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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Amos 1

Verses 1-15

  1. Intro: (1:1,2)
    1. Who was Amos?
      1. Name means “burden-bearer” – he definitely was burdened because of the sins of his people.
      2. Sheepbreeder (1:1, 7:14) – Not just a shepherd, but a specific word which included breeding.
      3. Fig Picker (7:14,15) – the sycamore was a species of fig of poor quality(fig-mulberry). It was punctured to help insure ripening.
        1. Q: Who climbed this tree in the NT? {Zacchaeus}
        2. Tender = “one who cut or scraped”.
        3. Good illustration in what the Lord must do in our lives to make us sweet!
      4. Yet, “called by God”! (7:14,15) – here’s what matters!
      5. Layman (7:14) – No formal training. Didn’t go to the school of the prophets. He was not a professional prophet.
        1. He was only…“called by God!”
        2. Awesome that God can, & desires to use, a “Fig Picking, Sheep breeding, Layman”!
        3. No formal training is required…but training is! It may simply be “on the job training”!
        4. God can use you in something you are not skilled in…but we are to do it with all of our ability - Eccl.9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might;” {NLT - “Whatever you do, do well”}
      6. Here we have a southern farm boy called to speak to his rich, prosperous, materialistic, upper-class northern neighbors.
        1. Under Jeroboam II, Israel was enjoying a time of peace & prosperity; its interest in religion was high, but revival was shallow, & had very little effect on everyday life!
    2. When was he writing?
      1. 755bc. - Hosea was a co-worker w/Amos. Isaiah, & Micah were just starting their ministries.
      2. Uzziah(Judah) – [reigned 790-739bc] He fortified Jerusalem & subdued the Philistines, the Ammonites, & the Edomites.
      3. Jeroboam(Israel) – [reigned 790-739bc] He capitalized on the lack of aggression from Assyria, Aram, Syria, & Egypt to expand Israel’s boundaries & increase trade.
    3. Why was he writing?
      1. “To confront their empty religion, oppression of the poor, & total disregard for God’s covenant commands.”
      2. This pronouncement of judgment would have made him the “Not-So-Famous Amos!
    4. What is the layout of this book?
      1. [ch.1 & 2] – 8 Accusations!
      2. [ch.3 & 6] – 3 Sermons!
      3. [ch.7 & 9] – 5 Visions!
    5. Tonight’s outline! (1 & 2)
      1. Show Map – explain counter clock wise spiral attack.
      2. Dart board analogy - Israel though the “Apple of God’s eye” becomes His…bull’s-eye!
      3. Hawk analogy - Circling his prey! (moving in ever tightening circles…till at last he pounces on Israel)
        1. Q: I wonder in which area of your life is God circling in on?
        2. Q: What sin lies at your core that He’s trying to get to?
        3. Q: Is it time to let God all the way to the center?
    6. (vs.1) – Earthquake – This must have been quite the shaker as it was remembered 200 years later by Zechariah & likened unto Judgment day.
      1. Zechariah 14:5 “Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You.”
    7. (vs.2) – The Lord roars – Amos portrays God as a roaring lion who has begun His attack in nations that have wronged Him.
      1. This sets the tone for Amos’ message!
  2. 8 JUDGMENTS! (1:3-2:16)
    1. ​​​​​​​He 1st denounces the 6 gentile countries before he hits Judah/Israel.
      1. Note: he did not give his law to the gentile nations, but he still held them accountable for their sins against humanity.
      2. Israel & Judah sinned against “God’s Law(2:4) & God’s Love(9-12)!”
      3. The Gentiles sinned against their “inner law”, their conscience.
        1. they sinned against their fellowman. Amos condemned their brutality, slavery, revenge, murder, & thievery.
      4. Israel & Judah had greater responsibility before the Lord.
        1. Privilege always brings about responsibility!
        2. As with us believers also. “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more!”
    2. Note: As we read these, know that history substantiates all of these prophesies came true within 50 years!
    3. SYRIA! (1:3-5)
    4. Amos’ formula is repeated 8 times(1:3,6,9,11,13; 2:1,4,6): "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment,…”
      1. This is as if to say, “3 would have been enough to warrant judgment; 4 makes it beyond question.” (J. A. Motyer, in The New Bible Commentary, pg.730)
      2. 4 is like the “last straw!” – 4 conveys “fullness”!
    5. Damascus/Syria’s capitol
      1. Sometimes called “Eden”(5) because it was so beautiful…thus “beth-eden”(house of eden).
    6. Why the judgment? – Brutality!
      1. ​​​​​​​“Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron”.
      2. These sleds had iron teeth under them like cleats on football shoes. 2.6.2.1. Explain threshing sled for grain.
      3. These were brutally used by Syria to drag them over their war victims.
      4. The theme all through this book is God’s displeasure with mistreatment of others. [It is the disgust we feel when they find the remains of a Chandra Levy,…]
    7. PHILISTIA! (1:6-8)
    8. Names 4 out of 5 cities of Philistia’s Pentopolis {Gath not mentioned here}.
      1. Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, & Ekron – which all fell to Assyrian kings as prophesied.
        1. Gaza(fell to Tiglath-Pilesar/734bc); Ashdod(fell to Sargon/711bc); Ashkelon & Ekron(fell to Sennacherib/701bc)
    9. Why the judgment? – Slavery!
      1. ​​​​​​​“Because they took captive the whole captivity to deliver them up to Edom.”
        1. They obviously sold Hebrew slaves to the Edomites!
    10. PHOENICIA! (1:9-10)
      1. Tyre & Sidon were principle cities in Phoenicia.
    11. Why the judgment? – Slavery & Treaty Breaking!
      1. ​​​​​​​“Because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.”
    12. EDOM! (1:11,12)
    13. As Israel came via Jacob; so Edom came about via Esau.
      1. Edom is where the Rock city of Petra is…i.e. Jordan today.
    14. Why the judgment? – For its Revengeful spirit!
      1. ​​​​​​​“Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever.”
    15. AMMON! (1:13-15)
    16. Lot’s children via incest w/his daughters were Ammon & Moab.
    17. Why the judgment? – Atrocities!
      1. ​​​​​​​“Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory.”
      2. J.A.Motyer said, “The Ammonite war against Gilead is not otherwise known, but the record was kept in heaven.”
        1. Q: How many of your hidden sins were stored in heaven’s vaults before your salvation?
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Amos 1". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/amos-1.html. 2017.