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.
1-3 – The fourth judgement vision. The for summer fruit sounds like the word for end. We have a play on words that can either mean that Israel is ripe for judgement (summer fruit being fruit that would ripen in the summer) or that it was during the end of the season for the fruit, as is the coming end of Israel. The joyful singing will turn to wailing and mourning. There will be so many dead bodies, the scene so disturbing that the only response is to yell for silence.
4-14 – An oracle of woe for those whom oppress the poor. They are so obsessed with money that they cry out “when will this religious day or feast be over, so that we can get back to work” The observed the law, not engaging in business, but their man focus was still greed. They longed for the worship days to be over, that they can go back to their dishonest gain.
Ephah was the contained used to measure the grain (by volume)
Shekel was the standard weight – 2/5s an ounce
So they want to make the grain smaller than it appears and the weighing mechanism to appear heavier than it is.
Likely not referring to an earthquake, but instead the trembling is in fear. Fear that Yahweh will not forget their deeds and will bring punishment.
Yahweh will bring floods and darkness.
Everyone will be involved in lamentation. All happiness and goodness will be turned into wailing.
Sackcloth and shaving of the head were signs of mourning.
The coming day will be like that of mourning over the death of an only son.
The lord will then send hunger and thirst throughout the land.
Guilt of Samaria is in contrast to the ‘pride of Jacob’ from v.7. Israel swore to false gods, this is their shame and guilt. The word for guilt here refers to their idolatry. References to Dan and Beersheba may represent how wide spread the idolatry was, as they stand at opposite ends of the land from each other. The formula used in verse 14 sounds like those of swearing allegiance to those gods.
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)