Amos Chapter 8

Basket of fresh fruits in the garden

Amos 8:1 What do we know about summer fruit? The prime picking is over and what remains has truly been tree or vine ripened now in need of picking and consumption. Halley’s Bible Handbook puts chapter 8 into great and simple perspective:

[Chapter 8 is…) “Another symbol that the sinful kingdom (norther kingdom of Israel) was ripe for ruin. A reiteration of the causes. Greed, dishonesty, and merciless brutality toward the poor. Over and over, under many figures, the Bible makes it plain that there is no possible way to escape the consequences of persistent sin.”

God asks Amos in 8:2 “what do you see.” Jeroboam II was still the King of Israel’s northern kingdom. He ruled for about 40-41 years. His record per governing was impressive but Amos was now trashing Jeroboam’s neglect of the poor and shady business deals within his kingdom. This makes the example of “summer fruit” so full of meaning. There will be no more picking of the fruit that season. It has ended. This is precisely the message Amos is trying to convey to the evil chief priest Amaziah (not the King of Judah around 800 B.C.). There would not be another additional season of splendor for Israel. They were ripe to the picking.

The use of words has great significance in the passage; i.e. summer fruit…”the end has come upon my people Israel.” The two Hebrew words, קוצ, (qayls), summer fruit, and קצ, (qes), an end, are similar in their sound. This may actually mean the last harvest before the winter months. None the less, it is the end and last picking. The fruit vines and trees will now be bare, just as Amos prophecies so will be the Israelites in the lands of the northern kingdom…bare of Israelites, not people.

JIV NOTE: V3: The songs and celebrations within the walls of the palace (Young’s Literal Translation) will become wailings. Many commentaries use the word “Temple” in place of palace in this verse. Not so! The Hebrew used is hay-kawl’. It means a large public building. The “TEMPLE” was in Jerusalem, not in Bethel or Dan.

Amos prophesied the total elimination of Israel but it was on the heels of King Jeroboam II. Six more kings ruled before the Assyrians invaded and removed the people of Israel beginning in 722 B.C. The Assyrian practice of removing conquered peoples was not limited to Israel. Once Israelites were removed, Assyrians then moved an outside and conquered people into the lands of the northern kingdom. Those who lived there prior to 1948 after the Assyrian conquest in 722 B.C. were imported from elsewhere.

When the very brutal Assyrians to attack in 722 B.C. the slaughter man, woman and child. So many will die at the hands of the Assyrians there will be little time to bury or mourn the loss before the people of Israel begin being removed from their lands. This is during the reign of *Hoshea (730 B.C. to 722 B.C.).

                *Not to be mistaken as Hosea, the prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Rotten apples in a wooden crate on grass in sunshine light.

Amos replies to the Lord that he sees a basket of ripe fruit [qayis], God replied “Qes!” An end is to come upon Israel.” (Boice) Note this small difference in the spellings; qayis versus Qes

The end has come upon my [God’s] people Israel . . . Many dead bodies everywhere; they shall be thrown out in silence: Ripe fruit is close to being thrown out.  This is an allegory. A similar judgment will come upon “rotten” Israel. They are late in their season to seek forgiveness and return to their God.

We teach, you decide.

Surely I will never forget any of their works: This reminds us that time can never erase sin. We often feel that if we or if others forget the sins of our youth, then God must also forget about them. God does not forget the good works of His people. He does not forget the evil works of those who reject Him. For the good (believer) we will have the Bema Seat Judgement. For the evil nonbeliever there will be the Great White Throne Judgment.

Sun goes dark at noon…*end time or is Amos referring to an eclipse? “Two such eclipses have been calculated to have occurred in Amos’ lifetime: one in 784 B.C., the other in 763 B.C.” (Hubbard). However, we may also *consider Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Ezekiel 32:11; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24.

