The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Amos 7

Amo 7:1

Vv 1-3: Fulfilled in 2Ki 15:19,20 -- when Tiglathpileser king of Assyria came against Israel, c 740 BC.

HE WAS PREPARING SWARMS OF LOCUSTS: Locusts swarming indicated that they were about to sweep through an area and destroy all the crops. There was no way to prevent this in Amos' day. Locust invasions were a perennial threat, and they were a method of discipline that God had said He might use if His people proved unfaithful to His covenant with them (Deut 28:38,42; cf Joel 1:1-7; Amos 4:9).

Amo 7:2

HOW CAN JACOB SURVIVE?: God had promised to take care of Jacob when that patriarch encountered Yahweh at Bethel, now a center of apostate worship in Israel (Gen 28:10-22). Perhaps that is why Amos appealed to God with the name of Jacob (Amo 3:13; 6:8; 7:5; 8:7; 9:8).

HE IS SO SMALL: Amos' view of Israel as small and weak stands in contrast to that of Israel's leaders who believed it was strong and invincible (Amo 6:1-3,8,13; 9:10). Israel occupied a large territory under Jeroboam II, second only to what Solomon controlled, but it was still small in relation to the larger empires of the ANE. Amos may have meant that Israel was small in the sense of helpless.

Amo 7:3

SO THE LORD RELENTED. "THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN," THE LORD SAID: But the full fury of this invasion was turned back, by Yahweh.

Amo 7:4

V 4: A second coming of the king of Assyria, c 730 BC, carrying away many captives (2Ki 15:29).

THE GREAT DEEP: Subterranean waters that feed springs (cf Gen 1:2; 7:11; 8:2; 49:25; Deu 8:7; Eze 31:4). So intense was the fire that Amos saw that it dried up even these underground water reservoirs. Great heat with consequent drought was one of the punishments that the Lord warned of for covenant unfaithfulness (Deut 28:22).

Amo 7:6

SO THE LORD RELENTED. "THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN EITHER," THE SOVEREIGN         LORD SAID: Again, the full force of this attack was mitigated, by Yahweh.

Amo 7:7

A PLUMB LINE: For measuring and reckoning. God was carefully measuring Israel, for a further trial at the hand of the Assyrians: "Your land will be measured and divided up" (v 17).

Amo 7:8

I WILL SPARE THEM NO LONGER: The 3rd and final judgment is coming, from the Assyrians again, and this time (in ct vv 3,6) there will be no relenting!

Amo 7:9

The overthrow of Israel by Shalmaneser (2Ki 17:6).

Amo 7:10

Amaziah, who was one of the apostate priests who served at the Bethel sanctuary (1Ki 12:26-33), felt that Amos was being unpatriotic in what he was prophesying.

Amo 7:12

GET OUT, YOU SEER!: By referring to Amos as a seer (another term for a prophet: 1Sa 9:9; 2Sa 24:11; Isa 29:10), Amaziah was probably disparaging the visions that Amos said he saw (vv 1-9).

GO BACK TO THE LAND OF JUDAH: That is, to your own country (cp Amo 1:1).

Amo 7:13

Ahaziah told Amos to stop prophesying in Bethel (emphatic in the Hebrew text) because it was one of the king's sanctuaries (places of worship) as well as one of the king's residences (places of living). Amos had become an embarrassment to the political and religious establishment in Israel.

THE KING'S SANCTUARY: The KING'S sanctuary, but evidently not GOD'S sanctuary! It was to be laid waste (v 9).

THE TEMPLE OF THE KINGDOM: Consecrated to the special worship of the golden calves: as Amos said, it was a "polluted land" (v 17)!

Amo 7:14

I AM NEITHER A PROPHET: Amos replied that he was not a prophet by his own choosing; he did not decide to pursue prophesying as a career.

NOR A PROPHET'S SON: Neither had he become a prophet because his father had been one. In Amos' culture it was common and expected for sons to follow in their father's line of work. Possibly Amos meant that he was not the son of a prophet in the sense that he had not been trained in one of the schools of the prophets under the tutelage of a fatherly mentor (2Ki 2:1-15; 4:1,38; 5:22; 6:1-7; 9:1). Rather Amos had earned his living in a totally unrelated form of employment.

I ALSO TOOK CARE OF SYCAMORE-FIG TREES: "A gatherer of sycamore fruit" (AV). This also -- like the "shepherd" -- sig a wanderer or traveler, for the sycamore fig trees do not grow near Tekoa (Baly 89).

"A 'nipper' of sycamore figs was one who pruned sycamore fig trees so they would produce more fruit. Thus Amos had a respectable agricultural business background before he moved to Israel to prophesy. He had not been a professional prophet; he did not occupy the office of prophet but only functioned as a prophet. Therefore, Amaziah should not think that Amos came to Israel to prophesy because that was the only work that he could do" (Const).

Amo 7:15

THE LORD TOOK ME FROM TENDING THE FLOCK: Just as He had called David: Psa 78:70-72. Ct Zec 13:5.

AND SAID TO ME, 'GO, PROPHESY TO MY PEOPLE ISRAEL': In other words, 'Don't think that I do this because I have nothing else to do, nor because I especially enjoy it! But God Almighty called me -- so what am I to do?'

Amo 7:17

YOUR WIFE WILL BECOME A PROSTITUTE IN THE CITY: Amos then announced a prophecy from the Lord for Amaziah. Because the priest had told the prophet to stop doing what Yahweh had commanded him to do (cf Amo 2:12), Amaziah's wife would become a harlot in Bethel. She would have to stoop to this to earn a living because she would have no husband or sons to support her.

YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS WILL FALL BY THE SWORD: Implying the end of Amaziah's family line.

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