The Man with a Difficult Message from God
An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Amos
This commentary has been through Advanced Theological Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
Amos came from Tekoa, about 12 miles south of Jerusalem. He was a *shepherd and he looked after *fig trees. His home was in Judah. But God sent him away to Israel, which was north of Judah. (At that time, Judah was a different country from Israel.)
We know very little about the life of Amos. We know nothing about his family. And we do not know how long he lived. We do not know where he gave most of his messages. However, he gave one message (perhaps more) at Bethel. This was an important place in the north where people *worshipped. Amos lived when Jeroboam 2nd (782-753 *B.C.) was king of Israel and Uzziah (767-740 *B.C.) was king of Judah. Perhaps Amos gave most of his messages about 760 *B.C., but we cannot be certain about this.
During the time of Jeroboam 2nd the nation of Israel became rich. There were several reasons for this. In 805 *B.C., the *Assyrians beat the *Syrians in war. The *Syrians became weak and so they were not able to fight against Israel’s people. Also, the *Assyrians did not try to take authority over Israel’s people. Because of these things, Jeroboam took the chance to make his borders larger. The country became as big as it had been in the time of Solomon. Perhaps Amos 6:13 shows that the *Israelites became proud of their success in war. Because of this success, they could control the trade routes. The nation became rich by this. The people thought that they would always be wealthy.
It is possible that Amos sometimes taught in Samaria. He mentions Samaria several times (3:9, 12; 4:1; 6:1; 8:14). But Amos certainly taught at Bethel. This was a place where people met together. They met to *worship and to *pray to God. Perhaps he saw many people from Samaria in Bethel. If this happened, he would not need to go to Samaria. Amos also mentions other nations. These nations are Damascus (5:27), Hamath (6:14), Calneh, Hamath and Gath (6:2), Crete (9:7), Kir (1:5; 9:7), Edom (9:12) and Egypt (2:10; 3:1; 3:9; 4:10; 8:8; 9:5, 7). God wants to involve himself with all nations. He rules and controls all nations and all people everywhere. No other god has this power.
Several ideas were important to Amos. One idea was that there is only one God. He is the God who rules the nations. Another idea was that God is the judge. The *Israelites were responsible for their actions. They must expect God to decide what to do about their *sins. But Amos says that there is hope. God gave two messages in pictures to Amos (7:1-6). Amos prayed against total judgement and God heard this prayer. God is the same God who brought Israel out of Egypt. He punishes nations but he also saves.
Israel’s people thought that *worship was important. But although they *worshipped God, they did not obey his *law. Because of this, their *worship did not bring anything good from God. Amos compared their behaviour with the behaviour of their *ancestors. Their *ancestors wandered for many years in the desert. This was why Amos spoke about the *sacrifices in the desert (5:25). Some people explain it like this. Amos meant that he wanted no *sacrifices. Instead of *sacrifices God wanted people to behave in a true way. But perhaps Amos actually wanted people to know what was important. *Sacrifices were good. But to behave in a true way was more important.
Amos used parts of songs as a way to say things. 4:13 and 5:8 are examples of this. The songs emphasised the message. Also, God gave Amos five pictures, which begin in chapter 7. The first four of these (7:1-3; 7:4-6; 7:7-9 and 8:1-3) are similar. Amos puts these four pictures together in the same way. The fifth picture (9:1-6) is different. It is less of a picture than the other pictures. It is like Psalm 139:7-12. There will be no escape for the people in Israel. It is a picture of extreme situations.
The message of Amos was not new. His messages were the words of God. They were not the words of Amos himself. When the *Israelites were in the desert, God made a *covenant with them. He promised to be their God and to take care of them. But they had to obey his *law. God wanted to be sure that the people in Israel remembered this *covenant. Amos wanted to tell the people that they were not obeying God’s *law. (They were not looking after the poor people, they were not remembering the *Sabbath, and other things.) God was going to punish Israel’s people for these crimes. But he would not destroy them completely. Amos’s job was to remind people about what they already knew.
There is not very much hope in the book of Amos. God is angry with Israel’s people and he is going to punish them. He will use war, *exile, and terrible things to do this. But at the end of the book Amos gives a message of hope.
The big *sin of Israel’s people was that they *worshipped *idols. The *worship of *idols was against God’s *covenant. This happened everywhere in Israel. Amos mentions *idols in 5:26 and 8:14. Bethel and Dan were important places where there was *idol *worship. The people *worshipped animals made from gold there. There was also false *worship at Gilgal and Beersheba. Much of this *worship became another religion. And Amos is clear that this was wrong (3:14; 4:4-5; 5:4-5). But there was also another kind of *worship. This was like the true *worship of God (5:21-28; 8:3). But the people did not follow the rules that God had given them. They used this *worship to gain an advantage over other people. They also thought that their behaviour did not matter very much.
Amos does not say bad things about *priests or other *prophets. Hosea does say bad things about them (Hosea 4:4-9; 5:1-3). So, in one way, there is more hope in Amos.
God cared about the poor people. God also had many things to say about the rich people. The rich people had too much. God did not like that. We can see these ideas in much of Amos’s book. He also speaks about that fact that people sold other people as slaves (2:6). Some people became rich in this way. In Samaria, many people used money to get an advantage over other people. They wanted to make sure that other people stayed poor (3:9, 10). Some farmers had big debts. So the leaders took their property away. They gave it to the people who lent the farmers money (2:6, 8; 5:12). This was against the *law of Moses. Often the *laws in Israel did not protect the poor people. So the nation deserved the punishment of God.
Verses 1- 2 Amos is probably a short name for Amasiah. We can see the name in 2 Chronicles 17:16. The book of Amos gives us some information about Amos. This is much more information than other *prophets give about themselves. Jeremiah (1:1) also tells us about his home and his work. Amos probably had several jobs. We know that he looked after sheep. But probably he bought and sold farm animals too. Perhaps the *earthquake happened about 760 *B.C. An *earthquake is when the ground moves a lot and buildings fall down. This means that it is quite easy to tell when Amos wrote.
Amos 1:2 to 2:16 is a series of messages that are against the nations. First, he gives judgements against these nations. He writes about the terrible things that they have done. Then he says something to his own people who live in Israel and Judah. God will bring his judgement on them too. Verse 2 gives the main idea of the book of Amos. God is like a lion. He announces, by Amos, that he wants to cause death to his enemies. It is like the sound when there is lightning in the sky. But there will be no rain and all the plants will die.
