Amos 8

1 My Master God showed me this vision: A bowl of fresh fruit.
2 He said, "What do you see, Amos?" I said, "A bowl of fresh, ripe fruit." God said, "Right. So, I'm calling it quits with my people Israel. I'm no longer acting as if everything is just fine."
3 "The royal singers will wail when it happens." My Master God said so. "Corpses will be strewn here, there, and everywhere. Hush!"
4 Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing,
5 Who say, "When's my next paycheck coming so I can go out and live it up? How long till the weekend when I can go out and have a good time?" Who give little and take much, and never do an honest day's work.
6 You exploit the poor, using them - and then, when they're used up, you discard them.
7 God swears against the arrogance of Jacob: "I'm keeping track of their every last sin."
8 God's oath will shake earth's foundations, dissolve the whole world into tears. God's oath will sweep in like a river that rises, flooding houses and lands, And then recedes, leaving behind a sea of mud.
9 "On Judgment Day, watch out!" These are the words of God, my Master. "I'll turn off the sun at noon. In the middle of the day the earth will go black.
10 I'll turn your parties into funerals and make every song you sing a dirge. Everyone will walk around in rags, with sunken eyes and bald heads. Think of the worst that could happen - your only son, say, murdered. That's a hint of Judgment Day - that and much more.
11 "Oh yes, Judgment Day is coming!" These are the words of my Master God. "I'll send a famine through the whole country. It won't be food or water that's lacking, but my Word.
12 People will drift from one end of the country to the other, roam to the north, wander to the east. They'll go anywhere, listen to anyone, hoping to hear God's Word - but they won't hear it.
13 "On Judgment Day, lovely young girls will faint of Word-thirst, robust young men will faint of God-thirst,
14 Along with those who take oaths at the Samaria Sin-and-Sex Center, saying, 'As the lord god of Dan is my witness!' and 'The lady goddess of Beer-sheba bless you!' Their lives will fall to pieces. They'll never put it together 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.

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