Jesus alluded to this principle in the Parable of the Soils and the Sower: “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” (Mark_4:24-25). This does not mean sitting in church or a Bible study and listening to the minister or group leader. It means listening and grasping; seeking knowledge with understanding.

Amos 8:4-6 has a strong implication or accusation regarding welfare or dictatorial societies. By this we mean those who have sold their very being to governments welfare programs, political subsidize, or businesses that buy and demand their dependence and so-called loyalty for a means of existence. This disregards personal value. It reads:

“Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, saying, ‘When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat’”? [American Standard Bible; emphasis mine]

This is precisely what the anti-Christ will expect and demand; dependence and loyalty in worship (in the final 3 ½ years of the 7 Tribulation. The stage is set even though these supposed life-saving measures will come disguised as helps or ways to make society better. God says in in Matthew 26:11, “…we will always have the poor.”

Amos 8:7 could use a little bump in understanding. The single word “Surely I will never forget any of their works.” The word “any” includes the good and the bad. The Hebrew used is ‘Kole’. It means NOTHING EXCLUDED. The LITV [Literal Translation of the Holy Bible] uses the world ALL in place of ANY. For some this makes it easier to understand that God is referring to and including the good and the bad.

7:8b “and it shall be cast out and drowned as with the flood of Egypt”.  Joseph Benson Commentary defines this well:

“Destruction shall rise up like a flood”; the calamity of a hostile invasion by the Assyrians shall be like an inundation, which in a short time overflows a whole country. And it shall be cast out and drowned — the inhabitants of the land shall be cast out of their possessions, or the land itself shall be overwhelmed as by the flood, or rather, the river of Egypt, that is, as Egypt is by the inundation of the river Nile.

JIV NOTE: As to whether this infers a comparison to the annual flooding of the Nile in Egypt or an End Time phenomenon is unclear.

 The remainder of Amos 8 is a description of Israel’s end as a kingdom. However, there are some clarifications that need to be discussed in the remaining few verses of chapter 8.

Amos 8:9 has already been discussed as to the sun being covered and darkness brought upon the land. Let’s add to this thought…It is similar to the Son of Man (Jesus) no longer being exemplified in the lands of the earth in End Time. The lands of the U.S.A. have already gone far down this road in public places; God or Jesus is disallowed. Even the good of the Ten Commandments have long since been removed from public display as a religious symbol, not a guide to descent living in societies.

V10: The end will be obvious. Like as in the loss of an only son, the family line ends. This mindset will pervade End Time society as a place of no return and lost hope. 10c: “…and the end thereof as a bitter day.” All hope for a future or prosperity is gone. This drips with End Time prophecy of this world.

V11: “…a famine in the land.” Not a famine of bread (food) but of the desire for the Word of God. Clarification: the word “hearing” does not mean it isn’t available. It is shâma‛ which means “to listen intelligently; to perceive and obey”. Today’s church is in the muck and midst of this today. Many of those who claim Christianity do so at the expense of shâma‛.

V12: The King James Version they uses the wander as in…”They shall wander from sea to sea; north to east…” A lack of understanding this SINGLE WORD (wander/ nûa‛) renders a false appreciation and application for the truth of this verse. It does not mean a true seeking but it means a wavering; an up and down; a going away from; vagabond. This is not in contrast to the previous verse but in sync with it. Shâma‛ and nûa‛ when in the same sentence means to bounce between right and wrong; to not settle on actuality but to prefer one’s personal realities and perceptions.

V13: “…they shall faint from thirst.” It will be like the well is right in front of them but they have no means or understanding as to how to pull it from the depths and quench their thirst for understanding; no future of promise. How sad this will be in End Time. We could write an entire commentary on this verse alone.

V14: A general read through of this last verse in Amos 8 as is the usual in bible reading programs leaves too much of its context missing. Simply put, this verse means the promise of this world’s gods (purpose to which one is committed) of prosperity and security will be recognized as false. People will try to put their confidence in the realm of religion instead of the One True God.

Rev. Dr. Jstark – 2020