Amos reveals details about the coming destruction: the swarming locusts, the devouring fire, and a plumb line.
VERSE 1. Thus the Lord GOD showed me: and behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s harvest.
the Lord GOD showed me. The LORD God is about to reveal the details of the coming destruction.
This builds upon the previous chapters, where Amos had revealed the reasons for the LORD God’s judgment against Israel: their legal injustice, their economic exploitation of others, their religious hypocrisy, their luxurious indulgence, and their boastful complacency.
the king’s harvest. A portion of the first mowing of grass was owed to the king as tax.
VERSE 2. When they finished eating the grass of the land, then I said, “Lord GOD, forgive, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small.”
then I said, “Lord GOD, forgive. Amos interceded for his people, like Moses interceding for his people.
VERSE 3. The LORD relented concerning this. “It shall not be,” says the LORD.
VERSE 4. Thus the Lord GOD showed me and behold, the Lord GOD called for judgment by fire; and it dried up the great deep, and would have devoured the land.
judgment by fire. This might mean “judgment by drought.”
VERSE 5. Then I said, “Lord GOD, stop, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small.”
VERSE 6. The LORD relented concerning this. “This also shall not be,” says the Lord GOD.
VERSE 7. Thus he showed me and behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand.
a plumb line. A plumb line was a cord with a lead weight used by builders to make sure that walls were constructed straight up and down.
The LORD God is setting a plumb line among his people. It is possibly the Law and its requirements. The question would be this: were they living according to the Bible?
in his hand. They are about to be measured for destruction.
VERSE 8. The LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold, I will set a plumb line in the middle of my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more.
I will not again pass by them any more. The LORD God measured them according to a plumb line. And they failed. They were not according to plumb and needed to be torn down.
VERSE 9. The high places of Isaac will be desolate, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
The high places of Isaac. The forbidden hilltop shrines would be demolished.
the sanctuaries of Israel. The temple would be destroyed.
the house of Jeroboam. The political dynasty would crumble.
VERSE 10. Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the middle of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.
VERSE 11. For Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.’ ”
VERSE 12. Amaziah also said to Amos, “You seer, go, flee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
NASB translation. Then Amaziah said to Amos, “ Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying!
you seer. The Hebrew word is חֹזֶ֕ה (“ḥō·zeh”). It means seer. It could also be translated “visionary.”
flee away. Amaziah commands Amos to go away.
there do your prophesying. Amaziah does not want to listen to the revealed will of God.
prophesying. The Hebrew word is תִּנָּבֵֽא׃ (“tin·nā·ḇê.”). It means prophesying. It could also be translated “raving.”
VERSE 13. but don’t prophesy again any more at Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a royal house!”
VERSE 14. Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdsman, and a farmer of sycamore figs;
NAB translation. Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
I was no prophet. We do not need to be an official prophet or cleric to speak the truth of Jesus Christ. Rather, all Christian believers are called to exercise the ministry of evangelism.
prophet. The Hebrew word is נָבִ֣יא (“nā·ḇî”). It means spokesman, speaker, prophet. It could also be translated “raves.”
VERSE 15. and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
VERSE 16. Now therefore listen to the LORD’s word: ‘You say, Don’t prophesy against Israel, and don’t proclaim against the house of Isaac.’
VERSE 17, Therefore the LORD says: ‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided by line; and you yourself shall die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.’ ”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.