Verse 3 Damascus was the capital of Aram. It was north and east of Israel. Damascus was Israel’s main enemy at this time. Aram was very cruel to the people in Gilead, and this was not necessary. Amos is referring to machines. People used these machines to separate grain. The *Arameans were cruel to Gilead’s people. It seems that the *Arameans used these iron machines to hurt them.
Verse 4 Hazael of Damascus took power in Aram by killing Ben-Hadad. 2 Kings 8:7-15 describes this. Later, when Hazael’s son became king, he used the name Ben-Hadad. However, God’s fire would destroy their palaces and strong places.
Verse 5 The gates of Damascus had a huge wooden bar, which kept them shut. God would destroy this bar and these gates, so that the enemy could come in. We are not sure about the position of the Aven valley. It might be a valley in Lebanon (Joshua 11:17). Beth-Eden was probably a city that was north and east of Damascus. Kir was the country that the people in Aram came from. The people in Aram would never achieve anything again.
Verse 6 Gaza was a *Philistine city. It guarded the way between Egypt and Israel. The *Philistines’ crime was that they forced many people to leave their villages. They then sold them as slaves to Edom. The *Edomites then sold the slaves to other buyers. To sell slaves was legal (Exodus 21:2-11, 20-21, 26-27). But God hated the way that nations stole people.
Verse 7 Therefore God would punish Gaza. Gaza would not continue to be a city. This happened in 734 *B.C. when Tiglath-pileser from Assyria defeated them.
Verse 8 Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron were three more cities that were in the *Philistine group of cities. These places also would not continue to be cities. Sargon from Assyria defeated Ashdod in 711 *B.C. and Sennacherib, king of Assyria defeated Ashkelon and Ekron in 701 *B.C. Amos is really sure that God wants to bring judgement to these cities. The people in these cities wanted big profits from the slave trade. God hated this.
Verse 9 The people who lived in Tyre were famous for commerce. But they had very little honour. In this way, they were like the *Philistines. The people in Tyre did not care if they did not keep an agreement. They also did not care how they made a profit. The ‘agreement’ may refer to agreements between the king of Israel and the king of Tyre. These were in the time of David. They were also in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 5:1, 12; 9:13) and Ahab (1 Kings 16:30-31).
Verse 10 Tyre was an island. It was a very difficult place to take in war. The people in Tyre were proud of their security. But Nebuchadnezzar defeated Tyre’s people in a long battle (585-573 *B.C.) So Tyre, too, came to an end.
Verse 11 Amos was angry with Edom’s people as well. Edom had been an enemy of Israel for a long time (Numbers 20:14-21). In Moses’ time the people in Edom did not want the *Israelites to go through their land. Both Saul and David won battles against Edom (1 Samuel 14: 47; 2 Samuel 8:12-14). But Hadad from Edom continued to fight against Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-25). Later, in the time of Jeroboam (853 *B.C.), Edom was often the enemy of Judah. The *Edomites came from Esau, who was a brother to Israel (Jacob). And so, the *Edomites and the *Israelites were members of the same family. But Edom did not care about this fact.
Verse 12 Teman and Bozrah were important cities in Edom. When their enemies destroyed them, they would have no more power.
Verse 13 Ammon was east of the Jordan river. It was between Moab in the south and Gilead in the north. Ammon’s people, too, wanted to make their country larger (Judges 11:4-5; 1 Samuel 11:1-11). We do not know all the details of Ammon’s terrible behaviour. But we do know that soldiers did not care much then about poor people. In wars, they often behaved very badly towards them.
Verse 14 Rabbah was the capital of Ammon. In the *New Testament, it is called Philadelphia. Today it is called Amman and it is the capital of Jordan. God himself will make sure that Rabbah will fall. Perhaps he himself will start the fires. He will come quickly, like a strong wind.
Verse 15 As a result, the leaders will go into *exile. But Amos does not tell us where they will go. Jeremiah also says later that the people in Rabbah will be very sad, and they will cry out (Jeremiah 49:3).
Verse 1 In ancient times people thought that it was necessary to bury someone properly. It was not good to burn their bones. God wanted the people in Moab to show respect to the king’s body.
Verse 2 So God would punish Moab’s people. He would destroy all their cities. Kerioth was an important place for a false religion, and the *Moabites *worshipped the god Chemosh there.
Verse 3 But God would make sure that the *Moabites’ leaders would die.
Verse 4 Amos now turns his attention to Judah. Judah is different from the other nations. The other nations have broken the general *law, which is for all peoples. But Judah has broken the special *law, which is for God’s people. This is a more serious crime. Judah’s *ancestors have taken them in a wrong direction. However, this is not an excuse now for the people in Judah. They are more and more *guilty (Psalm 51:3-5; Matthew 23:31-36).
Verse 5 Judah is not different from the other peoples. Their punishment will be the same as the punishment of Aram, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab.
Verse 6 Israel will be glad to hear about the punishment of foreign nations. But soon they will have a shock. God does is not only the judge for foreign nations. He wants to punish Israel too. Israel’s people were selling innocent people as slaves. These innocent people had not broken any *laws. Powerful people sold innocent people for very low prices – the price of shoes. It was legal to sell slaves (Exodus 21:2-11, 20-21, 26-27). However, the courts helped the rich people. The courts made it easy for rich people to get slaves.
Verse 7 The duty of kings was to protect the innocent people. But they failed. Perhaps verse 7b refers to a female slave. More likely, it refers to any woman. However, God says that sex without marriage is wrong (Leviticus 20:7-20).
Verse 8 Rich people were robbing the poor people! God hates this. Poor people often needed money. They gave their clothes to rich people, who gave them a loan for the clothes. The rich people sat on these clothes while they *worshipped God. God’s *law did not allow a person to keep another person’s coat at night (Exodus 22:26-27; Deuteronomy 24:12-13). The night was cold in Israel. The poor people needed these clothes then. Amos also suggests that the rich people made the poor people pay large fines. A fine is a sum of money that a person must pay as a punishment. This was when they could not pay the debt. Then these rich people used the money to drink too much wine. Nehemiah later protected the poor people against these things (Nehemiah 5:1-12).
Verse 9 The *Amorites lived in Canaan before the *Israelites defeated them in battle. They were a strong people but this did not help them. Oaks and cedars are types of trees.
Verse 10 God rescued the *Israelites from the *Egyptians. He led them during difficult times in the desert.
Verses 11, 12 However, the *Israelites later enjoyed freedom when Jeroboam 2nd was king (2 Kings 14:25-28). They became wealthy. But they encouraged the *Nazirites to break their promises. The *Nazirites were a group of people who had made special promises to God. Some of these promises were,
1) not to cut their hair,
2) not to drink wine,
3) not to touch dead people or things.
