I. Judgments against the Nations (Amos 1:3–2:16)

1:1 Here we are introduced to Amos as one of the sheep breeders from Tekoa. God called him to a prophetic ministry (7:14-15). Amos (1:1) tells what he saw regarding Israel in the days of . . . Jeroboam . . . two years before the earthquake. While most of the prophets date their ministries relative to the reigns of kings, as Amos does, he provides further historical context. Apparently, this particular earthquake was so significant that people knew exactly what he was referring to.

1:9-10 Amos’s message to Tyre, a Phoenician city on the Mediterranean Coast, is similar to the one given to Gaza. Tyre had handed over a whole community of exiles to Edom and broke a treaty of brotherhood (1:9). King David and Hiram, a former king of Tyre, had established a peaceful working trade relationship between their two countries (see 2 Sam 5:11), but Tyre eventually broke the treaty through war with Israel and turning their captives over to Edom. So, as with Gaza, Tyre’s walls would be consumed with fire (1:10).

1:11-12 The fourth proclamation of judgment is against Edom. Its people lived south of the Dead Sea and were the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother. Unfortunately, the relationship between Edom and Israel wasn’t all that brotherly. Edom pursued his brother with the sword and stifled his compassion (1:11); therefore, its major cites—Teman and Bozrah—would be destroyed (1:12).

1:13-15 The Ammonites were also related to the Israelites. They were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, through his youngest daughter. The Ammonites had a long history of fighting against Israel (see Judg 10:9) and Judah (see 2 Chr 26:6-9). Amos highlights a particularly horrifying war crime of the Ammonites: They ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their territory (1:13). It’s unbelievable that human beings are capable of this kind of wickedness! And as with the others that Amos condemned (1:3-10), Ammon’s capital city of Rabbah would be destroyed, and its leaders would be carried into exile (1:14-15).

2:1-3 The Moabites, too, were descendants of Lot (through his oldest daughter). Interpreters are uncertain why Moab burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime (2:1), but some believe they used this lime to make plaster for their walls. Whether this was the case or not, it was a severe act of violence. Thus, the same fire that God was sending against the rest of Israel’s neighbors (1:4, 7, 10, 12, 14) would consume Moab (2:2). Importantly, God judges the nations by his standards—not by theirs. The world is his kingdom, and he operates by his agenda.

2:4-5 In response to Amos’s condemnations of the nations around them (1:3–2:3), God’s people may have been feeling self-assured and thinking, “They deserve it. Bring it on!” But then Amos turned his prophetic arsenal in Judah’s direction; God does not show partiality toward them because of their position of privilege. Because they have rejected the instruction of the Lord and have not kept his statutes, God’s fire will be unleashed on Judah too.

2:6-16 And because Israel wanted to act like those who don’t know God, they would be treated like those who don’t know God. Amos’s prophecy against Israel is longer than any that came before. If anyone should have known better than to do the kind of things listed here, it was those who had received God’s holy Word. However, Israel was selling people into slavery (2:6), just as the surrounding nations had done (1:6, 9). The poor and needy were being trampled, and sexual immorality infected homes (2:7). They had forgotten what God did for them when they were slaves in Egypt (2:10). There was no gratitude toward the One who had redeemed them. Therefore, God says, I am about to crush you (2:13). The strong, the swift, and the courageous will not be strong, swift, or courageous enough when the wrath of God comes to town (2:14-16).

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice