Amos 7:1-17


The remaining three chapters of the book of Amos contains five visions.

1.      Amos 7:1-3 contains the first vision.

2.      Amos 7:4-6 contains the second vision.

3.      Amos 7:7-9 contains the third vision.

4.      Amos 8:1-3 contains the fourth vision.

5.      Amos 9:1-10 contains the fifth and final vision.


THE FIRST VISION - Verse 1-3 - Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. 2  And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. 3  The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.

Verse 1 - These grasshoppers or locust were formed by God in the beginning of the latter growth of hay.  God forming these grasshoppers shows they didn’t come by natural means, but by supernatural means.  God allowed Israel to have some prosperity, but would refuse them full prosperity.  The mowing after the king’s mowing shows that after the best of the crop is used by the king, instead of devoting that portion that belongs to God to Him, God is determining to destroy the next crop.  Israel will have enough, but they won’t have any abundance.

Verse 2 - In this vision, it seemed the grasshoppers would eat all of the grass, and when it was about all gone, then Amos prayed that God would forgive Israel their trespasses against Him.

It is interesting to note that these verses are a vision, and not an actual happening.  Israel was blind to the intervention of Amos on their behalf, just as today, we are often blind to God’s people who intervene on our behalf.

Amos asks God to forgive Israel for their sinfulness, and God does.  Amos realizes it is God that has made Israel great.  They have arisen by the power of God.  Their size, being a very small nation, does not allow them to the strength necessary in manpower, materials, or weaponry to be a great nation.  Israel’s sins are so great they would be unable to stand under the weight of their sins if God doesn’t forgive them.

James 5:16 - “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  The passage before us in Amos is a practical example of a righteous man praying and accomplishing much.  May God give us this strength and grace. 

Note:  Israel does nothing at all to merit the forgiveness of God.  This is called grace and mercy.  Israel doesn’t receive that bad thing they deserve, instead, they receive that good thing they don’t deserve.  If sinners aren’t forgiven by God, how can we ever stand before Him?  There is no merit to our forgiveness any more than there was merit to God forgiving Israel.

Verse 3 - God repents.  This doesn’t mean that God is sorry for what he had thought to do to Israel.  There is no doubt they deserved all the judgments that God could ever place upon them, just like we deserve all the judgments God can place upon us.  God repenting means that He is changing His mind toward this action of His.  Repentance means a change of mind.  Repentance didn’t mean that God was wrong to judge Israel.  When God repents, it means he is going to take a different course of action than the course He is now on.  Genesis 6:6 states that God repented that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Here are a few other places where God repented.

1.   I Sam. 15:35 - about Saul being king.

2.   Ps. 106:45 - God repenting because of His mercies.

3.   Jonah 3:10 - changed toward Ninevah.

4.   II Kings 20:1-7 - revealing secret will to Hezekiah.

5.   God knew all the time what would happen.  We are dealing with the permissive will of God.

God states that it shall not be.  Only God has the ability, power and discretion to make such a statement.  What He says will come to pass. What He says won’t come to pass, won’t come to pass!


There are those people who believe in absolute predestination, that is, they believe that God has predestinated everything that happens on this earth, whether good or bad.  If absolute predestination is so, why did God change His mind and not go ahead and destroy the crop, as this vision shows?  Could it be that absolute predestination isn’t so at all, but that the prayers of Godly people can sometimes cause the wrath of God to cease, or at least be put off for a while?  This is my contention.  Moses prayed for Israel, and God ceased from cursing them to blessing them.  Jeremiah 15:1 states, “Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.”  There is a point that no man, by any means of prayer and petition shall “change the mind” of God.  (I know full well that some will reject the above thoughts, but the Bible clearly brings this things out.  I am not saying, by any stretch of the imagination, that God isn’t in complete control of this world.  He knows everything that is happening, and will use even the sinfulness of wicked people to perform His wonderful works. His eternal plan will be fulfilled, even by those who refuse to believe in God, that He is in control of everything.  While all this is true, God uses the prayers and works of men to fulfill His eternal plan.  I don’t understand all of this – I only know it is true!  WWR)


THE SECOND VISION - Verses 4-6 - Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part. 5  Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. 6  The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.