Samson and Samuel were *Nazirites. The kings also told the *prophets not to speak for God. The kings did not want to hear what God said.
Verses 13-16 Amos uses pictures to send a message to the people in Israel. They will be like a heavy cart on very wet ground. They will not be able to get away from God’s judgement. Or perhaps the verse means that God will drag a cart over ripe grain. This will be a sign of *judgement.
Verses 14-15 No-one can expect to escape. Powerful people will become weak. People with bows will not be accurate. Instead of attacking, soldiers will run away in war.
Verse 16 There will be confusion. ‘Naked’ here probably means very few clothes. The soldiers will die even when they run away.
Verse 1 God now chooses to speak in a more direct way. It is an important message for the people in both Israel and Judah. Both nations shared much history. In particular, they shared the *redemption from Egypt that God brought them. When they *worshipped, they both heard this story. It was part of their lives.
Verse 2 Amos continues with the same idea. God has known Israel and Judah in the past. Only God has looked after them in a special way (Exodus 33.12, 13, 17). He loves them in a special way. But now God has to be true to himself. He has no more patience. They are not living as God has told them to. So he is going to punish Israel’s people for their *sins. But they do not want to hear this message. Christians, too, are responsible for what they do. They cannot blame their *sins on their families or on the places where they live.
Verses 3-5 Strangers will not usually travel together. They must want to walk together. Amos now gives several pictures. Lions hunt in a quiet way. They will only roar when they catch something. Birds need food. This is the only reason that they will fly into a trap. These are simple facts. They are clear to everyone.
Verse 6 But now Amos begins to make his message clear. God has given Israel a warning. There is no escape, and Israel should feel frightened. If Israel suffers, this is not an accident. It is part of the judgement of God. God uses all events for his purposes (Isaiah 45:7; Philippians 1:12; 2:13; Romans 8:28-30). Sometimes Christians suffer. Perhaps they need to ask if there is a reason for their suffering. If there is a reason, they should *repent.
Verse 7 *Prophets do not speak with their own authority. God gives them this authority. God could act without the *prophets. He does not need to tell them what he knows. But before he acts, he chooses to tell his *prophets. Then they will explain to other people all that he is going to do.
Verse 8 Sensible people need to notice the roar of a lion. In the same way, *prophets need to notice God’s message and tell it to other people. They have no choice.
Verse 9 Ashdod was a *Philistine city. Amos asked the people from Ashdod and Egypt to look at themselves. Their leaders were not fair to their own people. So they would hear a message from God. He would speak to them as a judge. They should also look at God’s judgement on Israel. The *Philistines were used to the power of rich people. They knew about the bad things that rich people did to poor people. But even they would be surprised at the terrible actions in Israel.
Verse 10 Amos now explains his message. The *Israelites did not know what was ‘right’. They had forgotten the *covenant with God. They had started to live like the people who lived near them. The *Israelites wanted to enjoy themselves and to have an easy life. They only thought about this. The rich people took things from the poor people. They then stored these things in their palaces. They did not care about innocent people.
Verse 11 The people in Israel thought that they were safe. The rich *Israelites were proud of all their possessions. But their enemies would defeat them.
Verse 12 Amos repeats his picture of the lion. The *Israelites will try to defend themselves. But they will only keep a few of their possessions, those of little value. Their enemies will enjoy the possessions of those rich people. They had good pieces of furniture. Most people could not afford furniture like this.
Verse 13 This verse is an introduction to the section from 3:13 to 4:13. The section finishes with the final warning of 4:12: ‘People in Israel, prepare to meet your God.’ Again, Amos uses the idea of a court to warn Israel. He uses the name of Jacob. This is to remind the *Israelites that God has chosen them.
Verse 14 Amos speaks against the particular *sins of the northern nation. Bethel was the important place for the false *worship. The *horns came up from the four corners of the *altars. Perhaps the *horns showed that there was special strength there. They were also a place where someone could be safe. Adonijah used the place to be safe from Solomon. He was in fear of death (1 Kings 1:50; 2:28; Exodus 21:14). But all this would finish.
Verse 15 The houses of the rich people would fall down. Ahab had two houses (I Kings 21:1, 18), a warm one for the winter and a cool one for the summer. But there would be no more luxuries like this.
Verse 1 Many people knew about the cows of Bashan. The cows were big there (Psalm 22:12), and they ate good grass (Micah 7:14; Jeremiah 50:19). They were probably the best cows in Israel. Amos compares these cows to the rich women. This is an insult. These women did not care about poor people. Also, they had too much power in their homes (see 1 Timothy 3:11). They were not responsible.
Verse 2 God has made a promise. Israel can be sure that God will act. The enemy will destroy Israel and make the people their prisoners. The enemy will be very cruel. They will use *hooks. They will put these *hooks through people’s noses or lips. A hook is a piece of bent metal. People use *hooks to catch fish or to hang things up. Then the enemy will tie *ropes to the *hooks and they will drag the *Israelites along like animals.
Verse 3 During the battle the enemy will make holes in the city walls. They will come in through the outer wall instead of the gates. The enemy will not respect the dead bodies. They will throw them away like rubbish. We do not know anything about Harmon. Perhaps it was a place. It might be the name of a mountain.
Verse 4 Amos now uses a special way to say something. He says the opposite of what they should do. The people will know that he did not mean these words. Both Bethel and Gilgal were important places. Jacob made Bethel a special place (Genesis 28:17-22) and Samuel gave judgements there (1 Samuel 7:16). Saul became king at Gilgal (1 Samuel 11). The *Israelites did not *worship in the proper way. They made *sacrifices and they brought money to the place of *worship. But even if they brought more *sacrifices and money, this would not be enough. God hated the ways in which they tried to please him. He hated the way that rich people behaved towards the poor people.
Verse 5 Amos writes in the same way as he writes in verse 4. He offers the *Israelites advice but he does not really mean it. He is joking, but in an angry way. He tells the *Israelites to make more *sacrifices, but they did not need to do this. They sometimes burnt bread at the *altar just to impress people. They wanted other people to see that they were *holy. They did not make *sacrifices to please God.
Verse 6 In the past, God caused difficulties for the people in Israel. There were times when the *Israelites were hungry. But they refused to listen when God warned them. The idea of the ‘return’ to God comes from Deuteronomy 4:30.
Verses 7-8 There were times, too, when it did not rain. And God chose the places where it did not rain. He used the weather to warn them. 1 Samuel 12:16-19 is a good example of this. In the time of Samuel, people thought about God with more respect. But Amos says that there was now no *repentance.
