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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Amos 1

Verse 1

Introduction

The book of Amos is the third in a row of the twelve minor prophets whose books in the Dutch Bibles are at the end of the Old Testament. In the nine chapters of this book, the mighty voice of God to His people is heard through the mouth of Amos. Amos exposes the sin of the people. With razor-sharp precision and without fear of opposition he wields the sword of the Spirit. The knife goes to the bone.

Amos will appeal to us in a special way. We will be impressed by an encounter with someone to whom, at first sight, nothing is impressive about him. He has a meaningless lineage, an insignificant profession and no special theological training. But, as so often, appearances are deceiving. If we connect to this impression of meaninglessness his powerful, fearless action, his unaffected language, devoid of any woolliness, his standing for the rights of God and his love for God’s people, we see in Amos a man after God’s heart.

Amos is not only a preacher of judgment, but also speaks God’s words about the future He has for His people once they have converted to Him.

We are invited to listen to the message of this man of God. Let us pray that we are touched and affected by what he speaks with authority in the name of God.

Amos and Hosea

Amos is a contemporary of Hosea. They both prophesy in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, king of Israel (Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1). They both speak mainly in and to the ten tribal realm.

Hosea emphasizes the love of God. Through the judgments he announces, this love can be seen again and again. Amos represents the majesty and uncompromising righteousness of God towards sinners. God has His special purpose with every instrument. There is never a useless repetition with Him. Amos says more to and about the heathen nations that surround Israel than Hosea.

Amos appears in Bethel, the center of idolatry, a few years before Hosea begins to testify against the apostasy of the ten tribes. His appearance can be placed around the year 760 BC. His voice shouts over the market square of Bethel and he uses robust, unambiguous language. He is straightforward.

When he speaks in Bethel, there may also be representatives of the surrounding nations in his audience. That can be deduced from his messages in Amos 1, in which he addresses those surrounding nations.

Origin and preaching

Amos must have come to Bethel quite often because of the trade. After all, he is a sheepherder, a herdsman (Amos 1:2; Amos 7:14). He is a bit more than a shepherd, but not a manager of a large company. He is an ordinary boy, someone from the countryside, without any attitude. Not a career hunter. His origins are not something he can be proud of either. He cannot point to an ancestry that is spoken about with respect in Israel (Amos 7:14).

There is no reason to suppose that Amos has given up his profession to become a ‘full-time’ prophet in the work of the LORD. It does not seem that he is ‘theologically educated’. Still, he does not leave spiritual work to “qualified people”, people who have made their profession of spiritual work, as happens in Christianity. Amos does not suffer from the passivity that often encourages such a situation. You sometimes hear it: ‘They have studied for it, they are paid for it, they are allowed to do it.’

When Amos is in Bethel, he cannot stay silent about God. Woolly, meaningless language is foreign to him. That kind of language always does well in politics and in many cases in the pulpit, but not in the service of God. Maybe he is someone with whom you can hear in his accent that he comes from the countryside. In his voice you do not hear the affected city language, but that does not bother him. He brings God’s message, artlessly, straight from his God-motivated heart.

Amos is among the minor prophets most socially moved. Perhaps he answers most to what we imagine of a prophet. Because then we think of someone who raises his voice against all social wrongs. Amos denounces the beds of ivory, the eating of lamb, the prodigious riches, the crimes against humanity committed by all peoples without exception. He also denounces atrocities, the disgusting fashions, and the exploitation of the poor, without sparing religion.

It is precisely in the latter that the heart of his protest lies, rather than in the social. The social has to do with relationships between people. That too is important. But the social wrongs against which Amos is raging are the result of the wrong relationship people have with God, and against that he raises his voice.

Origin and time of his prophecy

He is not a resident of the ten tribes realm, but comes from Tekoa. This town is located in Judah, about sixteen kilometers southwest of Jerusalem and twelve kilometers from Bethlehem. Rehoboam has transformed this city into a fortified city (2 Chronicles 11:6).

