Amos 9 Commentary

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Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission

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From Hampton Keathley IV

Source: Ryrie Study Bible

Amos 9:1  I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, "Smite the capitals so that the thresholds will shake, And break them on the heads of them all! Then I will slay the rest of them with the sword; They will not have a fugitive who will flee, Or a refugee who will escape.

KJV Amos 9:1  I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.

NLT  Amos 9:1 Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar. He said, "Strike the tops of the Temple columns, so that the foundation will shake. Bring down the roof on the heads of the people below. I will kill with the sword those who survive. No one will escape!

  • I saw 2 Chronicles 18:18; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:28; John 1:18,32; Acts 26:13; Revelation 1:17
  • upon 3:14; Ezekiel 9:2; 10:4
  • Smite Isaiah 6:3,4; Zechariah 11:1,2
  • lintel or, chapiter, or knop. cut them. or, wound them. in the head. Ps 68:21; Habakkuk 3:13
  • shall not flee 2:14,15; Isaiah 24:17,18; 30:16; Jeremiah 48:44


Beloved, it would be easy to read Amos 9:1-4 and say "Woe, that's a horrible fate for the idolatrous Israelites!" But lest we read it too fast, we need to ponder the thought that God takes four verses to describe the certitude and the thoroughness of their destruction. And then ponder the thought that this is but a "preview of coming attractions" so to speak. In other words, as bad as their temporal destruction would be, it pales in comparison to eternal destruction for all who reject God and His Gospel of grace. May this horrible, but very real truth, constrain us, impel us, drive us to seek to be led by and empowered by the Spirit of Jesus to share the life saving Gospel with every soul with which God allows us to have a "divine appointment!" And do not be shy about this, for if you are filled with the Spirit, you are filled with His fruit of boldness (cf Acts 4:31+, etc). You may not have a theological degree, an M.A. or ThD, but you do have a "B.A.," for you have been Born Again and the Spirit of Christ, the living God, indwells you. And do not worry if you get it perfect! God is able to take a few loaves and feed 5000, so He can surely take your seemingly meager offering and feed a hungry soul with the seed of the Gospel. Just be sure to try to explain the complete Gospel, of which most of the world has only a vague inkling (and sadly that includes many who would profess to be Christians!) Here is one simple version - You have sinned and the wages of sin are death. God sent a Redeemer to pay for our sins and He paid by dying on a Cross, was buried and then rose from the dead, conquering not only sin but death. He has come once and will come again. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (see Acts 16:31+, see Paul's summary "definition" of the Gospel in 1 Cor 15:1-8+). You can say more about the need for repentance, for genuine faith, for faith that shows itself authentic by its good works, etc. And you may have time to elaborate, but in less than 60 seconds you can speak words of eternal life to them (John 6:68, 63). How can you pass up such an incredible opportunity?!

And we think God's judgment too harsh or unfair, remember that Jehovah Himself had warned Israel through His mouthpiece Amos

For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel, “Seek (a command not a suggestion!) Me (WHY? WHAT PURPOSE?) that you may live.   5 “But do not resort to Bethel and do not come to Gilgal, Nor cross over to Beersheba; For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity And Bethel will come to trouble.  6 “Seek (a second command not a suggestion!) the LORD (WHY? WHAT PURPOSE?) that you may live, (NOW THE CONSEQUENCES FOR REFUSING TO SEEK THE LORD) Or He (WHO?) will break forth like a fire, O house of Joseph (i.e. the kingdom of Israel, named here for the father of the two chief tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh; cf. Amos 5:15), And it will consume with none to quench it (DESCRIBING THE THOROUGHNESS OF GOD'S JUDGMENT - cf Amos 5:2) for Bethel,  7 For those who turn justice into wormwood And cast righteousness down to the earth.”   (Amos 5:4-7)

I saw the Lord standing beside the altar - The prophet's five visions of judgment had begun in Amos 7:1 and this is his fifth and final vision. 

The position of the Lord (Adonai) is significant. The altar usually speaks of mercy through judgment upon a substitutionary sacrifice (cp. Jn12:31-33), but when altar and sacrifice are despised, the altar becomes a place of judgment only. 

Constable - In the final vision that Amos recorded, he saw Yahweh standing beside an altar. The altar at Bethel is probably in view since Bethel was the worship site in view in most of this book and since Amos' encounter with Amaziah occurred there (Amos 7:10-17). The Lord gave a command that someone (an angel?) would strike the capitals that supported the roof of the temple there with such force that its foundation stones would shake and the whole structure would fall down (cf. Jdg. 16:29-30; Isa. 6:4; Ezek. 40:6). The Lord also said He would slay with the sword the rest of the priests and worshippers who survived being killed by the collapse of the temple. No one would escape with his or her life. (Constable's Notes on the Bible)

Oh, the high cost of persisting in idolatry. Not only can they not save you, but they will result in your death as a result of righteous judgment of Yahweh. 

Saw (07200) (raah) is the usual term for seeing (physical sight) but it typically suggests "to perceive, as sight triggers cognition" (spiritual understanding

One is reminded of two "righteous" men in the OT who saw the Lord and what their reaction to that site was...

Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”  4And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Job 42:5-6 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;  6 Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”

Adonai (0136)('adonay) is one of the two chief, divine titles of Yahweh. and is an emphatic form of (̓adon) which means lord, master, owner" "Lord in power." It speaks of the Sovereign One

Sovereignty describes God's freedom from external control or of other controlling influences. God is the ultimate authority in every sphere and place. It follows that all creation is subject to Him and that all creation is answerable to Him. As an aside, what verb do you see in the word sovereign? "Reign" of course, and this verb captures the essence of this divine attribute. Our God Reigns!

Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
Who brings good news, good news;
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness:
Our God reigns, our God reigns!

Gary Hill writes that Adonay - refers to Yahweh as the one determining the destiny (eternal meaning) of every scene of life, the one-and-only moral Governor. This divine title ("the Master assigning destiny") applies to God who determines the eternal worth of every act we do on earth. 136 (̓Adônay) properly means "proprietor-owner" (BDB), the one who "makes the final call" to appraise all things. All is under His jurisdiction as owner; see also 430 (̓Elōhîm), God's other chief title ("the circumstance-Maker"). ̓Adônay) is the emphatic plural of ̓Adōn – the plural of excellence – referring to the one true God (Yahweh), the moral Governor of the universe. It conveys the "Lord in full ownership and jurisdiction."]

Gleason Archer -  As Adonay, God alone determines the everlasting morality (eternal meaning) of every scene of life.  Adonay decides what is approved (righteousness), or spiritually disapproved (unrighteous) as the moral Governor of the universe" (G. Archer).

Guzik - Amos sees the Lord right at the temple, supervising the work of judgment. Amos wants us to know that God isn’t detached from even His hard work of judgment.

McComiskey feels that "The temple was not a literal temple, for the collapse of such a building would affect only a few. Rather it represents the religion of the northern kingdom, which, in the end, brought about the destruction of its adherents. The decay of the social structure that resulted from their cold externalism could lead only to national ruin. The gross sin of idolatry could lead only to judgment." 

Altar (04196)(mizbeah from zabach = to slaughter for sacrifice or for food) is a masculine noun that is frequent in the OT (338x) and describes the place of sacrifice where offerings were made to a deity. The first use in Ge 8:20 describes the altar built by Noah as his first act after he survived the flood. Abraham is associated with an altar in Ge 12:7,8; 13:4, 18; Ge 22:9. Not surprisingly the majority of OT occurrences are in Leviticus (88x in 72v and Exodus is not far behind - 61x in 53v). The first offering by Cain and Abel does not mention a specific altar (Ge 4:3).

And He said - Too often we think of God as love, and that He is, but here Amos describes Him as shouting orders of judgment like the commander-in-chief that He truly is (cf the "Captain of the hosts" Josh 5:14 and also His "military" Name, Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts (of armies).

Smite the capitals so that the thresholds will shake - Adonay Himself directs the judgment. The capitals (kaphtôr) can be defined as the decorative "knob" on the lampstand or the "capital" atop a pillar and (apparently derived from the name of Crete, as the place from which such ornamentations were first imported. From the capital to the threshold speaks of from top to bottom destruction, the shaking possibly indicating an earthquake as the agent of destruction. 

Will shake (H7493)(ra'ash) most commonly translated quake or tremble of heavens (Jdg 5:4), foundations of earth (2 Sa 22:8), mountains (Ps 46:3, Jer 4:24, Nahum 1:5), the land (Ps 60:2, Jer 8:16), earth (Jer 10:10, Joel 3:16), heavens (Joel 2:10). See last 3 uses of God's promise to shake the heavens, all nations (Hag 2:6, 7, 21). 

Compare to the  graphic description of the destruction of Nineveh in Zephaniah

Flocks will lie down in her midst, All beasts which range in herds; Both the pelican and the hedgehog Will lodge in the tops of her pillars; Birds will sing in the window, Desolation will be on the threshold; For He has laid bare the cedar work. (Zeph 2:14)

Hubbard - To whom are the divine commands smite and shatter addressed? To a heavenly servant like one of Isaiah’s seraphim (6:2, 6–7)? To the prophet whose symbolic gesture or spoken word had the power to launch the destruction? We cannot be sure. It is more likely that the imperatives (both singular) are a dramatic way of announcing the pending devastation and are directed toward no specific agent. (TOTC - Amos)

The threshold (Hebrew sap) marked the entrance and in this context presumably the entrance into the place of idol worship. This entry way is not "narrow" but "broad" and will shake, quake and tremble, not only for the Israelites but for all who enter this godless threshold. And so this door that led into godless worship recalls Jesus' fearful warning that instead of entering the gate of idolatry we should enter the narrow gate of God

Enter (command) through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction (apoleia = not annihilation but eternal ruin, forever useless to do anything of worth or value, in short an eternally wasted existence, forever separated from the glorious presence of Jehovah - 2 Th 1:7-9), and there are many (NOT JUST A FEW) who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few (NOT MANY) who find it. (Mt 7:13-14+, cf "the narrow door" in Luke 13:24+).

Hubbard writes "Like the boss of a demolition squad or the commander of an invading enemy, he snaps his orders for the smashing of the temple and takes personal responsibility for seeing that the last offender is brought to justice.” 

And break them on the heads of them all! - Judgment begins at the center of idolatry. Does this not remind us of a similar divine judgment carried out by God's human instrument name Samson? 

Now the lords of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.”  24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hands, Even the destroyer of our country, Who has slain many of us.” 25 It so happened when they were in high spirits, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars. 26 Then Samson said to the boy who was holding his hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there. And about 3,000 men and women were on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them. 28Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down, took him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. Thus he had judged Israel twenty years. (Jdg 16:23-31+)

Break (shatter)(H1214)(batsa) to cut off, shear, break off, gain by unrighteous violence, get, finish, be covetous, be greedy. There is some evidence that BATSA'  is a technical term used by weavers to designate the action of cutting a piece of cloth free from the loom after it has been woven and Isa 38:12 bears this out when it has Hezekiah contemplating the end of his life in such terms. Job (Job 6:9) also asks that God would cut off his life.

Criswell - The demolition of the altar = removal of altar from temple to a point at which one could escape any threat. The removal of the horns of the altar from the temple, the place of refuge to escape an avenger, meant that the temple was no longer a place of refuge. Therefore, judgment will now fall upon Israel as upon other sinful nations. V8 stresses esp end of the southern kingdom. But this judgment will not completely destroy "the house of Jacob." From the remaining masses of Hebrews will yet come another organized government, and the time will come when the law will indeed go forth from Jerusalem. The immutable principle of the altar's role in atonement by the shedding of blood is not made ineffective by this temporary judgment on the altar as a place of refuge from an avenger. The scarlet thread through the Bible continues to be revealed.