Verse 9 Amos continues to remind the *Israelites about God. The *Israelites could not live without food, for example, *grapes, *figs and *olives. But God was willing to destroy these crops. ‘*Locusts’ may refer to all insects. Another *prophet also used *locusts as a sign (Joel 1:4). Reference to *locusts reminded the *Israelites that they were not in control.
Verse 10 Amos reminds the *Israelites about their time in Egypt. God sent diseases then (Exodus 7:14-12:30). He also brought war. War is hopeless unless your soldiers are strong and healthy. Otherwise, the enemy will always win. God used wars to warn the *Israelites (Deuteronomy 28:49-57). But they still did not listen.
Verse 11 Sodom and Gomorrah were a terrible sign to Israel (Genesis 19). God destroyed these cities completely. There are times when God loses all patience. The ‘burnt stick’ means that God rescued Lot and his family. But this was only because of God’s *grace.
Verse 12 Israel’s people must prepare to meet God. God has been loyal to his *covenant, but he has no more patience. He has shown his anger in the past. But he will now show much more of his anger. In fact, there will be no limit to his anger.
Verse 13 This verse is like a song. God has made everything that we see. He is the ruler of everything – including all types of powers and gods (Ephesians 6:12). He has the power to destroy and this includes Israel. He can turn day into night. In the past, God has shown his light to Israel. But now Israel will see God’s darkness.
Verse 1 In verse 1 either Amos or God is speaking. We are not sure, but perhaps it is both. God is speaking but he is using Amos to speak God’s words. Funeral songs were part of life in Israel. There were funeral songs about Tyre and Egypt in Ezekiel 26-28 and 32. David sang a funeral song about Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:19-27). Often there was music with the songs (see Matthew 9:23).
Verse 2 Israel was like a *virgin. Once she had a wonderful future, but now she is dying. Isaiah has a similar idea. He calls Israel a ‘daughter of *Zion’ (Isaiah 1:8; 10:32). Other *prophets have also call Israel a *virgin (Jeremiah 18:13; 31:4, 21). The *virgin has died in a battle. Her death is very sad because she has not had any children.
Verse 3 Israel’s armies were in groups of thousands and hundreds. But both these groups will become tiny and of no use in battle. They will not be able to protect the towns and cities, and most of the soldiers will die.
Verses 4-5 Now there is a call to listen. God wants Israel to make a choice. Israel’s *worship at Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba has been completely false. Bethel and Gilgal are familiar places (4:4), but God now adds Beersheba to the list. Beersheba was in the far south of Judah. It was an important place for the *Israelites. Abraham stayed there (Genesis 22:19), and God spoke to Jacob there (Genesis 46:1-5). Many people visited Beersheba. Jeroboam 1st (930-910 *B.C.) made Bethel into the most important place for *worship in the North. This was after Israel became separate from Judah. Gilgal was another place for *worship, where Joshua *circumcised many people. But these places became important for the wrong reasons. God wanted the *Israelites to look for him, and *worship him in the right way. He did not want them to offer *sacrifices and at the same time not to obey his other *laws.
Verse 6 Amos reminds the people about what God said in verse 4. We find true life as we look for God and obey his *laws. The ‘house of Joseph’ was the northern nation called Israel. Many people from the *tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh lived there. Their *ancestor was Joseph. However, these *tribes will not be able to stop God’s fire. Even Bethel will burn.
Verse 7 Not much is fair in the courts. Powerful people put innocent people into prison. Judges free guilty people. Few people care about these things.
Verses 8-9 These verses are part of a song. The Pleiades and Orion are groups of stars. God put these stars in the sky. There were none there before he created them (Job 9:9; 38:31). The *Israelites turned good into bad. In the same way, God can change things. He brings comfort. But he also destroys things. He can even destroy strong cities.
Verse 10 This verse continues on from verse 7. There were leaders in Israel who still spoke the truth. They wanted the courts to be fair. But unfair leaders wanted these leaders to be quiet. When things are unfair, people will hate each other. Even people in other nations will think badly about Israel. God, however, wants to *bless good judges (Proverbs 24:24-25). They must not be afraid to speak if rich people are doing wrong things.
Verse 11 Bad judges took grain from poor farmers. Rich people then took this grain. They sold the grain to buy grand houses. There is a *curse in Deuteronomy 28:30. This says that people will build houses but they will not live in them. They will plant fields of *grapes, but they will not enjoy their fruit. This is how God will punish them for doing wrong things.
Verse 12 God speaks again about a familiar idea. The courts were not fair. The leaders got the decisions that they wanted They accepted money from rich people. The leaders wanted to be kind to rich people but not to poor people. There was no hope that things would get better.
Verse 13 When there is fear, people stay quiet. It is easier for people if they do not cause any trouble. A sensible man is silent (Proverbs 10:19).
Verse 14 People must try to be good. They need to make good choices. God has *blessed Israel in the past. Then he punished them because of their *sins. Now he wants to *bless them again. The people are sure that God is near them. But Amos says that God might not be near them. He can only be near if they make good choices. It is their duty to do everything that they can do for God (see Luke 17:10).
Verse 15 It is clear what the people have to do. Amos has already told them before this. He mentions the problem of bad courts again. The people will need to convince God that they are very sad about their *sins. He will want time to look closely at their lives. Then perhaps he will *bless them. ‘Joseph’s family’ is another way of saying ‘Israel’. This is because Joseph was one of Jacob’s (Israel’s) most important sons.
Verse 16 Amos now repeats to his familiar idea of tears. God’s punishment will affect everyone. People will cry in the cities and in the country. There will not be enough people to cry. So even farmers, who are often busy, will need to cry. At that time, people paid other people to cry when somebody had died. Often these were women (Jeremiah 9:17).
Verse 17 God has decided that everywhere people will die, even in the fields. Nobody will escape his judgement. When God passed through Egypt, there was no escape for the *Egyptians. He punished them. In the same way, the *Israelites have caused God to be their enemy. So God will come again in judgement.
Verse 18 In the past, the ‘day of the *Lord’ meant a special time. This time was when God helped the *Israelites to defeat their enemies. However, Amos has a surprise for the people. The ‘day of the *Lord’ will mean the opposite of what the *Israelites expected. They will not like it. Amos was the first of the *Old Testament *prophets to write about this ‘day’. When the *Old Testament *prophets spoke about this ‘day’, it referred to a definite event. It points to a time in the future. The *Lord alone decides when this time will be.
Verse 19 Amos now uses two pictures. These pictures say that there will be no escape. There will be no defence. The *Israelites cannot avoid the judgement of God.
