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Bible Commentaries
Amos 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-15



(Amos ch. 3 through 9:1-10)

Verses 1-15:

Verse 1 recounts a direct address from God, to the whole "family of Jacob," all Israel, whom He had long since brought up to Palestine from the lower level of Egypt, to "hear," or give special respect to His voice, Luke 14:35; Romans 10:17. Both the ten tribes of the northern kingdom, whose judgment was at hand, and all the twelve tribes are referred to at times as God’s family, meaning His nation, national Israel, His wife, Jeremiah 3:1-22; Jeremiah 8:3; Micah 2:3.

Verse 2 affirms that Israel only, as His chosen nation, does He know and has He known, acknowledged as His own, through His covenants. These are the greater reasons for their need to obey and

of chastisement for their disobedience, Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 4:20; James 4:17; Luke 12:47.

Verse 3 begins a succession of seven rhetoric questions, the nature of which language reflects a negative answer to the question. For instance, the question "can two walk together except they are agreed, can they?" God can not walk (fellowship) His own people, His own profligate wife any longer, is the idea, because of her base whoredoms, Jeremiah 3:6-14; Jeremiah 3:20. He who once walked in fellowship with and among them must now appear in righteous judgment only, Leviticus 26:12; Isaiah 54:5; 2 Corinthians 6:16-17; Ephesians 5:11; James 4:4.

Verse 4 continues the idea that a lion will not roar in the forest except he has prey, will he? The answer is "no," and God will not roar against them except it be that they are justly prey to His judgment anger, Matthew 24:28. As the old lion will not roar except the prey be in sight, so will the young lion (the whelp) lie silent in his den, before he is weaned, until the smell of blood is nearby. Even so the prophets of God cry out, Amos 1:1-2.

Verse 5 asserts as birds are not taken without trap or snare-nets, or taken up until they have entrapped their prey, even so God has not only warned and threatened judgment upon Israel, but will also execute it, Numbers 32:23.

Verse 6 continues that rhetoric method of prophetic revelation by raising questions that clearly implies the true answer. The idea is "a trumpet can not be blown in the city and the people not be afraid, can it?" You answer. And "there will not be evil (great, calamitous judgment) in the city, and the Lord didn’t cause it, can there?" You answer. The prophet simply informs sinning Israel that pending evil judgment should arouse them from their self-sufficiency and imagined self-security, Ezekiel 33:1-5. Israel was at ease, not believing the message the Lord sent them by His prophet Amos.

Verse 7 then gives a summary affirmative to the questions of verses 3-6, assuring that God would do nothing against His own family (Israel) who he had brought out of Egypt, walked with her and known exclusively so long as His wife, without revealing it to His true prophets to share with them, verses 1, 2. He thus affirms the inspiration and message by His prophets, Genesis 18:17; Exodus 4:15; Revelation 22:19. God reveals Himself in special ways to his own, Psalms 25:14; John 15:15; John 17:25-26. Fault found against God’s prophets’ messages were groundless, without justification, Jeremiah 20:9; Ezekiel 9:11; 1 Kings 18:17.

Verse 8 assures that none can keep from fearing when a lion roars, ch. 1:2 and v. 4 above; So the prophet can but speak when the Lord gives Him the awful judgment message and says "give it to the people." He must obey God, even as every believer when he hears and knows God’s will, Acts 4:20; Acts 5:20; Acts 5:29; 1 Corinthians 9:16.

Verse 9 calls upon Amos and the prophets of Israel and Judah to publish from the palaces or chief residences of Ashdod, where the princes and rulers of the Philistines resided, through all the land, even into Egypt, from the flat-roof-house tops of all the lands, to assemble themselves upon the mountains of Samaria. There the Egyptians and Philistines, chief enemies of Israel, were witnesses of her coming just punishment. These heathen nations beheld the tumult of violent and oppressive crimes committed by the Israelites toward one another, Job 35:9; Ecclesiastes 4:1. They became witnesses of unrighteousness that prevailed among God’s people, who claimed to be righteous, v. 13, Proverbs 29:1.

Verse 10 charges that Israel and Judah, God’s own people, had turned with seared and obstinate conscience to moral corruption, so that they could no longer do right, Jeremiah 4:22. Their hearts were hardened against honesty in business matters, so that they behaved as thugs, bandits, and robbers to enrich their palace coffers, even among the rulers, Proverbs 10:2.

Verse 11 again asserts that the message of the Lord to this sinful family of Israel and Judah was that an adversary would shortly surround them and bring down their vaunted power. The palaces or the residences of their princes and rulers would be destroyed, as a just retribution for their sins, v. 10; It happened when Shalmaneser, King of Syria came upon them shortly, 2 Kings 17:5; Their strength failed, Proverbs 10:15.

Verse 12 then affirms that as surely as the shepherd brought two, leg-fragments or the piece of an ear, from slain sheep, so would God eventually rescue His people from her enemies, Genesis 31:39; Exodus 22:13; 2 Timothy 4:17; This certain judgment was to reach all in Israel, even in Samaria and Damascus, who dwelt in the "corner of a bed," or "in a couch," meaning all who lived luxuriously, Amos 4:1; Amos 4:4. To be rich, powerful politically, and at ease in Samaria and Damascus, routes of travel for the invading army, would not keep any in Israel from certain judgment soon.

Verse 13 again calls on the people of Israel, gathered at Bethel’s altars of idolatry, to hear this message, as one given of God, directly for them. The Lord God, the God of heaven’s hosts, cared for them, in spite of their spiritually adulterous ways, Jeremiah 3:1-25. Or it may be that the princes of Egypt and Philistia of v. 9 were also to hear and simply be witnesses to the just judgment He was about to inflict on His people.

Verse 14 announces that when God should visit Israel’s transgressions with judgment it would come specifically to the altars at Bethel to cut off their horns, where the golden calves were worshipped. There "the altar," chief one, and other imitation altars, should be completely destroyed, as described 1 Kings 12:32; 1 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 23:15-16. After God’s altar, all others were divisive, Deuteronomy 12:4-14; John 4:21-24; Matthew 18:20; Hebrews 13:10-14. From the great altar of calves erected by Jeroboam in Bethel many other similar ones were built. Sin breeds, and spreads like a cancer, as men sow it, See? Galatians 6:7-8; 2 Timothy 2:17; 2 Kings 10:1.

Verse 15 announces that Israel’s houses, resided in by monarchs, would be destroyed. The monarchs and wealthy had different houses for winter and summer. The summer houses were on the mountain or among forests where it was coolest, facing the east of north. The winter houses were in sheltered lowlands, facing the south to benefit most from the sunshine. Yet all these were to be smitten by Divine judgment, Judges 3:20; Jeremiah 36:22. Like Ahab’s house, many in Israel had come to be inlaid with walls, doors, and ceiling of ivory, 1 Kings 22:39. But no ornament avails if righteousness be lacking in the day of judgment, Proverbs 10:12.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Amos 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/amos-3.html. 1985.
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