The Man with a Difficult Message from God

An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Amos

www.easyenglish.info

Mark Kirkpatrick

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.

 

About this book

When Amos lived

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.

What Amos taught

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.

Amos and the *Covenant

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.

Amos and money

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.

Chapter 1

v1 This is the message of Amos, who came from Tekoa town. He looked after sheep. Two years before the *earthquake, God showed him things about Israel. This was during the time that Uzziah was king of Judah. It was also when Jeroboam son of Joash was king of Israel.

v2 Amos said,

‘The *Lord roars from *Zion.

He shouts loudly from Jerusalem.

The people who look after sheep have green fields now.

But these fields will become brown and the grass will die.

Even Mount Carmel will become dry.

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.

God’s judgement on Israel’s neighbours

Punishment for Aram’s people

v3 This is what the *Lord says: ‘The people in Damascus have *sinned again and again.

I will certainly punish them for this.

I will punish them because they were very cruel to the people in Gilead.

They used sharp iron tools against them.

v4 So I will start a fire at the house of King Hazael.

And that fire will destroy the strong places of Ben Hadad.

v5 I will also break open the gates of Damascus.

I will kill the king who is in the valley of Aven.

I will remove the ruler of Beth-Eden.

The people in Aram will go into *exile to Kir.’

The *Lord God says these things.

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.

Punishment for the *Philistines

v6 The *Lord says this: ‘I will certainly punish the people in Gaza for the many crimes that they have done.

I will do this because they made slaves of a whole nation. And they sent them to Edom.

v7 So I will send a fire on the walls of Gaza.

This fire will burn down its strong places.

v8 I will kill the king of Ashdod and the ruler in Ashkelon.

I will punish the people in Ekron.

Then all the *Philistines who are still alive will die.’

The *Lord God said those things.

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.

Punishment for Tyre’s people

v9 This is what the *Lord says: ‘I will certainly punish the people in Tyre for all their *sins.

I will do this because they made slaves of an entire nation. And they sent them to Edom.

They did not keep the agreement that they had with their brothers (the people in Israel).

v10 So I will start a fire at the walls of Tyre.

That fire will burn the strong places (in Tyre).

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.

Punishment for Edom’s people

v11 This is what the *Lord says: ‘I will certainly punish the people in Edom for the many *sins that they have done.

I will do this because Edom was like a man who chased his brother (Israel) with a sword. Edom’s people showed no *mercy.

They were very angry for a long time.

They did not stop being angry.

v12 So I will start a fire at Teman.

This fire will burn the strong places in Bozrah.’

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.

Punishment for Ammon’s people

v13 This is what the *Lord says: ‘I will certainly punish the people in Ammon for all their *sins.

I will do this because they tore open the bodies of the *pregnant women in Gilead. They did this because they wanted to take land from Gilead. They wanted to make their country larger.

v14 So I will start a fire at the walls of Rabbah.

This will burn down the strong places in Rabbah.

Then there will be shouts on the day of battle.

These shouts will come like a very strong wind on a stormy day.

v15 Rabbah’s king and his leaders will go into *exile. They will go together.’

The *Lord says these things.

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).

Chapter 2

Punishment for Moab’s people

v1 This is what the *Lord says: ‘I will certainly punish the people in Moab for their many *sins.

I will do that because they burned the king of Edom’s bones. These bones became ashes.

v2 Therefore I will start a fire in Moab. And that fire will destroy the strong places in Kerioth.

The people in Moab will die in the noisy battle.

They will die while soldiers are shouting and *trumpets are sounding.

v3 I will kill Moab’s ruler.

I will kill all her leaders with him.’

The *Lord says these things.

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.

Punishment for Judah’s people

v4 This is what the *Lord says: ‘I will certainly punish the people in Judah for their many *sins.

I will do this because they refused to obey the *Lord’s commands.

They did not keep his commands.

Their false gods have led them into wrong ways.

Their *ancestors also followed these false gods.

v5 So I will start a fire in Judah.

