The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Amos 9

Amo 9:1

Amo 9: "The final chapter of the prophecy of Amos reveals... Yahweh over the Altar. The Altar represents the sacrificial principles by which the judgment of Yahweh over sin and the elevation of His character are revealed. It demonstrates that the divine glory will be achieved, through the redemptive work of the Son-Altar, Yahshua the Anointed. But the altar of Jerusalem has disgraced its purpose; it no longer was identified with the work of Yahweh, but with the elevation of those who worshiped in Jerusalem. So the altar was to be destroyed, as later the temple would be shaken and removed. The vision describes: (1) Yahweh's command to destroy the altar: vv 1-6. (2) Israel's elevation shall not save those who are guilty: vv 7-10. (3) Yahweh will purify, restore and glorify the faithful remnant in the nation: vv 11-15. Thus ultimately Israel will be purged of sin, and become the foundation of the divine mercy for a purified and regenerated people. It is a wonderful conclusion to the book of severe and uncompromising judgment. Despite the wickedness of His people, Yahweh will vindicate the promise inherent in the Name (v 6; Exo 36:22), and that Name will be manifested in the earth (Psa 8:1; Zec 14:9; Num 14:21)" (GEM).

THE ALTAR: Probably the altar at Bethel, since Bethel was the worship site in view in most of this book and since Amos' encounter with Amaziah occurred there (Amo 7:10-17).

STRIKE THE TOPS OF THE PILLARS SO THAT THE THRESHOLDS SHAKE. BRING THEM DOWN ON THE HEADS OF ALL THE PEOPLE: Cp Samson in Jdg 16:29,30, and the temple in the days of Uzziah, in Isa 6:4.

Amo 9:2

THOUGH THEY DIG DOWN TO THE DEPTHS OF THE GRAVE, FROM THERE MY HAND WILL TAKE THEM. THOUGH THEY CLIMB UP TO THE HEAVENS, FROM THERE I WILL BRING THEM DOWN: It would be impossible for those whom the LORD chose to slay to escape, even if they tried to dig into the earth or climb into the sky (cp Psa 139:7,8; Jon 1; 2). If neither heights nor depths can separate people from the love of God (Rom 8:38,39), they are also unable to hide them from the wrath of God!

Cp also Job 20:6,7; 26:6; Isa 2:19; Jer 49:16; 51:53.

Amo 9:3

THOUGH THEY HIDE THEMSELVES ON THE TOP OF CARMEL: Where there might be excellent hiding places: "Ascending [Mount Carmel] from the south, we followed a wild gorge, through which my guide thought we could get up, and therefore led us on into the most frightful chasms, overhung by trees, bushes, and dark creepers, until it became absolutely impracticable, and we were obliged to find our way back again. And even after we reached the summit, it was so rough and broken, and the thorn bushes so thick-set and sharp, that our clothes were torn, and our hands and faces severely lacerated; nor could I see my guide ten steps ahead of me" (LB 487,488).

THOUGH THEY HIDE FROM ME AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, THERE I WILL COMMAND THE SERPENT TO BITE THEM: Yahweh would seek the guilty out and command His agents to execute them, even if that agent had to be a serpent in the sea (cp Amo 5:19; Job 26:12,13; Psa 74:13,14; 89:9,10; Isa 27:1; 51:9-10).

Amo 9:5

Earthquakes accompany awesome manifestations of God: Exo 19:18; Jdg 5:4; Psa 77:18; 114:4; Isa 2:10-22; Jer 4:24; Eze 38:20; Joe 3:16; Amo 9:1,5; Zec 14:4; Rev 6:12; 11:19; 16:18.


Amo 9:7

ARE NOT YOU ISRAELITES THE SAME TO ME AS THE CUSHITES?: Thus exploding the great delusion of the people of Israel, both then and now, that they were somehow special to God -- so special that their actions made no difference to that status!

DID I NOT BRING ISRAEL UP FROM EGYPT, THE PHILISTINES FROM CAPHTOR AND THE ARAMEANS FROM KIR?: God had separated the Philistines from Caphtor (Crete; cp Deut 2:23) and the Syrians (Arameans) from Kir in Mesopotamia (cf Amo 1:5) just as He had led Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. The Philistines and Syrians were Israel's enemies, but God had done for them what He had done for Israel. He could justly send the Israelites into another part of the world since He had formerly relocated these other nations. The Israelites considered themselves superior because of their election, but really they were no better or less accountable than any other nation.

Amo 9:8

I WILL DESTROY IT FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH: "Destroy", ie politically (see Ezek 22:15-22) and as a nation: spoken to Zedekiah, last king to sit on David's throne: Ezek 21:25-27.
Decline of Israel was foretold by David: Psa 89:38-44.

YET I WILL NOT TOTALLY DESTROY THE HOUSE OF JACOB: No matter how much they might be punished by God, Israel will yet be preserved as a race: Jer 30:11.

Amo 9:9

Vv 9-15: Promise of a final, glorious restoration.