It is exceptional that God allows a prophet to come from Judah to prophesy against Israel. It has happened once before. We read about it in 1 Kings 13. In the history described there, a man of God comes from Judah and prophesies against the altar in Bethel. Despite the fact that Amos was sent to the ten tribes, occasionally he also has a word for Judah (Amos 2:4) or involves them in it (Amos 3:1; Amos 6:1).

The appearance of this southerner must have been strange and noticed. The fact that he is a ‘foreigner’ must have given an extra accent to his preaching. What is certain is that it gave extra enmity (Amos 7:10-2 Kings :).

It seems that he prophesied only for a short time. The time indication ‘two years before the earthquake’ (Amos 1:1) suggests this. Amos is such a messenger who appears on stage for a moment, preaches powerfully and then disappears again. He leaves the working out of his message to his Sender.

When exactly this earthquake referred to above took place is not told. That it was a terrible event is shown by the fact that Zechariah refers to it two centuries later (Zechariah 14:5).

Burden carrier

The Hebrew word for Amos is amas and means ‘carry’ or ‘burden’. This word is also found in the name Amasiah (2 Chronicles 17:16), which means ‘the LORD carries’. Amos is someone who carries a burden. His prophecy shows that he carries as a burden on his heart the people to whom he addresses. This is also understandable when we consider that the message must come to God’s people, that they must seek the LORD to live (Amos 5:1; Amos 5:6). If such a message has become necessary, how deplorable it must be with that people and how far away from Him and dead they are.

But the same word comes to us: “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead” (Ephesians 5:14). Among God’s people, many have been depleted. They no longer have an eye for the time in which they live. No time to come to reflection, to come to themselves. Although we have to work less and less hours a week, we still have less time to be busy with God and His things. Our ancestors worked sixty hours a week, but still found the time to occupy themselves with God’s Word. They knew that Word and lived from it.

Judgment and intercession

Amos does not have as fiery a style as Hosea. Nor does his prophecy extend as far into the future as that of Hosea. He mainly confines himself to what will come over Israel and the nations in the near future, although one can also think of days far in the future. He does, however, speak if possible even more decisively against evil than the other prophets. With Hosea we see more the agony, worked by the Holy Spirit, of a man who cannot endure the evil in the people he loves. With Amos we see more the calmness of God’s own judgment.

But besides being a preacher of judgment, he is also a pleader with God for his people (Amos 7:2; Amos 7:5). Because of his plea God does not judge ‘Jacob’ (Amos 7:3; Amos 7:6). Amos does not like the judgment coming like Jonah. He intercedes. We can never be a good witness against evil if we do not also pray for those to whom we may or must pass God’s Word. Amos is not a doom preacher. He preaches to warn, because he loves God’s people. In this he is a type of the Lord Jesus.

Characteristics of the time in which Amos performs

Amos lives and preaches in a time of great prosperity. There is peace. The ten tribes realm and the two tribes realm are not at war with each other and there is no threat from surrounding nations. Trade flourishes. Religious ceremonies and obligations are fulfilled.

But all this abundance goes hand in hand with a decline in morality and religion that undermines the foundations of society. The people have lost the instructions given by God and religion has degenerated into a meaningless, hollow form. Amos appears in the midst of this decline and raises his voice.

He is a man of the countryside. This enables him to make regular use of examples from nature and rural life. Because of his outdoor life he has also remained free from the influence of life in the city with all its luxury and proud displays. Because of this he is now able to see more clearly the corruption of city life than the wealthy ones who live within the city walls. The latter are completely seized by their heartless greed and see no evil in anything.

His separation from evil allows him to denounce evil. Seen in this way he is reminiscent of John the baptist, who, like Amos is also a man of the wilderness, of the outdoors, who denounces evil within the city to the court of Herod. It costs him his head (Matthew 3:1-Numbers :; Matthew 11:7-1 Kings :Matthew 11:18; Matthew 14:1-2 Kings :).

