A BASKET OF RIPE FRUIT: Apparently only one basket,
where hundreds might have been expected. So this may be the firstfruit offerings
to God. Or possibly an indication of a very poor harvest -- if this is all there
is! Or even yet, an indication that only a very small remnant -- out of the
whole nation -- will be acceptable to God.
THE TIME IS RIPE FOR MY PEOPLE ISRAEL: Israel was ripe
for a "harvest" too, but it would not be pleasant; it was a harvest of
THE SONGS IN THE TEMPLE WILL TURN TO WAILING: ...When
the only part of the Temple that shall be left will be the Western Wall, which
will become the... "Wailing Wall"!
WAILING: Heb "hellilu". Their "halleluyahs" have become
MANY, MANY BODIES -- FLUNG EVERYWHERE: In keeping with
the figure of speech, the dead bodies would be like so much rotten fruit, lying
all about on the ground!
Cp the dead bodies that lie in the wide place of the great
city (near the Wailing Wall?): Rev 11:8,9.
// Amo 5:11.
Vv 5,6: These oppressors were eager for the monthly festivals
and the weekly Sabbaths to end so they could get back to work -- cheating their
fellow countrymen to make big profits. These holidays were days of rest and
worship, but the Israelite workaholics did not enjoy them, though they observed
them as good religious people. They were anxious to enslave the needy in their
debt so they could control them and use them for their own selfish ends (cp Amo
2:6). "These people regarded cereals and human beings equally as stock for sale.
Their practices were both dishonest and inhumane" (Anderson and Freedman).
Merchandising was their priority, not worshipping. Profit was their god, and
they willingly sacrificed more important things for it. People who focus
intently on what they will do after worship is over do not engage in true
worship or enter into the spirit of worship" (Const).
SKIMPING THE MEASURE, BOOSTING THE PRICE: Literally,
"making the ephah small, and the shekel great". The NIV is
THE SWEEPINGS WITH THE WHEAT: The dust or chaff of the
floors, mixed with the wheat, so as to dilute it.
THE LORD HAS SWORN: For the third time in this book
Amos said that Yahweh took an oath (cp Amo 4:2; 6:8).
THE PRIDE OF JACOB: "The EXCELLENCY of Jacob", that is,
Yahweh Himself (cp, generally, 1Sa 15:29).
WILL NOT THE LAND TREMBLE FOR THIS...?: A ref to the
great earthquake in the days of Uzziah (Amo 1:1)?
THE WHOLE LAND WILL RISE LIKE THE NILE; IT WILL BE STIRRED
UP AND THEN SINK LIKE THE RIVER OF EGYPT: Cp Isa 8:7,8, where the Assyrian
invasion is pictured as a great river overflowing its banks, flooding the land
-- rising and falling like the Nile in flood stage -- and then passing thru,
leaving only devastation in its wake.
I WILL MAKE THE SUN GO DOWN AT NOON AND DARKEN THE EARTH IN
BROAD DAYLIGHT: On the day of judgment Yahweh would send darkness over the
land. This may refer to an eclipse of the sun, or it may be a figurative
description of the coming judgment as an unnaturally bad day. The figure of the
sun going down at noon was particularly appropriate since Jeroboam's reign was
the zenith of Israel's prosperity, power, and glory.
I WILL TURN YOUR RELIGIOUS FEASTS INTO MOURNING: The
Passover feast is turned into mourning for the only-begotten Son (cp v 8: like
Egypt; Luk 23:48).
"It was not only iniquity that aroused God's anger, but also
piety" (Abraham Heschel). Cp Amo 5:22-24.
A time when there is no prophetic vision in Israel. But this
"silence" is broken briefly when Christ appears. And then the Holy Spirit is
manifested, as a foretaste of powers of future world: Eph 1:13,14; Heb 6:4-6.
But meanwhile, the sun will set on the prophets: Mic 3:6,7.
A FAMINE OF HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD: The
Israelites had rejected the Lord's words to them (Amo 2:11,12; 7:10-13), so He
would not send them to them any longer (cp 1Sa 3:1; 28:6). This is a fearful
prospect. If we do not listen to the Word of God, we may not be able to hear the
Word of God (cp Luke 17:22; John 7:34). This does not mean that God would remove
all copies of His Word from them but that when they sought a word of help,
advice, or comfort from Him they would not get it.
"Most people have seen the horrible pictures of people who are
starving to death. The bloated bellies and the pitiful faces are too much to
bear. Yet, there is another famine that is equally tragic and much more
widespread, and that is the famine for the word of God.
"The tragedy of this famine is that, unlike a natural famine
which is often unavoidable because of climatic events such as drought or
flooding, the famine for the word of God is completely manmade. If we use the
analogy of the parable of the sower with the seed being the word of God, there
are some places that are not being sown because of lack of preaching. How tragic
that some will die never having heard the good news. On the other hand, some
receive the seed in abundance, but like the lazy fool of Proverbs, he 'buries
his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.' [Prov
26:15] What an incredible picture is brought to the mind: a person starving to
death but too lazy of pick up the food that is right there in front of him. How
many people do you know that profess to be Christians yet would have great
difficulty telling you where in the Bible the book of Hebrews is? Could they
even tell you if it was in the Old Testament or the New Testament? Could they
even tell you if there was such a book in the Bible? Yet, there are few
households in first world countries that don't have a Bible somewhere in them"
MEN WILL STAGGER FROM SEA TO SEA... SEARCHING FOR THE WORD
OF THE LORD: "They shall run to and fro" (RSV). Ct last days, Dan 12:4: Many
run to and fro, knowledge increased.
Ct last days, Joel 2:28: HSp outpoured upon young and old
THE SHAME OF SAMARIA: Heb "Ashima" (NIV mg). Amos
described the prominent idol in Samaria as Samaria's guilt or shame. One of the
idols they worshipped in Samaria was Ashima (cf 2Ki 17:29,30), which Amos
apparently alluded to here.
GOD (2nd): Heb "derek", way, work, or power. Apparently, an
epithet for the deity of Beersheba (MNIV 99).