The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
THE DISPERSION OF ISRAEL
- Amos 9 can
be divided into two sections. The
first part of the chapter (vss. 1—10) deals with the dispersion of Israel. The LORD says He “will sift the house of
Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve” (9:9).
- The second
part of the chapter (vss. 11—15) deals with the restoration of Israel. Although the book of Amos is largely
about God’s judgment upon the nation of Israel (cf. 9:10), the book does end on
a positive note (9:15).
THERE WILL BE NO
- First, we notice “the Lord standing upon the altar” (9:1). The
Scofield Study Bible says this
refers to the altar in Jerusalem. “The
position of the Lord (Adonai) is significant. The altar speaks properly of mercy
because of judgment executed upon an interposed sacrifice, but when altar and
sacrifice are despised the altar becomes a place of judgment.”
- However, the altar is probably the idolatrous
altar erected in Bethel (cf. 8:14).
The idea is that judgment would begin at the very center of their
- The Lord told Amos, “Smite the lintel
of the door, that the posts may shake” (9:1). The posts would come down upon the heads
of the idolaters (9:1).
- This is a
reference to the Assyrian invasion, though Assyria is not mentioned.
- Note the
repetition – “Though they…” (9:2, 3, 4). There will be no escape.
- Notice also
the parallelism (9:2) – dig into hell, climb up to heaven. Top of Carmel, bottom of the sea
(9:3). This type of parallelism is
found often in the Bible, especially in the book of Proverbs (cf. Pro.
- There are
about a thousand caves on Mount Carmel, but there will be no place to hide from
“serpent” in the bottom of the sea is a sea monster (9:3; cf. Isa. 27:1).
THE LORD WILL BE THE ONE WHO WILL DRIVE THEM
OUT OF THE LAND
- God used the
Assyrians to judge Israel. The
Assyrians were just an instrument in His hand (cf. Isa. 10:5, 6). “Thence will I command the
sword, and it shall slay them…” (9:4; cf. Lev. 26:14-33).
- The LORD drove the
Israelites into captivity. “And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the
land…The LORD is his name” (9:5, 6).
- In Amos 9:1-4, we see that
Israel cannot escape from the omnipresence of God (cf. vss. 2, 3). In Amos 9:5, 6 we see that Israel cannot
escape from the omnipotence of God.
- God controls men and their
armies, the animal kingdom, the weather, earthquakes, floods, volcanoes,
drought, etc. (cf. 4:13; 5:8, 9; 8:8).
- All nature is subservient to
God. It is only man who defies the will of God. The
LORD told the great fish to swallow Jonah, and the fish obeyed.
The LORD told Jonah to go to Nineveh,
and Jonah disobeyed God.
- God directs the forces of
nature to judge rebellious men. This is brought out vividly in the book of
- In Amos 9:7, we are reminded
that Israel behaved no better than her heathen neighbors.
They were complacent because of their
position as God’s elect nation.
- “Privilege grossly abused
and grace trodden underfoot carry special responsibility and entail greater
chastisement” – Merrill Unger.
- Verse 7 also reminds us that
there really are no “indigenous people.”
God transplanted the Philistines and the Syrians, as well as the
- Amos chapters 1 and 2
emphasize that God is the Lord of all the nations. God controls geography and history.
GOD WILL DESTROY ISRAEL FROM OFF THE
FACE OF THE EARTH
- Israel had gotten so bad
that God referred to her as “the sinful kingdom” (9:8).
- This means the LORD would
destroy Israel (the northern kingdom) as a separate kingdom. When the Lord
brings the children of Israel back into their land, they will not be a divided
kingdom but will be one united nation under the sovereignty of the Lord Jesus
- How can God destroy Israel
“from off the face of the earth,” while at the same time promise that He “will
not utterly destroy the house of Jacob”
- By sifting out the wicked
and saving the repentant. God will
preserve a remnant of faithful believers (9:9: cf. Deut. 30:1-4; Rom. 11:5, 25,
- The LORD knows who is part
of this remnant (Rev. 7:3-8).
- The Israelites are likened
to corn sifted in a sieve among the Gentile nations – “yet shall not the least
grain fall upon the earth” (9:9).
- The LORD does the sifting
(9:9). This sifting is a picture of
Israel’s unsettled condition – the dispersion, persecutions, terrorism,
- The whole world is one great
sieve in which Israel is shaken from one place to another, but the kernels – the
faithful remnant – will be preserved and
- While the good grain will
stay in the sieve, the chaff (representing the wicked) will fall through the
sieve and “die by the sword” (9:9, 10; cf. Zech. 13:8,
- The defiant unbelievers will
say, “The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us”
The wicked ones among them who are hardened in their sins shall all of
them perish (9:10). See what a height of impiety they have come to: “They say,
The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.” They think they are innocent, and
do not deserve punishment, or that the profession they make of relation to God
will be their exemption and security from punishment, or that they shall be able
to make their part good against the judgments of God, that they shall flee so
swiftly from them that they shall not overtake them, or guard so carefully
against them that they shall not prevent or surprise them. Note, Hope of
impunity is the deceitful refuge of the impenitent. But see what it will come to
at last: “All the sinners” that thus flatter themselves, and affront God, shall
“die by the sword,” the sword of war, which to them shall be the sword of divine
vengeance. – Matthew