Verse 20 People often use darkness as a picture. In the *Old Testament it is often a picture of trouble, unhappy people, danger, and even death (1 Samuel 2:9; Job 5:14; Psalm 91:6; Isaiah 5:30). Job described the place where dead people are as a land of darkness (Job 10:21-22). So, when he said this, God was being very clear.
Verse 21 The *Israelites met together several times in the year to *worship God and to eat special meals. There were three special times. They were called Tabernacles, *Passover, and Weeks (Exodus 23:14-17; 34:22, 25; Deuteronomy 16:1-16). The *Israelites probably went to Bethel or Gilgal to eat the meals there. However, there were other less important meals. These were on *Sabbaths, new moons and other occasions. But God hated them all.
Verse 22 Amos now mentions the people’s *sacrifices. The ‘things that you burn’ were *sacrifices that burnt completely. The smoke went up to God (Leviticus 1:3-17). The ‘grain’ *sacrifice could refer to different types of *sacrifices that people made with flour (Leviticus 2). They burnt part of the ‘peace’ *sacrifices. The people ate the part that remained. However, God would not accept any of these *sacrifices.
Verse 23 Also God did not accept their songs. Music was an important part of the *worship of the *Israelites (Psalm 150; Ezra 2:65; Isaiah 5:12). But it was only a noise. God did not want to listen.
Verse 24 Amos now tells the *Israelites what was wrong. People were not living in the right way. They were not following the true way of God. They separated their *worship from their private lives. We must love our neighbour. Jesus warned us about this (Matthew 7:21-23). We often say the right things. But we do not always mean what we say.
Verse 25 God led Israel’s people as they wandered in the desert. The *Israelites had trouble in the desert, but God gave them food and water. It was a time when they were close to God. God told them how he wanted them to offer *sacrifices (Leviticus chapters 1-7). The *Israelites beat their enemies in Israel. But they did not offer *sacrifices in the proper way.
Verse 26 This is a very difficult verse to understand. The *Hebrew is not clear. We do not know which period of time this verse refers to. God did not like the way that the *Israelites made *sacrifices. He hated their *worship of *idols. When the *Israelites travelled, they carried Sakkuth and Chiun with them. Perhaps these *idols were from Assyria. The *Israelites made these *idols themselves. They were stupid to think that these *idols could do anything. They probably offered *sacrifices to these *idols as well as to God.
Verse 27 God had no more patience. He had decided to punish them. This punishment would be final. He would take them from their home and they would have to live far away.
Verse 1 For most of the time, Amos was speaking to Israel. However, he sometimes gave his messages to Judah. Another message to Judah was in 2:4-5. Here he calls Judah ‘*Zion’. *Zion is really the name of a hill inside Jerusalem, but sometimes this name refers to the whole city. Jerusalem had a long history. But Samaria only began 125 years before the time of Amos. Both places had security. Samaria was very powerful and people respected its leaders. Jeroboam 2nd had won battles against Syria (2 Kings 14:25).
Verse 2 Both Calneh and Hamath were city-states. They were to the north of Israel. Israel had some control over these places. Uzziah broke down the wall of Gath in Philistia (2 Chronicles 26:6). In Amos’s time, Judah had control of Gath. The cities in Israel have strong defences. But the leaders of Israel must not think that this makes them safe from their enemies.
Verse 3 Perhaps the leaders realise that there may be a day of judgement. But they think that this day is a long time in the future. In the meantime, they continue to make trouble for the poor people. The ‘rule of terror’ may refer to unfair judgements by the courts or government. The *Hebrew uses the words ‘seat of terror’.
Verse 4 Amos now speaks to the rich people. They were lazy. They spent their money on things of little real value. Most *Israelites ate very little meat. They only ate meat on special occasions. But the rich people ate lots of meat. And they did not care that society had many things wrong with it.
Verse 5 The rich people amused themselves by playing music. They had so much time that they could live like kings and queens.
Verse 6 As well as this, the rich people became drunk. They drank too much wine. And they did not care how they drank it! It was a good idea to use oils in the time of Amos. It was a way to keep clean. However, the rich people used very expensive oils. It was not necessary to spend so much money. But they did not care about their own country. They did not care that they were ruining their nation.
Verse 7 Rich people will continue to be first. They will lead their country into *exile. Even when their enemies destroy their country, they will be at the front. Their confidence in their wealth will finish.
Verse 8 This is the second time that God makes a promise. The other times are in 4:2 and 8:7. Each promise is a promise of punishment. The punishment is final. God will not change his mind. The people of Israel (or Jacob) are too proud. Pride is the cause of most of their *sin. They are too confident about their strong places. But the enemy will take Samaria.
Verses 9-10 When the attack happens, there will be hunger and illness. There will be no escape for anyone. People will hide in inner rooms. Their relatives will come to these rooms. Perhaps there is a chance that more than one person is still alive. But they must not hope. They will not want to suffer any more. This is why they will not ‘mention’ the name ‘the *Lord’. They accept that this is his punishment. They do not want to make him more angry. The time is over when they can *pray to God. God has left them.
Verse 11 God has given instructions to the enemy. The details of the attack do not matter. God will make sure that the end will come. All types of houses will fall – big and small. Perhaps these are the ‘summer houses’ and ‘winter houses’ in Amos 3:15.
Verse 12 Amos now uses some examples that seem a little unlikely. A good rider would not take his horse over rocks. A good farmer would not try to plough over rocks. These actions would not be sensible, and they would only have bad results. They are not normal actions. But Israel has done the opposite of what is good and normal. The *Israelites did not want fair *laws. As a result, when good people tried to do good things, they were disappointed. It was like eating bitter food. The *prophets in the *Old Testament knew the terrible power of *sin.
Verse 13 Amos now uses *Hebrew in a clever way. It is difficult to give the proper meaning in a translation. ‘Lo Debar’ means ‘nothing’. ‘Karnaim’ means ‘*horns’. The word ‘*horns’ is a way of saying ‘strength’. Jeroboam 2nd took these cities in war (2 Kings 14:25-28). When Israel won these battles, she thought that she had become great. However, God did not think that these battles were important.
Verse 14 Amos has a surprise for Israel! Other nations seemed weak, but God would change this. Hamath was on the northern boundary of Israel. The Arabah valley was on the southern boundary. The Dead Sea was in the Arabah valley. Amos does not give a name to the enemy. However, Israel could be sure that the enemy would come. Nobody in Israel would escape.
Amos now gives us five pictures from God. There are three pictures in chapter 7, one in chapter 8 and one in chapter 9. The first two pictures are punishments that God was going to send. But after Amos prayed to him, he did not send them. The fourth picture depends on the similar sound of two words.
