The prophet Amos, a sheepbreeder and tender of sycamore fruit from the Judean village of Tekoa, is sent by the Lord to Northern Israel. Some commentaries refer to Amos as the social justice judge as he pronounces judgement against nations for various social injustices. He begins prophesying against 8 nations. He starts each prophecy with “For three transgressions…and for four”. This statement represents the excessiveness of their sin and that the Lord has had it! God is done being gracious to these wicked nations.
The first 3 prophesies are against:
1) Damascus for their brutal attacks on Gilead, land occupied by the tribes Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh.
2) Gaza for taking the Israelites captive and sending them to Edom.
3) Tyre, who had good relations with Israel when David and Solomon were on the throne, for turning on the Israelites and selling them as slaves to Edom.
The next 3 prophesies are against Israel’s blood relatives:
1) Edom, Esau’s descendants, for making war against Israel and showing no mercy.
2) Ammon, Lot’s descendants, for being so vicious that they even kill babies in their mothers’ wombs,
3) Moab, Lot’s descendants, for burning the bones of the king of Edom instead of providing a proper burial.
Amos then prophesies against his own people in Judah for hating the law of the Lord and not keeping His commandments.
Lastly Amos hits up Israel and this one is by far the longest prophesy due to their excessive wickedness. They are judged for only being concerned about their own personal gain, for mistreating the poor, for being involved in all kinds of sexual sin, for drinking wine while worshipping in their pagan temples, for the rich women neglecting the poor and indulging themselves, and so forth. He reminds Israel how He was the One that brought them out of Egypt and how He provided for them and blessed them above all the other nations, which makes them more responsible for their disobedience. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” He says He will also destroy the altars where Jeroboam, the first king of Northern Israel, set up those golden calves which led the nation into idolatry. The Lord tells them how He sent famine, drought, and plagues to get Israel’s attention so they would turn back to Him but they never repented.
Amos then says a lamentation, a song of mourning, against Israel to call the people to repent so they don’t die. “Seek the Lord and live…” says Amos. He warns that if they don’t repent they will be sent into captivity. “The Lord God of hosts says: I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.” God always does what He says He will do so this is not good news for Israel unless they repent!
More from Amos tomorrow so keep reading!