Amos in the New Testament

Amos is mentioned several times in the New Testament. The first quotation is in Acts 7:42-John :. There Stephen quotes some verses from Amos 5 in his speech (Amos 5:25-Daniel :). He does this to prove that the people have surrendered themselves to idolatry from their earliest beginnings. He also points to the judgment of the exile to Babel.

Stephen references Amos because of the crisis in which the Jews find themselves at that time. It is their last chance to accept the Lord Jesus, Who was ready to come (Acts 7:56). Unfortunately, they did not seize this last chance.

But after the judgment, there is a blessing in the realm of peace for both the Jew and the Gentile. That is what the second quote refers to. This is done by James in Acts 15 (Acts 15:16-Esther :). He quotes a few verses from Amos 9 (Amos 9:11-2 Kings :) to make it clear that the Gentiles should not be forced to be circumcised, but that they have been accepted as sons by God, independent of the Jews. In the realm of peace, the nations will be blessed, not by joining Israel, but by seeking the LORD, the God of Israel. This will happen when the church is raptured and Israel is again accepted by God as His people.

So we see that on two major occasions in the history of the Christian church, in Acts 7 and Acts 15, the Spirit has made use of what Amos has written, who occupies a somewhat inconspicuous place in the Bible.

A practical application of this is that the Holy Spirit can bring to our attention, in difficult moments, a portion of Scripture that we may have read a long time ago, in order to support us.

Division of the book

1. Judgment on the nations, Judah and Israel (Amos 1-2).
2. The prophetic message exposing the condition of the people (Amos 3-6).
3. Five visions (Amos 7-9:6).
4. The final restoration of Israel (Amos 9:7-Ezra :).

Introduction

We see in this chapter that God judges the nations that surround Judah and Israel. He does so because of their hostile attitude toward His people and also because of their cruel nature, which is essentially opposite to feelings of humanity. Not only Israel, but all nations fall under the supreme authority of God, for He is the God of the whole earth and of all nations (Romans 3:29).

The downfall of the nations mentioned by Amos is God’s work. He addresses Syria in the northwest, the Philistines in the west, Tyre in the north, Edom in the south, and Ammon and Moab in the east.

The means by which the judgments come is not mentioned. However, the reason for the judgment is indicated – each time introduced by the word “for” – so that the consciences can be addressed. All fall under the same judgment.

The Words Amos Has Envisioned

Amos not only heard the words of God, but also “envisioned” them. By this he indicates that they are not his own words, but words he received from God. To ‘envision words’ means as much as words received through prophetic revelation. He not only hears the words, but he also sees their content and meaning. The Word of God lives for him. It is not just dead letters, but what God says unfolds before his mind into a scene. Thus John wants to see on Patmos the voice that speaks to him (Revelation 1:12).

Amos has seen what he hears. This certainly applies to the visions he speaks about in Amos 7. He has seen them literally. But it applies equally to everything he hears from the LORD to pass on. That is how involved he is in his message. Being so involved is the power of everyone who passes on the Word. He who speaks and sees for himself what he is talking about, speaks with great commitment. Such a preaching makes the greatest impression on the hearers. When the speaker himself experiences the power of the Word, no listener can ignore it. He can reject it, ridicule it, take a hostile attitude, but never make it powerless.

What Amos has seen and is presenting to the people must bring the people to repentance. He warns against the judgment that God must execute if the people do not listen and do not repent. Amos does not come from Tekoa for nothing. There is a lookout and warning post there (Jeremiah 6:1; 2 Chronicles 11:5-Joshua :; 2 Chronicles 20:20). He is familiar with taking a position from where he can observe the surroundings and warn of imminent danger. With his spiritual eyes he sees how the people are doing and to what danger they are exposing themselves.

The Word gains even more strength as the person of the speaker has less that impresses people who ‘see what is before their eyes’. This is also the case with Amos. He introduces himself to his humble origins. He is just a sheepherder. But God takes him away from his flocks and his work, just as He took David from behind the sheep and Elisa from the plow (Psalms 78:70-Sirach :; 1 Kings 19:19-Ecclesiastes :). He calls himself “a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs” (Amos 7:14).

