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Bible Commentaries
Amos 8

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


A Famine Of Hearing God's Word

Amos Eight

In this section of scripture God showed Amos a basket of summer fruit. The fruit was very ripe. When fruit is very ripe like this it is ready to be spoiled. God wanted Israel to understand that the end was near and that they were ready for judgment.

God again described the sins of Israel. They had cheated and destroyed the poor of the land. Worship meant nothing to them. They wanted it to hurry and be over so they could be back about their business. They cheated people in business deals using false weights and measures. They showed contempt for the poor by selling them as a slave for the value of a pair of shoes. They sold the poor the worthless part of the grain as if it had full value.

God promised that He would remember the sins of Israel with severe judgment. The judgment would be horrible. The day that was coming was described as a day of mourning. It would also be a day of famine for the word of God. Those that trusted in idols would fall never to rise up again.

Verses 1-3

The vision of summer fruit -- Amo_8:1-3 : Several times in the Book of Amos the prophet describe visions shown to him by God. Here the Lord showed him a basket of ripe summer fruit. The ripe fruit comes near the end of the season. It was the end of the season for Israel. The season of blessings is now over for Israel and they faced judgment and punishment. God said, "Amos, what do you see?" His reply was "A basket of ripe fruit." God explained that is represented the end for my Israel. He would not forgive them again. God would no longer be lenient toward this unfaithful nation. The Lord would no longer overlook their iniquity. Instead He would bring an enemy force against them.

Sadly the children of Israel had worshipped and served idols. While their minds were set on idols they would still sing praise to God and have a form of worship. Now instead of the songs God said, "The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day." Death would silence their songs. The Lord promised that dead bodies would be everywhere. Just imagine the horrors of dead bodies in all the houses and palaces, in all towns and cities; and especially in Samaria, during the siege. These people would die some through the famine and many others by the sword.

Verses 4-6

The nature of Israel's sin -- Amo_8:4-6 : God reminded the leaders of Israel of their sins in taking advantage of the poor to expand their own selfish interests. They had literally swallowed up the needy. The affluent leaders in Israel had swallowed up the poor, their labors, gains, and profits, and persons too. Also their attitude toward worship was anything but spiritual. They could not wait for the New Moon Festival ( 1Ch_23:31 ), or the Sabbath to be over. They wanted to be able to quickly get back to the business of cheating, charging too much and using dishonest scales in their dealings. Please observe the fact that they could not give God their "undivided attention."

How much is a human being worth? The leaders of Israel showed contempt for the value of the life of a poor person by selling them for a paltry price. They said, "Those who are needy and poor don't have any money. We will make them our slaves for the price of a pair of sandals." They sold the chaff of the wheat or the worthless part of the grain to the poor and even mixed dust in the grain to make it weigh more. The wheat would not be useful for human consumption but could only be fed to the animals. Such disregard for the poor was also a disregard for God.

Verses 7-10

The nature of Israel's judgment -- Amo_8:7-10 : Israel was prideful or arrogant about the fact that they were descendants of Jacob. God told them that this fact would not cause Him to forget any of their evil deeds. God forgets our sins when He forgives them. Therefore Israel's sins would be unforgiven and thus would not go unpunished. God would no longer overlook the unrighteous practices of the leaders in Israel even if their ancestry went back to Jacob. They had become an unfaithful nation and had broken their covenant with God. Now God said, "Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?" The wrath of God that was to come should have caused this nation to tremble.

God promised, "On that day, I, the LORD God, will make the sun go down at noon, and I will turn daylight into darkness." The figure that the sun would go down at noon was a picture of how the nation of Israel would lose her power prematurely. Faithfulness would have blessed that nation for many generations to come. Sadly the land was darkened because of continual sin. Everything that was good became bad. Their festivals and joyful singing turned into sorrow. There would be no joy. They would wear sackcloth and shave their heads, as one would at the death an only child. The coming of God's judgment would be a day of bitter calamity and of wailing and mourning. The day might start as a beautiful, sunshiny day but it would end in bitter darkness. The coming of God's wrath would be a horrible day for Israel.

Verses 11-14

A famine for the word of God -- Amo_8:11-14 : God promised a horrible famine in the land. It would not be a shortage of food and water. The people would be hungry and thirsty to hear the word of God. God would cease to offer His message of hope for the people. God said, "You will search everywhere-- from north to south, from east to west. You will go all over the earth, seeking a message from me, the LORD. But you won't find one." It is too late. They would search in vain to find someone to teach them the truth but there was no hope.

Even the beautiful young women and young men will faint from thirst. They are the people that should have possessed spiritual and physical strength but even they would not be able to endure the destruction. It is sad when the even the young are ready to sink and die away. They did not hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ, and so perished. As the chapter closed God again reminded them that these miseries were coming upon them because they had turned from Him to serve idols. God said, "You made promises in the name of Ashimah, the goddess of Samaria. And you made vows in my name at the shrines of Dan and Beersheba. But you will fall and never get up."

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Amos 8". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/amos-8.html. 2014.
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