1 [The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.]
2 And he said, "The LORD will roar from Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither."
3 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron.
4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael which shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad.
5 I will also break the bar of Damascus and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven and him who holds the scepter from the house of Eden. And the people of Syria shall go into captivity to Kir," says the LORD.
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they carried away captive the whole captivity to deliver them up to Edom.
7 But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza which shall devour its palaces.
8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon, and I will turn my hand against Ekron. And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish," says the Lord GOD.
9 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom and did not remember the brotherly covenant.
10 But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre which shall devour its palaces."
11 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword and cast off all pity, and his anger tore perpetually and he kept his wrath forever.
12 But I will send a fire upon Teman which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah."
13 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away their punishment, because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead so that they might enlarge their border.
14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour its palaces, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind.
15 And their king shall go into captivity—he and his princes together," says the LORD.
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter begins with the general title of the book, in which the author is described by name, and by his condition of life, and by his country, and the time of his prophecy fixed (verse 1). He first foretells a drought in the land of Israel, in the most fruitful places, which would cause mourning among the shepherds (verse 2); then the captivity of the Syrians, whose metropolis was Damascus (verses 3-5). Next the destruction of the Philistines, whose principal cities were Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron (verses 6-8). After that the ruin of Tyre, with the reason of it (verses 9-10); then the calamities that should come upon Edom, whose chief places were Teman and Bozrah (verses 11-12); and lastly the desolations of the Ammonites, whose metropolis, Rabbah, should be destroyed, and their king and princes go into captivity (verses 13-15); and all this for the sins of each of these nations.
[v.1a] - "Amos" - Amowc (aw-moce'): An Israelite prophet. His name means burdensome.
[v.1b] - "which he saw" - That is, to see by revelation, as in a vision.
[v.1c] - "the earthquake" - Though this earthquake was not chronicled in the Scriptures, it was mentioned by Zechariah who said, "Indeed, you shall flee as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah" (Zechariah 14:5).
[v.3] - "For three transgressions... and for four" - This same structure of wording is used many times in this chapter and in the next. Its form is deliberate and is to utilize the number seven, which has significance throughout the Scriptures. From John Calvin's Commentary: "Seven in Scripture is an indefinite number, and is taken, as it is well known, to express what is countless. By saying then, 'three and four transgressions,' it is the same as if he had said seven." So, by noting the three and four transgressions, totaling seven, God is declaring to each of these nations their total depravity. We are all guilty of three and four transgressions before God (Romans 3:19, 23; see also Ecclesiastes 7:20; Galatians 3:22; 1st John 1:8-10).
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 1-3:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you see us to be of a disposition so hard and rebellious, that we are not, without great difficulty, drawn to you,— O grant, that we may at least be subdued by the threatenings you daily denounce on us, and be so subdued, that being also drawn by your word, we may give up ourselves to you, and not only allow ourselves to be constrained by punishments and collections, but also obey you with a willing mind, and most readily offer ourselves to you as a sacrifice of obedience, so that being ruled by the Spirit of your Son, we may at length attain that blessed rest, which has been prepared for us by the same your Son our Lord. Amen.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 4-15:
Grant, Almighty God, that since you have designed, by so many examples, to teach the world the fear of your name, we may improve under your mighty hand, and not abuse your forbearance, nor gather for ourselves a treasure of dreadful vengeance by our obstinacy and irreclaimable wickedness, but seasonably repent while you invite us, and while it is the accepted time, and while you offer to us reconciliation, that being brought to nothing in ourselves, we may gather courage through grace, which is offered to us through Christ our Lord. Amen.