Amos 5

1 Listen to this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel. 2 “The virgin of Israel has fallen; She shall rise no more. She is cast down on her land; there is no one to raise her up.” 3 For thus says the Lord GOD: “The city that went out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went out one hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.” 4 For the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek me, and you will live; 5 but don’t seek Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and don’t pass to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing. 6 Seek the LORD, and you will live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be no one to quench it in Bethel. 7 You who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth: 8 seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name, 9 who brings sudden destruction on the strong, so that destruction comes on the fortress. 10 They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks blamelessly. 11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor, and take taxes from him of wheat: you have built houses of cut stone, but you will not dwell in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many your offenses, and how great are your sins— you who afflict the just, who take a bribe, and who turn aside the needy in the courts. 13 Therefore a prudent person keeps silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. 14 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of Armies, will be with you, as you say. 15 Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts. It may be that the LORD, the God of Armies, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.” 16 Therefore the LORD, the God of Armies, the Lord, says: “Wailing will be in all the wide ways; and they will say in all the streets, ‘Alas! Alas!’ and they will call the farmer to mourning, and those who are skilful in lamentation to wailing. 17 In all vineyards there will be wailing; for I will pass through the middle of you,” says the LORD. 18 “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him. 20 Won’t the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can’t stand your solemn assemblies. 22 Yes, though you offer me your burnt offerings and meal offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat animals. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream. 25 “Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, house of Israel? 26 You also carried the tent of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which you made for yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is the God of Armies.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–6

The convincing, awakening word must be heard and heeded, as well as words of comfort and peace; for whether we hear or forbear, the word of God shall take effect. The Lord still proclaims mercy to men, but they often expect deliverance from such self-invented forms as make their condemnation sure. While they refuse to come to Christ and to seek mercy in and by him, that they may live, the fire of Divine wrath breaks forth upon them. Men may make an idol of the world, but will find it cannot protect.

Verses 7–17

The same almighty power can, for repenting sinners, easily turn affliction and sorrow into prosperity and joy, and as easily turn the prosperity of daring sinners into utter darkness. Evil times will not bear plain dealing; that is, evil men will not. And these men were evil men indeed, when wise and good men thought it in vain even to speak to them. Those who will seek and love that which is good, may help to save the land from ruin. It behoves us to plead God’s spiritual promises, to beseech him to create in us a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within us. The Lord is ever ready to be gracious to the souls that seek him; and then piety and every duty will be attended to. But as for sinful Israel, God’s judgments had often passed by them, now they shall pass through them.

Verses 18–27

Woe unto those that desire the day of the Lord’s judgments, that wish for times of war and confusion; as some who long for changes, hoping to rise upon the ruins of their country! but this should be so great a desolation, that nobody could gain by it. The day of the Lord will be a dark, dismal, gloomy day to all impenitent sinners. When God makes a day dark, all the world cannot make it light. Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God, will be pursued by them; if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them. A pretence of piety is double iniquity, and so it will be found. The people of Israel copied the crimes of their forefathers. The law of worshipping the Lord our God, is, Him only we must serve. Professors thrive so little, because they have little or no communion with God in their duties. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go into captivity among idolaters.

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