And that fire will burn the strong places in Jerusalem.

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.

God’s judgement on Israel’s people

v6 This is what the *Lord says: ‘I will certainly punish Israel’s people for their many *sins.

I will do this because they sold good, innocent people for silver.

They sold poor people for the price of a pair of shoes.

v7 It was as if they pushed those poor people’s faces into the ground.

And then they walked on them.

They have stopped listening to people who suffer.

A father and son have sex with the same woman.

They have ruined my holy name.

v8 They take clothes from the people who owe money to them.

Then they sit on these clothes while they *worship at their *altars.

They make people pay fines for things that they have done wrong,

Then they spend that money to drink wine in the house of their god.

v9 But I killed all the *Amorites in front of them.

The *Amorites were tall like *cedar trees.

They were as strong as *oak trees.

But I destroyed their fruit above and their roots below.

v10 I brought you up out of Egypt.

I led you for 40 years in the desert.

I gave you the land of the *Amorites.

v11 I made some of your sons to be *prophets.

I made some of your young men to be *Nazirites.

People in Israel, this is true.’ The *Lord says these things.

v12 ‘But you made the *Nazirites drink wine.

You told the *prophets not to *prophesy.’

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.

v13 ‘I am going to press you down into the ground.

You will be like a cart that is very heavy with grain.

v14 No person will escape – not even a fast runner.

Strong men will not be strong enough.

Soldiers will not be able to save themselves.

v15 People with bows will not live.

Fast runners will not escape.

People on horses will not escape alive.

v16 Even brave soldiers will run away naked at that time.’

The *Lord says these things.

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.

Chapter 3

God warns Israel’s people

v1 People in Israel, listen to this message. The *Lord has spoken against you.

This message is about God’s family that I brought out of Egypt.

v2 ‘There are many families on earth.

But you are the only family that I chose to know in a special way. Because of this I am going to punish you for all your *sins.’

v3 Two people will not walk together unless they agree to do so.

v4 A lion in the forest will only roar when he catches an animal.

A young lion will not roar in his cave if he has caught nothing.

v5 A bird will not fly into a trap on the ground if there is no food there.

A trap will not shut unless there is a bird in it.

v6 If a *trumpet sounds in a city, then people will certainly shake with fear.

When trouble comes to a city, then the *Lord has caused it.

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.

v7 The *Lord the Ruler might decide to do something. But before he does anything, he will tell his plans to his servants the *prophets.

v8 When a lion roars, people will be scared.

When the *Lord speaks, people will *prophesy.

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.

v9 Go to the strong places in Ashdod and Egypt and announce this message:

‘Come to the mountains of Samaria.

You will see great confusion there.

Look at the cruelty among the people there.

v10 I will do this because people do not know how to live in right ways. People take things from other people.

They hide these things in their strong places.

Then they fill these strong places with the things that they have taken. They use force to do this.’

The *Lord says these things.

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.

v11 Therefore this is what the *Lord the Ruler says: ‘An enemy will come to your land.

That enemy will destroy your strong places.

He will steal the things that you have hidden in your strong places.’

v12 This is what the *Lord says: ‘A lion might attack a young sheep, and a *shepherd might try to save the young sheep.

But the *shepherd will save only a part of that sheep.

He might pull two legs or a part of an ear from the lion’s mouth.

In the same way, God will not save most of the people in Israel. The people living in Samaria will only save a part of a bed, or a corner of a seat.’

v13 The *Lord *Almighty says this: ‘Warn Jacob’s family (Israel) about these things.’

v14 I am going to punish Israel’s people for their *sins.

I am also going to destroy the *altars at Bethel.

I will cut off the *horns of the *altars.

They will fall to the ground.

v15 I will destroy the winter house with the summer house.

I will destroy the rich people’s houses.

Great houses will come to an end.’ The *Lord says these things.

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.

Chapter 4

The women who love luxury

v1 Listen to this, you cows of Bashan, who live on the mountains of Samaria.

You hurt poor people. You look after weak people badly.

You tell your husbands, ‘Bring us wine to drink.’

v2 The *Lord *Almighty has made a promise.

He is a *holy God and you will have trouble.

People will use *hooks to take you away.

They will put you into prison.

They will use *hooks for fish to take away your children.

v3 Your enemies will throw you through gaps in the city walls.

Then they will throw you away.

People will take you to Harmon. This is what the *Lord says.

v4 ‘Go to Bethel and *sin! Go to Gilgal and *sin even more!

Offer your *sacrifices in the morning.

Bring a tenth of your crops every three years.’

v5 Burn your bread as a *sacrifice.

Tell everyone about the *sacrifices that you want to give.

Israel, you enjoy doing these things.’

This is what the *Lord the Ruler says.

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.

v6 ‘I caused you to have empty stomachs in every city.

You had no bread in any town.

But you still did not return to me.’ The *Lord says these things.

v7 ‘I also stopped the rain three months before harvest time.

I let it rain on one city, but not on another city.

I let it rain on one field.

But I stopped it raining on another field, and it became dry.

v8 People walked with great difficulty. They walked from city to city.

They were looking for water, but they did not get enough to drink.

Still you did not come to me for help.’

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.

v9 ‘I struck your gardens and fields of *grapes many times.

I made your crops die from heat and disease.

*Locusts ate your *fig trees and *olive trees.

But still you did not return to me.’ The *Lord says these things.

v10 I sent diseases to you, as I did to the *Egyptians.

I killed your young men with swords and I took away your horses.

I made your camp smell very bad.

But still you did not return to me.’ The *Lord says these things.

v11 ‘I destroyed you as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

You were like a burnt stick that I pulled from a fire.

But still you did not return to me.’ The *Lord says these things.

v12 ‘Therefore, *Israelites, I will do these things to you.

I will do this to you. So prepare to meet your God, *Israelites!

v13 I am the person who made the mountains.

I cause the wind. I tell people my thoughts.

I change the dawn into darkness.

I walk over the high places of the earth.

The *Lord God *Almighty is my name.’

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.

Chapter 5

God encourages Israel’s people to come back to him

v1 People in Israel, listen to this song.

‘This funeral song is about you.

v2 ‘The *virgin Israel has fallen.

She will not get up any more. People have left her alone, lying on the ground.

There is nobody to lift her up.’

v3 This is what the *Lord the Ruler says:

‘A city in Israel will send out a thousand men.

But only a hundred will return.

Another city will send out a hundred men.

But only ten will come back.’

v4 This is what the *Lord says to the people in Israel: ‘Come looking for me and live.

v5 Do not try to find me at Bethel.

Do not go to Gilgal.

Do not travel to Beersheba

because the enemy will take away the people from Gilgal as prisoners.

They will completely destroy Bethel.

v6 Look for the *Lord and live.

If you do not look, then a fire will start at Joseph’s house.

That fire will destroy the house of Joseph.

And nobody will be able to stop the fire at Bethel.’

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.

v7 You use *laws in a way that people hate.

You do not care about doing right things.

v8 God made the Pleiades and the Orion.

He changes the darkness into the dawn.

He turns the day into the dark night.

He calls for the waters of the sea.

He pours them out onto the land. His name is the *Lord.

v9 He destroys strong places. He ruins strong cities.

v10 Some men speak against guilty people in court. You hate these men.

You hate people that tell the truth.

v11 You do not care about the poor people. You steal their grain. So, when you build grand houses you will not live in them.

Perhaps you will plant beautiful fields of *grapes.

But you will not drink wine from them.

v12 I will do this because I know about your crimes.

I know about your many *sins.

You hurt people who do good things.

You accept money to do wrong things.

You make sure that poor people do not get the right decisions in the court.

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.

v13 Therefore, a careful and sensible person will keep quiet in such times, because the times are evil.

v14 You say that the *Lord God *Almighty is with you.

