Amos’ name means “Burden.” God gave him the divine burden of declaring judgment to a rebellious Israel. Amos lived a disciplined life, but was well-educated in scripture.
He delivered his message in Bethel because it was the residence of the king of Israel and the center of idolatry. Amos prophesied in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam II in Israel. Amos ministered after the time of Obadiah, Joel, and Jonah and just before Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah.
Verse 1 – The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen 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.
Although Amos was a shepherd and fig grower in Judah, he prophesied to the northern kingdom Israel. About 30 or 40 years after Amos prophesied, Assyria destroyed the capital city, Samaria, and conquered Israel (722 B.C.).
Verse 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.”
Verse 3 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.
Verse 4 – But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Ben Hadad. (Hazael and Ben Hadad were throne names used by all the kingdoms of Damascus.)
Verse 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.
The bar is literally the bar which the city gates were shut with, God would open wide, and the city would be taken.
Verse 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 was the southernmost city of Philistines. The Philistines captured villages in order to sell the entire population into slavery.
Verse 7 – But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, which shall devour its palaces.
Verse 8 – I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashod, and the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn My hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines shall parish,” says the Lord God.
Gaza, Ashod, Ashkelon, and Ekron were the four major cities of Philistia, an enemy who often threatened Israel.
Verse 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 of Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
Verse 10 – But I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, which shall devour its palaces.”
Tyre was one of two major cities in Phoenicia, which had supplied the cedar used to build David’s palace and God’s temple.
Verse 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.
Edom committed border raids in which they exterminated entire populations.
Verse 12 – But I will send fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.”
Both Edom and Israel had descended from Isaac; Edom from Esau, Israel from Jacob. They were continually fighting with each other. Edom rejoiced at Israel’s misfortune.
Verse 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.
The Ammonites slaughtered the pregnant women of Gilead in order to take their territory.
Verse 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.
Verse 15 – Their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together,” says the Lord.
The Ammonites had descended from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). Even though Israel had begun to worship their idols, they still attacked them. Amos prophecy of Amon’s destruction was fulfilled through the Assyrian invasion.