Then I will slay the rest of them with the sword - Slay (H2026)(harag) is used of judicial execution as well as killing animals, of Cain killing Abel (Ge 4:8). Here the slaying is righteous. 

They will not have a fugitive who will flee, Or a refugee who will escape - The word inescapable means unable to be avoided or denied, incapable of being escaped or avoided;  impossible to ignore - unavoidable, inevitable, ineluctable, ineliminable, inexorable, assured, sure, certain, bound to happen, sure to happen, unpreventable, preordained, predestined, predetermined! If you are not yet safe in Jesus by grace through faith dear reader, then you need to read the preceding descriptions and synonyms of God's coming just judgment! And then take a stroll and walk down The Romans Road to Salvation

John MacArthur gives us the background of Amos - Amos was a Judean prophet called to deliver a message primarily to the northern tribes of Israel (7:15). Politically, it was a time of prosperity under the long and secure reign of Jeroboam II who, following the example of his father Joash (2 Kin. 13:25), significantly “restored the territory of Israel” (2 Kin. 14:25). It was also a time of peace with both Judah (cf. 5:5) and her more distant neighbors; the ever-present menace of Assyria was subdued earlier that century because of Nineveh’s repentance at the preaching of Jonah (Jonah 3:10). Spiritually, however, it was a time of rampant corruption and moral decay (Amos 4:1; 5:10–13; 2 Ki 14:24). Historical and Theological Themes Amos addresses Israel’s two primary sins: 1) an absence of true worship, and 2) a lack of justice. In the midst of their ritualistic performance of worship, they were not pursuing the Lord with their hearts (Amos 4:4,5; 5:4–6) nor following His standard of justice with their neighbors (Amos 5:10–13; 6:12). This apostasy, evidenced by continual, willful rejection of the prophetic message of Amos, is promised divine judgment. Because of His covenant, however, the Lord will not abandon Israel altogether, but will bring future restoration to the righteous remnant (Amos 9:7–15). (Introduction)

Amos 9:2  "Though they dig into Sheol, From there will My hand take them; And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down. 

KJV Amos 9:2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

  • dig Job 26:6; Ps 139:7-10; Isaiah 2:19
  • climb Job 20:6; Isaiah 14:13-16; Jeremiah 49:16; 51:53; Ezekiel 28:13-16; Obadiah 1:4; Luke 10:18


You can run, but you can’t hide.”

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge - Though All these energetic expressions were intended to shew the utter impossibility of escape.

David asked rhetorically

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,  Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Ps. 139:7-10)

A passage in Nu 23:19 says "behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out." (Nu 32:23) While this warning was specifically directed at the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, exhorting them to fulfill their commitment to participate with the other tribes in the campaign in Canaan, it expresses a universal principle. No sin against God or His Word will remain secret and unpunished. And in the day of His righteous, just judgment there will no place to hide. Have you hidden in Christ by grace through faith, so that your sins might be taken away and you will be rescued from the wrath to come? (1 Th 1:9-10). 

God is omnipresent in bestowing His blessings and His cursings. The only salvation from His judgment is to run into the strong tower of the Name of the Lord! (Pr 18:10+). 

Isaiah describes the vain attempt of men to flee the righteous judgment of Jehovah

Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble. (Isaiah 2:19+)

John the apostle picks up the picture in Isaiah in his description of another horrible time, the one of a kind Great Tribulation of the last of the Last Days, when the Jews would experience the Time of Jacob's distress described in Jeremiah 30:7+. The earth-dwellers (unbelieving Jews and Gentiles ) at that time will be so horrified at God's hand of judgment that that they will flee in terror before the return of the Judge and King of kings

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood...Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; (Rev 6:12, 15-16+)

Garland writes - Here is the classic record of man’s response to his own sin—a vain attempt to hide from the omnipresent, omniscient, almighty God (Ge 3:8; Re 6:16). In the irony of God, those who persecuted God’s servants, who were “destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy,” who “wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:38) now experience firsthand a similar affliction from the very hand of God.

Though they dig into Sheol, From there will My hand take them - There will be nowhere to flee in the day of His judgment. Hell and Heaven are both exaggerations because no man could even flee to those places, but if they could, the long arm of the LORD would find them and execute justice. 

Some say that digging into Sheol meant hiding in the ground. 

Hubbard - As dig (Heb. ḥtr; cf. Job 24:16; Ezek. 8:8) indicates, Sheol was viewed as a subterranean realm, occupied by the dead (Isa. 14:9–11, 15–20) and popularly thought to be outside of Yahweh’s sway of sovereignty (Job 10:20–22; 14:13). Amos, however, like the psalmist (Ps. 139:7–11), knew better. The God whose justice and power he had encountered was stranger to no part of his creation; his very dwelling embraced both heaven and earth (Amos 9:6).  (Ibid)

Sheol (07585)(she'ol) is the underworld or the place to which people descend at death. The grave, death, the depths, the nether world, the underworld. Sheol was viewed as the place where departed spirits went after death. Sheol was envisioned as a dark region within the earth, the entrance to which was the grave with its steep slopes (cf. Ps 88:4-6). In Job 14:13-22, Job expressed the common view of life beyond death, namely, that in Sheol there is no contact with the living, only separation, but in Sheol there is a conscious awareness of the dreary existence. In Jonah 2:3 Jonah pictures himself in the belly of Sheol, its very center - in other words he is as good as dead. In Ps 22:6 Sheol, the underworld, the place of the dead, is personified as David’s enemy. Abaddon is used as a name for Sheol in Ps 88:11. In Ps 143:3"dark places" is a synonym for Sheol, pictured as a dark place located deep in the ground.

And though they ascend to heaven, From there will I bring them down - Here Amos uses extreme hyperbole! Heaven is God's home. These false worshipers certainly could not flee there! 

Smith writes "If neither heights nor depths can separate people from the love of God (cf. Ro 8:38-39), they are also unable to hide them from the wrath of God."

Amos 9:3  "Though they hide on the summit of Carmel, I will search them out and take them from there; And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them. 

KJV Amos 9:3  And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:

  • hide Job 34:22; Jeremiah 23:23,24
  • conceal themselves Ps 139:9-11; Jeremiah 16:16
  • the serpent Isaiah 27:1

Deepest Depth of the Sea
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The description of complete destruction continues unabated. 

As Hubbard says "No place in all creation will afford shelter to the fugitives once God has set his judgment in motion." (TOTC-Amos)

Though they hide on the summit of Carmel - There is no hiding from divine omnipresence! There are many caves in Carmel's sides, which at one time were inhabited by swarms of monks who were trying to "hide themselves" from their fleshly desires (in fact from the world, the flesh and the devil), but also discovered they could not hide from their fallen flesh nor subjugate it by rites or rituals into submission! The only way to kill sin (A HARSH TASKMASTER!) daily is by the Spirit of Jesus! (Romans 8:13+

Mt Carmel (picture) was one of the highest peaks in Israel. (Elevation 525.4 meters or 1,724 ft), but was not high enough to hide from God's justice! 

Jehovah declares

"Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off? “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:23,24)

Comment - Of course Jehovah's question is rhetorical and calls for a loud Yea and Amen! 

I will search them out and take them from there -  Jer. 16:16 gives a similar description...

“Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.

God's promise is sure in blessing and in cursing. 

If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,  Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” (Ps 139:9-11)

The Hebrew for Search  (02664) (hapas) means properly, to search by digging deeper; to mine out (implied by its Syriac and Aramaic cognates); searching that is set on arriving at the ultimate objective; a plan to uncover and discover. The Septuagint translates hapas here with the rare verb exereunao (ek = an intensifier + ereunao = to search into, investigate, explore) used in the NT only in 1 Peter 1:10+ and meaning to search diligently for something, especially for something hidden like miners engaged in digging for precious metals in the bowels of the earth. This word was  used of a dog sniffing out something with his nose. 

THOUGHT - The Septuagint uses exereunao 5 times in the great Psalm 119 where it translates the word "observe" - Read the following passages from Psalm 119 with the meaning of this verb in mind - it gives a new "nuance" regarding what it means to "observe" God's testimonies, law, precepts, commandments = Ps. 119:2 (surprisingly it is not used to translate "seek" here); Ps. 119:34; Ps. 119:69; Ps. 119:115; Ps. 119:129.

Now let's apply because truth not applied is in one ear and out the other (aka James 1:22+). Do you just skim over God's Word so that you can "satisfy" your goal of reading through the Bible in a year? Do you read it superficially so you can check that box in your list of activities in your quiet time? The verb exereunao calls us to "dig into" the precious Word, more precious in fact than gold, but too often we barely scratch the surface for we are more constrained (impelled) by our fallen flesh to go out into the world and "dig for gold!" Little wonder that so many believers are spiritual paupers and their faith is weak and their walk is like a yo-yo on a string! We go to cross fit to train our bodies, but too often we fail to go the old rugged Cross to train our souls! Tomorrow morning begin a new discipline (under grace not law), a discipline enabled by the Spirit, and begin to "dig in" to the living and active Word of God as if your spiritual life depended on it (because it does! cf Jesus' words Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4+). I  am a retired medical doctor and would write prescriptions like this "Take 1 tablet q.d. for 30 days." Now that I am retired, I more often treat the soul, so let me prescribe that you try this "discipline" for "1 q.d. x 30 days" and see what a difference it makes in your spiritual vitality and your walk in Christ. I dare you! (under grace of course!). 

Solomon, the richest, wisest man (other than Jesus) who ever lived, extols the value of diligently digging for wisdom writing "If you seek her as silver, and search (Lxxexereunao) for her (WISDOM) as for hidden treasures (it was the custom to bury valuables in the ground or in holes in the rocks)." (Pr 2:4+)  What is emphasized is the diligent effort that must be made to obtain wisdom. The tragedy is that too often men show more zeal in acquiring material wealth than spiritual treasures.

And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea - On one hand "How deep the Father's love for us" is but His wrath is also "deep" for those who reject Him and choose to worship idols as did the Israelites. God grant us today by His Spirit that we would worship God Alone! Amen. If the Spirit brings any "idols" to your mind, smite them down, hack them to pieces, destroy them before they destroy you! Or as Puritan John Owen said in his classic work Mortification of Sin, "Be killing sin, lest it be killing you." (The entire books is an "exposition" of Romans 8:13+, which Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones is one of the most important verses in all of Scripture  [listen to his sermon "A Call for Action"] as regards our daily sanctification process.) 

The average depth of the ocean is about 12,100 feet. The deepest part of the ocean is called the Challenger Deep (click picture above) and is located beneath the western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, which runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the U.S. territorial island of Guam. Challenger Deep is approximately 36,200 feet deep. It is named after the HMS Challenger, whose crew first sounded the depths of the trench in 1875. Though a man were able to hide in the Challenger Deep, he could not hide from God! 

From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them - From there in context is from the depths of the sea. This Hebrew word nachash is the word used for the serpent in the garden! (Ge 3:1, 2, 4, 13, 14+) Indeed, since these men in Amos 9 have been "bitten" and poisoned with the deadly venom of sin, they will die in their sin (cf Ro 5:12+, Ro 6:23+). This declaration of divine serpentine judgment would recall a similar judgment on the people of Israel when God sent fiery serpents not from the sea but from the land in Numbers 21

Nu 21:5-9 The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” 6 The LORD sent fiery serpents (nachash) among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. 

Comment - What is amazing is that the Israelites turned the bronze serpent of nachash into an IDOL which they carried around for the next 730 years worshiping the creation "For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Ro 1:25+)! 2 Ki 18:4 says "He (King Hezekiah - 715-686 BC) removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan (a play on the word nahach and fittingly means a ‘trifling thing! = A good illustration of ALL idols!)."