Do good things, not evil things. Then you will live. Then the *Lord God *Almighty will really be with you.

v15 Hate evil things and love good things.

Be fair in the *law courts.

Then perhaps the *Lord God *Almighty will be kind to the people who are still alive. These are people from Joseph’s family.

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.

v16 Therefore, this is what the *Lord, the *Lord God *Almighty says:

‘There will be crying in the streets.

People will cry in the public squares where people meet.

Even farmers will have to weep.

People will pay other people to cry for the dead.

v17 People will be crying in the fields of *grapes.

This will be because I am going to come among you.’

The *Lord says these things.

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.

v18 ‘Some of you want to see the day of the *Lord.

You will be sad!

The day of the *Lord will not be a good day for you.

It will be dark, not light.

v19 You will be like a man who escapes from a lion.

But then a bear attacks him.

You will be like a man who goes into his house.

He leans on a wall and then a snake bites him!

v20 The *Lord’s special day will be dark, not light.

It will be completely dark. There will not be any light.’

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.

v21 ‘I hate the special meals that you have for me’, says the *Lord.

‘I hate the times when you meet together for me.

v22 You may offer me grain. But I will not accept it.

You may offer me things that you burn. But I will refuse them.

You may bring me fat animals that you offer in peace.

But I will refuse them.

v23 Take your noisy songs away from me.

I will not listen to the music from your *harps.

v24 Everyone should act fairly.

Fair actions should flow like a river.

Let good things flow like a stream that never becomes dry.

v25 Israel, you were in the desert for 40 years.

It was there that you brought me *sacrifices.

You offered me things.

v26 But you carried Sakkuth, your ‘king’ and Chiun.

These were your *idols, the star of your gods.

You made these *idols.

v27 Therefore I will send you into *exile beyond Damascus.’

The *Lord God *Almighty says these things.

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.

Chapter 6

God will cause the good times in Israel to end

v1 Oh, it will be very bad for you people in *Zion.

You do not think that you have any reason to worry.

And you people who live on Mount Samaria – you feel so safe. You are important leaders of the most important nation!

The *Israelites come to you!

v2 Go to Calneh and look at it.

Go from there to the large city Hamath.

Then go to the *Philistine city called Gath.

You are stronger than these nations.

Their countries are not larger than yours.

v3 But you refuse to believe that there will be a time of punishment. You cause the rule of terror to begin earlier.

v4 You lie on expensive beds.

You sit in a lazy way on your chairs.

You eat young sheep and fat young cows.

v5 You play on your *harps like David.

You like to write songs and to play on musical instruments.

v6 You drink many bowls of wine. You use the best oils for your body. But you are not sad that people are destroying the family of Joseph.

v7 So you will be the first to go into *exile.

The times when you eat well will finish.

The times when you lie on *couches will end.

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.

Only a few *Israelites will live

v8 The *Lord the Ruler has used his own name.

The *Lord *Almighty has made a promise.

‘I hate the things that Jacob is proud of.

I hate his strong places.

So I will let the enemy take the city and everything in it.’

v9 If there are ten men left in a family, they will die. v10 And when a person dies, a relative will come to get the body. Then he can take it out and burn it. The relative will come to take away the body. He will call to any person who might be hiding in the house.

He will say, ‘Is anyone with you?’ That person will answer, ‘No.’ Then the relative will say, ‘Be quiet! We must not mention the name of the *Lord.’

v11 This is because the *Lord has given the command.

He will break the large houses into pieces.

He will break the small houses into small pieces.

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.

v12 Horses do not run over rocks.

People do not use cows to plough over rocks.

But you have changed fair *laws into poison.

You have changed good things into bitter things.

v13 You are happy that you took Lo Debar city in battle.

You say, ‘We have taken Karnaim city because we are strong.’

v14 But the *Lord God *Almighty says, ‘Israel, I will bring a nation against you.

That nation will bring troubles to your whole country. It will bring troubles from the entrance to Hamath to the Arabah valley.”

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.

*Locusts, fire and a *plumb-line

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.