Verse 1 The patience of God is over. He will send his *locusts as a judgement. The time of this picture is late spring. There was an earlier crop. The king took a share from this crop. However, we know very little about the circumstances of this. The harvest from the second crop was for the farmers. So if the *locusts ate this second crop, there would be no food left.
Verse 2 *Prophets often saw the future. Amos saw what might happen. Amos saw that the people were going to starve. Very few people or animals could live. Amos therefore stood between God and the people. He *prayed for Israel. He *prayed that God would not send this punishment. But he did not remind God about his *covenant with Israel although he had done this before. This was because Israel had too many *sins.
Verse 3 God has plans. But it is always possible that he can change his plans. This can happen when people *pray to him (Genesis 18:22-32; Joshua 7:6-13; Jonah 3:10). Neither God nor Amos wanted the people to die.
Verse 4 Amos now has another picture from God. God is going to send fire. But it is not a natural fire. It can even burn water. The great deep is deep water. This came up as streams and rivers. Fire can often be a sign of judgement in the Bible (Joel 1:19-20; 2:3, 5, 30).
Verses 5-6 These verses are similar to verses 2-3. Amos cries out ‘Stop!’ He uses the same reason as he used before. The fire will destroy everything. In the same way as before, God listens. He changes his mind. The fire will not happen.
Verse 7 Amos now has a third picture. God compares Israel to a wall. A plumb-line is a builder’s tool. It is a piece of string with a weight on the end. A plumb-line shows if a wall is straight or not. God himself ‘built’ Israel. He led Israel in the beginning. He made standards for his people. These were the *laws he gave to Moses. There was therefore no reason for the *Israelites to fail.
Verse 8 God compared this straight wall with Israel. He is not pleased with what he saw. The *Israelites were not following his standards. They were not ‘straight’ any more. He had no more patience with them. So he would punish them. The *Hebrew says that God will not ‘pass by them’. Instead, he will see their *sin. This reminds us of the *Passover (Exodus 12:23). The *Israelites found shelter because of the blood. Now, however, there would be no escape.
Verse 9 God would even destroy the ‘*holy places’. Actually, they were not very *holy. They were important places for false religion. People *worshipped Baal and other gods. They *worshipped God at these places. But they *worshipped him as if he were a Baal. Isaac had a connection with Beersheba (Genesis 26:33; 28:10). This was also a place of *worship in the time of Amos. People thought that this connection made the *worship legal.
Amos and Amaziah
Verse 10 Amos has a hard message for Israel. The leaders thought that this message was too hard. They did not want to hear it. Amaziah was probably the chief priest at Bethel at this time. Certainly, he hated the attack on Israel’s religion. So he appealed to the king. This was because the king controlled nearly all the religion in Israel. In fact, the first King Jeroboam almost made a new religion. But this religion was not true to God’s *covenant. Amaziah said that Amos was trying to destroy the government. But this was not true.
Verse 11 Amaziah said another thing that was not true. Amos did not say that Jeroboam would die because of a strong attack. In fact, Jeroboam died in a peaceful way (2 Kings 14:29). Clearly, Amos said that Israel would go into *exile (5:5; 6:8, and other verses). He repeated the *prophecy in 7:17.
Verse 12 Amaziah hoped that Amos would return to Judah. Then his *prophecies would not make the leaders in Israel so nervous. Amaziah tried to say that Amos could earn more money in Israel. *Prophets needed to receive gifts of money. So it was easy for Amaziah to attack Amos in this way.
Verse 13 Amaziah received his authority from Jeroboam. This was the reason that the *prophets attacked the royal authority. Amaziah said that the *temple at Bethel was the king’s *temple. It was a special place. Amaziah looked after this *temple. Therefore, Amaziah thought that he had the authority to decide things. He thought that he was able to tell Amos to go to Judah.
Verse 14 It is not clear what the *Hebrew means in this verse. Perhaps Amos means that he does not belong to a group of *prophets. We cannot be sure. But he certainly spoke a message from God, and this certainly made him a *prophet. The *Hebrew word for ‘*shepherd’ is different from the word in 1:1. We do not find this word anywhere else in the *Old Testament. It might mean that he looked after other animals too. Perhaps this means that Amos did not need to receive money as a *prophet. So he did not want people to pay him.
Verse 15 Amos describes how God chose him to be a *prophet. God chose David, who was also a *shepherd, in the same way. It was only God who chose kings and *prophets. Perhaps Amos wanted Amaziah to compare him with David.
Verse 16 Therefore Amaziah was actually asking Amos not to obey God! Amos mentions both Israel and Isaac. All Israel, both north and south (including Judah) was part of God’s plan. Amaziah was opposing the real king. The real king was God.
Verse 17 Amos now said that four bad things would happen to Amaziah.
1) Amaziah’s wife would become a *prostitute. This could happen if another country defeated Israel. Amaziah and his wife might then have to separate.
2) His children would die fighting against a foreign army.
3) The enemy would take his land and give it to other people. ‘The land’ probably does not refer to the personal land of Amaziah. It probably refers to the country of Israel.
4) He would go into *exile and die there. The *Hebrew for ‘foreign country’ means ‘a land that is not clean’. Amaziah would hate to live in a country where people had other gods. *Exile would be the final judgement of God.
Verse 1 Amos now has a fourth picture from God. It is a very ordinary picture. Workers put the fruit in baskets like this at harvest time.
Verse 2 God asks Amos a clear question. There is only one answer. In *Hebrew, the words ‘ripe fruit’ sound like ‘end’. God does not want to wait. His *mercy has come to an end. Amaziah warned Amos not to *prophesy against Israel. But nothing can stop Amos.
Verse 3 The people always thanked God for their harvest. However, there would now be no more songs of thanks at harvest. Instead, there would be sad songs. People would not laugh. Instead, they would weep. There would be a still sad silence. It would be the silence of death.
Verse 4 During this time, there were two main groups of people. One group had a lot of money. The members of this group were usually business people or merchants. They took advantage of the government’s decisions. These people ‘walked’ on the poor people. The poor people did not have enough to eat. They did not have good health. Some of them had to become slaves. These were crimes against God.
Verse 5 This verse describes business people. These business people knew that they had to keep the *Sabbath. They knew that they had to keep the New Moon holiday. This was a *covenant holiday that Moses started (Numbers 10:10; 28:11). The *law said that people should not work on the *Sabbath. But the business people loved their profits. They hated waiting for the *Sabbath to end. They were in a hurry to start selling again. The people in the towns needed to buy food. So the merchants took advantage of this. They were not honest when they weighed the food on sale. They gave the poor people less food than they had paid for. This was against the *Law (Leviticus 19:35-36). Other *prophets also spoke against these practices (Micah 6:10; Ezekiel 45:9-12).
