The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
THE BASKET OF SUMMER FRUIT
In Amos 7 there are three visions:
- The locust plague (7:1,
2). Amos interceded and the Lord
repented (7:2b, 3).
- Famine and fire (7:4). Again, Amos interceded and the Lord
repented (7:5, 6).
- The plumbline (7:7-9). Here, Amos did not intercede, and
the Lord did not repent.
This means God’s judgment was certain (cf. 8:2 with 7:8) – “I will not
again pass by them any more.”
BASKET OF SUMMER FRUIT RERESENTS A HARVEST
- “A basket of summer fruit
represents a harvest. It tells us that the tree is no longer producing” (J.
Vernon McGee). So although a basket of summer fruit is delightful and delicious,
it also speaks of the end of the harvest (“The end is come upon my people
of Israel…” – 8:2).
- “It also tells us of rapid
spoilage and quick deterioration” (McGee).
- The basket of summer fruit
is a dramatic and a figurative illustration of God’s judgment. Israel was ripe for
judgment. “I will not again
pass by them any more” (8:2).
- In two of the previous
visions (7:1-6), Amos prayed for the survival of Israel and God changed His mind
and withheld His hand. But after the vision of the plumbline, Amos did not
- The statement, “I will not
again pass by them any more” (7:8; 8:2) indicates that the harvest is past. The northern kingdom of Israel has come
to the end of the line. Judgment will certainly come, and the basket of summer
fruit symbolizes that.
- The summer fruit was
probably sycamore fruit (cf. 7:14).
The gathering of the fruit marked the end of the harvest. Harvest in the Bible has two
Soulwinning. Our Lord said in Matthew 9:37, 38, “The
harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth
labourers into his harvest.”
b. Judgment (cf. Rev. 14:14—20). In the context of Amos 8, it is God’s
judgment upon Israel – “Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my
people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more” (8:2; cf. 7:8).
insincere singing in the temple will turn into horrible “howlings” and wailing
because “there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them
forth with silence” (8:3; cf. 8:10; 6:10).
- Their grief and their agony
will be so great that they will be unable to
FOR GOD’S JUDGMENT
- They had
oppressed the poor (8:4; cf. 2:6, 7).
- They were
hypocrites (8:5, 6). All they
really cared about was how to make more money, and how to swindle people – and
all the while they were observing their feast days and sabbaths (8:5; cf.
- The new moon
was a holy day on which business and trade were not to be transacted.
- The sabbath
was supposed to be a day of rest.
But they could not wait for it to end so they could get back to making
- God gave us
the sabbath for our benefit and for our enjoyment. “And he said unto them, The sabbath was
made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
- They were
dishonest and deceitful (8:5b, 6).
- They sold
the poor and needy into slavery (8:6).
This was prohibited under the law of Moses (Lev. 25:39).
- God had
sworn (8:7; cf. 4:2; 6:8).
- So great
would be the impact of the LORD’s judgment, that the land would “tremble” (8:8).
- Israel’s judgment (the invasion by Assyria) was but a foreshadowing of
the future “day of the LORD” (8:9, 10).
- In Bible prophecy, many future judgments are foreshadowed in historical
events (cf. 5:16-20).
THERE WOULD BE A FAMINE OF THE WORD OF
- God sent
Israel many prophets but the prophets were mistreated by the stiffnecked
Israelites (cf. Heb. 11:36-38).
said, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have
slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have
been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:52).
- The people
demanded that the prophets stop preaching (Amos 2:12; 7:12, 13).
- Now the Lord
was declaring to them that, since Israel despised His Word (5:10), they would no
longer hear it. “Then shall the
seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their
lips; for there is no answer of God” (Micah 3:7).
- Our Lord
said, “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye
cannot come” (John 7:34). “Then
said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in
your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come” (John 8:21).
- Amos is
referring to the Jews. They have
replaced the Word of God with the Talmud and their traditions. But we can apply this prophecy to the
Gentile world as well.
spiritual famine has ruined Europe, and it is starting to dry up North America
too – removing the Ten Commandments from the courthouses and other public
buildings, removing the Nativity Scene from city square, eliminating prayer in
public schools, eliminating “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance,
- Even most
church members know very little about the Word of God.
- Amos 8:12
says the distraught people will wander from sea to sea in every direction
seeking the Word of God but will not find it.
- The fair virgins and young men will faint for thirst (8:13).
- Because of their idolatry God had given up on them (8:14). They had forsaken God, and now God would
- The sin of Samaria and the god of Dan refer to the idols set up by King
Jeroboam I (I Kings 12:28-30; Hosea 10:5).
- The doom
upon the Northern kingdom of Samaria was certain: “They shall fall, and never
rise again” (8:14; cf. 5:2).
judgment was fulfilled when the Assyrians invaded Israel approximately 40 years
- Samaria has
never rose again and never will.
- However, the
northern kingdom and the southern kingdom will be reunited some day (cf. Ezek.