Chapter 7

v1 This is what the *Lord the Ruler showed me.

He was preparing a large number of *locusts.

This was after the king had taken his share of the harvest.

It was the time when the second crop had just begun to grow.

v2 The *locusts ate everything that grew in the country.

After that I said, ‘*Lord the Ruler, *forgive us! Jacob cannot continue to live! He is so small!’

v3 So the *Lord changed his mind about this.

‘This will not happen’, the *Lord said.

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.

A picture of fire

v4 The *Lord the Ruler showed these things to me.

I saw him preparing to punish his people by fire.

The fire dried up the great deep and destroyed the land.

v5 Then I said, ‘*Lord God, please stop!

Jacob cannot continue to live. He is so small!’

v6 So the *Lord changed his mind about this.

‘This too will not happen’, the *Lord the Ruler said.

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.

A picture of a *plumb-line

v7 This is what he showed me.

The *Lord was standing by a wall.

He had a *plumb-line in his hand.

This *plumb-line showed that the wall was quite straight.

v8 The *Lord asked me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ ‘A *plumb-line’, I replied.

Then the *Lord said, ‘Look, I will put a *plumb-line among my people Israel.

I will not stop myself from punishing them.

v9 I will destroy the places where the family of Isaac *worship.

I will ruin the *holy places of Israel.

I will attack and kill Jeroboam’s family with my sword.’

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

v10 Then Amaziah, the *priest at Bethel, sent this message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: ‘Amos is making plans against you. He is trying to make the people fight against you. We refuse to hear any more of what he says. v11 Amos is saying: “Jeroboam will die by the sword. The *Israelites will go into *exile, away from their own country”.’ v12 Then Amaziah said to Amos: ‘Get out, you *prophet! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and *prophesy there. v13 But do not *prophesy any more at Bethel. This is the place where Jeroboam *worships. This is the nation’s *temple.’

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.

v14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was neither a *prophet nor a *prophet’s son, but I was a *shepherd. I also took care of *sycamore-fig trees.’ v15 But the *Lord took me from looking after sheep. He said to me: “Go and *prophesy to my people Israel.” v16 So listen to the *Lord’s message: “You tell me not to *prophesy against Israel. You tell me not to give a message against Isaac’s family.”

v17 Therefore this is what the *Lord says:

“Your wife will become a *prostitute in the city.

People will kill your sons and daughters with the sword. They will divide your land and give it to other people.

And you will die in a foreign country.

The people in Israel will certainly go into *exile.

They will have to leave their own country”.’

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.

Chapter 8

A picture of a basket of fruit

v1 This is what the *Lord the Ruler showed me: I saw a basket of ripe fruit.

v2 The *Lord asked me, ‘Amos, what do you see?’

‘A basket of ripe fruit’, I answered.

Then the *Lord said to me: ‘The end has come for my people Israel. I will not delay their punishment.’

v3 The *Lord the Ruler says: ‘On that day the *temple songs will become sad songs. People will weep. There will be dead bodies everywhere.

People will throw out the dead bodies. There will be silence!’

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.

v4 ‘Listen to me! You people are walking on the people who need help.

You are trying to ruin the poor people in this country.

v5 You say to yourselves, ‘When will the time of the New Moon finish so that we can sell our grain?

When will the *Sabbath finish so that we can sell our wheat?’

Then you will weigh the grain wrongly, and you will lie.

You will cheat the people about the weight.

They will get less grain, but the price will go up.

v6 You buy poor people with money.

You buy people who need things for a pair of shoes.

People sweep up rubbish.

And you mix this rubbish with wheat, and sell it.

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.

Enemies will defeat Israel

v7 The *Lord has made a promise.

He used his name, Pride of Jacob.

‘I will never forget anything that they have done.

v8 The whole land will shake because of these things.

Everyone who lives in the land will cry.

They will cry for the people who have died.

The whole land will rise and fall like the Nile River in Egypt.

I will stir the land.’