God does not hesitate to use a simple sheepherder. He even prefers him. As long as his heart is pure and dedicated to His service. God can use an oxgoad (Judges 3:31) and a sling and a stone (1 Samuel 17:50). It is not about who man is or what he has, but about Who He is and what He has.

Amos is an example of God calling whom He wills. Any posturing to serve on the grounds of education, descent, or status is condemned by this. Of the disciples of the Lord Jesus who preach with irresistible force after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, bystanders notice “that they were uneducated and untrained men” (Acts 4:13).

The tearing between the ten tribes realm and the two tribes realm is for Amos no excuse to limit himself to his ‘home kingdom’, Judah. As mentioned in the introduction, the time in which Amos lives is a time of great prosperity. It is the time of Jeroboam II, king of Israel from 793-753 BC, and Uzziah, or Azariah, king of Judah from 790-740 BC. But there is also a shameful rape of justice and oppression of the poor. That is why Amos speaks of the great opulence and luxury of the rich, their arrogance, pride, self-assertion and the oppression of the poor.

Prosperity has the great danger that there is no place for God anymore. Dependency on Him is no longer necessary. After all, there is no lack of anything. There the voice of Amos sounds in the midst of all the pleasure: ‘Where is God in all this? You have pushed Him to the edge of your existence. In a little while He will be lifted over the edge and completely removed from your existence!’

Beneath the surface is moral destruction caused by a formal, false religion. In this state, the people do not think of any kind of coming disaster. God warns His people first by the words spoken by Amos, then by the act of the earthquake. This comes shortly after the words of Amos, while those words are still sounding as it were.

The earthquake is not just a local vibration, but affects a large area and makes many people flee. The mention of the earthquake is not meant to indicate the time of his action, but to point out the connection between the earthquake and his service. Amos is the prophet of the earthquake (Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5). Zechariah refers in his book to this earthquake in connection with the coming of Christ to the world to judge it (Zechariah 14:5).

Judgment is the great burden of the prophecy of Amos. The judgments that Amos announces are not in the distant future, but in the near future. They are fulfilled for the most part, they are history. This is also how we look at what happens in our days when it comes to disasters and wars. They are not the end, but indicate the character of what will happen in the end time judgments, to a greater and more serious extent (cf. Matthew 24:6; Matthew 24:8).

Verse 2

The LORD Roars

Amos begins where Joel ends. The last words of Joel are about the roaring of the LORD like the roaring of a lion (Joel 3:16). Joel speaks in Judah and his statement is probably not known in Israel. Because of the use Amos makes of it, this statement is now also known in Israel. It also connects these two prophets. By connecting quotations in this way, God makes the different testimonies into one testimony.

The LORD speaks from Zion, the central place of worship and government. He does not do this to comfort and lead, but to charge and condemn. In doing so, He speaks not only to strangers, but also and above all to His people. Amos refers here, although he performs in Israel, to Zion as the dwelling place of the LORD.

The roaring of the lion is heard in the thunder in the air. In Joel the roaring precedes the realm of peace. It is directed there as a threat to the enemies, while it is followed by giving shelter to His people. Here the same roaring of the LORD is directed not only against the enemies of his people, but also against his own people, because they behave hostile against Him. It is therefore not followed by giving shelter, but by statements of judgment (cf. Jeremiah 25:30-Micah :). The roaring is only a threat and not yet a tearing. Thus the LORD presents Himself at the very beginning of this prophecy.

The judgment announced by Amos affects not only the people, but also the land. That the “pasture grounds mourn” indicates that grass and flowers will lose their splendor and beauty (Hosea 4:3; Joel 1:10). “The summit of Carmel” is known for its abundant afforestation that provides shade.

God comes to judge. He takes away the fertile rain. Great drought is the result. The pastures in Galilee will dry up, as well as the wooded area of Carmel. Because of the judgments of God, the peaceful work of the shepherd will stop, because there is no more grass for the herds (Jeremiah 25:36-Zechariah :). And those who set out to seek shelter from the blazing sun will seek it in vain in Carmel.

