Amos 3 - Outline of Amos (Book Notes menu page)
1. Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel,
against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth:
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Hear this word... against the whole family...
The whole house of Israel (both the northern and southern kingdoms) are admonished to pay attention. While Amos was sent to warn the northern kingdom of Israel (1:1), Judah was also following the path of her wayward sister.
You only have I known... therefore I will punish you...
Great privilege begets great responsibility. The LORD had brought Israel into a unique close relationship with Himself. He revealed to them His character and His purpose that they should be His holy people (Ex 19:5,6). In the light of their relationship with Him, their iniquities {depravities, perversities} were all the more perverse, because they impinged upon the reputation of the holy God. The LORD had no choice but to hold them accountable.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Israel took pride in being God's chosen people. But they had chosen to live in their own way. Yet, the LORD will fulfill His purposes. To walk with Him is to submit to His way. To walk contrary to Him is to invite His judgment. cp. 2Cor 6:14-16
     Note that God's call to Abraham, to "walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Gen 17:1), was not a demand for sinless perfection. The word 'perfect' {HB-tamiym, complete, whole} describes a life that is upright and sincere before the LORD. God called Abraham His friend (Isa 41:8), in spite of Abraham's failures, for he was in agreement with God's Word, and believed His promises, though he struggled to understand how God would fulfill them.
     Likewise, the word 'agreed' (in v.3 above) implies a position of sincere communion. The Hebrew word {HB=ya'ad} is used of a place of meeting, where matters can be discussed. [eg., This word is used in reference to a betrothal agreement (Ex 21:8,9), and to the assembly of the congregation (Num 10:3,4).] Most significantly, it is used of the Mercy Seat, where the LORD promised to meet with Moses, to instruct, comfort and strengthen his servant for his assigned task (Ex 25:22; 29:42,43). Moses often failed to comprehend God's way, at first. But God enabled him to understand, as the two of them met together, day by day.
     The walk in agreement with God, is a life of communion with, and submission to, Him.
This was God's design for Israel, but they had chosen their own way.
4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey?
will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?
5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin [is] for him?
shall [one] take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?
6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid?
shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]?
The answer to each of these questions is 'No.' There must be a cause for every action.
  • will a lion roar... when he hath no prey?...
    A lion is silent, until it has taken its prey.
    A young lion is silent in its den, until its parent returns with a meal.
  • Can a bird fall in a snare... where there is no gin {ie., trap}?
    A bird will not be caught in a trap, where no trap has been set.
  • "Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing?" (ESV)
    Note that, in v.5b, 'one' was inserted by the translators.
  • Shall a trumpet be blown... and the people not be afraid?
    Of course not. The alarm of war is a fearful thing.
  • Shall there be evil {HB= ra', trouble, calamity, wickedness} in the city,
    and the LORD hath not done it? (alternate reading: and shall not the LORD do somewhat?)
    The LORD is in ultimate control of all things.
    A city will not be troubled, except by His appointment.
    If there is wickedness in the city, He will certainly judge it.
7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing,
but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear?
the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
There was just cause for the action which God was about to take...
Therefore, there was reason for the prophets to speak.
Through His prophets the LORD had been warning the nation of the calamity that was about to fall upon Samaria. But the nation did not want to hear it. Those who did hear, knew that the judgment was already upon them, and were compelled to proclaim what they had heard.
     The LORD graciously reveals the future to His own, who in turn, warn others, whether they will hear or not. Examples:
  • God told Noah the flood was coming, and gave him 120 years to prepare and to preach righteousness (though only his immediate family was saved).
  • God told Abraham that He would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and answered his prayer by saving Lot and two daughters (though most of his family laughed at his warnings).
  • Jesus forewarned His disciples about His death and resurrection, of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the deception that would characterize the age prior to His return (Joh 15:15; eg., Matthew ch. 24).
  • The disciples of Jesus, like the OT prophets, are obligated to proclaim God's Word (Eze 3:17-19; 1Cor 9:16). Yet, refusing to hear, many continue on the broad way to destruction, rather than finding the narrow way of salvation.
9. Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt,
and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria,
and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof,
and the oppressed in the midst thereof.
10 For they know not to do right, saith the LORD,
who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.
The LORD's just cause, for the judgment of Samaria, is put on display before the neighboring nations.
The Philistines (to whom the city of Ashdod belonged) and the Egyptians are called to assemble on the hills that surround Samaria, to serve as witnesses to the wickedness which characterized the northern kingdom of Israel and its capital city (Samaria).
In the midst thereof were...
  • the great {or, many} tumults {turmoil} - This word for 'tumults' is often used of the vexation and confusion of battle. But here, it refers to riotous living, and to the troubles caused by citizens in conflict with one another.
  • the oppressed...- injustice and extortion, Amos 4:1; 8:4-6
  • they know not to do right...-
    They acted as though they were ignorant of God's Law. Psa 14:4; Jer 4:22
  • they store up violence and robbery...-
    The treasures in their palaces were ill gotten gain. eg., Jam 5:3-6
11 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD;
An adversary [there shall be] even round about the land;
and he shall bring down thy strength from thee,
and thy palaces shall be spoiled.
12 Thus saith the LORD;
As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion
two legs, or a piece of an ear;
so shall the children of Israel be taken out
that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed,
and in Damascus [in] a couch.
Having demonstrated, to the nations, His just cause for Israel's judgment, the LORD declares that Israel will be brought down by the invasion of an enemy. Deu 29:24-28; 2Kin 17:7-18; (similar cause was raised against Jerusalem later, Jer 22:8,9)
...two legs... a piece of an ear...
The nation would be destroyed. But a small remnant would be preserved, to show that the lion had done his work (v.8). the corner of a bed... in a couch...
Those hiding in the inner chambers would be discovered by the enemy. Only a few of them would survive. The enemy, though not identified, would be Assyria, which would not only conquer Israel (Samaria), but also Syria (Damascus).
13 Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob,
saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,
14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him
I will also visit the altars of Bethel:
and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.
15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house;
and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end,
saith the LORD.
At the time of the enemy invasion, the LORD of hosts {armies} who commanded them, would also judge {'visit' to destroy}...
  • the center of idolatrous worship at Bethel. - The practice of false religion, in the northern kingdom of Israel, would cease with the Assyrian invasion. About a hundred years later, the idolatrous altar at Bethel would be desecrated by Josiah, king of Judah, as he sought to turn the southern kingdom back to the LORD (2Kin 23:15).
  • the palaces of the rich and powerful, who lived in shameful luxury. - Even the palace that King Ahab built in Samaria, which was full of ivory furnishings (1Kin 22:39), would not be exempt from destruction (Amos 6:11).

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