Oh, how evil are ALL of our hearts, how sinister and enticing is our fallen flesh (James 1:14+), as we so quickly default to the lusts of the flesh (1 John 2:16+), even those of us who have experienced that we have true life (Jn 10:10) and blessing in obedience (1 Sa 15:22, read Lk 11:28+) to the Lord (as the Israelites did when they simply looked -- but it was a look of faith and trust in the truth that Moses had declared and as shown below was but a shadow of perfect picture of the Messiah Who would in effect suffer the deadly bite of sin on behalf of all who would simply LOOK to Him in faith and trust as their Substitutionary Sacrifice (One "look" is what saved C H Spurgeon as he responded to Isaiah 45:22KJV). 

And so Jesus applied this picture to Himself in John 3:14-16 declaring "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Constable has an interesting observation - Note the chiastic structure of these verses going from down to up and back down, signifying all places.

God vowed to send serpents also to the Southern Kingdom of Judah...

“For behold, I am sending serpents against you, Adders, for which there is no charm, And they will bite you,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:17)

Amos 9:4  "And though they go into captivity before their enemies, From there I will command the sword that it slay them, And I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good."

 KJV Amos 9:4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.

  • go Leviticus 26:33,36-39; Deuteronomy 28:64,65; Ezekiel 5:2,12; Zechariah 13:8,9
  • set Lev 17:10; Deut 28:63; 2 Chr 16:9; Ps 34:15,16; Jer 24:6; 44:11


And though they go into captivity before their enemies, From there I will command the sword that it slay them - God repeatedly used foreign armies to chastise His chosen people, thus there was not safety in captivity.  In Amos 9:3 God commands the serpent and here He commands the sword, and both are bad news for Israel. The text again emphasizes that God is in complete control of this judgment. 

This proclamation echoes an earlier one in Amos 7:11 "“For thus Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”

And I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good - Normally God watched over His people for good, but because they themselves had failed to watch over their hearts with all diligence (Pr 4:23), from their evil heart flowed by springs of life but rivers of evil. And so God set His eyes against them for evil. However as we will see at the end of Amos 9, because of His faithfulness to the Abrahamic Covenant, once again God "will watch over them to build and to plant" (Jer 31:28+), a promise that will be fulfilled in the Millennium (cf God's watching over Judah for good in the future in Zech 12:4+).. 

This is part of the promise of the blessings and cursings in Deuteronomy 28 based upon whether the people were faithful and obedient or unfaithful and disobedient. Sadly Israel manifested chronic, systemic disobedience, and thus they could expect that God’s eye against them and not for them...

“Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known. 65“Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. 66“So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. 67“In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see. 68“The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.” (Deut. 28:64-68)

This verse is testimony to the truth of Proverbs 15:3 which says "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good." And so lest we are too critical of Israel's apostasy which brought God's judgment, we need to be mindful that " the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You (KING ASA) have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars (cf THE LORD'S EYES AGAINST HIM FOR EVIL).” (2 Chr 16:9). Therefore we need to order our steps enabled by His Holy Spirit and guided by His Holy Word, so that when He watches over us, He sees good and not evil. It behooves us to heed Paul's instructions in "to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil" (Ro 16:19+) and to  "examine (present imperative = command to continue - only possible as we continually rely on the Spirit's enablement) everything carefully; hold fast (present imperative = command to continue - only possible as we continually rely on the Spirit's enablement) to that which is good, abstain (present imperative = command to continue - only possible as we continually rely on the Spirit's enablement) from every form of evil." (1 Th 5:21-22+) (See See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands). 

What the Bible Teaches – To the believer, it is an encouragement that "the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous" (1 Pet 3:12), as when "he saw them toiling in rowing" (Mk 6:48). On occasions, what He sees moves Him to intervene in mercy. Hagar enjoyed the fact that God is El Roi, the God who sees: "Thou God seest me" (Gen 16:13). The beleaguered Israelites must have rejoiced when Moses relayed the message of God, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people ... and I am come down to deliver them" (Ex 3:7-8). Here, the inspection provoked wrathful intervention, "evil ... not ... good", for "the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (1 Pet 3:12). In the early chapters of Revelation, the Lord Jesus is seen as having eyes "as a flame of fire" (Rev 1:14). His penetrating gaze of assessment took in every feature of every one of the seven churches, and thus He said to each, "I know ...". What He had observed, and what He knew must have been an encouragement to the pressurised assembly at Smyrna. To such as Sardis, what He claimed to know must have shocked them, for the camouflage that deceived others did not delude Him. What do these eyes reveal when set upon us?

Amos 9:5  The Lord GOD of hosts, The One who touches the land so that it melts, And all those who dwell in it mourn, And all of it rises up like the Nile And subsides like the Nile of Egypt; 

KJV Amos 9:5  And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.

GWN  Amos 9:5 The Almighty LORD of Armies touches the earth. It quakes, and all who live on it mourn. All of it rises like the Nile and sinks like Egypt's river.

  • touches Ps 46:6; 144:5; Isaiah 64:1; Micah 1:3; Nahum 1:6; Habakkuk 3:10; Revelation 20:11
  • and all Amos 8:8; Jeremiah 12:4; Hosea 4:3
  • rises up Ps 32:6; 93:3,4; Isaiah 8:7,8; Matthew 7:27


Now Amos records two verses packed with descriptions of God's greatness and glory. Given the preceding context that Israel will have no place to hide from Yahweh, now Amos describes His absolute power over His creation which would emphatically squelch any hopeful thoughts that He could can follow through with His promises of judgment in Amos 9:1-4. 

The Lord GOD of hosts - This is God's "military" Name (so to speak) = Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts (of armies) This Name speaks of Yahweh's control of the angelic hosts of Heaven. It is fitting that the Septuagint translates this Name with the Greek word pantokrator which is derived from pás = all and kratos = strength or might, especially manifested power, the power to rule or control. The literal ideas include the Ruler over all,  the One Who controls all things and the One Who has power over everything. As the One in total control pantokrator thus describes God’s sovereign, omnipotent, irresistible power. This Name for Yahweh with one exception (2 Cor 6:18) is used exclusively in the NT in the book of the Revelation (Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22). This concentration in the Revelation of Jesus Christ should not be surprising as this book describes God's final and complete victory over godless men and over Satan and his minions. The Name Pantokrator leaves no doubt that He will fulfill every prophecy in the Revelation! 

Note that the Septuagint refers to God as Pantokrator 10 times in this short book - Amos 3:13; Amos 4:13; Amos 5:8; Amos 5:14; Amos 5:15; Amos 5:16; Amos 5:27; Amos 9:5; Amos 9:6; Amos 9:15

Lord God of Hosts - 34x in 33v in the OT - note concentration in Amos 

2 Sam. 5:10; Ps. 59:5; Ps. 69:6; Ps. 80:4; Ps. 80:19; Ps. 84:8; Ps. 89:8; Isa. 1:24; Isa. 3:1; Isa. 3:15; Isa. 10:23; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 19:4; Isa. 22:5; Isa. 22:12; Isa. 22:14; Isa. 22:15; Isa. 28:22; Jer. 2:19; Jer. 15:16; Jer. 38:17; Jer. 44:7; Jer. 46:10; Jer. 49:5; Jer. 50:25; Jer. 50:31;

Amos 4:13; Amos 5:14; Amos 5:15; Amos 5:16; Amos 6:8; Amos 6:14; Amos 9:5

Lord God (NOT including Lord God of hosts) in the book of Amos - 

Amos 1:8; Amos 3:7; Amos 3:8; Amos 3:11; Amos 3:13; Amos 4:2; Amos 4:5; Amos 5:3; Amos 7:1; Amos 7:2; Amos 7:4; Amos 7:5; Amos 7:6; Amos 8:1; Amos 8:3; Amos 8:9; Amos 8:11; Amos 9:8

Guzik comments - Amos uses the title Lord God again – used 12 times in Amos 7-9, emphasizing the sovereignty of God. “That sovereignty is symbolized in the name of God that dominates this section – Lord God, literally ‘My Master Yahwheh.’” (Hubbard)

The One who touches the land so that it melts - Yahweh's power is so great that the earth melts when He touches the land! What does this depict? The NET Note says "The verb probably depicts earthquakes and landslides." The Septuagint translation would support this thought as the Hebrew verb for melt (mug) is translated with the verb saleuo (from salos = wave) means to cause to move to and fro, cause to waver or totter, make to rock. To shake or agitate as by winds or storms. It refers to unexpected and disastrous shaking, of what would be thought to be stable, e.g. earth or sky shake. In Acts 16, saleuo is used literally of an earthquake (Acts 16:26). Saleuo described a ship at anchor slipping its mooring in the midst of a heavy wind. In an ancient letter we read "you sent me letters which would have shaken (saleuo) a stone, so much did your words move me". 

Hubbard agrees writing that "The melting of the earth (theophanic language as in Ps. 46:6 [ED: SAME HEBREW VERB = mug and Lxx = saleuo]; Mic. 1:3–4) and the mourning of its inhabitants looked back to the earthquake of Amos 9:1 (cf. Nahum 1:5 where ‘quake’, raash, and ‘melt’, mug, are paralleled [ED: AND AGAIN "MELT" IS TRANSLATED IN THE SEPTUAGINT WITH saleuo - SHAKE]).

It is interesting that this same Hebrew verb (mug) for melts is used in Amos 9:13 in Amos' description that "all the hills will be dissolved (melted)." 

And all those who dwell in it mourn - Notice the "and" which links the mourning with the melting. When God melts or shakes the land, those who dwell in the land will mourn at the effects of God's shaking/melting. The Septuagint translates the Hebrew for mourn (abal) with the Greek verb pentheo means to mourn for, lament or grieve over a death or other profound loss. It refers to "manifested grief" severe enough to take possession of a person and hence cannot be hid and thus may be manifest as loud mourning as when one laments for the dead. The picture is that of a severe emotional reaction to the effects of the Yahweh "touching" their land. In fact the figurative meaning of the verb melt is to experience an emotional "melt down" which would be very much in keeping with the description of those who mourn. Sin is destructive and will cost Israel dearly. 

What the Bible Teaches – In Psalm 46:6-7, the fact that He utters His voice and the earth melts (mug) is an encouragement to the people of God, for it is such a God of power who is "with us", and is "our refuge" (Ps 46:1). In the setting of Amos 9:5, such evidence of divine power is a chill reminder that He has the necessary power to implement the threats of the previous verses.

In Amos 8:8 “Because of this (Amos 8:7 the Lord will not forget) will not the land quake and everyone who dwells in it mourn? Indeed, all of it will rise up like the Nile, And it will be tossed about And subside like the Nile of Egypt." 

 And all of it rises up like the Nile and subsides like the Nile of Egypt - This is a picture of God's power and sovereignty over His creation and His creatures and specifically His power to alter the course of earthly matters causing them to rise and fall or to ebb and flow, like the waters of the Nile. The idea could also be that He causes the land to undulate like the Nile River.

Amos 9:6  The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth, He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth, The LORD is His name

 KJV Amos 9:6 It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.

  • builds Ps 104:3,13
  • calls Amos 5:8; Genesis 7:11-19; Jeremiah 5:22
  • The LORD Amos 4:13; Exodus 3:14,15


Hubbard comments that "“It is hard to catch the exact picture of what Yahweh is building in verse 6. The heavenly construction may be a ‘staircase’ or a ‘roof-chamber’ . . . The earthly component is even more difficult to define precisely.” (TOTC-Amos)

The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens - While the exact meaning of this phrase is not clear, what is clear is that Yahweh is in control of His Heavens, His dwelling place.

And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth - As such God would have no difficulty in reaching any who might be able "ascend to heaven" and bring them down (Amos 9:2). 

NET Note - Verse 6a pictures the entire universe as a divine palace founded on the earth and extending into the heavens. 

He who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth - This is a description of God's power to cause water vapor to rise up out of the sea, be deposited in clouds and bring rain to the earth.

