Yahweh vows to punish Northwestern Israel, Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon.
Amos is introduced: “The words of Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa…” (v. 1a)
III. Important Verses
1: The words of Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa, who prophesied concerning Israel in the reigns of Kings Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
2: The LORD roars from Zion, Shouts aloud from Jerusalem; And the pastures of the shepherds shall languish, And the summit of Carmel shall wither.
3-5: Thus said the LORD: For three transgressions of Damascus, For four, I will not revoke it: Because they threshed Gilead With threshing boards of iron. I will send down fire upon the palace of Hazael, And it shall devour the fortresses of Ben-hadad. I will break the gate bars of Damascus, And wipe out the inhabitants from the Vale of Aven And the sceptered ruler of Beth-eden; And the people of Aram shall be exiled to Kir — said the LORD.
6: Thus said the LORD: For three transgressions of Gaza, For four, I will not revoke it: Because they exiled an entire population, Which they delivered to Edom.
9: Thus said the LORD: For three transgressions of Tyre, For four, I will not revoke it: Because they handed over An entire population to Edom, Ignoring the covenant of brotherhood.
11: Thus said the LORD: For three transgressions of Edom, For four, I will not revoke it: Because he pursued his brother with the sword And repressed all pity, Because his anger raged unceasing And his fury stormed unchecked.
13: Thus said the LORD: For three transgressions of the Ammonites, For four, I will not revoke it: Because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead In order to enlarge their own territory.
2a. God dwells in Jerusalem
2b. Northern Israel will wither away
3-5. Damascus will be punished for destroying Gilead
6-8. Gaza will be destroyed for sending captives to Edom
9-10. Tyre will be destroyed for sending captives to Edom
11-12. Edom will be destroyed for attacking his kin
13-15. Ammon will be punished for attacking a pregnant woman from Gilead
Amos begins with a group of oracles against Israel’s neighbors. As Collins writes, oracles against Israel’s enemies are standard in prophetic literature: “Oracles against foreign nations were the stock-in-trade of ancient Israelite prophets. We have seen an illustration of the situation in which such oracles might be uttered in the story of Micaiah ben Imlah of 1 Kings 22, where the prophets conduct a virtual pep rally before the start of a military campaign. There are long sections of such oracles in other prophetic books (e.g., Isaiah 13-19; Jeremiah 46-51)… Israelite prophets were expected to denounce foreign nations. The shock comes when Amos denounces Israel just like all others.” (289)
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Photo taken from http://web.mit.edu/romania/www/Romania/Photogallery/People/shepherd-and-flock1.jpg