Bible Commentaries
Amos 9

Ironside's Notes on Selected BooksIronside's Notes

Verses 1-15

Chapter 9

Not A Grain Lost

This final chapter readily divides into two parts. Verses 1 to 10 give the last of the five visions, and Jehovah’s recital of the afflictions awaiting Israel in the lands of their wanderings, but with the assurance that not a grain of His wheat shall be lost. Then, in verses 11-15, as is customary with the prophets, the seer looks on to their restoration to glory and blessing in the last days, when their tribulations shall be forever past, and the nation be saved in the recovered remnant.

The vision has to do, this time, with the house of God. The Lord is seen standing upon, or by, the altar. He commands to smite the lintel, or chapter of the door, that the posts may shake. The fleeing priests and people are devoted to destruction from which there can be no escape (ver. 1). He declares that though they dig into sheol, the world of spirits, or attempt to climb to the heavens, His hand will find them out. They might hide themselves on the top of lofty Carmel, or in the depths of the sea, but they should not escape the judgment their sins deserved. Even when in captivity among their enemies, He would send a sword after them, and set His eyes on them for evil, and not for good (vers. 2-4). Such was the vision: Amos uses it as a text in the following verses. He describes the might of the God they had contemned, and calls on nature to witness to His power and wisdom. At His touch the land melts and the dwellers therein mourn. He spreads the clouds over the heavens, and pours the rain upon the earth. Jehovah is His name (vers. 5, 6). Who, then, can withstand such a God, or who could expect to prosper who despised Him? Israel’s special privileges would not avail now. They were no more deserving than others. In nothing were they superior to the Ethiopians. The same One who brought Israel out of the land of Egypt had brought the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir. In His eyes, Israel was now but a sinful kingdom even worse than their neighbors. So He would destroy them from off the face of the earth.

Nevertheless He remembered His promise to the fathers, and His word as to the coming Seed must not fail; so He excepts a remnant. He “will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob” (vers. 7, 8). He will sift them among all nations as wheat is sifted in a sieve, but not the least grain shall fall to the ground. Only the sinners of His people will die by the sword, they who said, “The evil shall neither overtake nor hinder us” (vers. 9, 10). This is the figure the blessed Lord uses when addressing self-confident Peter. He is to go into Satan’s sieve, but not for final destruction; only that the chaff may be separated from the wheat.

Such shall be the result of Israel’s sifting among the nations. They are not all Israel that are of Israel; that is, not all that are descended from Jacob are children of faith. Only those who bow to the word of the Lord and believe His testimony are the Israel of God. Upon such, a New Testament apostle invokes peace from God. These will be the wheat that will be preserved for the coming kingdom.

In that day, David’s tabernacle, long fallen, will be again reared up, and the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt and raised up on the old ruins. Then shall restored Israel possess the land of Edom, and all the saved nations shall own their sway (vers. 11, 12). It is noticeable that this is the scripture quoted by James in the 15th chapter of Acts to justify the call of the Gentiles, though there is probably more in his use of it than that. It harmonizes perfectly with the thought of grace going out to the nations. It also shows that after the present work of God in taking out from among the Gentiles a people for His name is completed, the Lord will turn His hand once more to Israel, and raise up the tabernacle of David, fulfilling all the promises made through the prophets (Acts 15:16, Acts 15:17).

In that glorious restoration period, Palestine shall once more be under cultivation, and made to rejoice and blossom as the rose. The captivity of Israel will be settled in their own patrimony. The waste cities shall be rebuilt and inhabited. Vineyards and gardens shall flourish, and God Himself shall plant His chosen people in the land given to their fathers and confirmed by His oath; “and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land,” to which He shall restore them, but shall dwell there under the beneficent sway of the Lord Jesus Christ. The words, “Saith the Lord thy God,” abruptly close the book. He has spoken, and He will perform His word for His own name’s sake.

20 The writer passed through the California earthquake of April 18, 1906, and was an eye-witness of its horrors. Not the least solemn thing noticed was the persistent efforts of the preachers of all denominations to quiet the fears of the populace by assuring them that God had no part in the calamitous events that had taken place. Natural causes explained everything! This the Christless were only too ready to believe; and thus were their partially awakened consciences lulled to rest and their ears closed against the voice of Him who through Amos said, “I have overthrown some of you!”

From vers. 11 and 12 of this chapter, it was my solemn opportunity to press the truth upon many at that time, and not altogether, I trust, without fruit; but “the day” will declare it.

Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Amos 9". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. 1914.