Amos 3

God's Reasons for Punishing Israel

1 Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt:[a]
2 I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.
3 Can two walk together without agreeing to meet?[b]
4 Does a lion roar in the forest when it has no prey? Does a young lion growl from its lair unless it has captured [something]?
5 Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there is no bait for it? Does a trap spring from the ground when it has caught nothing?
6 If a ram's horn is blown in a city, aren't people afraid?[c] If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn't the Lord done it?[d]
7 Indeed, the Lord God does nothing without revealing His counsel to His servants the prophets.[e]
8 A lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who will not prophesy?[f]
9 Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod and on the citadels in the land of Egypt: Assemble on the mountains of Samaria and see the great turmoil in the city and the acts of oppression within it.
10 The people are incapable of doing right- the Lord's declaration- those who store up violence and destruction in their citadels.
11 Therefore, the Lord God says: An enemy will surround the land; he will destroy your strongholds and plunder your citadels.[g]
12 The Lord says: As the shepherd snatches two legs or a piece of an ear from the lion's mouth, so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be rescued with [only] the corner of a bed or the[h] cushion[i] of a couch.[j]
13 Listen and testify against the house of Jacob- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the declaration of the Lord God , the God of Hosts.
14 I will punish the altars of Bethel on the day I punish Israel for its crimes; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.[k]
15 I will demolish the winter house and the summer house; the houses [inlaid with] ivory[l] will be destroyed, and the great houses will come to an end- the Lord's declaration.

Amos 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

Judgments against Israel. (1-8) The like to other nations. (9-15)

Verses 1-8 The distinguishing favours of God to us, if they do not restrain from sin, shall not exempt from punishment. They could not expect communion with God, unless they first sought peace with him. Where there is not friendship, there can be no fellowship. God and man cannot walk together, except they are agreed. Unless we seek his glory, we cannot walk with him. Let us not presume on outward privileges, without special, sanctifying grace. The threatenings of the word and providence of God against the sin of man are certain, and certainly show that the judgments of God are at hand. Nor will God remove the affliction he has sent, till it has done its work. The evil of sin is from ourselves, it is our own doing; but the evil of trouble is from God, and is his doing, whoever are the instruments. This should engage us patiently to bear public troubles, and to study to answer God's meaning in them. The whole of the passage shows that natural evil, or troubles, and not moral evil, or sin, is here meant. The warning given to a careless world will increase its condemnation another day. Oh the amazing stupidity of an unbelieving world, that will not be wrought upon by the terrors of the Lord, and that despise his mercies!

Verses 9-15 That power which is an instrument of unrighteousness, will justly be brought down and broken. What is got and kept wrongfully, will not be kept long. Some are at ease, but there will come a day of visitation, and in that day, all they are proud of, and put confidence in, shall fail them. God will inquire into the sins of which they have been guilty in their houses, the robbery they have stored up, and the luxury in which they lived. The pomp and pleasantness of men's houses, do not fortify against God's judgments, but make sufferings the more grievous and vexatious. Yet a remnant, according to the election of grace, will be secured by our great and good Shepherd, as from the jaws of destruction, in the worst times.

Footnotes 12

  • [a]. Am 2:10
  • [b]. LXX reads without meeting
  • [c]. Nm 10:9; Jr 4:19; Jl 2:1
  • [d]. Lm 3:37-39
  • [e]. Gn 18:17; Jr 23:18,22; Jnh 1:2
  • [f]. Jr 6:10-11; 20:9
  • [g]. 2 Kg 17:5-6; 18:9-12
  • [h]. Or Israelites will be rescued, those who sit in Samaria on a corner of a bed or a
  • [i]. Hb obscure
  • [j]. LXX, Aq, Sym, Theod, Syr, Tg, Vg read or in Damascus
  • [k]. Hs 10:1-2
  • [l]. Am 6:4; 1 Kg 22:39; 2 Ch 9:17

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO AMOS 3

In this chapter the prophet goes on with his prophecy against Israel, whom God had highly favoured, and yet sinned against him, and therefore must expect to be punished by him; and the rather, since he and they were not agreed; and therefore there could be no communion between them, Am 3:1-3; and by various similes are set forth the cause of divine judgments, the certain design of them, and their continuance, till the end is answered; which should be attended to, since every thing of this kind is of God, who giving his prophets notice of it, they are under an absolute necessity of declaring it; nor should they be blamed for it, Am 3:4-8; and even the Heathen nations are appealed unto as witnesses of the sins of Israel, that caused such a denunciation of wrath; their tumults, oppression, injustice, violence, and robbery, Am 3:9,10; wherefore an adversary is threatened to be sent among them, that should utterly destroy them, so that few should escape, Am 3:11,12; particularly their idolatry and luxury seem to have been reigning sins, which had a great hand in bringing on their rum, and for which the Lord would punish them, Am 3:13-15.

Amos 3 Commentaries