures!

Verses 11-14 Here was a token of God's highest displeasure. At any time, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of God is the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yet some will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a good sermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sin away. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plans and endeavours to find out a way of salvation, will stand them in no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, for want of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let us value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinning them away.

Cross References 39

  • 1. S Amos 7:1
  • 2. Jeremiah 1:13; Jeremiah 24:3
  • 3. Amos 7:8
  • 4. S Genesis 40:16
  • 5. S Lamentations 4:18; Ezekiel 7:2-9
  • 6. S Amos 5:16
  • 7. Amos 5:23; Amos 6:10
  • 8. S Proverbs 30:14
  • 9. S Job 20:19; S Psalms 14:4; S Amos 2:7
  • 10. S Numbers 10:10
  • 11. Isaiah 58:13
  • 12. S Nehemiah 10:31
  • 13. S Genesis 31:7
  • 14. Deuteronomy 25:15; 2 Kings 4:23; Nehemiah 13:15-16; Ezekiel 45:10-12; S Hosea 12:7; Micah 6:10-11; Zechariah 5:6
  • 15. Amos 5:11
  • 16. S Amos 2:6; S Amos 4:1
  • 17. S Psalms 47:4; Amos 6:8
  • 18. S Hosea 8:13
  • 19. S Job 35:15
  • 20. S Job 9:6; Jeremiah 51:29; Hosea 4:3
  • 21. Psalms 18:7; S Jeremiah 46:8; Amos 9:5
  • 22. S Job 5:14; Isaiah 59:9-10; Jeremiah 13:16; Jeremiah 15:9; S Ezekiel 32:7; S Amos 5:8; Micah 3:6; Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45
  • 23. S Leviticus 26:31
  • 24. S Lamentations 5:15; S Hosea 2:11
  • 25. S Joel 1:8; Jeremiah 48:37
  • 26. S Leviticus 13:40; S Isaiah 3:17
  • 27. S Genesis 21:16; Jeremiah 6:26; Zechariah 12:10
  • 28. S Jeremiah 2:19; S Ezekiel 7:18
  • 29. Jeremiah 30:3; Jeremiah 31:27
  • 30. S Isaiah 30:20
  • 31. S 1 Samuel 3:1; S 1 Samuel 28:6; S 2 Chronicles 15:3; Ezekiel 7:26
  • 32. S Ezekiel 20:3,31
  • 33. S Isaiah 9:17
  • 34. Isaiah 41:17; Hosea 2:3
  • 35. Micah 1:5
  • 36. S 1 Kings 12:29
  • 37. S Amos 5:5
  • 38. S Psalms 46:2
  • 39. S Amos 5:2

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "“the temple singers will wail"
  • [b]. Hebrew "the way"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO AMOS 8

In this chapter a fourth vision is delivered, the vision of a "basket of summer fruit"; signifying the destruction of the ten tribes, for which they were ripe, and which would quickly come upon them, Am 8:1-3; the rich are reproved for their oppression of the poor, their covetousness and earthly mindedness, Am 8:4-6; for which they are threatened with entire ruin, sudden calamities, and very mournful times, instead of light, joy, and gladness, Am 8:7-10; and particularly with a famine of hearing the word of God, Am 8:11,12; the consequence of which would be, a fainting of the young men and virgins for thirst, and the utter and irrecoverable ruin of all idolaters, Am 8:13,14.

Amos 8 Commentaries