Amos Chapter Five


Read Amos 5:1-6Israel Has Fallen


v.1  Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.”


            Hear O, Israel is the command of God through the prophet.  Just as Jesus spoke to the churches of Asia in the Revelation recorded by the Apostle John:


Revelation 3:22He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”


Just as God wanted the seven churches to hear the encouragement and admonition of Jesus on that occasion, here God wants Israel to hear and heed the warnings of judgments to come.  He wants Israel to weep, mourn and lament over her sins in humility before him just as He also told Judah:


Jeremiah 7:29Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.”


v.2The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.”

            Israel is like a woman that has fallen into harlotry.  She has lost her purity.  She is shamed.  She as played the part of a spiritual adulteress.  She is vile, spoiled, fallen from the grace of God never to be raised again for she will not repent.  She has become what the prophet described in his warnings to Judah:


Jeremiah 3:8-9And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.”


Israel is like an old harlot broken down, aged, diseased and no longer desirable to any man.  There is no one to help her, no one that cares about her, no one to relieve her of her want.  The picture the words of the prophet paints is pretty disgusting, not even appropriate for polite society in the minds of some people. But it truly is the spiritual condition of those who were once God’s people but have turned their backs on Him.

            Many years later the Apostle Peter will rightly testify:


Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:68-69


But Israel has abandoned God and is about to be forgottened, abandoned by God.


v.3 “For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.”


            Since there are so few, if any, left in Israel that are righteous; God’s judgment will destroy the vast majority of them.  Where there was a city that could send 1000 men into battle only a hundred would be left, if they could send 100, only 10 would be left.  God’s judgment will be so severe that the rest will be slaughtered, destroyed, literally removed from the face of the earth.


v.4For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:”


            “SEEK YE ME, AND YE SHALL LIVE…”  Oh, that we could preach the same words in this Sodom and Gomorrah that we live in today and have people hear and heed God’s warnings.  Seek God.  Repent and turn to God.  Do as Azariah commanded King Asa:


II Chronicles 15:1-2And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 2And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”


v.5But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.”

            Amos writes, don’t go to Bethel, don’t go to Gilgal but turn to God.  As we have mentioned in earlier studies; Bethel was one of the places of worship that King Jeroboam established.


28Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. I Kings 12:28-29


Gilgal was where Israel camped when they first came into Canaan and one of the places that Samuel went to judge Israel.  Though the tabernacle was there for a period of time it was not the place designated by God for Israel to worship Him.  So Amos warns them; don’t go to your idol gods in Bethel or even back to the southern part of Israel where Joshua worshipped.  That is not what God has commanded and will serve no purpose.


v.6Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.”


            “SEEK THE LORD”, turn to God, repent of your sin, allow God to remove that sin and you shall live.  Israel and later Judah did seek the Lord at times.  King Asa, mentioned in relationship to an earlier verse did:


II Chronicles 15:12-13And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; 13That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.”


By doing so they escaped the wrath of God for a time.  The reference to the house of Joseph in this verse is specifically directed to the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, two of the largest in the ten tribe kingdom.


Read Amos 5:7-12 – Exhortation to Israel


v.7Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,”


            What is “WORMWOOD”?  It is a woody herb that is native to western Asia, northern Africa and some of the more temperate areas of southern Europe.  In its native state it has a very bitter taste, was used in some stomach remedies in ancient times.  Today it is used in various ways as one of the ingredients in various medicines, liquors and as a moth and flea repellant.  Here it is used by Amos to very graphically describe the perversion of justice.  Their administration of justice had become bitter, and so displeasing to both God and man that he describes it as nauseous, something that would make us sick.  When we think about some of the things that are done in our justice system today I think we can probably find some parallels as this country follows the path of Ancient Israel in their sin.


v.8Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:”


            Amos urges them; turn back to God.  Seek the one who made the “SEVEN STARS” and Orion.  The seven stars refers to what is called the Pleiades, or seven sisters, a cluster of seven stars in the constellation Taurus, and Orion, of course, is the constellation known as The Hunter that is pictured as fighting Taurus.  Job makes a similar reference to God:


Job 9:9  Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.”


Israel is to seek God, the one who made the stars, the one who made darkness and light and arranged the waters upon the earth; the one who is powerful enough to hold their destiny in his hands.  Then he introduces them to Him just as though, and they probably had, they had forgotten the name of Jehovah.


v.9-10That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.  They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.”


            Another translation says that God is one who “BRINGETH SUDDEN DESTRUCTION UPON THE STRONG, SO THAT DESTRUCTION COMETH UPON THE FORTRESS.”  God will hear the cries of the persecuted and downtrodden and the strong who are abusing them will eventually be overcome.  This is the theme of much of the book of Revelation

            Those that have turned against God hate those who would rebuke or reprove them.  This is the reason for the words of the king of Israel recorded in:


I Kings 22:8And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.”


This is also the reason that Jesus was crucified as he knew:


John 8:40But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.”


v.11Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.”


            Their wealth had come from the labor of the backs of the poor.  They had used, abused and taken advantage of men.  Their bread came from the wheat raised by farmers who were little better than slaves.  They built great houses of hewn stone and had planted pleasant vineyards, vineyards that would provide a good yield.  Their forefathers had been warned by the voice of God:


Deuteronomy 28:15But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:”


And part of those curses were:


Deuteronomy 28:30Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.  v.38Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.”


v.12For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.


            Now God enumerates some more of their sins.  They afflicted the just, they took bribes and they turned aside the poor from what was their right.  Back at the beginning of his message to Israel Amos had been given for Israel:


Amos 2:6-8Thus 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; 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: 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.”


Read Amos 5:13-17 – Words To The Prudent


v.13-14Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time. 14Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.”


