Amos Chapter Seven


Read Amos 7:1-9 – Amos’ First Vision


v.1Thus hath the Lord GOD showed 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.”


            God is longsuffering and will frequently bear with mankind for a long time, but God’s longsuffering is not endless.  In the balance of the book we have three visions given to Amos, three warnings for Israel to repent.  In this age God speaks to his people through his prophets:


Amos 3:7Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”


            God is going to bring evil against his people as punishment for their sins just as He gave instruction to his prophet Jeremiah for Judah:


Jeremiah 18:11Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.”


            The King in this verse is God.  The hayfield to be mowed is the nation of Israel.  It is a field that has been through the first mowing and is now sprouting its second growth.  This symbolism reflects the condition of Israel during the time of Jeroboam II.  God had “mowed” or punished Israel about a generation before during the reign of king Jehoahaz:


II Kings 13:3And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days. 4And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.”


God had exercised his mercy and longsuffering and Israel had been restored to somewhat of its former glory; or using the analogy of Amos the second hay crop had sprouted and grown.


II Kings 14:23-25In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. 24And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.  He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.”


But Israel had continued in her evil ways and was ripe to be punished or mowed again.  God will send an army against her like grasshoppers coming into a field of second growth hay, who will leave nothing behind but remnants of stalks and stubble.


v.2And 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.”


            In his vision Amos pleads with God for Israel.  She is small, her wars and desolations have reduced her to a shadow of her former might and glory.  Amos is like Moses when he pleaded with God for Israel at Sinai.  God’s wrath was great because of their worship of the golden calf.  He said he would destroy them and raise a new nation from Moses but:


Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?”


And he goes on to plead with God and God relented, repented and let them live.  Amos in his vision pleads for Israel as well.


v.3The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.”


            The Lord repented, he heard the plea of his prophet and held his anger, for the moment.  But he gave Amos another warning for Israel.


v.4Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.”


            The second part of his vision shows Amos punishment of Israel by fire.  Whether this would be the fire of drought from the heat of the sun which can scorch the earth, destroying all vegetation and means of human support, the fire of war where cities, towns and villages are burned or fire brought down from God we are not told.  In their history God had punished Israel by fire for complaining:


Numbers 11:1 “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.”


v.5-6Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. 6The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.


            In his vision Amos again pleads with God for Israel.  God hears his plea and turns from his punishment of His people.


v.7-8Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 8And 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:”


            In the third part of this vision Amos sees God as one standing on a wall holding a plumbline.  Of course, most everyone knows what a plumbline is used for; to make sure that a vertical structure is straight or plumb.  It can also tell us where any bulges or deformities exist in a vertical structure or wall, where it needs to be corrected or torn down and rebuilt.  This terminology is common in Old Testament writings and is used to describe the work of David against Moab:


II Samuel 8:2And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.”


And by the prophets:


Isaiah 28:17Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.”


This plummet is what we call a plumb bob today.


v.9And 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 high places where Israel worship their idols would be made desolate, their sanctuaries of worship would be laid waste and destroyed.  Hosea prophesies:


Hosea 10:8The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.”


The name Aven has two meanings in scripture.  First of all it was a designation for Beth=aven another name for Bethel, were Jeroboam introduced idol worship to Israel.  Another is a plain called Aven in the kingdom of Damascus where idol worship was conducted.  In either case judgment is coming to Israel; the sanctuary of their idol worship will be destroyed.  In addition God will punish Jeroboam II by bringing “THE SWORD” against his house.  An event that came true long before Israel was captured and scattered:


II Kings 15:8-10In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months. 9And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. 10And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.”


Read Amos 7:10-17 – Amos Makes an Enemy


v.10-11 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.  For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.”


            The  preaching of Amos now has created an enemy in Israel.  Amaziah the chief priest in charge of the king’s worship center in Bethel doesn’t like what Amos is saying about Israel and about Bethel.  This sounds a little like the shrine makers charge against Paul:


Acts 19:26-27Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.”


Amos, speaking the words that God has given him to bring them to repentance, is charged with bringing a conspiracy against Jeroboam.  Indeed, Amos did say that God would cause Israel to be carried away captive and that the house of Jeroboam would be destroyed by the sword.


Amos 5:27Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.”


            Amos is but being God’s messenger, bringing God’s words of warning to Israel.  But Amaziah is ready to destroy the messenger rather than hear the message from God, a trait common to mankind, especially men of power and position.


v.12-13Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.


            Apparently the conspiracy charge against Amos didn’t receive the desired result.  He was accused of plotting against Israel, generating an overthrow of Israel and also its king.  So now Amaziah tries a different tactic.  He simply tells Amos to go away and not to teach or preach anymore at Bethel.  This is much the same instruction as Peter and John received from the Sanhedrin:


Acts 4:15-18But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. 17But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. 18And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”


Amos was not welcome in Bethel.  It was the king’s sanctuary or house of worship and the location of the king’s court or royal house.  He is to go back to Judah where he belongs, to go preach to them, his message isn’t wanted here.  We might also note that Amos was a common man, a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees and probably another reason that the elite of Israel didn’t want him around.


v.14-15Then 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 sycamore fruit: 15And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”


            The response that Amos makes to Amaziah is that he is not a professional prophet.  He was a herdsman, a gathering of sycamore fruit (a type of fig), a common working man.  He is prophesying against Israel because God called him to prophesy and sent him specifically to the people of Israel.  I would compare his answer to one I might give to someone today who took exception to one of my sermons.  I’m not a professional preacher; I have no calling other than the great commission that we all have been given; consequently I have no purpose beyond teaching and presenting the Word of God.  If the Word of God is not acceptable then it is not me that is being rejected but rather the Word of God.

            We find a parallel in God’s calling or appointing David to rule as king over Israel:


II Samuel 7:8Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:”


David wanted to build a house for God.  God’s response is first of all he doesn’t want a “HOUSE OF CEDAR”.  Secondly that it is not David’s purpose to build God a house but to rule Israel.  David’s seed would build God a house.


v.16-17 “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. 17Therefore 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.”


            Because his commission is from God; Amos is bringing the word of God to Israel as commanded.  The instructions that he has received are much the same as given to Ezekiel:


Ezekiel 20:45-47Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 46Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; 47And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.”


            Amos continues “THEREFORE THUS SAITH THE LORD” and he repeats the general theme of the message that is being sent by God to Israel.  Just as Israel has committed spiritual adultery with idol gods, and now Amaziah is trying to stop Amos from his God-given responsibility his wife will become a harlot.  Whether this was by force as the wife of an important man of a conquered land or willingly we’re not told.  His family shall be destroyed, i.e. his sons and daughters will “FALL BY THE SWORD”, Amaziah will die in a polluted land, Hosea writes:


Hosea 9:3 “They shall not dwell in the LORD’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.”


Israel will go into captivity, never to return to the land of promise.