AMOS CHAPTER 1.
The Divine Judgment Announced.
AGAINST DAMASCUS AND GAZA. — V. 1. The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen, a man who owned and tended sheep, of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel, chiefly with regard to the northern kingdom, in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the second of that name, the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake, an event of some importance in the history of that century. Cp. Zech. 14, 5. V. 2. And He said, speaking to Amos in a vision, by a special revelation of the Lord, The Lord will roar from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem, cp. Joel 3, 16; and the habitations of the shepherds, the pastures where they fed their flocks, shall mourn, and the top of Carmel, the mountain by the sea, with its forested summit, shall wither, so that the whole land, from north to south, would be included in the punishment. From the outset the purpose of the message of Amos was to call the sinners to repentance and to oppose the foolish notion as though the judgment of God would strike the heathen world only, although the various nations in the. neighborhood are enumerated first, in an introductory series of prophecies. V. 3. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Damascus, the capital of Syria, with its country, and for four, the number being by no means restricted, I will not turn the punishment thereof, literally, by way of parenthesis, "not will I reverse it," both threat and punishment being irrevocable, because they have threshed Gilead, the territory of Israel east of Jordan, with threshing instruments of iron, in a most cruel treatment of the conquered inhabitants, 2 Kings 10, 32. 33; 13, 7, v. 4. but I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, the cruel king of Syria, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad, the son of Hazael, 2 Kings 13, 8, so that both would suffer the Lord's punishment. V. 5. I will break also the bar of Damascus, shattering the bolt of its gate at the conquest of the city, and cut off the inhabitant from the Plain of Avon, possibly a place near Damascus, or the valley between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and him that holdeth the scepter from the house of Eden, in the district of Laodicea; and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, very likely a district of Assyria, saith the Lord. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser took the city of Damascus and dissolved the Syrian kingdom. Cp. 2 Kings 16, 9. V. 6. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Gaza, the leading city-state of Philistia, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, rather. He would not reverse His intention of punishing this city, because they carried away captive the whole captivity, all the prisoners who had been in a certain campaign, very likely that mentioned 2 Chron. 21, 16, to deliver them. up to Edom, the archenemy of Israel, who would be sure to treat the captive Israelites with the highest degree of cruelty; v. 7. but I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof, Gaza being a proud and rich city; v. 8. and I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, to make the city desolate, and him that holdeth the scepter from Ashkelon, the ruler of this city-state with his people, and I will turn Mine hand against Ekron, so that four of the five city-states are expressly mentioned, the fifth, which bore the name Gath, being omitted because it was not essential to name them all; and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God, the prophecy finding its fulfillment in the repeated conquest of Philistia by the great world-powers, so that it did not retain its existence for any length of time.
AGAINST TYRE, EDOM, AND AMMON. — V. 9. Thus saith the Lord, the individual announcements coming with a special reference to the inspired nature of their contents, For three transgressions of Tyre, the great metropolis and seaport of Phoenicia, cp. Is. 23, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, refusing to change the punishment which He had decided upon, because they delivered up the whole captivity, all the captives obtained from the Philistines or the Syrians as the result of one of their campaigns, to Edom and remembered not the brotherly covenant, both David and Solomon having been allied with Phoenicia by a special treaty; v. 10. but I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof, the prophecy being fulfilled during the Babylonian and Grecian conquests. V. 11. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, refusing, also in this instance, to give them any consideration after once their doom was decided upon, because he did pursue his brother with the sword, in the ineradicable hatred which always marked the attitude of the Edomites against Israel and Judah, and did cast off all pity, deliberately smothering every feeling of compassion, and. his anger did tear perpetually, being bent upon murder, and he kept his wrath forever; v. 12. but I will send a fire upon Teman, which was probably a northern province of Idumea, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah, the capital of the country, south of the Dead Sea. V. 13. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, the ancient enemies of Israel, who lived northeast of the Dead Sea, on the edge of the Arabian Desert, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, not reverse His intention of punishing them severely, because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, in the unspeakably cruel manner employed in many instances in those days, that they might enlarge their border, taking possession once more of the territory gained by the tribes of Israel east of Jordan, Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh; v. 14. but I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, the capital of their country, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, as soon as the enemies would enter the city, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind, for, the enemies would come in a tumultuous assault and carry all before them; v. 15. and their king shall go into captivity, cp. Jer. 49, 3, he and his princes together, saith the Lord. A nation may indulge in heinous crimes for some time, but when the Lord so decides, its career will come to an abrupt end.