Amos 7 - Outline of Amos (Book Notes menu page)
From the beginning of ch. 7 to the end of the book of Amos, there are a series of six prophetic visions (see the Outline of Amos).
1. Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold,
he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth;
and, lo, [it was] the latter growth after the king's mowings.
2 And it came to pass,
[that] when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land,
then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee:
by whom shall Jacob arise? for he [is] small.
3 The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.
The vision of Grasshoppers {ie., Locusts}-
The locusts consumed 'the latter growth after the king's mowings.' There were two harvests. The first harvest was paid as a tax to support the king and government. The second harvest fed the population. The locusts consumed the second crop. There would be nothing for the people to eat. whom shall Jacob arise {ie., stand, be established}?
Seeing this vision of devastation, Amos was moved to pray for his people. How would the nation survive such a calamity "for he is small"? While the nation's leaders were puffed up with self-confidence (Amos 6:13), Amos saw that the nation was 'small' {ie., weak, insignificant} and not able to endure such a challenge.
The LORD repented...-
In response to the prayer of Amos, the LORD determined that He would not exercise judgment by the means shown in this vision. There would be a second harvest.
4 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me:
and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire,
and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.
5 Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee:
by whom shall Jacob arise? for he [is] small.
6 The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
The vision of Fire...
The word 'fire' is often applied to the exercise of God's wrath in judgment (eg., Amos 1:4,7; 5:6). However, the fire, of Amos' vision, would devour a portion of 'the great deep.' This phrase often refers to a sea, or large body of water (eg., Gen 7:11; Psa 78:15; Isa 51:10). As used here, 'fire' may refer to a severe drought, accompanied by high risk of wild fires, and drastic depletion of water sources. Such a scenario could devastate the nation's food supply as much or more than a locust plague. whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small...
Again Amos was moved to intercede for his people.
The LORD repented...-
Again, the LORD promised to withhold this form of judgment. There would be rain, not fire.
These first two visions show that the LORD is merciful.
It was His tender concern for His people which was expressed in the prayer of His prophet Amos. The LORD has no desire to crush His people. He wants them to have life and life more abundantly. Judgment is His 'strange work' (Isa 28:21, where two different words are used for 'strange,' one meaning 'loathsome,' the other 'alien or foreign'). Therefore, He pled with His people to turn to Him (Amos 5:4,6,8,14). To refuse such grace and love is to be hopelessly lost, for like Israel, every one of us is small, and unable to stand before His righteous wrath (Mal 3:2).
7 Thus he shewed me: and, behold,
the Lord stood upon a wall [made] by a plumbline,
with a plumbline in his hand.
8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou?
And I said, A plumbline.
Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel:
I will not again pass by them any more:
9 And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste;
and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
The vision of the Plumbline...
A plumbline, consisting of a weight hanging on a string, is an absolute standard by which a wall can be built straight and true (truly perpendicular, and inline with the force of gravity).
I will set {ie., appoint, establish} a plumbline in the midst of my people...
The LORD was going to judge His people by His true standard of righteousness. Ultimately, this standard in the midst of the people, would come in the Person of the Messiah (eg., Heb 4:15; 7:26). However, even prior to His coming, at the time of the Assyrian captivity of Israel, the LORD would exercise righteous judgment in determining the fate of individual Israelites. (See Isa 28:16,17, where v.16 speaks of Christ as the tested and proven foundation of salvation for those who believe in Him, and v.17 speaks of the righteous standard by which God would judge His people during the Assyrian captivity.)
I will not pass by them any more...
The LORD had given His people many opportunities to repent of sin and to turn to Him. He had repeatedly withheld the judgment that they deserved (as in v.3 and v.6). He would no longer pass by {ie., put aside} the execution of judgment. But Amos could be sure that the LORD's judgment is just and true.
     This judgment would destroy...
  • the high places... and sanctuaries {temples} of Israel...-
    The centers of Israel's false religion would become deserted ruins. Amos 4:4,5
  • the house of Jeroboam with the sword.-
    The line of king Jeroboam's descendants would be cut off by the sword.
Having been assured that God's judgment is just, Amos does not pray for greater mercy.
10. Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying,
Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel:
the land is not able to bear all his words.
11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.
The remainder of ch.7 is an historical account of opposition to Amos and his message...
Amaziah was a priest of the false religion established by Jeroboam I, in Bethel (1Kin 12:31).
He did not belong to the Levitical order established by God, but rather, he was appointed by man.
The report which Amaziah made to Jeroboam II was only partly true.
  • Amos had not conspired against {ie., laid plans to harm} the king.
    He had simply delivered God's message of impending judgment.
  • Amos had not said that Jeroboam would die by the sword.
    But he did say that his kingdom and the centers of false worship would be destroyed, and the population would be taken captive.
         In fact, Jeroboam died prior to the Assyrian captivity, and was succeeded by his son, Zachariah (2Kin 14:28,29). Zachariah was slain by the sword, when Shallum conspired against him and assumed the throne, fulfilling Amos' prophecy that Jeroboam's house would end by the sword (2Kin 15:8-12). After Shallum, several other kings arose (none in Jeroboam's line), most by assassination of the previous king, until the kingdom was terminated by the Assyrians, roughly 50 years after Amos spoke.
12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer,
go, flee thee away into the land of Judah,
and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
13 But prophesy not again any more at Bethel:
for it [is] the king's chapel, and it [is] the king's court.
Amaziah insulted Amos and sought to intimidate him.
  • He called him a 'seer' (a prophet), but denied that he spoke for God.
  • He said Amos and his message were not fit for the king's chapel. He was not refined. His message undermined the confidence of the people in their rulers, and upset the sensitivities of the noblemen and ladies. cp. 2Tim 4:3,4
  • He told Amos to go back to where he came from. Perhaps he could earn his keep as a prophet, in Judah, if the people there were willing to hear him. But he was out of his element in Bethel.
14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah,
I [was] no prophet, neither [was] I a prophet's son;
but I [was] an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
15 And the LORD took me as I followed the flock,
and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
Amos' response was...
  1. Humble -
    • Amos did not claim the office of prophet. He had not been prepared to be a prophet, either through apprenticeship to his father, or by formal schooling.
    • He was an agricultural laborer, whose work changed with the seasons. Sometimes, he worked as a herdman (in 1:1, a different word is used, meaning 'breeder of sheep'), at other times he was a gatherer {ie., cultivator} of sycomore fruit.
    • In short, he had no credentials with which to impress the elite political and religious rulers.
  2. Confident -
    • He knew that the LORD had called and commissioned him with a message for Israel.
    • For that reason, he had left his home in Judah (v.12) in obedience to the LORD's command.
      Although Amos does not say so, he himself was a plumbline of righteousness, by which the LORD was testing the rebellious leaders of Israel (v.7,8).
  3. Personal... - Amos delivered a prophecy of direct judgment upon Amaziah.
16 Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD:
Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel,
and drop not [thy word] against the house of Isaac.
17 Therefore thus saith the LORD;
Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city,
and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword,
and thy land shall be divided by line;
and thou shalt die in a polluted land:
and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
Amaziah was judged for commanding the LORD's servant to stop proclaiming God's Word.
Of course, Amaziah did not recognize it as God's Word, but as unnecessary and annoying noise, like water dripping ('drop not thy word').
Therefore, the Word of the LORD, was directed specifically to Amaziah, so he could not miss it...
Amaziah would be taken into captivity where he would die. His children would be slain. His desolate wife would become a harlot to survive. His confiscated properties would be surveyed by new owners. His nation would go into captivity.
Eventually, Amaziah would deeply regret his rejection of God's word of warning. But it would be too late.

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