Fire can be interpreted as being invading armies by using the following quotes from the book of Amos:

1.      Amos 1:4  But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad.

2.      Amos 1:7  But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof:

3.      Amos 1:10  But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof.

4.      Amos 1:12  But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.

5.      Amos 1:14  But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind:

Fire showing the judgment of God:

1.      Genesis 19:24 - There is also the fire of God that is like unto that which fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah.

2.      Exodus 9:22 - There is the fire of God that came with the plagues upon Egypt.

3.      Leviticus 10:1 - There is the fire that devoured the two sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu) when they offered strange fire upon the altar of God.

Exactly what this fire is, I don’t know.   God brought invading armies upon Israel and destroyed their chief cities and took the people captive.  It may be that this fire is the complete destruction of any nation.  Israel will not be completely destroyed, although God will “remove them from circulation” for a while.

Devouring the great deep very possibly refers to all hope for Israel’s overcoming their enemies and the judgment of God being removed.

Eat up a part of them likely refers to the majority of Israel being killed.  These are all terrible calamities indeed, yet they are nothing compared to what God will do.

The petition of Amos to God is the same as in verse 2.  God’s reply is the same.  It is absolutely amazing that Israel never knows what God hasn’t done to them by way of judgment.  They also don’t understand what  God has done for them by way of blessings.  It is interesting to note that when Israel finally hears about the judgment of God that is coming, they don’t like it, and Amaziah, the priest of Bethel tells Amos to go prophesy someplace else, but not to prophesy in the city of the king.


THE THIRD VISION - Verses 7-9 - And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: 9  And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

A plumbline is a building tool, which allows buildings to be build straight up and down.  A tree growing on the side of a steep bank has a built in plumb bob.  This is why the tree grows straight up, even though the ground is uneven.  A level is not a good building tool except for small projects.  For all large projects, a plumb line and tape measure are the most important tools to make the structure plumb and square.  Builders of sky scrapers use electronic plumb bobs to make sure the building is built straight up.  This building tool represents what  God expects.  Even though the ground around us may be uneven (full of sinfulness and wickedness) God expects us to grow straight up.  And we will grow straight up if we follow the Word of God.

I will not again pass by them any more - This means that God is leaving his measuring device behind so Israel can see what is expected of them.  God is going to leave Israel to the natural consequences of their rebellion.  He will not forgive them any more, even though they call out to Him.

God doesn’t repent of this destruction, but He will measure Judah and Israel by His plumbline and everything that isn’t true to it will be wiped out.

It is immediately after the prophesy of this third vision, that Amaziah tells Amos not to preach any more in the kings city, but to prophesy in Judah.  It is amazing that the people of Israel, and especially the priest of Bethel doesn’t see the condition the country is in and agree with the prophecy of Amos.  Could it be that this is a political appointment instead of a religious appointment by God?


Verse 10-13 - Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11  For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. 12  Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13  But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.

Amaziah is probably a prophet of Baal, of the descendants of those people established in the priesthood by Jeroboam I.  See I Kings 12:32 where Jeroboam I set these people in the priesthood.  Amaziah is interesting in defending his position, as well as his king, as well as his false gods.  Note:  if God is against everything Amaziah is for, Amaziah will be against God.  If God leaves everything alone, then Amaziah will be pleased to allow God into “his” realm of power.

Amaziah wrote to Jeroboam II, accusing Amos of treason.  This is a common ploy of secular people against the prophets of God when they say that the judgment of God is coming upon that nation that disobeys God’s commands.

