An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 44 of 304
Meanwhile we must obtain a broad idea of the way in which Amos was
inspired to address the people of Israel.  First, he speaks of the judgment
that is threatened against the surrounding nations (1:3 to 2:3), he then
turns to Judah (2:4) and to Israel (2:6) and uses the same formula that he
employed against the nations:
'For three transgressions ... and for four, I will not turn away the
punishment thereof'.
When the judgment is pronounced against Judah and Israel, special
emphasis is placed upon their attitude to the law and to the commandments
(Amos 2:4) and to their attitude to those who were raised up as prophets,
saying to them 'prophesy not' (2:12).  We have already seen that this was a
characteristic of Israel, for Amaziah, the priest of Beth-el, said to Amos:
'Prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king's chapel,
and it is the king's court' (Amos 7:13),
for Amos had prophesied the death of the king and the captivity of Israel.
The fact that to Israel the Lord could say: 'You only have I known of all the
families of the earth', instead of conferring upon them such favour as would
exempt them from punishment, the reverse is the truth: 'Therefore I will
punish you for all your iniquities' (Amos 3:2).
'Can two walk together, except they be agreed?' (Amos 3:3).  As this
verse stands it speaks eloquently of the relation of 'walk' and 'fellowship',
but the intention of the prophet seems to be deeper than this.  The word
translated 'agreed' is the Hebrew yaad, and means 'to meet' by appointment.
It is the word used in Exodus 25:22 of the Mercy Seat.  'There will I meet
with thee', and although there is reference made to 'the altar', the fact
that Amos could say 'every altar' and speak of the 'altars of Beth -el'
(3:14) shows that they were idolaters.  This can only be remedied by judgment
falling upon this altar, for the translation of Amos 9:1, which reads in the
Authorized Version 'cut them in the head', should be amended and read:
'Smite the capital, shake the foundations, cut them off (i.e. the
pillars) by the head, all of them'.
Somewhat in the same strain as the opening chapters, where the refrain
'for three transgressions and for four' punctuates the prophet's
denunciation, we have in chapter 4 the recurring refrain: 'Yet ye have not
returned unto Me, saith the Lord'.
Israel are here addressed as 'the kine of Bashan' and with dreadful
irony the prophet calls upon them:
'Come to Beth -el, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression;
and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three
years; and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim
and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of
Israel, saith the Lord God' (Amos 4:4,5).
For these transgressions 'want of bread', 'lack of water', 'blasting
and mildew', 'pestilence' and treatment similar to that which overthrew Sodom
and Gomorrah were sent upon this people, 'yet have ye not returned unto Me'
is the sad refrain.  The prophet now changes his formula 'seek ye Me, and ye