Amos 1-3

Thursday Evening Bible Study

April 6, 2006

Amos 1


It is thought that this book is aimed primarily at the northern kingdom of Israel and that Amos initially gave these messages to King Jeroboam II at the king’s chapel in the city of Bethel.

:1 The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders 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.

Amos‘Amowc = “burden”. His ministry was around 750 BC.

sheepbreedernoqed – sheep-raiser, sheep-dealer, sheep-tender. This word is only found in one other place:

2Ki 3:4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams.

Some suggest that this is some sort of “master-shepherd”, with other shepherds under him.

Amos is not a “professional” prophet. He was not trained at the “prophet school” (7:10-17). He’s an ordinary guy who has been tapped by God to give a message.

Tekoa – a village ten miles south of Jerusalem.

Uzziah – reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah 791-740 BC. He was one of the longest reigning kings of Judah. His was a time of stability and prosperity.

Jeroboam – reigned over the northern 793-753 BC. He oversaw the northern kingdom coming to it’s zenith. The kingdom was great and prosperous. But it was also filled with much wickedness. Thirty years after Jeroboam, the northern kingdom will be wiped out by the Assyrians.

the earthquake

mentioned by Zechariah (Zech. 14:5)

Josephus mentions an earthquake in relation to Uzziah’s act of rebellion in going into the Temple to perform the functions of a priest (2Chr. 26:16)

Apparently these prophecies were given to Amos, but he didn’t write them down right away. He writes them down some time after the earthquake.

Outline of Amos:

The Prophecies of Amos (chs. 1-2)

The Sermons of Amos (chs. 3-6)

The Visions of Amos (chs. 7-9)

:2 And he said: "The LORD roars from Zion, And utters His voice from Jerusalem; The pastures of the shepherds mourn, And the top of Carmel withers."

Carmel – a mountain in northern Israel, a picture of what was green.

If Amos is giving this message at Bethel, it’s interesting that God roars from “Zion” (Jerusalem).

Amos will launch into a series of prophecies against the nations around the northern kingdom of Israel. I’m sure King Jeroboam was thrilled to hear this beginning …

:3 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.

For three … for four – Amos will use this type of phrase throughout the next couple of chapters as a way of saying, “for lots and lots of sins these things will happen…”

It is interesting to note that even though there is a mention of lots and lots of sins, the nation that actually has a lot of sins listed is Israel (2:6-8, 12).

threshed Gilead – The Syrians of Damascus literally threshed and mangled the bodies of prisoners under heavily studded threshing sledges.

:4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad.

Hazael – founder of the Syrian dynasty and ruler in Amos' time.

Ben-Hadad – Hazael's son and successor.

:5 I will also break the gate bar of Damascus, And cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir," Says the LORD.

bar – used to keep the gate closed

Damascus – capital of Syria

Beth Eden – the summer palace of the Syrian king

Kir – unknown place, but this is where the Assyrians took the Syrians into exile (2 Kings 16:9)

:6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they took captive the whole captivity To deliver them up to Edom.

Gaza – a main city of the Philistines, same as the “Gaza Strip” today.

The Philistines practices slavery.

:7 But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, Which shall devour its palaces.

:8 I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, And the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn My hand against Ekron, And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish," Says the Lord GOD.

More Philistines cities. All would be wiped out by Nebuchadnezzar during the Babylonian invasion.

:9 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.

Both David and Solomon had treaties with the king of Tyre. He was the one that helped build the Temple for Solomon. But now they are selling Israelites as slaves.

:10 But I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, Which shall devour its palaces."

Tyre was finally conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC.

:11 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever.

:12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, Which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah."

Teman … Bozrah – some of the main cities of the Edomites.

:13 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory.

One of the cruelest things to happen in ancient battles.

:14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, And it shall devour its palaces, Amid shouting in the day of battle, And a tempest in the day of the whirlwind.

Rabbah – capital of Ammon

:15 Their king shall go into captivity, He and his princes together," Says the LORD.

Assyria conquered Ammon in 734 B.C.

Amos 2

:1 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.

God is going to punish the Moabites for how they treated the Edomites.

burned the bones – In ancient times much importance was placed on a dead man’s body being peacefully placed in the family burial site, so that he could be “gathered to his fathers” and find rest in the grave. To rob, disturb, or desecrate a grave was an offense of the highest order. Many surviving tomb inscriptions utter violent curses against anyone who would commit such an outrage.

:2 But I will send a fire upon Moab, And it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; Moab shall die with tumult, With shouting and trumpet sound.

God will give them what they gave the Edomites.

