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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Amos 8

Verse 1

Amo 8:1. Summer fruit is used figuratively to indicate the end of the season. The original is a word that means the product of any kind that has come to full growth, and in its application to the predictions of the nation it means that the season is over.

Verse 2

Amo 8:2. In answer to the Lord's question Amos acknowledged the vision of the basket of fruit. The meaning of it was then stated, that the end is come upon my people of Israel. The “season" that was ended was the period of God's leniency toward the unfaithful nation. Not pass by means the Lord would not overlook their iniquity any more, hut would bring an enemy force against them.

Verse 3

Amo 8:3. Songs of the temple refers to the religious performances that the people of Israel bad so inconsistently carried out, even while their minds were polluted with the belief in false gods. But instead of those songs, the people were to be made to howl by the attack of the foes. Cast forth with silence denotes that these hypocritical songsters would be silenced by their death, caused by the might of a hostile army that the Lord would suffer to come against His people.

Verse 4

Amo 8:4. The main complaint all along has been against the head men of the nation, who imposed upon the poor and common people to advance their own interests. This is the meaning of the expression swallow up the needy.

Verse 5

Amo 8:5. The days of new moons were holy days with the Jews (1 Samuel 20: 2427; 1Ch 23:31), and on such days they were not to work or transact any secular business. These covetous men could Dot dismiss from their minds the worldly subject in order to give "undivided attention" to their religious duties, but even while the holy day was being (outwardly) observed, they were thinking of the deals they intended to perform. Their worldlyminded interests were made worse by the unjust means they intended to take for profit. Ephah small, shekel great. They tampered with the scales by causing the balancing weights to show more than they actually contained, then cheated their customers in another way which was to increase the price unjustly.

Verse 6

Amo 8:6. Poor for silver, needy for shoes. See the comments on Amo 2:6 for this subject. Sell the refuse of wheat means they sold the worthless part of their grain as if it had full value.

Verse 7

Amo 8:7. Excellency is also rendered by "pride" and "arrogance," so we may rightly conclude that it is used in an unfavorable sense. The Lord would not have something favorable as a basis for an oath, hence the sense of the verse is that God made an oath in view' of the pride of Jacob, or the people of Israel. Their works refers to the unrighteous practices of the leaders in Israel, and the Lord was never to forget or never io overlook it. Because of such an oath it meant that something very serious was going to come upon the unfaithful nation.

Verse 8

Amo 8:8. The antecedent of this is the chastisement threatened In the preceding verse. Well might the land (Its people) tremble at thought of the wrath of God that was prophesied to come upon it. Floods and waters are used figuratively in the Bible to signify some overwhelming condition, and the particular application in this case is to the national calamity to come by the agency of the Assyrians or Babylonians. The specific reason for connecting Egypt with the figure is that the original word for flood means any large body of water, and the Nile River in Egypt is such a body.

Verse 9

Amo 8:9. Sun to go down at noon is a figure of speech and indicates that the national sun (power) was to cease to shine prematurely. Had Israel been faithful to God the nation would have remained in power through the entire Jewish dispensation. Instead, that power was cut off many centuries before that age ceased. Darken the earth in the clear day fias the same meaning as the preceding figure.

Verse 10

Amo 8:10. The thought running through this verse is that ail conditions were to be reversed, changing from favorable to unfavorable. On occasions of feasts there was usually great enjoyment, but it was to be turned into mourning. Songs were expressions of cheer, but they were to be changed into those of lamentation. In their prosperity they wore gay clothing, but it was to be replaced with the coarse material called sacking. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says that artificial baldness was a sign of mourning, and so it is predicted that the distress to come upon them would cause them to shave off the hair in their mourning. The comparison as to that (or an only son is to indicate how profound will be the grief when the nation has been humiliated by invaders.

Verse 11

Amo 8:11. Famine of . . . words of the Lord. The people will have resisted the teaching of those who would have given them the truth (such as Ama ziah against Amos, verses 12, 13) until God will cease to offer them such teachers.

Verse 12

Amo 8:12. They will realize when it is too late what they have done, and will seek frantically to find some of the true teachers. However, it will be in vain because of the famine just predicted in which no spiritual food will be available.

Verse 13

Amo 8:13. Virgins and young men are usually possessed of more reserve vitality than others, but the famine was to be so severe that even they would faint.

Verse 14

Amo 8:14. The reference to Samaria and Beersheba is because of the idolatry that was set up and practiced in those places. Dan was one of the 10 tribes that formed this kingdom, and it had trusted in this false religion started in Samaria.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Amos 8". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/amos-8.html. 1952.