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Bible Commentaries
Amos 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3



Verses 1-3:

Israel Is Soon To Perish, v. 1-3

Verse 1 describes a fourth vision that Amos had from the Lord regarding the coming judgment of Israel. It follows those visions of grasshopper-locusts, fire, and the plumbline. The people are told to behold and consider a basket of summer fruit, plucked ripe from the tree. It symbolizes Israel as ripe for plucking from her land, as her summer’s day is over, ending her national existence.

Verse 2 recounts the Lord’s asking him what he saw, to which he replied, "a basket of summer fruit," late fruit, ripe, once desirable, but so soon to perish, Jeremiah 24:1-3; 2 Samuel 16:1; Micah 7:1. Then the Lord said to Amos, "The end is come upon my people, Israel; I will not again pass by them anymore," meaning, I will not any more or further delay, my judgment upon them, as found Amos 7:8-9.

Verse 3 explains prophetically that the joyful songs and emotional-highs of the Bethel royal temple, the "king’s chapel," shall be turned to howlings or lamentations of woe and despair, in the day of judgment, Amos 7:13; Zephaniah 1:7. There will be instead, many dead bodies with the shock of dead silence, void of the presence of former professional mourners to wail for their death, Amos 5:16. The fear of both God and their enemies will cause the few left alive to grieve in silence, with closed lips, Amos 6:10.

Verses 4-14

Jehovah’s Full Complaint Against Israel

Verses 4-14:

Verse 4 addresses the oppressors, the nobles in Israel, who swallowed up the needy, or panted, carnally desired, the property of the poor, dreaming up ways to seize it unjustly, Job 7:2. They foreclosed against field after field of the poor, and those disheartened, because unjust lords seized their properties, Isaiah 5:8; Job 7:2.

Verse 5 described these greedy and unjust landlords as asking themselves how long it will be till market day, which they coveted, more than Sabbaths of rest and worship of the Lord, Numbers 28:11; 2 Kings 4:23. The law forbad work and trade on the new moon and on the Sabbath, Nehemiah 10:31. They made the ephah of wheat small, like selling three quarts, for the price of a gallon (four quarts), while making the shekel great, requiring a heavier weight than was honest, defrauding, charging double price, using the false balance, Genesis 23:16; Jeremiah 32:9; Deuteronomy 25:13; Proverbs 1:1; Proverbs 20:23.

Verse 6 declares that the rich defrauded the poor to impoverish themselves so that they would sell themselves as bondsmen for silver or a pair of shoes, in defiance of the very law they were covenanted to obey and uphold, Leviticus 25:39; Amos 2:6. They also sold the refuse of the wheat, which was almost nil of nutrient, to the poor, who were unable to pay for flour. The refuse was the bran and unfilled grain which they mixed with meal and sold for an high price, Hosea 12:7.

Verse 7 reminds all Israel that the Lord has been looking on and has sworn by the "excellency of Jacob," by himself, in whom Jacob’s seed gloried, by His adoption of Israel as His peculiar people. What He has just sworn to them through Amos was that He would not forget or pass by their personal and national sins without punishing them, v. 2; Hosea 5:5; Hosea 7:10; Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:9.

Verse 8 rhetorically states that "the land shall tremble and everyone shall mourn therein because of their perverted sins, shall they not?" All the land shall be flooded with a devastating army, like a drowning flood, even as when the flood of Egypt came from the Nile river. This image is described, Amos 9:5; Daniel 9:26. The Nile often rose 20 feet, generally casting out mire and dirt, Isaiah 57:20.

Verse 9 recounts the Lord’s warning that in that day of judgment He will "cause the sun to go down at noon," and "darken the earth in the clear day." This darkness is an emblem of judgment calamaties, Jeremiah 15:9; Ezekiel 32:7-10.

Verse 10 further affirms that the flood of national judgment will turn their feasts to mournings and their sons into lamentations, wailing sounds in a minor key, Isaiah 3:24. Sackcloth will be worn on their loins (garments of mourning) and baldness upon every head, a sign of mourning described Isaiah 15:2; Jeremiah 48:37; Ezekiel 7:18. God threatened to make the land so barren, dead, or unproductive that the people would mourn as parents mourn over the death of an only son, Jeremiah 6:26; Zechariah 12:10.

Verse 11 predicts a famine for the land, a famine of neither bread nor water, but of hearing the word of the Lord. It is to be a just retribution to those who will not now hear the word of the Lord’s prophet, but try to drive them away, as Amaziah had done, Amos 7:12. They shall then look in vain, in their distress, for Divine counsel, such as the prophets now offer, Ezekiel 7:26; Micah 3:7. The rejection of Jesus Christ has brought and still brings this crisis to every persistent unbeliever, Matthew 21:43; Luke 17:22; John 7:34; John 8:21.

Verse 12 continues prophesying that these rejecters of God’s message from the prophet Amos, and others with God’s message like him, should wander aimlessly from sea to sea (the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean, and from the north to the south, from Dan to Beersheba) reeling and stumbling like a drunk, but should find no relief, for they sought not obedience to the word of the Lord, but a ceremonial show of attachment to it, when under the pressure of punishment, Isaiah 40:30; Proverbs 29:1.

Verse 13 asserts that in that day of judgment fair virgins and young men shall faint for thirst, with near starvation, with yearning to hear the word of the Lord, being destitute of any other kind of help or comfort. When even the young and strong faint, how much more shall the weak and infirm faint and weaken, with no relief, Isaiah 40:30-31; Luke 16:31; John 8:21; John 8:24.

Verse 14 indicates three groups of unbelievers of the day with an inevitable fall from which they should never rise again:
First, those who swear by the sin of Samaria, the calves of idol worship in Samaria, made after the order of the golden calf made by Aaron, later destroyed by Moses, Deuteronomy 9:21; Hosea 4:15. The term "swear by," means "to worship," Psalms 63:11. Second, those who swore that the gods of Dan, the other golden calf at Dan was a living god, 1 Kings 12:26-30, or may be live.
And, Third, that the manner of idol worship at Beersheba lived also, or may it live, Psalms 139:24; Acts 9:2. Yet Jehovah God had vowed that they shall fall and never rise again, so great would be the fall, Acts 18:25; Acts 19:9; Acts 19:23; Acts 24:14.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Amos 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/amos-8.html. 1985.
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