Amos 8

Listen to Amos 8

The Coming Day of Bitter Mourning

1 1This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit.
2 And he said, 2"Amos, what do you see?" And I said, 3"A basket of summer fruit." Then the LORD said to me, 4"The end[a] has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.
3 5The songs of the temple[b]6shall become wailings[c] in that day," declares the Lord GOD. 7"So many dead bodies!" "They are thrown everywhere!" 8"Silence!"
4 Hear this, 9you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, "When will 10the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And 11the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make 12the ephah small and the shekel[d] great and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for 13silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?"
7 The LORD has sworn by 14the pride of Jacob: "Surely 15I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 16Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, 17and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about 18and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?"
9 "And on that day," declares the Lord GOD, 19"I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 20I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; 21I will bring sackcloth on every waist 22and baldness on every head; 23I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "when 24I will send a famine on the land-- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, 25but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 26They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, 27but they shall not find it.
13 28"In that day the lovely virgins and the young men shall 29faint for thirst.
14 Those who swear by 30the Guilt of Samaria, and say, 'As your god lives, O Dan,' and, 'As 31the Way of 32Beersheba lives,' they shall fall, and never 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 32

  • 1. Amos 7:1
  • 2. Amos 7:8
  • 3. [Jeremiah 24:1; Micah 7:1]
  • 4. Lamentations 4:18
  • 5. [Amos 5:23]
  • 6. [Jeremiah 47:2]
  • 7. [Amos 6:9]
  • 8. [Amos 6:10; Jeremiah 16:4, 6]
  • 9. [Psalms 14:4]
  • 10. See Numbers 28:11
  • 11. [Nehemiah 13:15, 16]
  • 12. Ezekiel 45:10; Micah 6:10, 11; See Hosea 12:7
  • 13. Amos 2:6
  • 14. Amos 6:8
  • 15. Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:9
  • 16. [Hosea 4:3]
  • 17. Amos 9:5
  • 18. [Zechariah 10:11]
  • 19. Jeremiah 15:9; Micah 3:6; Matthew 24:29; [Amos 4:13; Amos 5:8]
  • 20. [Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9; Hosea 2:11]
  • 21. Isaiah 3:24
  • 22. Isaiah 3:24
  • 23. Jeremiah 6:26; Zechariah 12:10
  • 24. [Isaiah 8:20, 21]
  • 25. [Psalms 74:9; Proverbs 29:18; Micah 3:7]
  • 26. [See ver. 11 above]
  • 27. [Amos 4:8]
  • 28. Isaiah 51:20
  • 29. [Jonah 4:8]
  • 30. Deuteronomy 9:21; 1 Kings 12:29, 30; Hosea 10:8
  • 31. [Acts 9:2]
  • 32. Amos 5:5

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. The Hebrew words for end and summer fruit sound alike
  • [b]. Or palace
  • [c]. Or The singing women of the palace shall wail
  • [d]. An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters; a shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams

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