Amos 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Amos 1)

Verse 1

[1] The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

He saw — Received by revelation.

Israel — The kingdom of the ten tribes.

Jeroboam — The great grand-son of Jehu.

The earth-quake — Of which, only this text, and Zechariah 14:5, make any particular mention.

Verse 2

[2] And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.

Will roar — Alluding to the roaring of an hungry lion for prey.

Jerusalem — The city God had chosen where he dwelt, the seat of God's instituted worship, and the royal seat of the kingdom as God had settled it, from which in both respects the ten tribes had revolted.

The habitations — Where the shepherds found pasturage they pitch their tents, and dwelt therein that they might attend their flocks. And this was the delight and wealth of these men; alluding to which Amos expresses the wealth and delight of the kingdom of Israel.

Shall wither — Either blasted, or dried up with drought, and turned into barrenness. So the whole kingdom of the ten tribes, though as fruitful as Carmel should be made horrid and desolate as a wilderness.

Verse 3

[3] Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:

For three — This certain number is put for an uncertain: three, that is, many.

Of Damascus — Here Damascus is put for the whole kingdom of Syria.

Threshed — Treated it with the utmost cruelty.

Gilead — There was a country of this name, and a city, possessed by the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites; Gilead here is put for the inhabitants of this country and city, whom Hazael, king of Syria most barbarously murdered.

Verse 4

[4] But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad.

Ben-hadad — Ben-hadad was to the Syrian kings a common name, as Pharaoh to the Egyptian kings, and Caesar to the Roman emperors.

Verse 5

[5] I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.

The bar — Literally the bar with which the city gates were shut, and fastened.

Of Eden — Some royal seat, of the kings of Syria.

Kir — Kir of Media, Isaiah 22:6, thither did Tiglath-Pilneser carry the conquered Syrians, 2 Kings 16:9, and placed them captives in that barren mountainous country, about fifteen years after it was foretold by Amos.

Verse 6

[6] Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom:

Carried away — All the Jews whom they had taken captive.

Edom — Their most inveterate enemies. These Edomites were ever ready to enslave, and tyrannize over the Jews, if by any means they could get them into their hands.

Verse 7

[7] But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof:

A fire — Desolating judgments.

Gaza — All the power and strength of Palestine is here included.

Verse 8

[8] And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.

Ashkelon — Another city of the Philistines, and a very strong one, which shall perish with the king and the inhabitants thereof.

Verse 9

[9] Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant:

The brotherly covenant — Which was between Hiram on the one part, and David and Solomon on the other.

Verse 11

[11] Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever:

Pursue — Watched for, and laid hold on every occasion to oppress Israel.

Did tear — As a ravenous and fierce lion tears the prey.

Verse 12

[12] But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.

Teman — The metropolis of Idumea, so called from Esau's grandson of that name.

Bozrah — This was a very strong city, and one of the chief in the whole kingdom, so that in the menace against Bozrah and Teman, the strength and glory of Edom is threatened with an utter overthrow.

Verse 13

[13] Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border:

Enlarge their border — By destroying all that dwelt in it, and hereafter might claim a title to it.

Verse 14

[14] But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind:

With a tempest — With irresistible force, and surprising swiftness.

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