This is another post in my series, Reader’s Guide to Amos. It works(or at least, I’d like it to) as something between a commentary and a Bible Study. Go read the text. Keep that window open. Read through it once to get a broad view of what is happening. Then come back and read through my notes. I’d suggest going back to the text one more time, read through it and when you get to a word or idea you are unsure of, come back and see if there is something in my Reader’s Guide that helps. You can read my original series introduction and the original posts that cover the text up to this point.
In these sections we have five judgment visions against Israel, as well as Amos’ conflict with Amaziah and Amaziah’s subsequent report to Jeroboam, and a woe oracle of future destruction of Israel and finally the actual destruction mixed in. The book finishes on a positive note of the future restoration of Israel.
1-6 – We have the first two judgements, they follow the same outline: Vision, Amos’ intercession, and Yahweh’s response. Amos sees a coming agent of destruction, cries out that they will not survive, Yahweh relents.
7-9 Most translation use plumb line. A plumb line is used to measure, meaning they cannot meet Yahweh’s standard. The word translated here can mean either lead or tin, which would be used to anchor the plum line. However, WBC and others take the (minority) position of translating just to ‘tin’ and not inferring the plumb-line.
“I will not pass by” I will not spare them (as in Exodus).
7:10-17 gives us a break from the judgment visions. Amaziah, which is the head priest in the center of worship for the kingdom sends word to the king about Amos and his prophecies. Amaziah then accuses Amos of basically being in it for the money. ‘Eat your bread’ meaning make money or get money for food.
Amos response, saying he was not a professional prophet and worked as a cattle breeder and an attendant to trees before God called him. Then he responds with a prophecy of what will happen is Amaziah in the coming judgment. It is mostly tied to separation and loss of land in the exile. His wife will be forced to support herself in the city, his children will die, his land will be given to others, we will be sent off and die in a foreign land.
Amos, Obadiah, Jonah: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (The New American Commentary)
Joel and Amos (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
Hosea-Jonah, Volume 31 (Word Biblical Commentary)