McComiskey says "He is the one who has built his temple in heaven and founded the arch of heaven itself above the earth. He draws water from the sea and causes it to rain upon the earth. If he can do all this, building the invisible and commanding the visible, how much more will he be able to rain down punishment upon a rebellious people!" (The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary)

Amos 5:8 has a similar description writing that "He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD (Lxx = Pantokrator as in Amos 9:5) is His name." 

The LORD is His name - (Lxx = Pantokrator as in Amos 9:5) This is a clear reminder to Israel of Who they have rejected! Jehovah speaks of His covenant keeping Name. They have rebelled against His covenant.

Earlier Amos had affirmed the Name of God declaring "For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness And treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD God of hosts is His name." (Amos 4:13) 

Amos 9:7 "Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me, O sons of Israel?" declares the LORD. "Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir

 KJV Amos 9:7 Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

NET  Amos 9:7 "You Israelites are just like the Ethiopians in my sight," says the LORD. "Certainly I brought Israel up from the land of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir. 

NLT  Amos 9:7 "Are you Israelites more important to me than the Ethiopians? " asks the LORD. "I brought Israel out of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir. 

NIV  Amos 9:7 "Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?" declares the LORD. "Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?

  • Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia Jeremiah 9:25,26; 13:23
  • Have I not Amos 2:10; Exodus 12:51; Hosea 12:13
  • the Philistines Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4
  • the Syrians 1:5; 2 Kings 16:9


What the Bible Teaches –  For centuries, the children of Israel had enjoyed the favour of God, and there were clear lines of demarcation between them and the other nations of men. They were distinct in dress, in diet, and most certainly in religion. By embracing idolatry, they had erased these differences, and God now takes them up on the stance they had adopted, and treats them as He would have treated any other idolatrous nation. There would be no concessions just because they were in a covenant relationship with Him.

Wiersbe - A. W. Tozer correctly says, “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” The people of Israel created their gods in their own image and held such a low view of Jehovah that they thought He would approve of their sinful ways.

Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia (Cushites) to Me, O sons of Israel?" declares the LORD - Jehovah is saying in essence He will show His Chosen People no special favor or partiality in judgment. The NLT renders it "Are you Israelites more important to me than the Ethiopians?" The NET Bible changes it from a question to a declaration of fact - "You Israelites are just like the Ethiopians in My sight."

God chooses to illustrate His point with the sons of Ethiopia (Cushites in NIV) who lived in what is today southern Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia (See map) and were considered by Israel as an unimportant country living at the "end of the earth." Israel would have falsely reasoned "Surely God would treat them different than these foreign (Gentile) nations,", but here Jehovah says that is not going to be the case!

In Jeremiah God makes a similar pronouncement against the Southern Kingdom of Judah for Judah's heart is uncircumcised just as that of the foreigners...

Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised–Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those inhabiting the desert who clip the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.”(UNREGENERATE - See Ro 2:24-29, Col 2:11-13)(Jer 9:25,26) (See Excursus on Circumcision)

Amos 3:2 indicates that Israel's "special status" as a nation would not preclude her just judgment, God declaring "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” 

The NET Note adds that "Though Israel was God's special covenant people, the Lord emphasizes they are not inherently superior to the other nations subject to his sovereign rule."

Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir - Of course He had (see Amos 2:10; Ex 12:51; Hos 12:13) The point is God was able to sovereignly transplant nations besides Israel. And in the context of the judgment coming on Israel it would not be difficult for Him to bring about the exile of the nation of Israel. Their supposed "superiority" would earn no favor with God's impartial justice. 

Hay explains that "The people of Israel may have prided themselves in remembering that God had released them from Egypt and relocated them in Canaan, and so He had. But other nations had experienced migration under divine direction, the Philistines from Caphtor, possibly the island of Crete, and the Syrians from Kir, possibly in Mesopotamia. While in many ways Israel was unique, it was not completely unique, and just as God would deal with other nations who displeased Him, so He would deal with them: He is "no respecter of persons" in regard to salvation (Acts 10:34+), and He is "without respect of persons" in regard to judgment (1 Pet 1:17+). (What the Bible Teaches)

Bible Knowledge Commentary - God is the Sovereign of every nation. He had not only brought Israel up from Egypt (cf. Amos 2:10; 3:1), but had also guided the historical migrations of their archenemies—the Philistines from Caphtor (cf. Jer. 47:4; Zeph. 2:5), probably another name for the island of Crete, and the Arameans from Kir (cf. Amos 1:5), a location in Mesopotamia. And as God had determined to reverse the destinies of those two nations (cf. Amos 1:3-8), so He had determined to send Israel into exile (Amos 4:2-3; 5:5, 27; 6:7; 7:11, 17; 9:4). He would punish rebellion wherever it occurred.

Constable - The Philistines and Syrians (Arameans) were Israel's enemies, but God had done for them what He had done for Israel. He could justly send the Israelites into another part of the world since He had formerly relocated these other nations. The Israelites considered themselves superior because of their election, but really they were no better or less accountable than any other nation. (Constable's Notes on the Bible)

Hubbard sums up this passage this way - Two painful lessons were forced on Israel by Yahweh’s questions: (1) God’s sovereignty and care extended beyond their boundaries to distant and hostile peoples; and (2) their exodus contained no uniqueness to protect them from judgment once they had ruptured the covenant. Any vestige of national pride, social smugness, or military security was snatched away by the divine interrogator. (Ibid)

Amos 9:8  "Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob," Declares the LORD.

 KJV Amos 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.

ESV  Amos 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground, except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," declares the LORD.

CSB  Amos 9:8 Look, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth. However, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob-- this is the LORD's declaration--

NET  Amos 9:8 Look, the sovereign LORD is watching the sinful nation, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth. But I will not completely destroy the family of Jacob," says the LORD.

NIV  Amos 9:8 "Surely the eyes of the Sovereign LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth-- yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob," declares the LORD.

NLT  Amos 9:8 "I, the Sovereign LORD, am watching this sinful nation of Israel. I will destroy it from the face of the earth. But I will never completely destroy the family of Israel, " says the LORD.

  • the eyes Amos 9:4; Ps 11:4-6; Proverbs 5:21; 15:3; Jeremiah 44:27
  • and I Genesis 6:7; 7:4; Deuteronomy 6:15; 1 Kings 13:34; Hosea 1:6; 9:11-17; 13:15,16
  • nevertheless Deuteronomy 4:31; Isaiah 27:7,8; Jeremiah 5:10; 30:11; 31:35,36; 33:24-26; Joel 2:32; Obadiah 1:16,17; Romans 11:1-7,28,29


Behold (see discussion of hinneh). This interjection is given to get the reader's full attention! The idea is now "Listen closely!" 

The eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom - Not just "Lord" but "Lord God" which emphasizes His sovereignty, a truth conveyed by the NIV's rendering "the Sovereign LORD." "Yahweh fixed his damning gaze on Israel" (Hubbard). He saw predominantly evil rather than good (Pr 15:3)!

Compare Jehovah's similar statement earlier in this chapter - "I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good.” (Amos 9:4) What a horrible thought that the "Chosen People" are here called "the sinful kingdom!" Their election as a nation did not guarantee that their hearts would follow God, for they (like all of us) harbor the intractable enemy of God, the fallen flesh, which is firmly entrenched in our mortal bodies and God's mortal enemy!

Sinful is chatta (see related word chattat/chattath) which has the basic sense of to "miss the mark" in this case the mark of God's righteousness, His holy commands and laws, of all that He deemed just and righteous. The Septuagint translates it with hamartolos which describes behavior or activity that does not measure up to God's holy standard of morality. Hamartolos describes those who are continually erring from the way, constantly missing God's mark, living in opposition to His good and acceptable and perfect will. The fate of the sinful kingdom is a picture of the end of every man and woman who rejects God gracious offer of forgiveness and instead willfully chooses sin as their master and their condemner!

Jehovah makes a similar pronouncement of judgment against Jerusalem and thus the entire Southern Kingdom of Judah declaring "He who dwells in this city will die by the sword and by famine and by pestilence; but he who goes out and falls away to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live, and he will have his own life as booty. For I have set My face against this city for harm and not for good,” declares the LORD. “It will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon and he will burn it with fire." (Jer 21:9-10)


And I will destroy it from the face of the earth - "It" of course is the sinful kingdom of the Northern Ten Tribes. Note the "I will" indicating that the Lord God Himself will initiate and orchestrate this destruction even using the abominably evil kingdom of Assyria to carry out the destruction, even as He used Babylon as His instrument of destruction against the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Read Jer 25:9, Jer 27:6) and yet Babylon would be punished for her evil (And lest you doubt this truth, read of the retribution against Babylon in Jer 51:24-46, 47-59, 60-64). God is NOT evil but He in His infinite wisdom and power is able to use evil men to bring about His righteous ends. This is a mystery to me, but it is seen all through Scripture (think of Judas betraying Jesus, and because it was the exercise of Judas free will, he paid the penalty of eternal destruction for his betrayal!)  (for more read Does God sometimes use evil to accomplish His plans)

Gary Smith adds "The nations are the instrument of God who will bring destruction and captivity to Israel (Amos 3:11,12; 4:2, 3; 5:27; 6:7, 14; 7:17; 9:4). (Ibid)

The statement from the face of the earth taken by itself would suggest total annihilation of Israel, but as the following context shows that is not to be the case. What would be total is the destruction of the regime of the Northern Kingdom, centered in Samaria. While the Southern Kingdom would later be destroyed, in contrast to Samaria, Jerusalem would be restored after their 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Not so with Samaria, but it would be destroyed from the face of the earth. 

Destroy...destroy (demolish, exterminate) (08045)(shamad) is a verb meaning "be destroyed, decimated, perished, overthrown, exterminated, i.e., pertaining to being in a totally ruined state, which can include death of a person or extinction of an entity." (Swanson) The wholesale destruction depicted by shamad usually involves a rather sudden catastrophe such as warfare or a mass killing. For example, similar to what we read in Amos 9:8, in Dt 6:15 God says He will "wipe" Israel off the face of the earth, so great was His anger against them! Many of the uses of shamad have God as the subject rendering the destruction, sometimes against Israel's enemies, sometimes threatening Israel herself as in the present context.

The Septuagint translates both uses of shamad in this passage with the same verb exairo (ek = out of + airo = to take) which means exclude or remove someone from a group and so to drive away (used only in 1 Cor 5:13 in NT). The idea of exairo is to take up out of any place (exactly what happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel who was "taken up" out of their land and transported or exiled to Assyria where they became the so-called "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel" (but not lost to God! See What happened to the lost tribes of Israel?

Nevertheless - Basically, this noun indicates that a thing "comes to an end" and "is no more" and in this context is used as an adverb of limitation. The destruction of Israel will not be total. 

I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob," Declares the LORD - Most of the Israelites were slain in the terrible Assyrian invasion in 722 BC or were deported to Assyria, because of God's faithful covenant love, He promises to always have a remnant of believing Israel (a truth repeated in Amos 9:9 - see comments there for more on remnant). 

Why does God use house of Jacob here? Hay suggests "mention of the "house of Jacob" is reminiscent of their progenitor's history before his name was changed to Israel, hence the negative connotation."

Totally is not separately translated in Hebrew (shamad = "totally destroy") but it is in the Septuagint where totally is translated with the absolute negative particle (ouk) and the noun telos which means fully or completely. In other words, "not completely" speaking of the extent of the destruction of Israel. 

Hubbard comments on the interpretation of the house of Jacob - To identify sinful kingdom with Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and house of Jacob with Judah, the Southern Kingdom, is both to introduce a distinction not otherwise found in Amos and to use Jacob in a way that would have confused Amos’ hearers (cf. 6:8; 8:7, where Jacob was clearly the Northern Kingdom).