Verses 3-5

Judgment on Damascus and Syria

After Amos has introduced himself (Amos 1:1) and his Sender (Amos 1:2), he begins with the announcement of the judgments. First the “wicked neighbors” of Israel (Jeremiah 12:14) are dealt with, and then Judah and Israel. The nations are judged because they have pursued their own interests while being used by God to discipline His people (Isaiah 10:5-Psalms :). The recurring saying “thus saith the LORD”, indicates that what is said has its origin in Him.

The recurrence with every people without exception of the expression “for three transgressions ... and for four , I will not revoke its [punishment]” is a Hebrew way of saying that it is a common or frequent transgression. It indicates that the measure is full and overflowing (Proverbs 30:15-Obadiah :; Proverbs 6:16; Job 5:19; Ecclesiastes 11:2). Because of this there is no change in judgment.

In accordance with this way of saying, the prophet does not list all offenses either. By way of example he describes one crime. That one crime is typical of the many crimes that have been committed. Although one crime is sufficient for the judgment of God, it shows God’s patience. God only carries out judgment when the measure is full and overflowing. Further delay would make Him implausible in His statements about the judgment of sin.

The Spirit of God begins with the greatest and at the same time most foreign enemy, Syria. Damascus as capital represents the entire population of Syria. The following enemies are all connected with God’s people in a certain way: the Philistines by living in their territory, Tyrus by alliance and Edom, Ammon and Moab by kinship.

The cruel way in which the Syrians treated the Israelites who live on the east side of the Jordan, including Gilead, will not be forgiven. This was done by Hazael who conquered this area and killed the prisoners and made them “like the dust at threshing” (2 Kings 13:7; 2 Kings 10:32-Micah :).

The judgment, of which fire is an image, is brought over Syria by the LORD Himself, He sends the fire. This “sending of fire” always comes back with the next nations, except with the last nation, Israel. It affects in the first place “the house of Hazael”.

It is not for nothing that Hazael is called by name. He reigns over Syria from ca. 841 till 806 BC. When Elisha is in Damascus at Ben-hadad’s request, he meets Hazael. At that meeting Elisha is impressed by the evil that Hazael will do to Israel. He says the same to Hazael (2 Kings 8:7-Ezra :). But Hazael and his successors were not distracted from their intention by this prophecy. In spite of the contact with the prophets of God’s people, they have treated Israel cruelly. Because of this they are all the more guilty that they have laid hands on God’s people.

Any defense, “bar”, against this judgment of God will turn out to be in vain. The bar is the crossbeam that is slid before the gate in order to close it. If the LORD breaks the bar, it means that He grants free access to the enemy. In a wider application it means the removal of all the strength and security on which they rely.

This judgment on Syria was executed in 732 BC by the king of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 16:9). The verdict comes on the whole people, not just on “him who holds the scepter”, who are its leaders and other high-ranking persons who have incited a criminal act. The whole people are responsible. They have supported their leaders.

Aven means ‘idols or nullity’ – that is Damascus in the eyes of God – and represents idolatry. Beth-eden means ‘house of lust, house of pleasure’ – that is Damascus in the eyes of man – and represents carnal pleasures. Practitioners of both kinds of evil will be exterminated.

It is not possible to say with certainty where Kir has been located. It is suspected to have been in Armenia or Georgia near the Caucasus. Amos will mean the place where the Syrian people originally come from (Amos 9:7) and from where they made their conquests. That is where the Syrians will be exiled. We can compare this with the threat that the LORD pronounces on His own people when He says that He will bring them back to Egypt in case of unfaithfulness, that is to say, will bring them back into slavery.

Verses 6-8

Judgment on the Philistines

The Philistines are border enemies. They occupy the coastal plain in the southwest of Israel. Also with them, transgression upon transgression is found against the people of God. They are judged because they are guilty of human trafficking. Although we find no clue about this in Scripture, it is obvious that the Philistines captured people during several raids in Israel and sold them to the Edomites.

