Amos Chapter Two


Read Amos 2:1-3 – God’s Charge Against Moab


v.1Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:”


            The record of the sin that God charges Moab of committing is not recorded in either secular history or in scripture except here.  Moab, as we should remember from our study of Genesis 19:37 was the son of Lot and his oldest daughter.  Edom, as we have studied several times, was made up of people descended from Esau.  To open the sepulchers and burn the bones of an enemy king would be the ultimate insult of war.  In his war against pagan worship in Judah Josiah polluted the altars erected to their idol gods by burning the bones of the prominent worshippers:


II Kings 23:16And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.”


v.2-3 “But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet: 3And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.”


            God’s justice is true.  Moab burned Edom, even to the burning the bones of its king.  Consequently Moab will suffer from fire in the tumult, shouting and chaos brought about by war.  Nothing is known of the city of Kirioth except what is found here and in Jeremiah 48:41 where it is spelled Kerioth.  But the sounding of the trumpet is a universal signal for attack, and Moab will be destroyed by war.

            These prophecies by Amos were against, not only Moab, but also Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Ammon and Moab as we saw in chapter 1.  They came to pass either when this region was conquered by the Chaldeans and all of these peoples were carried into captivity as was Judah or when Judah was finally destroyed by Rome in AD 70.


Read Amos 2:4-6 – God’s Charges Against Judah


v.4Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:”


            God brings three charges against Judah.  First of all they “DESPISED THE LAW OF THE LORD.”  There are many examples of this sin in the history of Israel and the kingdom of Judah that followed when Israel was divided.  One is in the prayer of Nehemiah before God in behalf of the remnant that returned to Jerusalem:


Nehemiah 1:7We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.”


            The second is that they failed to keep his commandment.  This would appear to some as being a lesser charge that to despite God, but the Holy Spirit gives it equal value.  The prophet Daniel described it this way:


Daniel 9:11Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.”


            The third is that they turned to lies, in this case idolatry, false gods.  The Apostle Paul warns us about lies, and in so doing condemns one of the major problems of this world today as well:


Romans 1:25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”


v.5But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. “


            Amos pronounces a very short description of what God will bring against Judah as his responsibility and calling to prophesy is to Israel.  God will bring a fire that will devour the palaces of Jerusalem; a statement very similar to that of Hosea against Israel and Judah:


Hosea 8:14 “For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.”


Read Amos 2:6-16 – God’s Charges Against Israel


v.6Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;”


            God now begins to enumerate the sins of Israel.  They have treated every man poorly.  The prophet says they sold the righteous for silver.  Just as in many parts of our society today; those who would practice righteousness are looked upon as dupes, people who aren’t very intelligent; people whom our liberal media like to characterize as the “religious right” or the radical religious right.  This is not meant as a compliment.

            They sold the poor for a pair of shoes.  Human life and human freedom for those other than those of the selected elite of the country had no value.  In their dealings with other men they lied, cheated, stole and if someone was poor and downtrodden they pushed him down even further.  Their morality was such that the Isaiah describes them as those:


That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.” Isaiah 29:21


v.7That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:”


            Israel was guilty of mistreating the poor, taking advantage of those who could not help themselves:


Isaiah 10:2To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”


            They had fallen into the same immorality of the people around them.  The same kind of immorality that, unfortunately, we see much too much of on our television news programs today.  The same perversion for which men are rounded up in our cities and parishes today, sometimes in bunches, is the same kind of sin that God condemned Israel for practicing and for which God condemned Judah through Ezekiel:


Ezekiel 22:11And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father’s daughter.”


v.8And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.”


            Under Mosaic Law if you took someone’s cloak or coat as a pledge or pawn it was to be returned by sundown.


Exodus 22:26 “If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:”


Israel was ignoring this law and quite likely this is only a representation of all of the civil law that God had given them that they had abandoned.  They were also participating in the activities being conducted in the pagan temples.  These included feasts, drunkenness and in many cases, prostitution and other things as well.  The Apostle Paul directed the Corinthians to abstain even from meat offered to idols if it offended a brother:


I Corinthians 8:10For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;”


v.99Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.”


            In these few verses Amos reminds Israel of the promises and blessings that God had made to them and that He had fulfilled.  One of those was in the land promise to Abram where God promised Abram that his seed would be given the land that belonged to the Amorites:


Genesis 15:1616But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”


When His time was right, when Israel was ready to occupy the land, God instructed Israel to move against Sihon, king of Heshbon, the capital city of the Amorites:


Deuteronomy 2:31And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land.”


This is part of the land that was occupied by tribes of Manasseh and Gad.  Joshua confirms for us that Israel did indeed do as God had instructed them.


Joshua 24:8And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.”


v.10Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.”


            Amos also reminds Israel that God had brought them out of Egyptian bondage and had led and cared for them for 40 years in the wilderness.


Exodus 12:50-51Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD

 commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. 51And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.”


Deuteronomy 2:7 “For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.”


v.11And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD.”


            God brought prophets to teach and preach His will, His revelation to them.  He caused young men to become Nazarites.  What or who was a Nazarite?  We have the following from a Bible Dictionary “The word is derived from the verb that denotes to separate and signifies that one, male or female, is especially consecrated to God.  The Nazarite took a vow by which his life, for a certain time, would be devoted to the Lord.  The Nazarite law was one of the legislations of Sinai by which he was forbidden to drink wine or strong drink, his hair must remain uncut, it being the product of his body that is devoted to God, and he had to keep himself ceremonially clean (Numbers 6:1-21), Deuteronomy 15:19).”

Samson was a Nazarite (Judges 13:5).  But what did Israel do?


v.12But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.”


            Israel not only broke God’s law, they defied God’s law.  Israel is charged with causing those who took the Nazarite vow and were trying to do as God had commanded to break their vow to God.  They also did not want to hear the prophets of God:


Isaiah 30:10Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:”


Do we have the same problem today?  Of course!  Today there are preachers of the gospel who get fired, their livelihood removed, because they have the courage to stand in a pulpit and preach the Word of God to people who don’t want to hear it.


Micah 2:6 “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.”


v.13 “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.”


            The American Standard translation of this verse is quite different and much more like how we would express these words today:


Behold, I will press you in your place, as a cart presseth that is full of sheaves.” Amos 2:13


God is going to bring the full weight, the complete consequences of their sin to rest upon them and uses prophecy to compare that great weight to a cart full of sheaves of grain being brought in from the harvest.


v.14Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself:”


            It will do no good to try to flee.  The strong will not be able to withstand the punishment that God will bring.  The mighty man of valor will not be able to deliver himself from God’s wrath.  God will not be denied and it would be futile to try; just as the Psalmist records:




v.15-16Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself. 16And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the LORD.”


            The bow, probably the ultimate weapon of war at this time, will not be able to protect even the most skilled bowman from the wrath of God.  The “SWIFT OF FOOT” will not be able to run away from God.  Remember Jonah?  Even a fast horse will not be of any benefit and the man who was known for his valor in battle, a mighty man, will flee away in nakedness.  This reminds us again that:


It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:31