Hay comments on God's promise that "I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob" -  The following verse shows that they would be scattered among the nations of the earth, but the fact that Anna is said to be of the tribe of Asher (Lk 2:36+) gives evidence that there were survivors whose descendents were still alive in New Testament times. This should be a great encouragement to us, for, as ever, His promises are never annulled. This pledge made in the days of Amos still holds good, and should give us confidence that all the promises made to New Testament believers are as dependable. "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2 Cor 1:20). Just as a small proportion of Israel was preserved in that past era, so in this age of grace, among the Jewish people, there are still some being saved. A judicial blindness afflicts the nation, but it is "in part", and in due course will be lifted; "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (Ro 11:25 - See Walvoord's analysis on "fullness of the Gentiles" and "times of the Gentiles"). Paul sees himself as an example of an Israelite who has experienced God's salvation in this present Christian era (v. 1), so the blindness is neither total nor permanent. (What the Bible Teaches)

Amos 9:9  "For behold, I am commanding, And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, but not a kernel will fall to the ground.

 KJV Amos 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.


For - Term of explanation. What is Jehovah explaining? He is reiterating that He will not totally destroy Israel as He paints us a picture of the doctrine of the  believing remnant

Behold - Listen carefully to what God says. (see discussion of hinneh)

I am commanding - The judgment would take place on order from Jehovah. This order as the Commander-in-Chief (cf Amos 6:11) recalls His military Name "Lord of Sabaoth" or "Lord of hosts (armies)."

And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations - God says "I will shake" indicating He is clearly the instigator of the shaking. How would He do this? God would use the evil nation of Assyria to shake the house of Israel causing her to quiver, waver, tremble, totter and finally fall. The Septuagint translates "shake" (nua) with the Greek verb likmao which means to winnow (see winnowing). 

Shake" (nua) - Vigorously shaking to and fro. Sailors in a stormy sea are said to "stagger" like drunkards (Ps 107:27); the ways of an adulterer are called "unstable" (Pr 5:6); beggars "totter" along in uncertainty (Ps 109:10); lips "quiver" (1 Sa 1:13); heads "wag" as a sign of contempt and insult (Lam 2:15; Zeph. 2:15); and at times, doorposts, people (EVEN NATIONS AS HERE IN Amos 9:9), idols and the earth "tremble" (Isa. 6:4; Ex. 20:18; Isa. 19:1; 24:20).

Among the nations - In the context of the coming invasion of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria in 722 BC and their subsequent exile from the land, this phrase most likely refers to this scattering, but a few commentators like feel that Amos 9:10 "shows that they would be scattered among the nations of the earth." (Hay - What the Bible Teaches - Amos) See also comments by David Levy below which chronicle the worldwide scattering of the Jews. 

As grain is shaken in a sieve - The metaphor would have been easy for his readers to visualize as Israel was primarily an agrarian culture and grain was winnowed to separate the wheat (good) from the chaff (bad, evil). 

Henry Morris comments that "The survivors of the Assyrian holocaust were so thoroughly sifted "among all nations" that they have been referred to as the ten lost tribes of Israel, yet God knows where each one and his descendants yet remain.

But not  -  The Septuagint has a strong double negative (ou me) signifying absolutely not. This is one of God's mercy filled, gracious terms of contrast! We would all be forever separated from His holy presence were it not for the "blessed but's" in His Holy Word. It is good to frequently recall God's infinite mercies toward us who deserved Hell, even as Paul reminds us writing

"BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)," (Eph 2:4-5+)

So beloved, if you are safe in Christ by grace through faith, think of yourself today as an eternally preserved "kernel" which results from God's righteous sifting and separation of the wheat from the chaff (pix) (Read Ps 1:4-5, 6+ Did you see the distinction in Ps 1:6+?)

Spurgeon -addresses believers who often feel tossed about as if God were winnowing them! -  I think I see you, poor believer, tossed about like that wheat, up and down, right and left, in the sieve, and in the air, never resting. Perhaps it is suggested to you, ‘God is very angry with me.’ No, the farmer is not angry with his wheat when he casts it up and down in the sieve, and neither is God angry with you; this you shall see one day when the light shall show that love ruled in all your griefs.” 

A kernel (or pebble) will fall to the ground - That which falls to the ground (if translated as "kernel") depicts the Jews who are part of the righteous believing remnant. God will distinguish between the righteous (the grain) and the wicked (the chaff) when He judges, and will thus preserve a remnant in Israel. 

McComiskey - The worthless bits of stone and rubbish remain in the sieve; the good grain falls to the earth. So the Lord will put his people through the sieve. He will bind the wicked, destroying them (v. 10), but he will save the righteous. This principle of God's justice is eternal: the judgment of the wicked and the salvation of the righteous go together. What we see articulated on the historical plane in Amos will also appear at the end of history (Matt. 13:24-30; 25:31-46). (The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository Commentary)

Kernel (or pebble in ESV and NET translations) is tseror (06872) which  "A masculine noun referring to a pebble, a piece of grain. It refers to a relatively small stone left in a city, possibly a small building stone (2 Sam. 17:13). It is understood as grain in Amos 9:9 by some translators (nasb, grain; kjv, corn). A pebble or a tiny stone is also possible. (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Gary Smith comments on the fact that the interpretation of this sifting metaphor depends somewhat on whether one translates the Hebrew word tseror as a small stone (pebble as in 2 Sa 17:13) or kernel (of grain). Thus Smith writes...

The process of distinguishing the good from the bad is likened to the process of cleaning grain with a sieve. The meaning of the illustration is made difficult by the use of the rare word ṣerōr which may refer to a ‘pebble’ that is taken out of the good grain, or to the firm ‘kernels’ of good grain. The metaphor of shaking Israel like shaking grain may describe a large mesh sieve which separates straw and other larger stones from the grain which falls through, or it may refer to a fine mesh sieve which separates the good grain from the fine dust and chaff which falls through. If ‘falling’ to the ground is negative, then the good grain must be the ṣerōr which stays in the sieve. However if it is a neutral clause describing the process of separating the grain from useless trash then either interpretation is possible. The main focus is the separation of the good from the bad. Since the next verse relates to the punishment of the sinners, the process of shaking separates the sinners so that they can be destroyed. (Amos - Mentor Commentary)

NET Note adds - The meaning of the Hebrew word tseror, translated "pebble," (Amos 9:9NET) is unclear here. In 2 Sa 17:13 it appears to refer to a stone. If it means "pebble," then the sieve described in Amos 9:9 allows the grain to fall into a basket while retaining the debris and pebbles. However, if one interprets tseror as a "kernel of grain" (cf. NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT) then the sieve is constructed to retain the grain and allow the refuse and pebbles to fall to the ground. In either case, the simile supports the last statement in Amos 9:8 by making it clear that God will distinguish between the righteous (the grain) and the wicked (the pebbles) when He judges, and will thereby preserve a remnant in Israel. Only the sinners will be destroyed (Amos 9:10). 

ESV Study Bible - Isaiah 27:12-13 uses the sieve figure to say that none of the remnant will be lost among the nations.

John MacArthur writes "Only the chaff was to be punished; His remnant was to be preserved to inherit the blessings spoken of in the following verses." (The MacArthur Study Bible)

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary summarizes the remnant concisely explaining that it refers to a "group of people who survive a catastrophe brought about by God, ordinarily in judgment for sin. This group becomes the nucleus for the continuation of mankind or the people of God; the future existence of the larger group depends on this purified, holy remnant that has undergone and survived the judgment of God. The remnant concept is found in all periods of redemptive history where catastrophe—be it natural disaster, disease, warfare, or other instruments—threatens the continuity of God’s purposes. From the Creation account to the end of the OT, the concept is progressively sharpened. (Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines remnant as "the part of a community or nation that remains after a dreadful judgment or devastating calamity, especially those who have escaped and remain to form the nucleus of a new community. The survival of a righteous remnant rests solely on God’s providential care for His Chosen People and His faithfulness to keep His Covenant promises. The concept of the remnant has its roots in the Book of Deuteronomy (Dt 4:27, 28, 29, 30, 31), where Moses warned the people of Israel that they would be scattered among the nations. But God also promised that He would bring the people back from captivity and establish them again in the land of their fathers. This concept was picked up by the prophets, who spoke of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. The concept was extended to apply also to the gathering of a righteous remnant at the time when the Messiah came to establish His kingdom." (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

Messianic Jewish writer David Levy comments on I will shake the house of Israel among all nations as grain is shaken in a sieve - Israel would be sifted because of her sin. The Lord said, “I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet shall not the least kernel fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:9). God was about to scatter the Jews worldwide, and they would suffer trials and tribulations during centuries of exile. Grain is sifted to separate it from worthless chaff and other impurities, through this purifying process, God would protect and spare Israel. Israel has been sifted throughout the nations for some 19 centuries as satanically obsessed leaders have attempted to destroy the Jews.

    In 135 A.D., the Emperor Hadrian took over Jerusalem and persecuted the Jews. He posted edicts against the practice of Judaism, and any infringement brought the death penalty. Jews were barred from Jerusalem; those trying to enter the city were killed. 

    During the first crusade in 1096, Jews were branded as the enemies, of Christendom, and 12,000 were killed along the Rhine River in Germany. 

    In 1181, King Phillip of France banished the Jews from his country, stripping them of their land and houses. 

Wikipedia - While the royal demesne had increased under Philip I and Louis VI, it had diminished slightly under Louis VII. In April 1182, partially to enrich the French crown, Philip expelled all Jews from the demesne and confiscated their goods

    In 1189, at the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted, persecution of the Jews broke out resulting in most Jewish houses in London being burned, people killed, and their possessions claimed by the Crown. 

    In 1348, Jews were blamed for the Black Plague of Europe. Jews were killed in Strausberg (2,000), Maintz (6,000), and Erfut (3,000). 

    In 1478, the Spanish Inquisition broke out, and in 1492, 300,000 Jews were banished from the country and many more killed. 

    In 1520, Jews were banished from Naples, Genoa, and Venice, Italy. 

    In 1794, Jews were restricted in Russia, and Jewish men were forced to serve 25 years in the Russian army. 

    By 1903, renewed restrictions were levied against Jews, and frequent pogroms (massacres) broke out as the Russians destroyed many Jewish villages. 

    The worst holocaust to come upon the Jews took place between 1933 and 1945 when 6,000,000 died at the hands of Hitler’s Germany as he systematically ordered the destruction of European Jewry.

Yet, in spite of all this suffering, the Jewish people have survived persecutions, pogroms, banishment, and systematic genocide—all in fulfillment of Amos’ amazing prophetic forecast. Amos warned that some Jewish people would be punished because of their rebellious attitudes. “All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, The evil shall not overtake nor meet us” (Amos 9:10). Amos was saying that those who falsely boasted that judgment would not fall upon the nation (Amos 6:1–3, 13) would be purged out by death. Jeremiah prophesied the survival of Israel in the midst of severe judgment. He said that although God might make a full end of all nations to which He would scatter His people, He would not make a full end of Israel (Jer. 30:11+). In fact, He promised that Israel would survive as long as the earth existed (Jer. 31:35–38+). What a marvelous promise of God’s grace and mercy in the midst of extreme judgment!

Amos 9:10  "All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, Those who say, 'The calamity will not overtake or confront us.'

 KJV Amos 9:10  All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.

NET  Amos 9:10 All the sinners among my people will die by the sword– the ones who say, 'Disaster will not come near, it will not confront us.' (Amo 9:10 NET)

  • the sinners Isaiah 33:14; Ezekiel 20:38; 34:16,17; Zephaniah 3:11-13; Zechariah 13:8,9; Malachi 3:2-5; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 3:10-12; 13:41,42,49,50
  • The evil 6:1,3; Ps 10:11; Ecclesiastes 8:11; Isaiah 5:19; 28:14,15; 56:12; Jeremiah 18:18; Malachi 3:15


All the sinners of My people - The implication is that those who are of the believing remnant will not die by the sword. 

