Amos 1

1 The words of 'Amos, one of the sheep owners in T'koa, which he saw concerning Isra'el in the days of 'Uziyah king of Y'hudah and Yarov'am the son of Yo'ash, king of Isra'el, two years before the earthquake;
2 he said: ADONAI is roaring from Tziyon thundering from Yerushalayim; the shepherds' pastures will mourn, and Mount Karmel's summit will wither.
3 Here is what ADONAI says: "For Dammesek's three crimes, no, four - I will not reverse it - because they threshed Gil'ad with an iron-spiked threshing-sledge;
4 I will send fire to the house of Haza'el, and it will consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad.
5 I will break the bars of Dammesek's gates. I will cut off the inhabitants from Bik'at-Aven, and him who holds the scepter from Beit-'Eden. Then the people of Aram will go into exile in Kir," says ADONAI.
6 Here is what ADONAI says: "For 'Azah's three crimes, no, four - I will not reverse it because they exiled a whole population and handed them over to Edom;
7 I will send fire to the wall of 'Azah, and it will consume its palaces.
8 I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon. I will turn my hand against 'Ekron, and the rest of the P'lishtim will perish," says ADONAI, God.
9 Here is what ADONAI says: "For Tzor's three crimes, no, four - I will not reverse it because they exiled a whole population to Edom and did not remember the covenant with kinsmen;
10 I will send fire to the wall of Tzor, and it will consume its palaces."
11 Here is what ADONAI says: "For Edom's three crimes, no, four - I will not reverse it because with sword he pursued his kinsman and threw aside all pity, constantly nursing his anger, forever fomenting his fury;
12 I will send fire on Teman, and it will consume the palaces of Botzrah."
13 Here is what ADONAI says: "For the people of 'Amon's three crimes, no, four - I will not reverse it - because they ripped apart pregnant women just to expand their territory,
14 I will set fire to the wall of Rabbah, and it will consume its palaces amid shouts on the day of battle, amid a storm on the day of the whirlwind.
15 Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together," says ADONAI.

Amos 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

Amos was a herdsman, and engaged in agriculture. But the same Divine Spirit influenced Isaiah and Daniel in the court, and Amos in the sheep-folds, giving to each the powers and eloquence needful for them. He assures the twelve tribes of the destruction of the neighbouring nations; and as they at that time gave themselves up to wickedness and idolatry, he reproves the Jewish nation with severity; but describes the restoration of the church by the Messiah, extending to the latter days.

Judgments against the Syrians, Philistines, Tyrians, Edomites, and Ammonites.

- GOD employed a shepherd, a herdsman, to reprove and warn the people. Those to whom God gives abilities for his services, ought not to be despised for their origin, or their employment. Judgments are denounced against the neighbouring nations, the oppressors of God's people. The number of transgressions does not here mean that exact number, but many: they had filled the measure of their sins, and were ripe for vengeance. The method in dealing with these nations is, in part, the same, yet in each there is something peculiar. In all ages this bitterness has been shown against the Lord's people. When the Lord reckons with his enemies, how tremendous are his judgments!

Chapter Summary


This book in the Hebrew Bibles is called "Sepher Amos", the Book of Amos; and, in the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions, the Prophecy of Amos. This is not the same person with the father of Isaiah, as some have ignorantly confounded them; for their names are wrote with different letters; besides, the father of Isaiah is thought to have been of the royal family, and a courtier; whereas this man was a country farmer and herdsman. His name signifies "burdened": the Jews {a} say he was so called, because burdened in his tongue, or had an impediment in his speech, and stammered; but rather because his prophecies were burdens to the people, such as they could not bear, being full of reproofs and threatenings; however, his prophecy in this respect agrees with his name. What time he lived may be learned from Am 1:1; by which it appears that he was, contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea; but whether he lived and prophesied so long as they did is not certain. The author of Seder Olam Zuta {b} makes him to prophesy in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. R. Abraham Zacut {c}, and R. David Ganz {d}, place him later than Hosea, and prior to Isaiah; they say that Amos received the law from Hosea, and Isaiah from Amos. Mr. Whiston {e} makes him to begin to prophesy in the year of the world 3231 A.M. or 773 B.C.; and Mr. Bedford {f} earlier, in 802 B.C.; and, from some passages in his prophecy, he appears to be of the land of Judah; see Am 1:1, 7:12; though he prophesied in the land of Israel, and against the ten tribes chiefly; the occasion of which was, Jeroboam had been very successful and victorious, and the people under him enjoyed great plenty and prosperity, and upon this grew wanton, luxurious, and very sinful; wherefore this prophet was sent to reprove them for their sins, to exhort them to repentance, and threaten them with captivity, in case of impenitence; and to comfort the truly godly with promises of the Messiah's coming and kingdom. The authenticity of this book is not to be questioned, since many passages out of it were taken by following prophets, as the words in Am 1:2, by Joel, Joe 3:16, and by Jeremiah, Jer 25:30; Am 4:9, by Haggai, Hag 2:17; Am 9:13, by Joel, Joe 3:18; and others are quoted by the writers of the New Testament as divinely inspired, as Am 5:25-27, 9:11, in Ac 7:42,43, 15:15,16; nor is there any room to doubt of his being the writer of this book, as is manifest of his speaking of himself as the first person in it; though Hobbes {g} says it does not appear. Some have thought that his language is rustic, suitable to his former character and employment; but certain it is there are masterly strokes and great beauties of eloquence in it; and which shows that it is more than human. According to some writers, he was often beat and buffeted by Amaziah, the priest of Bethel; and at last the son of the priest drove a nail into his temples, upon which he was carried alive into his own country, and there died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his ancestors at Tekoa {h}.

{a} Vajikra Rabba, sect. 10. fol. 153. 3. Abarbinel Praefat. in Ezek. fol. 253. 3. {b} P. 104, 105. Ed. Meyer. {c} Juchasin, fol. 12. 1. {d} Tzemach David, fol. 13. 1. 2. {e} Chronological Table, cent. 8. {f} Scripture Chronology, B. 6. c. 2. p. 647. {g} Leviathan, c. 33. {h} Pseudo-Epiphan. de Prophet. Vit. c. 12. Isidor. de Vit. Sanct. c. 43. Jerom. de locis Hebr. in voce Elthei, fol. 91. B.


This chapter begins with the general title of the book, in which the author is described by name, and by his condition of life, and by his country, and the time of his prophecy fixed, Am 1:1. He first foretells a drought in the land of Israel, in the most fruitful places, which would cause mourning among the shepherds, Am 1:2; then the captivity of the Syrians, whose metropolis was Damascus, Am 1:3-5. Next the destruction of the Philistines, whose principal cities were Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, and Ekron, Am 1:6-8. After that the ruin of Tyre, with the reason of it, Am 1:9,10; then the calamities that should come upon Edom, whose chief places were Teman and Bozrah, Am 1:11,12; and lastly the desolations of the Ammonites, whose metropolis, Rabbah, should be destroyed, and their king and princes go into captivity, Am 1:13-15; and all this for the sins of each of these nations.

Amos 1 Commentaries