Scriptures

Amos 2

Introduction

‘This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Moab, even for four, I will not relent. Because he burned to ashes the bones of Edom’s king, I will send fire on Moab that will consume the fortresses of Kerioth. Moab will go down in great tumult amid war cries and the blast of the trumpet. I will destroy her ruler and kill all her officials with him,” says the LORD.’ Amos 2:1-3

Moab was another nations who were continually against, Israel. The sin of Moab was that they ‘burned, to ashes the bones of Edom’s king’. It was again for excessive cruelty.

Jerome, in his commentary, says the following.

‘That after this war, the Moabites, in revenge for the assistance which the king of Edom had given to Israel, dug up and dishonoured his bones.’

Kerioth is represented as one of the main cities of Moab, Isaiah 15-16 / Jeremiah 48. The Moab nation come to an end, Ezekiel 25.

‘This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not relent. Because they have rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed, I will send fire on Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem.” Amos 2:4-5

Amos is now getting close to home as even Judah, in the Southern Kingdom doesn’t escape judgment.

But the sin of Judah is not an act of inhumanity as with the other nations, it is a rejection of the law of God, Isaiah 5:24 / Isaiah 6:9-10 / Isaiah 29:13 / Jeremiah 5:18-21 / Jeremiah 5:23 / Jeremiah 5:31 / Jeremiah 23:25-28 / Jeremiah 23:32 / Jeremiah 29:8-9 / Jeremiah 29:22-32 / Hosea 4:6 / Mark 7:1-9.

They have followed the lives of their forefathers, they have followed false gods, the Baalim, and Ashteroth.

So God’s judgment is coming upon Judah. This was finally carried out by Nebuchadnezzar when he destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.

Judgment On Israel

‘This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name. They lie down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge. In the house of their god they drink wine taken as fines.’ Amos 2:6-8

Amos turns his attention to Israel. The sins of Israel are specified in more detail than for the others. They were guilt of injustice, oppression, immorality and contempt of God.

We read of the unjust treatment of the innocent, they sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. Perhaps this is the poor man who owes for a pair of shoes and is sold into slavery because he cannot pay.

We also read of the oppression of the poor, they trample their heads into the ground. It appears the poor are pushed around by the rich.

We also read of immorality, the father and son with the same girl, Exodus 20:14. A son and father would have intercourse with the same young woman, Leviticus 18:7 / Leviticus 18:15 / Leviticus 20:11 / Deuteronomy 23:17.

Jamieson, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The ‘damsel’ meant is one of the prostitutes attached to the idol of Astarte’s temple, the prostitution being part of her filthy worship. The Canaanite religion thought that the performance of the human actions of procreation could be used to remind the god to fertilize the earth. It is this practice which Amos sees and denounces in Israel. The holy Yahweh is being worshipped as a Canaanite Baal.’

Notice they ‘lie down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge’, Exodus 25:22-27. If a poor man had to pawn his upper garment, they had to be returned by nightfall, Exodus 22:26-27 / Deuteronomy 12:12-13.

But they were laying down beside the altars on the ‘garments taken in pledge’, they are also using their places of meeting, their house of God, as a drinking place. They purchased wine with the fines that they had taken from the condemned. There was no justice because judgments were made for gain.

‘Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them, though they were tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed their fruit above and their roots below. I brought you up out of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to give you the land of the Amorites. “I also raised up prophets from among your children and Nazirites from among your youths. Is this not true, people of Israel?” declares the LORD. “But you made the Nazirites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.’ Amos 2:9-12

God had destroyed the Amorites before them, though he was tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks, Numbers 13:32. He had brought them out of Egypt, given them prophets and also gave some of the young men to be Nazarites.

Nazarites must not drink wine or anything that comes from the grape vine, they must not shave their heads and must not go near a dead body, Numbers 6.

But here, we see that the Israelites made the Nazarites break their vows by drinking wine. In addition, they didn’t want to hear the word of the God of Israel from the prophets, they commanded the ‘prophets not to prophesy’, Matthew 23:29-36.

So they showed their contempt with regard to what God had commanded them. in other words, they condemned themselves to the judgment of God.

‘Now then, I will crush you as a cart crushes when loaded with grain. The swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life. The archer will not stand his ground, the fleet-footed soldier will not get away, and the horseman will not save his life. Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day,” declares the LORD.’ Amos 2:13-16

The people are right for judgment, God says, He will crush them as a cart crushes when loaded with grain. In other words, they won’t be able to escape.

The swift won’t be able to run, the strong will lose their strength, the warrior will not save his life, the archer won’t be able to stand his ground, the soldier will not escape and the bravest warrior will flee naked. In other words, they would fall beneath the judgments of God.

McKeating, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The predictions of Amos were fulfilled to the letter, and within the prophet’s own lifetime or shortly afterward. They were fulfilled while there were still plenty of people around who could remember what they said. Their words were therefore treated with respect and eventually written down.’

Go To Amos 3

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