Sinners is the same word translated sinful in Amos 9:7 and translated by the Septuagint with hamartolos (see preceding note).

Will die by the sword  (cf sword Amos 9:1, 4) - God declares the "final verdict" on the sinners. Death is always the penalty for sin (Ro 6:23+, Ezekiel 18:4,20), unless you have a Sin Bearer (2 Cor 5:21+, 1 Peter 2:24+). Death by the sword as horrible as it is, is not nearly as bad as the fate that follows, which is death by separation, for Paul writes

After all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey (see hupakouo) the gospel of our Lord Jesus . 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Th 1:6-9)

Die is the Hebrew word muth (04191) which is translated in the Septuagint with teleutao (from teleo - to make an end of, to accomplish) which means to end, finish or complete. 

Those who say, 'The calamity will not overtake or confront us - See Amos' previous descriptions that describe Israel's self-delusion and boasting in Amos 6:1-3 and Amos 6:13. Deception and delusion regarding the certain judgment of Jehovah is a characteristic of sinners. In the Septuagint the single Hebrew word for "not" is actually two words (ou me) both of which are repeated (!), signifying absolutely no way -- that shows how utterly they have been deceived by sin (Heb 3:13)! Beware of the deceiving power of sin! 

The Septuagint translates calamity with Greek kakos (2556) which describes that which is inherently harmful, injurious, dangerous. It is notable that kakos also is defined in a moral sense as wicked, vicious, bad in heart, conduct, and character. So it is fitting that the same word (kakos) describes the calamity that would come upon their evil hearts! 

Hay applies this almost boastful assurance of those doomed to die - The complacency of these sinners is frightening, and is not confined to their generation. In a future age there will be those who will be saying "Peace and safety" when "sudden destruction" is pending. In that context Paul warns believers against the same careless attitude: "let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Th 5:3, 6+). There is constant need for vigilance lest we should incur divine displeasure (ED: OF COURSE AS BELIEVERS WE CANNOT LOSE THEIR SALVATION, BUT WE CAN LOSE REWARDS). Israel's history stands as a beacon of warning to us all: "Now these things happened unto them by way of example" (1 Cor 10:11, see also 1 Cor 10:6). The injunction there is, "let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor 10:12). (What the Bible Teaches - Amos)

Amos 9:11  "In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old;

 KJV Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

NLT  Amos 9:11 "In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory.

ESV  Amos 9:11 "In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old,

CSB  Amos 9:11 In that day I will restore the fallen booth of David: I will repair its gaps, restore its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old,

NIV  Amos 9:11 "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be,

  • in that day Acts 15:15-17
  • raise Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:1-10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; 33:14-16,20-26; Ezekiel 17:24; Ezekiel 34:23,24; 37:24,25; Hosea 3:5; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:31-33,69,70; Acts 2:30-36
  • the fallen booth of David Isaiah 16:5; Ezekiel 21:25-27
  • wall up its breaches Heb. hedge. Job 1:10; Ps 80:12; 89:40; Isaiah 5:5
  • rebuild it as in the days of old Ps 143:5; Isaiah 63:11; Jeremiah 46:26; Lamentations 5:21; Ezekiel 36:11; Micah 7:14


​​​​​In that day - In context what day? He has just described judgment of sinners. Now God skips down the corridors of time to the end of the age. That day is "prophetic shorthand" for the Day of the Lord

As David Levy says "The words in that day had been used to describe Israel’s judgment (Amos 2:16; 3:14; 5:18–20; 8:3, 9, 11, 13), but now Amos used these words to proclaim the nation’s restoration, spiritual reunion, and redemption." (Friends of Israel Magazine - Article) 

Hubbard - “The transition from verse 10 to verse 11 is the most abrupt and surprising in the entire book. The sword of judgment gives way to the trowel of reconstruction.”

G Campbell Morgan - “It is now declared that the reason of the divine judgment is not revenge, but the only way in which it is possible to usher in the restored order on which the heart of God is set.” 

Note that some commentators assert that Amos 9:9-10 refers to the Great Tribulation (Mt 24:21+), also know as the Time of Jacob's Distress (Jer 30:7+), or the time of great distress (Daniel 12:1+).

THOUGHT - CAVEAT - THE FOLLOWING THOUGHTS ARE VERY SUPPOSITIONAL! There are three phrases in Amos 9:9-10 that do potentially allow such an interpretation that Amos 9:9-10 is a picture of the coming time of Israel's distress at the end of this age: (1) "I will shake the house of Israel among all nations" - Ostensibly this could be interpreted as referring to the final time of the end when Israel will be "shaken" - read Zech 12:1-4+. (2) "All the sinners of My people will die by the sword" - This could refer to the horrible Time of Jacob's Distress when 2/3's of Israel will be killed as prophesied in Zech 13:8+. (3) "But not a kernel will fall to the ground" - Again ostensibly this would parallel Zechariah's description of a believing remnant of Israel in Zech 13:9+ which describes 1/3 of Israel is left after the Lord's judgment of Israel. In sum, Amos 9:9-10 does have some descriptions that might allow one to equate it with the Great Tribulation, etc, but I am personally not certain that was the original intent.  

After this time of Israel's future testing will the promises of Amos 9:11-15 will be fulfilled. So this could be the time to which James refers when he says "after these things." 

ESV Study Bible comment on Amos 9:11-15 - God has committed himself to bless his people, and eventually the world, through the family of David (2 Sam. 7:15-16; Ps. 72:17). In that context, Israel’s fortunes (Amos 9:14) would be restored. The abundance described in Amos 9:13-15 stands in stark contrast to the ruin and destruction that fell on Israel after God repeatedly warned them, appealing to them to come to repentance (Amos 4:6-11). Again, the point is that God does not intend for judgment on Israel to be final, but to be a tool through which blessing may ultimately come...Amos 9:11In that day reminds the reader of the Day of the Lord that the Israelites confidently expected. If it was to be a day of destruction instead of blessing (Amos 5:18-20), that did not mean it was to be God’s final word on the subject. (ESV Study Bible, The: English Standard Version)

I will raise up the fallen booth (tabernacle) of David - Notice the "I will" (raise up...wall up...raise up...rebuild in Amos 9:11; restore in Amos 9:14; plant in Amos 9:15) statements in this passage, reflecting God's sovereign pleasure and power. This is the promise keeping God speaking to Israel, who He has just judged and condemned. In the midst of this judgment, because of His covenant love, God remembers mercy (cf "His unchanging love" - His  hesed/chesed/heced in Micah 7:18+). And so He gives a prophecy promising restoration of future glory to the nation of Israel, a prophecy that will be consummated when the Messiah returns to set up His glorious Kingdom and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. Then the fallen booth of David will be raised up. 

Gary Smith on the fallen booth - This structure which is fallen/falling is a prophetic metaphor of the present and future state of the Davidic kingdom. Instead of a powerful and secure kingdom, as in the time of David’s united monarchy, it was and will be more like a dilapidated little hut. But God will rebuild and restore it to its former glory.

Scofield on fallen booth - The Davidic monarchy, pictured by a tabernacle...was in a degraded condition. Cp. Isa. 11:1. On the basis of this verse the Talmudic rabbis called Messiah Bar Naphli (“the son of the fallen”). But He will arise (Mal. 4:2).

David Levy comments - "The word tabernacle refers to the royal house of David, which the Lord established forever in the Davidic Covenant (2 Sa 7:11-16). But sin brought the Davidic dynasty to decay and decline, to become only a shadow of its once-great power. With the destruction of Judah in 586 B.C. (Jer 22:24–30), the rule of the house of David ceased.' When the Messiah returns to set up His Kingdom, the Davidic Kingdom will be reestablished (Ezek 37:24–25). “In that day [the Lord will] raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches [repair the city wall] of it; and ... raise up his ruins [rebuild Israel], and ... build it as in the days of old [days of Solomon]” (Amos 9:11). At that time the boundaries of Israel will be expanded to include all the land promised to Abraham (Gen. 15:18). Israel will possess the remnant of Edom and all the surrounding nations who trust in the Lord (Amos 9:12)., These nations will enjoy the Messiah’s blessing and protection along with Israel. Israel has not known peace with her Gentile neighbors over the centuries, but in that day she will have peace because it will be accomplished by the Lord (Amos 9:12).(Friends of Israel Magazine article) 

Sunukijan - God will reestablish David's "tent" over both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. A "tent" (lit., "booth") or awning was made by setting up a simple frame and spreading branches over it. Its primary purpose was to shelter those under it, whether troops in the field (2 Sam. 11:11; 1 Kings 20:12-16), a watchman at post (Jonah 4:5), or pilgrims at the Feast of Booths (also called the Feast of Tabernacles, Lev. 23:33-42). David's dynasty, which had been a protective canopy over all the people of Israel, had "fallen" with the great schism of the 10 Northern tribes from the 2 Southern tribes (1 Kings 12). This booth had been broken in two. But God promised to unite the two kingdoms once again under Davidic rule (cf. Jer. 30:3-10; Ezek. 37:15-28; Hosea 3:4-5). He will restore the sheltering tent, repair its broken places, building it as it used to be. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Gary Smith writes that "The word tabernacle refers to the royal house of David, which the Lord established forever in the Davidic Covenant (2 Sa 7:11–16). But sin brought the Davidic dynasty to decay and decline, to become only a shadow of its once-great power. With the destruction of Judah in 586 B.C. (Jer. 22:24–30), the rule of the house of David ceased. When the Messiah returns to set up His Kingdom, the Davidic Kingdom will be reestablished (Ezek. 37:24–25). “In that day [the Lord will] raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches [repair the city wall] of it; and ... raise up his ruins [rebuild Israel], and ... build it as in the days of old [days of Solomon]” (Amos 9:11). (Mentor Commentary - Amos)

Henry Morris - This great prophecy of the ultimate restoration of the Davidic kingdom was still future when Peter and James quoted this verse (Acts 15:14-18). It will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, who will Himself assume the throne of David (Luke 1:31-33).

Criswell - The preservation of the Davidic line will achieve fulfillment ultimately through Christ. Amos said specifically (v. 15) that there was to be one final return of the Hebrews from exile, never to be followed by another exile. Some scholars view this brief paragraph on restoration and prosperity as being at variance with Amos's teachings. The truth is that hope is almost universally prevalent in Hebrew literature, especially in that of the prophets. Hebrew prophets naturally follow a statement of condemnation with one of hope. The hope here envisioned is a millennial hope. When Israel's tabernacle of David is restored (v. 11), the results of God's blessings will be apparent in every phase of life. The earth will yield its harvest so abundantly that the reapers will scarcely be able to reap the fields before the plowmen come to begin planting for the next year (v. 13). Israel will never again be taken captive, and she will possess her God-ordained land (vv. 14, 15). The authorship of these last verses is questioned by those who find it difficult to believe that a single prophet might preach both judgment and hope. For the true prophet, judgment was never God's ultimate purpose. God's acts in history are always for His greater redemptive purpose. The Book of Revelation serves as the final word on the relationship between judgment and hope. (Believer's Study Bible)

Hay has an interesting comment - It is significant that it is "the tabernacle of David" that is to be rebuilt. The usage of the word creates a link in thought with the Feast of Tabernacles, and the prophetic significance of that festival has to do with the coming millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus (Zech 14:16-19+). It will be then that God's Son, "who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Ro 1:3, RV), will exercise His kingly rights. (What the Bible Teaches)

Tabernacle (booth) (05521)(sukkah from sakak = to weave together) meant a shelter, a hut, a booth or a thicket. It denotes a “tent” or a “hut,” a temporary shelter made of vines and branches associated with the Festival of Shelters, or Sukkot. Sukkah described temporary shelters for animals (Ge 33:17), soldiers (2Sa 11:11), prophets (Jonah 4:5). In Lev 23:42-43 it refers to the booths constructed for the harvest feast, the Feast of Booths (Hebrew transliterated = hag [feast] hassukkot), which was held in the Fall (15th of Tishri - late Sept to Oct - see table for the Seven Great Feasts of Israel)

And wall up its breaches I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old - The days of old recall the glorious reign of King David, when it was as good as it ever got in Israel under the monarchy. 

