Amos 8

1 Thus the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 He said, “Amos, what do you see?” I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, “The end has come on my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more. 3 The songs of the temple will be wailing in that day,” says the Lord GOD. “The dead bodies will be many. In every place they will throw them out with silence. 4 Hear this, you who desire to swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, 5 saying, ‘When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may market wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel large, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; 6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the sweepings with the wheat?’” 7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob, “Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Won’t the land tremble for this, and everyone mourn who dwells in it? Yes, it will rise up wholly like the River; and it will be stirred up and sink again, like the River of Egypt. 9 It will happen in that day,” says the Lord GOD, “that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will make you wear sackcloth on all your bodies, and baldness on every head. I will make it like the mourning for an only son, and its end like a bitter day. 11 Behold, the days come,” says the Lord GOD, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the LORD’s words. 12 They will wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will run back and forth to seek the LORD’s word, and will not find it. 13 In that day the beautiful virgins and the young men will faint for thirst. 14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god, Dan, lives;’ and, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives;’ they will fall, and never rise up again.”

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

Verses 1–3

Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to be eaten; which signified, that the people were ripe for destruction, that the year of God’s patience was drawing towards a conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, but must be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw from them any acknowledgement, either of God’s righteousness or their own unrighteousness. Sinners put off repentance from day to day, because they think the Lord thus delays his judgments.

Verses 4–10

The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty of oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our time better than in communion with God? When employed in religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no regard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will not long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they deal with. They take advantage of their neighbour’s ignorance or necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouring poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord, we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker; as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get them. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks the case of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed, miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation every where. It shall come upon them when they little think of it. Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments, even life itself; in the midst of life we are in death. What will be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful and sensual pleasures!

Verses 11–14

Here was a token of God’s highest displeasure. At any time, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of God is the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yet some will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a good sermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sin away. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plans and endeavours to find out a way of salvation, will stand them in no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, for want of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let us value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinning them away.

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