Verse 6 This verse is like 2:6b. God hated the way that people became slaves. He hated the way that merchants bought slaves. They were buying slaves at low prices. They were using the same money that the poor people gave them. The poor people were desperate for food. So, the people who were selling wheat mixed it with rubbish. They would sell anything if they could get more money.
Verse 7 ‘Pride of Jacob’ is a special name. This name means that the *Israelites are proud of their God. God also says that he is the *Glory of Israel (1 Samuel 15:29). God makes more promises than anyone else in the *Old Testament. In Psalm 47:5, ‘pride of Jacob’ refers to the land of Israel. So God is making a promise in a very important way. The land of Israel is part of God’s *covenant.
Verse 8 Amos is saying that there will be an *earthquake. During an *earthquake the whole land shakes and buildings fall down. Israel will become a place of death. Many people will weep for their friends. There were seasons when it rained a lot in Ethiopia. When this happened, the level of the Nile rose. Water filled the whole valley and the result was much good soil. Perhaps the word ‘stir’ refers to this.
Verse 9 These are events that will happen in the future. We do not know when they will happen. God will bring sudden darkness. There is a similar idea in 5:18. Other *prophets also use the picture of darkness (Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15). Perhaps this is a sign that God is very sad.
Verse 10 The joy of Israel will come to an end. The holidays of the *Israelites were special days when the people ate lots of food. They probably sang at these times. But there would be no more of these happy days. People would cry instead of laughing. They would have to wear clothes made out of cheap rough cloth. This would show that they were really sad. In the time of Amos, a son was very important The son always had the name of his father. So, if a son died, the family name came to an end. This was a serious problem.
Verse 11 God now used another picture – a picture of food and drink. People would be without hope. They would not be able to hear God speak. They would not have the *law of Moses. They would not be able to find a *prophet who could give a message from God. So they would have no life at all.
Verse 12 The seas are the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. People would travel a long way. They would not care how far they walked. But they would not find the word of God. This situation would not last for a long time. It would only last until God’s anger was over (Leviticus 26:44-45).
Verse 13 Even young women and young men would feel weak. This verse is like verse 11. However, in verse 13 two things would happen. The people would have little to drink, and they would also know little of God.
Verse 14 Israel does not want to make promises to God. Instead, she has made promises to her own gods. She has *worshipped the gold *bull at Bethel. She has *worshipped the Baal-Asherah *idol at the city of Samaria (1 Kings 16:32-33). She has also *worshipped *idols at Dan and Beersheba. There was another gold *bull at Dan. The *Hebrew for ‘way’ can also mean ‘power’. Perhaps the people mixed their *worship at Beersheba. Perhaps it was a false god and not the true God. This *worship was not part of the *covenant. It would not happen again.
Verse 1 Paul wrote that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of Christ’ (Romans 8:35). But in this chapter, nothing will stop God’s anger against Israel. The *Lord is ready to speak again. Amos shows us a picture of God standing by a *temple. There were usually columns on a *temple. They supported the building. But God is going to break these columns. Everything will shake. When this happens people will die. God wants to be sure that people will die. He will even chase them with a sword.
Verse 2 God controls everything everywhere. It is impossible to hide from him. Even the grave is not safe. God’s anger is like a fire. It will even burn the ‘grave below’ (Deuteronomy 32:22). Even if people escape to heaven God will bring them back.
Verse 3 Carmel was a high mountain. On it, there were forests with many trees. It was a good place to hide. The bottom of the sea was also a good place to hide. Jonah probably thought that he was safe in the fish (Jonah 2:6-7). People believed then that a large dangerous ‘snake’ lived in the sea. It lived at the very bottom. But God would search everywhere in the deep sea. He would find the people who were escaping from him. Then he would give his order to the snake to kill them.
Verse 4 Even *exile would not be a protection. The people in *exile must die too. God was going to watch them closely. This is usually a sign of God’s good plans for a person (Jeremiah 24:6). But now God wanted them to die. The *Israelites deserved this because they had done so many wrong things.
Verse 5 Verses 5 and 6 are probably from a song. But Amos has used the song as part of God’s *judgement. God has huge power. He can destroy the world if he wants to. Amos refers to the Nile again. He did this in 8:8. God has power over the rivers. He can shake the earth too. The people in Israel deserved all of God’s anger.
Verse 6 God is a builder. He made heaven and earth. The earth is like a wonderful palace. God’s measurements are different from the measurements of men. He has huge scales when he builds. Verse 6b is the same as 5:8b. Amos wants to repeat the same idea. In the *Old Testament water is usually a sign of life. But God will now use water as a sign of death.
Verse 7 God now speaks again. Israel was not different from other nations. The *Ethiopians, *Egyptians, *Philistines and *Arameans were all special to God too. God led Israel out of Egypt. But he also led the *Philistines from Crete to their country. And he led the *Arameans from Kir to Syria. (We do not know where Kir was.)
Verse 8 This verse is similar to 9:4. The *Lord continued to look very closely at Israel. He did not like what he saw. Israel would no longer be a nation. However, there would be a few people left, so there was some hope. Other *prophets often gave some hope to Israel too (Hosea 1:11; Joel 2:18-19).
Verse 9 This verse is similar to 9:1. God has some serious work to do. Israel will not be the same when he finishes. Israel is like good grain mixed with small stones. The small stones are the bad parts of Israel. God will not allow any small stone to fall through the *sieve. A *sieve is a flat thing that has lots of small holes in it. People use it to separate things. God only wants good people to live.
Verse 10 There are *sinful people in Israel. They think that they will live. But Amos does not want to give them any hope. They will certainly die.
Verse 11 In the final verses of Amos, there is hope. The ten *tribes in the north had separated themselves from Judah. This was sad. King David had wanted unity for his country. Jerusalem was now going to fall. The *Babylonians would take Jerusalem. Amos was interested in the future. He looked back to David’s time, but he was really thinking of the future. The word for ‘has fallen’ could also mean ‘ is going to fall’. Perhaps Amos was looking forward to the fall of Jerusalem. This happened in 539 *B.C. Later, the *Jews returned to Jerusalem and built the wall again. We read about this in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. But after Jesus’ time the Romans sent most *Jews out of the land. They have only returned in large numbers since 1947.
Verse 12 David defeated the people who lived in Edom. But then Edom fought back against Solomon (1 Kings 11:14) and became free (2 Kings 8:20). Edom represents the enemies of Israel. Another leader would follow David. He would be the Christ. He would defeat Israel’s enemies. He would also rule the world.