Wiersbe - When Jesus Christ comes again, the breach between Israel and Judah will be healed, and there will be one nation submitted to one king (Be Concerned)

Guzik - Amos knew that Israel was ruined, because he speaks of restoring the tabernacle of David instead of the house of David. A tabernacle is a house, but a humble one. This “Pictures the ‘house’ of David that was becoming a dilapidated shack; in Amos’ time the Davidic dynasty had fallen so low that it could no longer be called a house.” (McComiskey)

MacArthur comments - In Amos 9:11, the Lord promised that He “will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down.” At the Jerusalem Council, convened to discuss whether Gentiles should be allowed into the church without requiring circumcision, James quotes this passage (Acts 15:15,16) to support Peter’s report of how God had “visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name” (Acts 15:14). Some have thus concluded that the passage was fulfilled in Jesus, the greater Son of David, through whom the dynasty of David was reestablished. The Acts reference, however, is best seen as an illustration of Amos’ words and not the fulfillment. The temporal allusions to a future time (“On that day,” Amos 9:11), when Israel will “possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles” (Amos 9:12), when the Lord “will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them” (Amos 9:15), all make it clear that the prophet is speaking of Messiah’s return at the Second Advent to sit upon the throne of David (cf. Isa 9:7), not the establishment of the church by the apostles. (Ibid)

Regarding the "Tabernacle of David" read the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7 which we often hear at Christmas but often fail to grasp the yet future aspect to be fulfilled at the Second Coming. 

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us (MESSIAH'S FIRST COMING); And the government will rest on His shoulders (MESSIAH'S SECOND COMING); And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David (CP "REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN") and over his kingdom (THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM), To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7+)

Comment - It is worth quoting the comment in the ESV Study Bible which often is generally "amillennial" in prophetic passages. This comment however seems to leave that door "open" explaining that the Prince of Peace "is the ruler whose reign will bring about peace because the nations (IMPLICATION? THERE WILL BE NATIONS AND NATIONS NORMALLY IN THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF GENTILES! Compare comments on Zechariah 14:16-19+ A PASSAGE THAT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO INTERPRET LITERALLY IF THERE WERE NO LITERAL MESSIANIC KINGDOM!) will rely on His just decisions in their disputes (cf. Isa. 2:4+; Isa 11:6-9+; Isa 42:4; 49:7; Isa 52:15+). This kind of king contrasts with even the best of the Davidic line that Judah has experienced so far, because these titles show that this king will be divine. (ESV Study Bible)

Amos 9:12  That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name," Declares the LORD who does this.

KJV Amos 9:12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

NET  Amos 9:12 As a result they will conquer those left in Edom and all the nations subject to my rule." The LORD, who is about to do this, is speaking!

NLT  Amos 9:12 And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine. " The LORD has spoken, and he will do these things.

  • possess Isaiah 11:14; 14:1,2; Joel 3:8; Obadiah 1:18-21
  • Edom Genesis 27:29,37; Numbers 24:17; Ps 60:8; Malachi 1:4
  • called by My name Isaiah 43:7; 63:19; 65:1; Jeremiah 14:9; 15:16; Daniel 9:18,19


In Acts 15 (see detailed commentary Acts 15:16-18) James quotes from Amos 9:11-12 but he quotes not from the Hebrew Masoretic text but from the Septuagint version, the Greek text, of the Old Testament which reads somewhat different from the Hebrew. Here is the English translation of the Septuagint rendering of Amos 9:11-12 

"In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof that have been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days: that the remnant of men (INSTEAD OF EDOM), and all the Gentiles upon whom My Name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the Lord who does all these things."

James' purpose for quoting this passage is to show to the legalistic Jews that God has always promised a place for the Gentiles in His plan of redemption and in that plan they did not have to first become Jewish proselytes but were simply to earnestly seek Him. 

That they may possess the remnant of Edom - Israel will have the territory of Edom who had been an enemy of Israel. 

Hay - The Edomites were dominated by David (2 Sam 8:14), but finally threw off the yoke of Judah in the days of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:22). They remained the implacable foes of the people of God (Amos 1:11), and the little prophecy of Obadiah exposes their hatred of their "brother Jacob" (v. 10). The fact that they are mentioned here specifically is to demonstrate that even the most rabid opponents of Israel will come under the dominion of the son of David in "that day". This will be the fate of "all the nations, which are called by my name" (What the Bible Teaches) 

Gary Smith -  At that time the boundaries of Israel will be expanded to include all the land promised to Abraham (Gen. 15:18). Israel will possess the remnant of Edom and all the surrounding nations who trust in the Lord (Amos 9: 12)., These nations will enjoy the Messiah’s blessing and protection along with Israel. Israel has not known peace with her Gentile neighbors over the centuries, but in that day she will have peace because it will be accomplished by the Lord (Amos 9: 12).  This prophecy was quoted by James at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:14–17+) to show that Gentiles who accepted Christ did not have to undergo circumcision and become Jewish proselytes. In quoting Amos, James proved to the council that Jewish and Gentile believers would exist side by side during the Kingdom age.
Therefore, during the Church age there is no need for Gentiles to become Jews. (Mentor Commentary - Amos)

Charles Feinberg - The citation of Amos 9:11-12 by James in Acts 15 does not warrant us in holding, as some do, that this prophecy is fulfilled completely in this age of grace. The phrase “in that day” of our text refers to the last days of Israel. The quotation of our verses in Acts 15:16-18 is made with one object in view: to confirm the fact of the conversion of the Gentiles. Hence the quotation gives only the general sense of the Amos passage and does not support the position that the Amos text has in view the Christian Church as its ultimate fulfillment. (The Minor Prophets, 1976)


And all the nations  - NET has "Israel's authority will extend over all the nations."

Who are called by My name - NLT = "all the nations I have called to be mine"  Amos anticipates the global sovereignty of the Davidic ruler, the Messiah, during the Messianic Age (cf. Mal 1:11). For the nations (or Gentiles) to be called by God's Name implies that they were those who called upon the Name of the Lord. This phrase also speaks of their being His possession. The Septuagint translates called (Heb = qara) with the verb epikaleo in the perfect tense (called at some time in the past with enduring effect of that call) Joel 2:32+ uses the same verb epikaleo in the Septuagint - "whoever calls (Heb = qara; Lxx = epikaleo) on the name of the LORD Will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls."  Dr Charles Feinberg agrees with this assessment writing that "The remnant that is called by the name of the Lord is equivalent to those designated in Joel 2:32+." (The Minor Prophets, 1976)

The extent of the Lord's reign in this future day was beautifully expressed by Isaac Watts...

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
Doth his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Declares the LORD who does this - He Who declared it, backs it up with His acts. 

Amos 9:13  "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills will be dissolved.

 KJV Amos 9:13  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.

NLT  Amos 9:13 "The time will come," says the LORD, "when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! 

ESV  Amos 9:13 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.

NIV  Amos 9:13 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills.

  • When the plowman will overtake the reaper Leviticus 26:5; Ezekiel 36:35; Hosea 2:21-23; John 4:35
  • sows seed Isaiah 35:1,2; 55:13; Joel 3:18,20
  • sweet wine  Amos 9:5; Judges 5:5; Ps 97:5


Behold (02009)(hinneh) is an interjection meaning behold, look, now; if. "It is used often and expresses strong feelings, surprise, hope, expectation, certainty, thus giving vividness depending on its surrounding context." (Baker) Hinneh generally directs our mind to the text, imploring the reader to give it special attention. In short, the Spirit is trying to arrest our attention! 

Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

These passages describe the glorious Millennial Reign of Messiah when conditions are ideal and idyllic...the utopia that men have been hoping for and trying to create in their strength for millenia!!! The Millennial Kingdom will be characterized by fertility (Amos 9:13), prosperity (Amos 9:14), and security (Amos 9:15), with Israel finally and permanently possessing the land promised in Ge 15:18-21+

Days are coming," declares the LORD - In these days God promises to remove all curses (cf Lev 26:14-46) and restore covenant blessings to the land (Lev 26:3-10; cf Dt 28:1-14). Sunikijan summarizes the contrasts between cursings and blessings...

Instead of drought and famine (Amos 1:2; 4:6-8), there will be unending prosperity (Amos 9:13; cf. Lev. 26:3-5, 10; Dt. 28:4-5, 8, 11-12).

Instead of the turmoil of war (Amos 2:13-16; 3:11, 15; 4:10-11; 5:2-3; 6:9-10; 7:17; 9:1, 10), there will be unbroken peace which will enable Israel to enjoy the fruit of her labor (Amos 9:14; cf. Lev. 26:6; Dt. 28:6).

Instead of the fear of exile (Amos 4:2-3; 5:5, 27; 6:7; 7:11, 17; 9:4), Israel will confidently defend herself from every foe and remain in the land (Amos 9:15; cf. Lev. 26:7-8; Dt. 28:7, 10). (Bible Knowledge Commentary

When that curse is removed,

"Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree" (Isa 55:13).

The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus  It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, The majesty of our God. (Isaiah 35:1-2+)

When the plowman will overtake the reaper - These agricultural descriptions indicated Israel will experience unprecedented peace and absence of fear of a foreign threat. The only way they could plant and harvest like this would be indicative of God giving security along with the productivity. The fields will be so productive that they will only finish reaping the harvest when it will be time to plant the next crop. In fact the plowman will have to wait for the reaper before he can plow and plant. The reaping should have been finished in May but will continue to October, planting season! 

NET Note - "Plowing occurred in October-November, and harvesting in April-May. But in the future age of restored divine blessing, there will be so many crops the reapers will take all summer to harvest them, and it will be time for plowing again before the harvest is finished." 

Overtake (05066)(nagash) signifies coming into very near proximity to the object and thus means to draw near or approach. Here in Amos 9:13 nagash speaks of incredible divine blessing on the land. In what might be a play on words Amos used the same Hebrew verb nagash in Amos 9:10 to describe sinners who were so deceived they thought they would not be overtaken by  divine judgment!

Isaiah alludes to Israel's productivity

"In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit." (Isa 27:6)


And the treader of grapes him who sows seed - When the grapes were harvested, they were placed in a press where workers would stomp on them with their feet and squeeze out the juice (picture).

NET Note - "The grape harvest occurred in August-September, planting in November-December. But in the future age described here there will be so many grapes the workers who stomp them will still be working when the next planting season arrives!"

