Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Amos 4

Verse 1

Amo 4:1. According to Moffatt’s translation these ktne were the wives of the nation's men who practiced oppression and injustice against the poor for their own selfishness. Their masters were their husbands who were bidden to join with them in providing luxuries of wine at the expense of the poor.

Verse 2

Amo 4:2. There is virtually no difference in the meaning of hook and fishhook. Each of them may mean a hook in the ordinary sense of the word, or it may refer to a thorn from a tree; again they may have specific reference to a metal ring that was originally made for the control of a vicious animal hy running it through his nose. This is the origin of the expression "leading one around by the nose" when speaking of someone who humbly does what a domineering person demands. In view of the indefinite uses and meanings of the word, we should take our verse to denote that the evil characters of Israel were to be treated with the cruelty and humiliation they deserved.

Verse 3

Amo 4:3. Go out at the breaches refers to the protecting wall around the capital city that was to be pierced, and the inhabitants forced to leave the city by way of these breaches or gaps Cast them into the palace is explained in. the margin to mean that the inhabitants of the palace will be forced to discard the things belonging to it.

Verse 4

Amo 4:4. Bethel was one of the cities where an idol god was erected (1Ki 12:29) by the first king of Israel, and Gilgal was the place where the first king of Judah committed his serious offence (1 Samuel 10 : S; 13: 8-10). Both parts of the people of the Jewish nation had been guilty of much transgression. Come to Bethel, etc., sounds as if the Lord was bidding the people to continue in their sin. We know that is not the case, hut it has the force of saying, "You have gone so far in your corrupt practices that you will not change them now until you are given the deserved chastisement."

Verse 5

Amo 4:5. The last part of the preceding verse and beginning of this describes some of the rites authorized by the law of Moses. The prophet is condemning these people indirectly, which raises the question of why it is so if the law provided for such ser-vices. The explanation is in the first part of the preceding verse, where the practice of idolatry is included with the things set out, by the law. Such a mixture was always displeasing to God and he rejected their entire religious life because of such an impure combination. The reader should see the long note offered with the comments on Isa 1:10 in volume 3 of this Com- metctabt. For this liketh you is an accusation that the people not only practiced the things named, hut they did It because they liked to do so; their heart was in it.

Verse 6

Amo 4:6. Have given you is present and past tense in form, hut it is one of the styles of prophetic speech. However, there was also such a condition referred to as a matter of the past, for God had before punished his people with some of these temporal shortages, Cleanness of teeth is a figurative designation for the results of famine. The phrase is followed immediately with the words want of bread, which would be a cause for the cleanness of teeth; no food to cause them to be unclean.

Verse 7

Amo 4:7. This verse gives some more of the punishment that God imposed on the land because of the iniquity of the people. He is the creator of the rain and the seasons, and therefore would have the ability to control them as He sees fit.

Verse 8

Amo 4:8. The scarcity of drinking water is indicated by the fact that the citizens of several cities would consume all the supply in one of the more favored ones, and even then their thirst was not satisfied. What made the condition more deplorable was the fact that none of these chastisements brought the rebellious people to re-pentance.

Verse 9

Amo 4:9. The reader may still be wondering why the Lord brought all these misfortunes upon the land of Israel. It, was just what he had warned them of in more than one place. It may help some to quote a statement written by Moses as follows: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his com-mandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt. thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou he in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deu 28:15 to Deu 1:7). With all these threatenings recorded in the Sacred Text, the people of Israel should have been induced to observe the divine laws. They were not, for the passage complains, yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

Verse 10

Amo 4:10. Pestilence of Egypt means a pestilence like that sent upon the land of Egypt. (See Exo 9:3, S; 12; 29.) The losses cited in this verse would be suffered when a foreign force came against the land, which God would cause to happen for a punish-ment upon them. The stink of your camps would be a natural result of the death of so many living creatures, both human and brute.

Verse 11

Amo 4:11. They were not destroyed literally In the same manner as was Sodom, but their destruction was just as sure. Firebrand plucked cut of the burning denotes the near complete ruin that the Lord suffered to come upon His unfaithful people. But God still loved the nation and saw to it that the enemy could not put the nation entirely out of existence as a distinct people.

Verse 12

Amo 4:12. Prepare to meet thy God. Many Impassioned speeches have been made on this statement by public speakers, exhorting men to get ready for “the great judgment day.” The exhortations are important in themselves, but they are a farfetched application of this passage. The last words, 0 Israel, are generally omitted in the exhortations, and hence the correct meaning of the statement is lost. The admonition is addressed to the 10-tribe kingdom of Israel, and it is said in view of the things soon to happen to the nation. A key word to the verse is thus, referring the reader back to verses 2, 3, where the Lord is predicting the siege and captivity of the kingdom. Verses 4-11 recounts the various instances of their misbehaviour in the past, and of the temporal misfortunes that God brought upon the people for their sins. But those chastisements had failed to bring them to repentance, therefore God determined to do unto them according to the prediction in verses 2 and 3. In view of that great event to come upon the nation, it is exhorted to prepare (get ready) for the time. The word meet is from QIRAB. which Strong defines. “An encountering.” It is called an encountering with God because He is the one bringing the Assyrians against them.

Verse 13

Amo 4:13. As proof that God is able to bring this great encounter upon the nation, mention is made of the other vast works that He has already done in creation.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Amos 4". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.