Verse 13 Amos now gives us two pictures. In this future time, there would be a lot of food. As soon as a person had harvested a crop, someone else would sow the next crop! *Grapes were an important crop in Israel. In the future, there would be a huge amount of wine. There would be more wine than the people could drink.
Verse 14 Again, Amos looks to the future. He looks beyond the *exile. The *Jews would be able to return to their land. They would be able to do normal things. They would be able to grow plenty of food for themselves. There would be enough to eat. There would be security.
Verse 15 Amos finishes with a promise. The *Israelites would have their own land. They would not have to worry about *exile again. They would be like a crop that God himself has planted. This is like another promise from God. God said that there would be no second flood. He would not kill all people again (Genesis 8:21). *Sin had separated the people from God. But when Christ returned, there would be no more *sin. People would no longer want to destroy anything. Instead, they would want to build. We cannot be sure where this perfect time of peace and happiness will be. Perhaps it will be in Israel. Perhaps it will be in the new heaven and the new earth. We can read about the new heaven and the new earth in Revelation 21.
Almighty ~ better than everyone else; the *Lord of everything. This can also mean that God leads the armies of heaven.
altar ~ a table where the priest burned animals and gave other gifts as a *sacrifice to God or to false gods.
Amorites ~ some of the people whose parents came from a man called Canaan.
ancestors ~ member of our families who lived many years ago. They are now dead.
Arameans ~ people who came from a country called Aram.
Assyrians ~ people who came from a country called Assyria.
B.C. ~ B.C. means ‘years before Christ came to the earth’.
Babylonians ~ people who came from a place called Babylon.
bless ~ to help people; to guard them.
bull ~ a large male animal (the female of ‘bull’ is ‘cow’).
cedar ~ a type of tree.
circumcise ~ to cut off the loose skin from the end of the sex part of a boy or man.
couch ~ a piece of furniture like a bed.
covenant ~ special agreement, especially between God and the *Israelites. The covenant that God made with Moses was that he would take care of the *Israelites. But they must obey his *law.
curse ~ to use bad words; to wish evil things upon someone.
earthquake ~ the ground moves a lot and buildings fall down.
Edomites ~ people who came from a country called Edom.
Egyptians ~ people who came from Egypt.
Ethiopians ~ people who came from a country called Ethiopia.
exile ~ the time when the *Israelites had to leave the land of Israel. (They went into exile.)
fig ~ a type of fruit.
forgive ~ when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things.
glory ~ the power and the greatness of God.
grace ~ a gift from God that we do not deserve and cannot earn.
grape ~ a type of fruit. People make wine with it.
guilty ~ we are guilty when we have done wrong things.
harp ~ a type of musical instrument with strings.
heavens ~ the place where God and Christ are; the place of happiness and peace where God lives and rules; the sky.
Hebrew ~ the language of *Jewish people.
holy ~ something that God has set apart; perfect; something that belongs to God; separate from *sin.
hooks ~ a hook is a piece of bent metal. People use hooks to catch fish or to hang things up on.
horns ~ animals have horns on their heads; these horns have sharp points. A horn is also a musical instrument like a *trumpet.
idol ~ a false God; something that we love more than God.
Israelites ~ people living in Israel, sons of Jacob.
Jew ~ a person who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.
judgement ~ when God says what is right or wrong; when somebody says who is right or wrong; sometimes when God punishes people for wrong things that they have done.
law ~ the rules that God or rulers make.
locust ~ a type of insect. *Locusts often fly in groups of thousands. They eat green plants and sometimes destroy all the crops in the farmers’ fields.
Lord ~ a special name for God. God told the *Jews that this was his name. Some Bibles use ‘LORD’ for this special name. There is another word ‘lord’ which means someone with authority. This is why I have translated as ‘the Lord the ruler’ the title that really is ‘lord LORD’.)
mercy ~ giving help to someone who is in difficulty; when God does not punish a person who deserves punishment. God’s love and goodness.
Moabites ~ people who came from a country called Moab.
Nazirites ~ a group of people who had made special promises to God. See the note on Amos 2:11.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after Christ’s birth.
oak ~ a type of tree.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.
olive ~ a type of tree that has small fruit. People use the fruit to make oil.
Passover ~ annual ceremony to remember God’s rescue of the *Jews from Egypt.
Philistines ~ people who came from a country called Philistia.
plumb-line ~ a builder’s tool. It is a piece of string with a weight on the end. A plumb-line shows if a wall is straight or not.
praise ~ to say how good a person is.
pray ~ to talk to God.
pregnant ~ a woman is pregnant when she has a baby inside her.
priest ~ a man who gave gifts and burned animals as a *sacrifice to God for the *Jews.
prophecy ~ the words that a *prophet speaks or writes.
prophesy ~ to speak God’s words.
prophet ~ a man or woman who was able to speak God’s words to the people.
prostitute ~ a woman who sells herself for sex.
redeem, redemption ~ to rescue or set free by the payment of a price. What Jesus did when he died for us.
repent ~ to turn away from *sin to God’s ways.
rope ~ a thick piece of string.
Sabbath ~ the seventh day of the week. On this day the *Jewish people were not allowed to work.
sacrifice ~ to give a gift to God of an animal or food. Usually people burnt all or part of this gift. This may be a way to thank God, or to ask him to forgive us.
shepherd ~ a person who looks after sheep.
sieve ~ a sieve is a flat thing that has lots of small holes in it; people use it to separate things; to sieve is to separate things with a sieve.
sin, sinful ~ when people do bad things against God or other people.
sycamore-fig ~ a type of fruit tree.
Syrians ~ people who came from a country called Syria.
temple ~ the special building in Jerusalem where *Jews *worshipped God.
tribe ~ a large group of people from the same family; family from one man. The first *Jews were the 12 sons of Jacob. The family of each son became a *tribe.
trumpet ~ a type of musical instrument that you blow. People blew the trumpet in a battle. The sound of the trumpet told the soldiers to begin the battle. And it frightened the enemy.
virgin ~ a woman who has not yet had sex with a man.
worship ~ a way to act when we are with God.
Zion ~ the holy mountain in Jerusalem; another name for Jerusalem.
Douglas Stuart ~ Hosea – Jonah ~ Word Biblical Commentary
Elizabeth Achtemeier ~ Minor *Prophets 1 ~ New International Biblical Commentary
Minor *Prophets ~ D. A. Hubbard ~ Tyndale Commentary
Alec Motyer ~ The Message of Amos ~ The Bible Speaks Today
William Barclay ~ Twelve *Prophets Volume 1 ~ Daily Study Bible
New Bible Commentary Revised ~ D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman
© 1997-2003, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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