            Evil times are coming.  During these times the prudent endure and hold their tongues, drawing as little attention to themselves as possible.  There is no place of refuge among men.  Their situation is described by Micah:


Micah 3:11The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.”


            It isn’t much different today is it?  This reminds me of the two judges that were convicted just a few weeks ago of malfeasance in office, taking bribes for lighter sentences.  It reminds me of the preachers who preach for hire, who tickle the ears of their congregations, accept sin within their midst in order to maintain their status rather than teaching and preaching the Word of God.

            Amos urges the prudent to hate this evil, love all that is good so that the Lord their God would continue to be with them.


v.15 “Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.”


            Amos tells Israel to hate evil and love good.  If they establish judgment in the gates of their cities once again by the precepts of God, as it was during the times of David and Solomon it just may be that the Lord God of Hosts will repent of the terrible things he is ready to bring upon them.  This caused the pagan city of Nineveh to repent (Jonah 3:9) and God spared them for another 150 years.  This is the same advice given to Judah by the prophet Joel in Joel 2:14.  For we know that if:




v.16-17Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing. 17And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.”


            The wailing and lamentations will be the result of God bringing judgment upon Israel.  There shall be mourning in the streets; the professional mourners shall be called.  There will be no joy in the vineyards as there will be no shouting and celebrating by those who harvest the grapes and press out the juice.  Jeremiah gives much the same warning to Judah and to Moab:


Jeremiah 9:10For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.”


Jeremiah 48:33And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.”


Read Amos 5:18-27 – Woe False Children Who Seek God


v.18  Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.”


            In seems that in defiance of the words of Amos, whose words were the words of God, that Israel is saying so what!  We’re the children of God, we are the descendants of Abraham, we are a special nation, chosen and led out of bondage by God.  Let the day of the Lord come, we’re not afraid.  Were not the Pharisees of Jesus day of the same mind?  In their arrogance they were not going to accept that the son of a carpenter from Nazareth could possibly be the promised Messiah:


John 8:38-39 “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.”


We find the same mindset in our country today.  Our people declare that “we are a Christian nation, favored by God”.  “We will always stand!”  But will we?  Or will God exhaust his patience with the USA before He brings this miserable fall of mud to and end and destroy us as a nation because of our sins?


v.19As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.”


            There will be no place to hide from God.  They will be as a man who flees from a lion only to encounter a bear.  Or one who gains the shelter of his house only be to bitten by a serpent.  They will suffer the same kind of misfortune as described by Zophar to Job:


Job 20:24He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.”


If by some means they escape one of God’s judgments, then another will overtake them.


v.20  Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?”


            In their condition the “DAY OF THE LORD” would be a dark day indeed.  It would not be a day of rejoicing, a day of joy but rather a day when they would be like Israel in the days of Samuel when the Philistine armies came against them:


I Samuel 13:6When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.”


But there will be no place to hide from God, just as the Apostle John records for us:


Revelation 6:15-16And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”


v.21  I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.”


            God hates the worship of the unrepentant sinner!!!  The ASV translates “I WILL NOT SMELL” as “I WILL TAKE NO DELIGHT” in your solemn assemblies.  The prophet Isaiah describes it this way:


Isaiah 66:3He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.”


            When those who defy God offer him worship; their sacrifices; their homage to Him; are an abomination.  Judah is told that if they offered an ox, even as commanded, it was as if they had killed a man.  If they offered a lamb, they just as well have offered an dog, any oblation, or pouring out as an offering to God would be viewed as the offering the blood of a hog, an animal that was vile in the sight of Israel.


v.22Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.”


            Their worship will not be accepted.  How many denominations are meeting this day, or even those who once among the churches of Christ that are gathering to bring worship to Almighty God who will not be heard, who will be heaping God’s scorn upon themselves because in their rebellion against the commandments and precepts of God they are an abomination to him.  It makes the words of Jesus very mild indeed when he said:


But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  Matthew 15:9


v.23Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.”




            God says don’t sing praises to me with unclean lips, defiant hearts thinking I will accept whatever worship is presented.  Worship from those kinds of people is but a annoying, irritating noise that has no purpose, has no meaning.


v.24But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream


            For their worship to be acceptable they needed to let their judgments run down as pure water, not let it be diverted, restricted or withheld from any man.  They had to end the oppression of the poor, the ridicule of the righteous, the corruption of government and judgment, and let righteousness reign once again among God’s people.  Ezekiel had much the same message:


Ezekiel 45:9Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.”


v.25Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?”


            Amos asks this question to remind Israel of a period in time in their history when they had rebelled against God.  During the wanderings in the wilderness there were very few sacrifices made to God, they worshiped other gods and even God’s creation as Stephen reminds his audience of Jewish rulers:


Acts 7:42Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?”


And Stephen is quoting directly from this prophecy of Amos.


v.26  But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.”


            They bore the tabernacle of Moloch.  Instead of carrying the tabernacle of God as they had been commanded, using the tabernacle symbolically as the house of God, they carried the house or shrine of the heathen god instead.  Moloch is just another name for Baal or Chemosh.  This was a god of the Canaanites and of the descendants of Esau and Lot, the Edomites, Ammonites and Moabites.

            This is the only verse in the Bible were we find the god Chi-un mentioned.  In the Septuagint it is translated Rhephan, spelled Remphan in the discourse of Stephen in Acts 7:43.  Rhephan was a god of the Phoenicians and is thought to represent the planet Saturn.


v.27Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.”


            So Amos tells Israel what will be their ultimate fate.  They will be carried into captivity “BEYOND DAMASCUS”.  Assyria, whose capital was Nineveh was indeed beyond Damascus and the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, once disbursed were never united again, even temporarily.  Their nation will be destroyed, to no longer exist among the nations of the earth.