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.

v9 The *Lord the Ruler said these things:

‘At that time I will make the sun go down at noon.

I will make the earth dark on a clear day.

v10 I will change your holidays into days of crying for the dead people.

All your songs will be sad songs because your people have died.

I will make everyone wear clothes that show they are sad.

You will remove all the hair from your heads.

It will be like a time when a son has died.

You will cry for him. It will be a very bitter end.’

v11 The *Lord the Ruler says, ‘The days are coming when I will bring hunger to the land.

The people will not be hungry for bread.

They will not need to drink water.

But they will be hungry for words from the *Lord.

v12 People will wander from sea to sea.

They will wander from north to east.

They will look everywhere for a message from the *Lord.

But they will not find it.

v13 At that time, the beautiful young men and women will feel weak.

They will need to drink.

v14 Those people made promises by the shame of Samaria.

They said, ‘By the god of Dan that lives’, or ‘By the way of Beersheba that lives’.

But those people will fall.

They will not get up again.’

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.

Chapter 9

God’s judgement against Israel

v1 I saw the *Lord standing by the *altar.

He said: ‘Hit the top of the columns.

I want the base of the building to shake.

Make the columns fall on the people’s heads.

If there are any people still alive, then I will kill them with a sword. No one will be able to run away; not one will escape.

v2 If they dig deep into the grave, I will pull them up from there.

If they go up to heaven, I will bring them down from there.

v3 Even if they hide at the top of Mount Carmel, I will search for them.

Then I will catch them.

They might try to hide at the bottom of the sea.

But I will command the snake to bite them.

v4 Perhaps they will go into *exile.

Even there, I will order their enemies to kill them with the sword.

I will watch them carefully.

But I will watch for ways to bring them injury.

I will not look for ways to do good things for them.’

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.

v5 The *Lord, the *Lord *Almighty will touch the earth and it will melt. Then all the people who live in Israel will weep.

They will cry for the dead people.

The land will rise and fall like the Nile River in Egypt.

v6 The *Lord builds his upper rooms in the *heavens.

He puts his skies over the earth.

He calls for the waters of the sea.

He pours this water over the earth.

His name is the *Lord!

v7 The *Lord says this: ‘Israel, you are like the *Ethiopians to me.

I brought Israel out of Egypt.

I brought the *Philistines from Caphtor and the *Arameans from Kir.’

v8 The *Lord the Ruler is watching this *sinful nation, Israel.

He says, ‘I am going to destroy Israel completely.

But I will not completely destroy Jacob’s family.’

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).

v9 I will give the command to shake the nation of Israel.

I will scatter the *Israelites among all the nations.

It will be like a person who *sieves grain.

A person shakes the grain while he *sieves.

The good grain falls through the holes.

But the small stones will not fall through onto the ground.

v10 The people who *sin will say: ‘Nothing bad will happen to us.’ But other people will kill them with their swords.

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.

God will bring back Israel’s people to himself

v11 ‘David’s tent has fallen down.

But a day is coming when I will build it again.

I will mend the holes in the walls.

I will again build the walls that people have ruined.

I will build it like it was before.’

v12 Part of the land of Edom remains.

But the people in Israel will win wars against the people from Edom.

They will also win wars against other nations that were once mine’, says the *Lord.

The *Lord will do these things.

v13 ‘There is a time coming’, says the *Lord.

‘A person will be ploughing a field.

He will catch up with a person who is harvesting the crops.

A person will walk on *grapes.

He will catch up with the person who was planting the *grapes.

New wine will run down from the mountains.

It will flow from all the hills.

v14 I will bring back my people, Israel, from *exile.

They will build again the cities that people have ruined.

And they will live in those cities.

They will plant fields of *grapes.

And they will drink the wine that comes from them.

They will make gardens and eat the fruit.

v15 I will plant my people on their own land.

I will not pull them out again.

This is the land that I gave them.’ This is what the *Lord your God says.

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.

Word List

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.

Book List

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).

November 2003

Visit our website: www.easyenglish.info