Amos talks about the fact that God’s people are “deported” as “an entire population”, thus underlining the enormous scale of this crime. The intrusion into Israel and the deportation of the inhabitants can be found in 2 Chronicles 21 after which the treatise to Edom may have taken place (2 Chronicles 21:16-Esther :). Also the prophet Joel speaks about selling inhabitants of Israel (Joel 3:4-Joshua :). In this treatise, we see a picture of the false, carnal religion, represented in the Philistines, surrendering man to the power of the flesh, represented in Edom.

God will judge this practice of the Philistines, which is represented by the sending of fire. Of the Philistines, even the remnant will be exterminated, so that nothing will remain of this people (Ezekiel 25:15-Esther :).

Of the five cities in which the Philistines live, four are mentioned. As a possible reason for not mentioning Gath, it has been suggested that this city has not restored itself from the destruction that King Uzziah brought upon it (2 Chronicles 26:6). Also in later lists of the Philistine cities Gath does not occur (Jeremiah 25:20; Zephaniah 2:4; Zechariah 9:5-Joshua :).

Verses 9-10

Judgment on Tyre

Tyre, which stands for the whole of Phoenicia, has committed the same sin as the Philistines. They too have sold Israelite prisoners. Because of their sin, they also broke the covenant. In the time of David and Solomon there was a covenant between Israel and Tyre (1 Kings 5:12). Other Scriptures show the friendly relationship that existed between Israel and Tyre for a longer period of time (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Chronicles 14:1; 2 Chronicles 2:11-Nehemiah :). The evil done to covenant brethren is worse than the evil done by an enemy. It is treason. You do not expect a friend to harm you.

Amos does not mention that Tyre invaded Israel; the ‘deportation’ of Amos 1:6 is missing here. Possibly Tyrus acted as a ‘middleman’, who probably bought from Syria or others and resold to Edom. Tyre is known to have traded in people (Ezekiel 27:13).

As far as we know Israel has never waged war with Tyre. Nevertheless, Tyre has traded treacherously and as a trading city it has wanted to enrich itself even by trading in people who on top of that belong to the people of God. God will therefore also execute His judgment on that people. All his wealth will perish. The merchants are all princes who live in luxury houses, palaces. Of all this splendor, nothing will remain.

For us Christians, the judgment of Tyre is the serious warning that God’s judgment is on those who treacherously break up the fraternal fellowship. This breaking takes place when a Christian pursues his own interests and not those of the Lord. We see it, for example, in the life of a Christian who is full of commitment to his career, so that there is no more time for personal contact with God.

In such a situation, the Christian virtues slowly but surely disappear. Such a person may still want to be called a Christian in name, attend Christian meetings and even take part in the Lord’s Supper, but the Christian values are ‘sold’. God sees through that. He does not let Himself be deceived and judges those who do such things (1 Corinthians 11:27-Obadiah :).

Verses 11-12

Judgment on Edom

Edom is another name for Esau (Genesis 36:1), Jacob’s twin brother. With Edom it is not so much about certain deeds. It is more about his attitude and mind toward God’s people. These are put forward and he is indicted for them.

Edom has always been hostile towards the people of God. Thus, Edom met the people of Israel on his journey to the promised land with the sword (Numbers 20:18-Ecclesiastes :). He has an insatiable, irreconcilable, and deadly hatred against Israel. Every feeling of “compassion” toward Israel, even the ordinary human, has been “stifled” by Edom. He does not want to give it any space. Compassion is unknown to him.

He is not only selfish, but also full of hatred against what is of God. He is armored against everything he thinks is weak. In his judgment he is rock hard. He makes short work of anything that threatens him. His whole attitude radiates a tearing anger. Destroying is the only thing he can think of. There is no coming to repentance. He cherishes his fury and thus maintains it forever.