There is a similar promise of incredible agricultural production to Israel in Leviticus

‘Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. (Lev 26:5, read the full blessing for obedience in Lev 26:1-13+)

When the mountains will drip sweet wine - Sweet wine is the best wine. A picture of the plethora of vineyards on the mountains. "In his mind's eye Amos can see the wine cascading off the hills like rivulets after a deluge. Joel expresses similar thoughts, but there, while the mountains "drop down new wine", "the hills shall flow with milk". The moisture to produce such a lavish crop will be constant, for "all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters" (Joel 3:18+)." (Hay)

Guzik - When God releases blessing and restoration, fruit comes from unexpected places. Normally, grapevines don’t grow well on mountains or high hills, but in the days of Israel’s restoration even the mountains shall drip with sweet wine and all the hills shall flow with it. When God releases blessing and restoration, the work is blessed – but it is still work. The plowman, the reaper, the treader of grapes, and him who sows seed still have their work to do. God doesn’t just do it all for them, but under God’s blessing and restoration the work is done with energy and joy. The plowman doesn’t just wait around; he gets busy even if he starts bumping into the reaper! “One sign of a true revival, and indeed an essential part of it is the increased activity of God’s laborers.” (Spurgeon)

Sunukijan says "The grapes will hang so heavy in the mountain vineyards that the hills will drip and flow (lit., "melt") with new wine (cf. Joel 3:18). So much juice will drip from the vines or overflow from the vats that the mountains will appear from a distance to be "dissolving" as softened mud will ooze down the slopes" (Ibid)

And all the hills will be dissolved - Dissolved is verb used to describe Yahweh's power to melt the land (Amos 9:5). Here because of the divine blessing on the land and the enhanced fertility and harvest it is as if the hills are are flowing with wine (as if they have "melted").

Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee note on Hebrew verb mug = Hithpalpel, to flow down, to melt, Amos 9:13, hyperbolically, “all the hills shall flow down,” shall all, as it were, dissolve into wine and oil. 

Gary Smith - Some in the Church deny that God has promised to reestablish Israel physically in the land of Canaan and fulfill covenant promises made to Abraham and his seed. They believe that the promises to Israel were conditioned on the nation’s obedience to God. They reason that since Israel sinned, breaking her covenant agreement with God, she forfeited any promise of a literal reestablishment in the land of Canaan by the Lord. Those holding this position teach that the Church has taken the place of Israel, and the promises made to the nation are now being fulfilled spiritually in the Church. Thus, the Church is the true Israel of God today, known as spiritual Israel. This interpretation contains several problem areas. First, those holding this position do not interpret Scripture literally; they spiritualize the text and in so doing give a wrong interpretation to the passages dealing with Kingdom promises to Israel. Second, it is clear from Scripture that the promises to Abraham and his seed were given unconditionally and eternally; they did not depend upon Abraham’s faith or obedience for their fulfillment (Gen. 12:1–3; 15:7–8; 16:6–8). Third, it is never stated in Scripture that the Church has replaced Israel and become spiritual Israel. Fourth, nowhere in the Bible is it said that Israel has forfeited her right to enjoy the promises given in the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants. In fact, the opposite is true. Over and over again, God gives Israel assurances in the prophetic writings that He will fulfill His covenant promises to the nation.

Related Resources:

Amos 9:14  "Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit.

 KJV Amos 9:14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

NET  Amos 9:14 I will bring back my people, Israel; they will rebuild the cities lying in rubble and settle down. They will plant vineyards and drink the wine they produce; they will grow orchards and eat the fruit they produce.

NRS  Amos 9:14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. 

NLT  Amos 9:14 I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine.

  • Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel Ps 53:6; Jeremiah 30:3,18; 31:23; Ezekiel 16:53; 39:25; Joel 3:1,2
  • rebuild Isaiah 61:4; 65:21; Jer 30:18; 31:38-40; Ezekiel 36:33-36; 37:25-28
  • plant Amos 5:11; Isaiah 62:8,9; Ezekiel 28:26; Zephaniah 1:13


Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel - This includes the "Ten Lost Tribes" which will be finally shown to have not been lost to the omniscient, covenant keeping God!  The Septuagint (Lxx) translates captivity with the noun aichmalosia which means captivity, state of captivity as a result of war (Rev 13.10).

NRSV renders it "I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel." (NRSV) The NET Note adds "This line can also be translated "I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel" and is a common idiom with three examples below (out of 20 uses in the OT - click here for discussion of all 20 passages)

Jeremiah 30:3+   ‘For behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The LORD says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’” 

Hosea 6:11+ Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, When I restore the fortunes of My people.

Zeph 3:20+ “At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” Says the LORD.

Related Resource:

And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them - Note the juxtaposition of divine sovereignty (I will restore) and man's responsibility (they will build). Note the contrast with the divine judgment in Amos 5:11.

The end times destruction in Israel will leave the country in ruins, but God promises that what was ruined will be rebuilt. 

Isaiah has similar prophecies 

Then (Messianic Kingdom, cf Isa 32:15-17) my people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places;  (Isaiah 32:18)

(Isaiah 61:4) Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. 

(Isaiah 65:21-23)  “They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  22 “They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.  23 “They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them. 

ESV Study Bible - To build cities and enjoy food and prosperity, when these things are enjoyed in obedience to the Lord and with thanksgiving to him, is to enjoy God’s blessing.

This prophecy echoes the more detailed prophecies in Jeremiah

(Jeremiah 30:18+) “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob And have compassion on his dwelling places; And the city (ZION, JERUSALEM) will be rebuilt on its ruin, And the palace will stand on its rightful place. 

(Jeremiah 31:38-40+)  “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the city (ZION, JERUSALEM) will be rebuilt for the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 “The measuring line will go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to Goah. 40 “And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the LORD (Read Zechariah 14:20-21+); it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

(Ezekiel 36:33-36+)  ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On the day (cf Amos 9:11 "IN THAT DAY") that I cleanse you from all your iniquities (- Also read Zechariah 12:10-14+, Zechariah 13:1+), I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34 “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 “They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 “Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.” 

(Ezek 37:24-28+)  My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.  25 “They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived (see Ge 15:18-21+); and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever (cf Ezek 34:23-24). 26 “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 “And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”’

Comment regarding David - As a literalist I agree with Dr John Walvoord who says that a "solution of the problem (THE IDENTITY OF DAVID IN THE MILLENNIUM) is more simple and seemingly in keeping with the prophetic references throughout Scripture, namely, that by David is meant the resurrected David who shares with Christ as prince some of the governmental duties of the millennial kingdom. It should be clear from many Scriptures that the reign of Christ is shared with others. As Newell has written: “David is not the son of David. Christ, as Son of David, will be King; and David, His father after the flesh, will be prince, during the Millennium” (William R. Newell, The Revelation, p. 323). In the light of many prophecies which promise saints the privilege of reigning with Christ, it would seem most logical that David the king raised from the dead should be given a place of prominence in the Davidic kingdom of the millennial reign of Christ. As indicated in Revelation 19:16, Christ is “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” This would certainly imply other rulers (cf. Isa 32:1; Ezek 45:8-9; Matt 19:28; Luke 19:12-27)." (The Doctrine of the Millennium—Part I:The Righteous Government of the Millennium)

Restore  (turn  back, bring back) (07725)(shub/sub) is a verb meaning to turn, to return, to go back, to do again, to change, to withdraw, to bring back, to reestablish, to be returned, to bring back, to take, to restore, to recompense. 

Captivity (fortunes) (07622) (shebuth from shabah = to take captive but some think it originates from shub = to return, restore) is a feminine noun which has two main meanings in the OT, (1) captivity, captives (esp Nu 21:29 referring to Moab), implying control and oppression and (2) fortunes, assets (primarily possessions, materials, and property though not exclusively so which will make life easier and more secure). One could see how both senses are meant in some passages because to restore someone from captivity is tantamount to bringing them into a place of good fortune. Baker adds that "This word conveys either a state of exile, such as being taken for a spoil of war, or the subjects of such captivity. The chief use was in declaring the liberating power of the Lord in releasing His people from such banishment (Deut. 30:3+; Jer. 33:7+; Hos. 6:11+)."

They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine and make gardens and eat their fruit - See quote above from Ezekiel 36:34-35+. An important promise to a country which has always been agrarian. This speaks of the fertility of the land. 

Amos 9:15  "I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them," Says the LORD your God.   

 KJV Amos 9:15  And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

  • they will not -  Isaiah 60:21; Jeremiah 24:6; 32:41; Ezekiel 34:28; 37:25; Joel 3:20; Micah 4:4


Even the frequently amillennial comments of the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge says on this passage "As the Jews, after their return from Babylon, were driven from their land by the Romans, this can only refer to their future conversion and restoration." (Amen and amen!)

Paul speaks of their future conversion in Romans 11:25-27+

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved (ALL OF THE 1/3 IN Zechariah 13:8-9+); just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER (SECOND COMING OF MESSIAH) WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”  27 “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” 

I will also plant them - The redeemed remnant of the nation of Israel will be planted by the sovereign, promise keeping God! 

“I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, (2 Sa 7:10),

Other prophecies describe the Lord's planting of Israel in their land...

(Isaiah 60:21)  “Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified. 

MacArthur - Israel will inherit the land promised to Abraham (Ge 12:1, 7; 13:15; 15:18). During the millennial kingdom, that will be the land of Israel as we know it today. In the eternal kingdom, it will be the New Jerusalem, capital of the new creation. The ultimate mission of Israel is to glorify the Lord (49:3; 61:3). (MacArthur Study Bible)

(Jeremiah 24:6-7) ‘For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7 ‘I will give them a heart to know Me (THE CONSUMMATION OF THE NEW COVENANT - Ezek 36:25-27, Jer 31:31-37), for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart. 

(Jeremiah 32:41) “I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul.

ESV Study Bible - This final blessing of the people is predicated upon their recognition of their Davidic Messiah, something that is yet to occur (ED: EXCEPT FOR JEWS WHO COME TO CHRIST IN THE CHURCH AGE). See Ro. 11:25-27+ (ED: READ ALSO Zechariah 12:10-14+)..

On their land -  Many prophecies emphasize it is their land referring to the land of Canaan originally given to Abraham and his descendants. Amos is not referring to the church! - (cf. Ge. 13:14-15; 17:7-8; Dt. 30:1-5; 2 Sa 7:10; Jer. 30:10-11; Joel 3:17-21; Micah 4:4-7) For example 

Deut 30:5+ “The LORD your God will bring you (ISRAEL) into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 

And they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them - No more "Wandering Jews!" God’s forgiveness is complete and His restoration permanent. The believing remnant is finally restored to their land in the Millennium and they will not be cast out. 

Ezekiel 37:25 +  “They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.

Joel 3:20+  But Judah will be inhabited forever And Jerusalem for all generations. 

Zechariah 14:11+ People will live in it, and there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security. 

Jeremiah has a similar prophecy regarding Jerusalem "it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.” (Jer 31:40+). 

Henry Morris on out from their land - This promise applies, not to the return from Babylon, but to the final restoration from exile, when they will never again "be pulled up out of their land."

Says the LORD your God -  Don't miss the last Hebrew words in this prophecy! Your God! And the Septuagint translates it with pantokrator (Almighty) the last word in the prophecy of Amos! How wonderful would these words your God sound to ears of Jewish readers who had ears to hear this truth. He still refers to Himself as Your God and in spite of Israel's persistent unbelief, their God was faithful. Does this ending not encourage your heart beloved believer, for to you He says "Your God!" You might want to end your time in Amos with a time of worship using an apropos song by Chris Tomlin entitled "Our God"

Our God

Water You turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There's no one like You
None like You

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer
Awesome in Pow
Our God, Our God

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer
Awesome in power
Our God, Our God

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?

What could stand against?

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer
Awesome in Power
Our God, Our God

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
What could stand against?

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?

Then what could stand against?

MacArthur Study Bible summarizes The Ultimate Restoration of Israel

  • Isaiah 27:1-13; Isaiah 42-44; 65; 66
  • Jeremiah 30-33
  • Ezekiel 36:1-38; Ezek 37:1-28; Ezekiel 40-48
  • Daniel 9:20-27; Daniel 12:1-3
  • Hosea 2:14-23; 14:4-7
  • Joel 3:18-21
  • Amos 9:11-15
  • Obadiah 17, 21
  • Micah 7:14-20
  • Zephaniah 3:14-20
  • Haggai 2:20-23
  • Zechariah 13:1-9; Zech 14:1-21
  • Malachi 4:1-3