AND NOT A PEBBLE WILL REACH THE GROUND: "[Amos] foretold the desolation of the kingdom in all its elements, but also that Jehovah will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob; but that he would sift them among all nations as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet that not one good seed should fall to the earth to rise no more" (Eur 1:45).

Amo 9:11

Vv 11,12: "Isaiah had expected Gentile converts to come to Jerusalem to learn God’s ways so that they might walk in them. But Isaiah also spoke of the Gentiles' persistence as nations whose salvation did not destroy their national identities (cf Isa 2:4; 25:6,7). Likewise, Amos spoke of 'the remnant of men' (LXX, DSS) in the last days when 'David's fallen tent' would be rebuilt as being 'all the Gentiles who bear my name' and whose continuance as Gentiles was understood. In the end times, James [Act 15:17] is saying, God's people will consist of two concentric groups. At their core will be restored Israel (ie, David's rebuilt tent); gathered around them will be a group of Gentiles (ie, 'the remnant of men') who will share in the Messianic blessings but will persist as Gentiles without necessarily becoming Jewish proselytes. It is this understanding of Amos' message, James insisted, that Peter’s testimony has affirmed, the result being that the conversion of Gentiles in the last days should be seen not as proselytizing but in an eschatological context. James' quotation of Amo 9:11,12 is both textually and exegetically difficult. As given in Acts, the text of v 12 deviates from the MsTx and agrees with the LXX in reading 'they will seek' (Gr 'ekzetesosin') for 'they will inherit' (Heb 'yiresu'), in reading 'of men' (Gr 'ton anthropon') for 'of Edom' ('edom'), and in treating 'the remnant' (Gr 'hoi kataloipoi') as the subject of the sentence rather than its object. It would have been impossible, in fact, for James to have derived his point from the text had he worked from the MsTx. On the other hand, the text of v 11 here differs from the LXX in reading 'after this' (Gr 'meta tauta') for 'in that day' (Gr 'en te hemera ekeine'), in reading 'I will return and rebuild' (Gr 'anastrepso kai anoikodomeso') for 'I will raise up' (Gr 'anasteso'), in reading 'I will restore' (Gr 'anorthoso') for 'I will raise up' (Gr 'anasteso'), and in omitting the clause 'and I will rebuild it as in the days of old' (Gr 'kai anoikodomeso auten kathos hai hemerai tou aionos'). Focusing on the quotation's difference from the MsTx and essential agreement with the LXX, many commentators have complained that 'the Jewish Christian James would not in Jerusalem have used a LXX text, differing from the Heb original, as scriptural proof,' and have therefore concluded, 'It is not James but Luke who is speaking here' (Haenchen, 'Acts of the Apostles' 448). But while the text of Amo 9:11,12 differs from the MsTx in meaning and the LXX in form, 'it is exactly identical with... [some attested readings of the DSS]" (EBC).

I WILL RESTORE DAVID'S FALLEN TENT: "Tabernacle" (AV), or "booth". "Most prob a figurative allusion to the restoration of stricken Hezekiah" (WIsa 217).

AND BUILD IT AS IT USED TO BE: In "days of old" (as AV), David's great kingdom encompassed all the Gentile nations listed in Amo 1; 2, as well as all 12 tribes -- both Israel and Judah. And so it will be again! In the near future God will restore the Davidic house and rebuild it as in former days, when it was a united kingdom with a descendant of David ruling over all Israel (Jer 30:3-10; Ezek 37:15-28; Hos 3:4,5). That day will be a day of restoration as well as a day of judgment. The restoration will follow in the Millennium, after the judgments of the Last Days tribulation period.

Amo 9:13

A virtual removal of the Adamic curse upon the earth (Gen 3:17-19). Instead of drought and famine (Amo 1:2; 4:6-8) there would be abundant harvests (cp Lev 26:3-5; Deut 28:4,5,8,11,12).

"The land would become so productive that farmers planting seed for the next harvest would push reapers of the same fields to finish their work so they could plant the next crop. Normally the Israelites plowed their fields in October and the reaping ended in May, but in the future reaping would still be going on in October because of the huge harvests. Wine-makers would similarly push the farmers to sow more seed. The grape harvest took place in August, and farmers planted new vines in November. Harvests would be so abundant that the gathering of one crop would not end before it was time to begin the new crop" (Const).

Amo 9:15

I WILL PLANT ISRAEL IN THEIR OWN LAND, NEVER AGAIN TO BE UPROOTED FROM THE LAND I HAVE GIVEN THEM: The Israelites would put roots down in the Promised Land and never have to leave it again (cf Gen 13:14,15; 17:7,8; Deut 30:1-5; 2Sa 7:10; Jer 30:10-11; Eze 37:25; Joel 3:17-21; Mic 4:4-7; Zech 14:11). They would not fear exile (Amo 4:2-3; 5:5,27; 6:7; 7:11,17; 9:4) but would be secure from every foe (Lev 26:7,8; Deut 28:7,10). Yahweh, Israel's true God, promised this.
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