For Job in his misery, God is Someone of Whom he says: “His anger has torn me” (Job 16:9). Job experiences God as Someone Who hates Him, Whose anger rages destructively against him. That is not God, but that is how Job experiences Him. Edom is like that. He cherishes “his anger” as if it were something dear to him. He does not want to lose it.

Edom is a picture of the flesh, the own ‘I’. Man without God lives in the flesh and hates everything that belongs to God. It will not always be expressed in the same brutal way as with Edom towards Israel. But the mind set on the flesh is always hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). Edom is man without God.

But the flesh is also present in the believer. And in him the flesh thinks of nothing but hostility against God. Only he is told not to devise the things of the flesh. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13). Man is inseparably connected with the flesh. There is, as it were, a blood tie, such as between Jacob and Esau or Israel and Edom. This goes beyond a covenant relationship, such as between Tyre and Israel. For the Christian who has new life, God in Christ has “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). He may already see this in faith and live accordingly.

In the future God will judge Edom because of his irreconcilability. The prophet Obadiah devotes a great deal of prophecy to how and why this judgment will take place (Obadiah 1:1-Proverbs :; Ezekiel 25:11-2 Chronicles :). Because of the crimes committed and the criminal attitude, the cities of Teman and Bozrah are exterminated. Teman is one of the largest cities of Edom; Bozrah is a strong fortress city in the north of Edom. These cities represent the whole country of Edom.

If we have a picture of the sinful flesh in Edom, we can see these cities as a picture of the way the flesh expresses itself. Teman is a city that in the Bible is connected with wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7; Obadiah 1:8-1 Samuel :). We can see Teman as the wisdom of the flesh, a wisdom of the natural man, who thinks he can control everything. But God will “send fire upon Teman” which means for us: He will “destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside” (1 Corinthians 1:19).

As has been said, Bozrah is a fortified city, a stronghold that is difficult to conquer. According to some scholars, it is the capital of Edom. Connected to Teman, the wisdom, we can see in Bozrah strongholds of our own thoughts and reflections that raise up against God. But the fire that God send upon Teman has the consequence that it also “consumes the citadels of Bozrah”. Through the wisdom of God in Christ, the wisdom of the world and the pride of the heart is judged. Those who have acknowledged this can say with Paul: “For the weapons of our warfare are ... divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. [We are] destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and [we are] taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-Deuteronomy :).

Verses 13-15

Judgment on Ammon

Ammon’s heinous crime defies description. “He is the father of today’s Ammonites” (Genesis 19:38). He himself was born of an incest relationship between Lot and his youngest daughter (Genesis 19:36). His offspring born out of this ungodly relationship is without any natural feeling.

Someone must be weaned from any natural feeling to treat a pregnant woman like this. Any respect for God-given life is lacking. The mother’s womb is cut in and both the bearer of the new life and the new life itself is murdered. And that only for the sake of expansion of one’s own area. No action is taken to defend oneself, but only out of greed of robbery. Murder is carried out in cold blood.

This unimaginable atrocity of Ammon is unfortunately not a rarity. He is also mentioned of the Syrians (2 Kings 8:12). We do not have to look down pityingly on this behavior as if it were only practiced by primitive peoples in ancient times. The parallel with the ‘modern’ 21st century in which we live is quickly drawn. Unwanted pregnancy? Abortion. Surely you do not let your career – we can call it in modern terms, an individual enlarging his/her estate – go up in smoke because of ‘an accident’? This murder in the womb is concealed with fine words and even with legislation. As a result, the sting is taken out of conscience. At least that is how they mean it. The fact that many people continue to walk with a great sense of guilt is not talked about.

God will judge these actions. Ammon will perish in a devastating war. A crushing war disaster, with a deafening noise, will erupt over their territory with the sound and power of a hurricane. It seems as if God is pouring out all His wrath over such behavior. That is how horrible to Him is what Ammon has done. So horrible to Him is what is happening in abortion clinics today.

The king and his princes, all those in charge, go into exile. The political leaders who support these unholy practices with legislation will not be able to drag the country further down the road of destruction.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Amos 1". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/amos-1.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.