The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
GOD’S JUDGMENT UPON GAZA, TYRE, EDOM, AND AMMON
- In chapter 1
and the first three verses of chapter 2, God proclaims His judgment upon
Israel’s heathen neighbors.
- “Thus saith
the LORD” (1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1).
- Six are specifically mentioned. Last week
we looked at Damascus, the capital of Syria (1:3-5).
- The same
idiomatic expression is used eight times – “Thus saith the LORD; For three
transgressions of Gaza, and for four” (1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6).
- This means their cup of iniquity had been filled to the top.
JUDGMENT ON GAZA
judgment on Gaza includes all of Philistia. Notice the references to the Philistine
cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron (1:8).
- Gaza was the
southernmost city of the Philistine Pentapolis, and is used here to represent
the entire nation. The fifth great city was Gath, the hometown of Goliath (Amos 6:2).
- The five
great Philistine cities are mentioned in I Samuel 6:17 – Ashdod, Gaza, Askelon, Gath, and
- King David
did not exterminate the Philistines because there was still a remnant at the
time of Amos’ prophecy. Their descendants intermarried with the Arabs and other Gentile nations and are now
known as “Palestinians.”
- The great crime of the Philistines was slave-trading (1:6).
They deported entire communities to Edom (cf. Obadiah 1, 11).
- Joel refers
to this in Joel 3:3, 4, “And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a
boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O
Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a
recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your
recompence upon your own head.”
- These ancient hostilities continue today. Today this area is
referred to as “the Gaza strip,” a coastal strip of
land between the Mediterranean Sea and Israel. It is controlled by the terror
group Hamas and is right in the middle of constant Muslim terrorism.
JUDGMENT ON TYRE (1:9, 10)
brotherly covenant” (1:9) refers to an agreement between Tyre and Israel, going
back to the days of King Hiram of Tyre, and King David and his son and successor
- “And Hiram king of Tyre sent
messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built
David an house” (II Sam. 5:11).
- “And Hiram king of Tyre sent his
servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the
room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David” (I Kings
- “(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had
furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to
all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of
Galilee” (I Kings 9:11).
- No king of
Israel or Judah ever went to war against Tyre. But the Phoenicians broke their
“brotherly covenant” with Israel and God judged them (1:9, 10).
- This judgment upon Tyre, the capital city of the Phoenicians, is identical to the one
against the Philistines (1:7, 10).
- This prophecy was literally fulfilled in an unusual way (1:10). First, the Assyrians came up against
Tyre but were unable to take the city. Then later on, Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans forced the Phoenicians
out of Tyre to an island that was about a half mile out to sea.
Phoenicians built a new city of Tyre while Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the old city
of Tyre back on the mainland. About 250 years later, Alexander the Great came along and saw this wealthy, prosperous
city out on the island and decided to invade it.
accomplish this, Alexander built a causeway out to the city. Alexander was
unaware that he was fulfilling several Bible prophecies.
“And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus,
and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her
like the top of a rock. It shall be
a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it,
saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations…For thus saith
the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a
king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with
horsemen, and companies, and much people… And I will make thee like the top of a
rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more:
for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD… For thus saith the Lord GOD;
When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited;
when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee”
(Ezek. 26:4, 5, 7, 14, 19).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre was from 585-573 BC (about 200 years
- Alexander’s siege was in 332 BC.
JUDGMENT UPON EDOM (1:11, 12)
- The judgment
upon Edom is because of their revengeful spirit – “because he did pursue his
brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear
perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever” (Amos 1:11b).
- The Edomites, descendants of Esau, were continually fighting against Israel and
Judah. Ezekiel 35:5 refers to their “perpetual hatred” against Israel.
- Isaac said
to his son Esau, “And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother;
and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt
break his yoke from off thy neck. And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed
him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand;
then will I slay my brother Jacob” (27:40, 41).
- Moses asked
the king of Edom for permission to pass through his country, and the king
replied, “And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out
against thee with the sword” (Numbers 20:18).
“perpetual hatred” against Israel resulted in the fiery judgment of God upon the
Edomite cities of Teman and Bozrah (Amos 1:12). Teman is named for a grandson of Esau
JUDGMENT UPON AMMON
Ammonites were descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot (Gen. 19:30-38). They were a semi-nomadic people who
lived east of the Jordan River (cf. Deut. 2:19; Judges 10:7-18; 11:4-36; I Sam.
atrocities mentioned in Amos 1:13 are not recorded anywhere else in the
- Ezekiel 25:5
and Zephaniah 2:9 also predicted judgment upon Ammon.
- “And I will
make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couching place for flocks:
and ye shall know that I am the LORD” (Ezek. 25:5).
as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as
Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and
saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them,
and the remnant of my people shall possess them” (Zeph. 2:9).
- Today that
area is in ruins. The modern city
of Ammon, the capital of Jordan, has been built upon the ancient ruins.
- Interestingly, the Ammonites (along with the Edomites, Moabites, and
other Canaanites) are listed among the nations at the battle of Armageddon (Ps.
83:7; Dan. 11:41).
- In Genesis
12:3, the LORD said to Abraham, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and
curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be
- This promise
was repeated to his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, and to the nation of Israel.
- Amos 1 deals
with God’s judgment upon the nations that oppressed Israel.
- Psalm 105:14
says, “He suffered no man to do them (Israel) wrong: yea, he reproved kings for
- This has
been demonstrated throughout history.
- God is not
only the God of Israel, He is the Lord of all the earth.