Amaziah doesn’t introduce Amos to the king, but speaks his name as if Jeroboam II already knows who he is.  It is likely that Amos prophesied often and only a few of his prophecies are recorded in this book.  Amaziah states that Amos is very brave to preach his message, even in the very midst of all Israel.  There is fear that the people will listen to the words of Amos, which come from God, and that the people will turn from their worship of false idols, which this generation didn’t see made, to the worship of the true God.

There is no record that Jeroboam II did anything about all this.  According to the scriptures before us, Jeroboam did nothing to Amos, or Amaziah.  Verse 12 indicates that Amaziah took matters into his own hands, ordering Amos to leave Bethel and preach somewhere else in Judah.  Amos was even commanded to move his household to another place.

Amaziah considers that the worship of the true God was in Judea and the message of Amos would be warmly received in that place.  If Amos was such a man as Amaziah, he would go to where things would be comfortable for him and this message received and agreed to.  Amos will answer this in verses 14-17.

The king’s chapel - or a place build where the king, as well as all the people, could worship the idol calves. 

The king’s court - a palace of the king was there, and Amaziah indicates that the king would not put up with Amos prophesying that evil was going to come to this place.

The king could have gone to Dan to worship just the same as in Bethel, for there was another idol calf there.  It is likely, however, that Amaziah was more interested in preserving his own interest than the king’s and it was easier to Amaziah to command Amos to leave than to move the idol calf, the king’s chapel, and the king’s court.

It is interesting to note that Amaziah heard the message of Amos, but he didn’t believe it. He also didn’t want anybody else to hear and believe it.  People today hear the message of the coming judgment of God, but they also don’t want to believe it.  They are comfortable the way they are and don’t want to be disturbed.  They have plenty of material goods, their future looks bright (if God will just leave them alone) and they don’t believe they will ever fall into the judgment of God.  They believe that somehow God will overlook their sinfulness, or they will find forgiveness at the last moment and be okay.  Many a lost soul is in this predicament.  This is also the situation this world is in today.

He would attack the prophet instead of repenting. 

Amaziah heard Amos say that God would rise up against the house of Jeroboam, and Amaziah took this as a personal condemnation of Jeroboam, not of the entire house of Jeroboam.


Verse 14-17 - Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 15  And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16  Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. 17  Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.

Amos quickly answers Amaziah by stating that he is doing what God has called him to do, not what is comfortable or profitable to do.  Amos states that he wasn’t taught to be a prophet in the schools of the prophets, nor did he learn from his dad.  He had a lowly job of herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit (a seasonal job).  God called me, Amos states, and I will prophesy what God says, not what men say.  Amos declares that he has a skill that will earn him a living, and that he doesn’t need to be preaching for a living.  This is always a good thing – for a preacher to have a marketable skill.  If it is God’s will, God will provide a living through a marketable skill, and if it is God’s will, He will provide a living through the preaching of the Word.

Sycomore tree - SYCAMORE (sihk' uh mohre) A combination "fig" and "mulberry" tree (Ficus sycomorus) indicating the fig tree in the Jordan valley that had leaves like our mulberry tree. Its fruit was inferior to the fig tree and had to be punctured to make the fruit edible. Amos was employed as "one who took care of sycamore-fig trees" (7:14 NIV; compare Ps. 78:47). This tree has no relation to the American sycamore tree. It was used as food for the poor and bore fruit several times a year. See 1 Kings 10:27; 2 Chronicles 1:15; 9:27. It was often planted along roadways for its shade (see Luke 19:4). Poor people used its wood rather than expensive cedar (Isa. 9:10).  [1]

What is interesting about this job is that Amos understands that some things need to be done in order for other things to happen.  The gospel must be preached before lose people can be saved, just like this sycamore fruit must be punctured before it will ripen.  You would think punching a hole in fruit would cause it to spoil, but this fruit isn’t like that.  Many might think that lost people will be forever doomed if they hear the gospel, but the truth is that it is only through the preaching of the gospel that anybody is saved.

[1] Holiman Bible Dictionary, item Sycomore