Reaping and Sowing …

:3 And I will cut off the judge from its midst, And slay all its princes with him," Says the LORD.

Moab was conquered by Assyria under Tiglath-Pileser III.

:4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have despised the law of the LORD, And have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, Lies which their fathers followed.

Keep in mind that these words are aimed at the northern kingdom. Judah is just one of the other nations surrounding Israel.


Despising the Law

The heathen nations were accountable to God because He was their Creator. They should have known about God through what we call “general revelation”.
(Rom 1:18-20 NKJV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, {19} because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. {20} For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
But the Jews were on a different ground with God. They had more than just general revelation. They had the Word of God.
God had spoken to Moses and given specific instructions on Who He was and how the people were to relate to God.
There are some churches that almost act as if the Old Testament doesn’t even exist. The Law is good.
(Mat 5:17-19 NKJV) "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. {18} "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. {19} "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Don’t despise the law. It’s God’s Word. There is plenty to learn from it.
(Psa 119:97 NKJV) Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
We are no longer “under” the law, we are not going to be judged by the standard of the law because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of the Law. But it’s still God’s Word just the same.
There are laws aimed at the nation of Israel – like the Sabbath. We can learn from the principles of the Sabbath, but we aren’t required to follow it.
There are laws that have been superceded – there are newer principles to follow – like the dietary laws.

(Mark 7:18-19 NKJV) So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, {19} "because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?"

(Acts 10:15 NKJV) And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

There are laws that no longer apply because of the sacrifice of Jesus – all the sacrificial laws.
But there is still plenty there to study and learn from. I have a hard time seeing how anyone can be serious about studying the New Testament without paying any attention to the Old Testament. The New Testament is built upon the principles set out in the Old Testament.

Who Shot The Buck

Three men went deer hunting, and as they crossed the field going to the woods, a huge buck jumped up in their path. All three fired at the same time. The buck dropped, and as they came up on the buck, they realized they had a problem. Which one of them shot the deer? As they discussed the problem, a game warden came along to check for hunting licenses. He offered to sort out the problem, examined the deer, and said, “One of you guys is a preacher, right?” And sure enough, one of them was. “Well, preacher, your shot is the one that got the buck.” Amazed, the guys asked how he knew one of them was a preacher and that the preacher’s shot was the one that scored. “Simple,” the game warden said, “It went in one ear and out the other.”

Don’t let God’s laws “go in one ear and out the other”!


Following Lies

Following their father’s lies let them astray.
What are some of our own “father’s lies” that lead people astray?

-         You can get to heaven if you’re “good enough”

-         We are all descended from apes

-         All roads lead to heaven

-         “It’s the way we’ve always done it …”

God wants us following after truth.
(Eph 4:15 NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ;
(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
We have no reason to fear anyone searching for the truth.
I think about what our Mormon friends are following.

:5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, And it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem."

Judah was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

:6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for silver, And the poor for a pair of sandals.

There have been judgments pronounced against seven nations – a pretty complete (seven=complete) judgment.

Now the indictment comes against the northern kingdom …

:7 They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, And pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, To defile My holy name.

(Amos 2:7 NLT) They trample helpless people in the dust and deny justice to those who are oppressed. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name.

:8 They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.

When taken as security for loans, a man's cloak was to be returned at night because the poor needed it for a covering (Ex. 22:25-26).

wine of the condemned – wine taken when foreclosing on a property.

:9 "Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose height was like the height of the cedars, And he was as strong as the oaks; Yet I destroyed his fruit above And his roots beneath.

God had given victory to Israel as they conquered the kings like Og as they got ready to cross the Jordan and take the Promised Land:

(Deu 3:11 NKJV) "For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.

:10 Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, And led you forty years through the wilderness, To possess the land of the Amorite.

:11 I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?" Says the LORD.

Nazirites nazir – one consecrated, devoted

It’s the idea very similar to the word “holy”, which means “set apart for a specific use”.

There were conditions to being a Nazirite (Num. 6)

1.     Consecration to God.
2.     No Alcohol/grapes
3.     No touching dead bodies
4.     No haircuts
Speaking of haircuts …
A few years ago a refugee from Laos came to the US in one of the resettlement influxes. He had been an announcer in radio back in Laos, and he wanted to get into the same line of work here. The first thing he did was join AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Announcers). He tried to pursue a job, but of course, he had problems with the English language, being a new resident. In order to keep body and soul together while going to English classes, he took up barbering. Soon, he became a very good barber, giving haircuts, stylings, and shaves. He seemed to be an artist with the straight razor. In fact, the shop where he worked made him specialize in giving shaves.
Thus, he became known as an AFTRA shave Laotian.

