We are in the Exile Stream reading from the New King James Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord God, we want to be people who hear and heed your warnings. We are reminded of the words in Proverbs, that “a word to the wise is sufficient.” May we hear you in the Words you have spoken, the whispers you send, the promptings you put in our hearts. Teach us aright and renew a right spirit in us. Amen.
3 – The words of God’s prophet must be heard and heeded for they are undeniably true and right. The word Amos gave was accurate [but ignored by the people of the northern kingdom]. They were deep in sinful behavior, strangely they were also very religious also. It was religion their way. Therefore God was prepping to send a vicious army against them. And they were deaf to the warning, however, since they were prospering and living in impressive luxury. The symbolism and the questions Amos asks in ch. 3 are astonishing –> for the fact that the people of Israel just did not listen! Horrid things would befall them and soon. It would be less than 20 years until the meanest army on earth trounced through like wolves on the attack.
These palaces were the pride of the northern kingdom, but they were all going to come down for their terrible sins. The Bethel that is mentioned is where one of the golden calves was set up in 930 B.C. thereabouts. The goal was to dis-tract people from God … it worked. This altar in Bethel was especially slated to be taken down.
4 – The banquets in the Samarian palaces were quite something; events of wine and song and veal actually. Amos talks of the palaces of Samaria. They were beautiful, stocked with sumptuous food, leaders and ladies alighting around luxuriously. And the attitude of those in these palaces was heartless and callous to anyone outside and especially to those below them in status. These palace dwellers stole mercilessly, and they were violent to anyone who objected to the theft. Be that as it may, the cows being readied for slaughter were as pampered as the women of these banquets. This of course until it was time to serve up some tender beef when the cows were led out with hooks in their noses and killed for dinner. Ironically when Amos talks of the “cows of Bashan” he isn’t talking to cows – he’s talking to the high falutin banqueters who are about to get the latter treatment that the cows get at banquet time. Assyrians would lead any survivors away by hooking people together like multiple fish displayed on a line after fishing all day. The hook was usually pierced through the lip. !–these are Assyrians doing this to Israeli humans–! It could hardly get worse. But God was at the end of His patience with a people who were religious in all their systems and schedules and also riotously sinful; like a weekend frat party gone wild that left nothing to the imagination in their lecherous quest for more and more double living. God has warned them in smaller ways with various and usually localized famines, droughts, blight, plagues, attacks and losses in battles. Well, time’s up for the Israelites and they best prepare to meet their God!