Can you name some famous Nazirites?


Probably the most famous Nazirite (Judges 13-16)


1SA 1:11 And she made a vow and said, "O \Lord\ of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the \Lord\ all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."

John the Baptist

LUK 1:15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb.


(Acts 18:18 NKJV) So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

:12 "But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying, 'Do not prophesy!'


Causing others to stumble

(Rom 14:13-23 NKJV) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way. {14} I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. {15} Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. {16} Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; {17} for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. {18} For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. {19} Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. {20} Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. {21} It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. {22} Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. {23} But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
It’s not walking in love.

:13 "Behold, I am weighed down by you, As a cart full of sheaves is weighed down.

:14 Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, The strong shall not strengthen his power, Nor shall the mighty deliver himself;

:15 He shall not stand who handles the bow, The swift of foot shall not escape, Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself.

:16 The most courageous men of might Shall flee naked in that day," Says the LORD.

This is what happened to the northern kingdom when the Assyrians invaded in 722 BC.

Amos 3 – Amos’ Sermons begin (chapters 3-6)

:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying:

whole family – not just the northern 10 tribes, but all the tribes.

:2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

Some might think that because Israel was chosen by God and close to God, that they were not going to be punished. But in reality a greater knowledge brings greater responsibility.

:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

(Amos 3:3 NASB) Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?

(Amos 3:3 NLT) Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?

This is a verse I hear quoted quite often in terms of human relationships. It’s hard for people to be friends when they’re going in opposite directions. But this isn’t talking about human friendship, it’s talking about friendship with God.


Fellowship with God

Are we going in the same direction that God is going?
This is the case when it comes to doing good or sinning.
(1 John 1:5-7 NKJV) This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. {6} If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. {7} But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
I think this is bigger than just whether or not we are in sin.
Do we have the same heart as God does about situations?

The Obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one’s condition.

The peasant also found out that he was in “agreement” with the king. His heart was inclined to the same thing the king was.

Do we have the same heart as God does about people?

A woman went to a doctor with both ears severely burned. The doctor said, “In all of my years of practice, I have never seen anything quite like this. How did you burn your ears?” “Well,” she said, “I was ironing and watching television. Suddenly, the telephone rang. I answered the iron instead of the phone and burned my ear.” “That is horrible,” the doctor said. “But how did you burn your other ear?” “Can you believe it?” she said. “The idiot called back!”

It seems that too often we’re just bothered by the “idiots” in life.  When sometimes it’s really us!

(Luke 7:36-50 NKJV) Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. {37} And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, {38} and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. {39} Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." {40} And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." So he said, "Teacher, say it." {41} "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. {42} "And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" {43} Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." {44} Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. {45} "You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. {46} "You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. {47} "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." {48} Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." {49} And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" {50} Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

Jesus wasn’t “bothered” by the “sinner” woman.  He showed compassion.

Are we in agreement with God?

:4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?

:5 Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all?

:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it?

:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

God always warns His people.

God’s people can’t ever say, “I never saw it coming” when it comes to God’s judgment. There is always plenty of warning.

Pay attention to the warnings.

But they had been telling the prophets to be quiet (2:12).

:8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?

The coming judgment is so obvious, Amos can’t be quiet.

:9 "Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod, And in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say: 'Assemble on the mountains of Samaria; See great tumults in her midst, And the oppressed within her.

The heathen (Ashdod of the Philistines, and Egypt) are called to witness the judgment that is going to take place in the northern kingdom (Samaria).

:10 For they do not know to do right,' Says the LORD, 'Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.'"


We have too many men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. ... Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.

-- Gen. Omar N. Bradley in a 1948 Armstice Day address. Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 4.

:11 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "An adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, And your palaces shall be plundered."

:12 Thus says the LORD: "As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion Two legs or a piece of an ear, So shall the children of Israel be taken out Who dwell in Samaria; In the corner of a bed and on the edge of a couch!

The Assyrians were going to come against the northern kingdom. They will be torn to shreds like a lion tears a lamb. All that will be left will be “two legs” or “a piece of an ear”.

Yet despite these warnings, the leaders of the kingdom continue to live unmoved, lying on their sofas…

:13 Hear and testify against the house of Jacob," Says the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,

:14 "That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions, I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel; And the horns of the altar shall be cut off And fall to the ground.

Bethel – the center of the idol worship for the northern kingdom.

horns of the altar – it was a place people would run to and grab when they were seeking mercy from God.

But there would be no help from God.

:15 I will destroy the winter house along with the summer house; The houses of ivory shall perish, And the great houses shall have an end," Says the LORD.

The luxury will be taken away.