Amos 2

The Word Made Fresh

1The LORD says,
“For three and even four sins of Moab
I will not rescind their punishment.                 
For they burned the bones of the king of Edom
and ground them into lime.
2I will send a fire on Moab to burn down the fortresses of Kerioth.
Moab will die in the tumult, with shouting and trumpet blasts.
3I will do away with their king;
I will kill all the officials with him,” says the LORD.
4The LORD says, “For three and even four sins of Judah,
I will not rescind their punishment
because they have rejected my law
and ignored my rules.
They have been led astray by the same lies
their ancestors believed.
5So, I will send fire over Judah
to burn up the fortresses of Jerusalem.”
6The LORD says, “For three and even four sins of Israel,
I will not rescind their punishment.
They sell the righteous for silver
and the poor for a pair of sandals.
7They trample the poor into the dust
and push those who suffer out of the way.
Father and son go in to the same woman
and profane my holy name.
8They lay down beside every altar on clothing given in pledge.
They drink in their God’s house;
their wine bought with the fines they imposed on the people.
9But I destroyed the Amorite before their eyes.
He was as tall as a cedar and as strong as an oak.
I destroyed his fruit and his roots.
10I brought you out of Egypt
and led you through the wilderness for forty years
and into the land of the Amorites to possess it.
11I summoned some of your own children to be prophets,
and some of your youth to be consecrated.
Isn’t this all true, people of Israel?”
says the LORD.
12“But you made those who were consecrated drink wine.
And you ordered the prophets not to prophesy.
13That is why I will press you down where you are
as a heavily loaded cart is pressed down.
14Even those who are swift will perish.
Even those who are strong will be weak,
and the mighty will not save them.
15The archers will not resist,
and those who run fastest will not escape,
not even those who ride horses.
16The most determined among their strongest
will run away naked when that day arrives,”
says the LORD.


1-3: The Moabites are next, but it is strange that their condemnation is not for making Israel suffer, but rather Edom. There was a time (see 2 Kings 3) when Israel and Edom were allied together against Moab. The reference to the Moabites burning the bones of a king of Edom is an otherwise unknown event. The important thing in this paragraph is that God is apparently standing up for Edom. We mentioned before that Edom was the land occupied by Jacob’s brother Esau, so maybe the idea here is that God is honoring that relationship even though Edom “pursued his brother with the sword” (1:11) and will be judged accordingly.

4-5: Now Amos turns to Jerusalem and Judah and prophesies that God will punish them as well because of the sins in which their ancestors walked, which could be taken as a reference to most any period in Judah’s history.

6-16: Amos reserves by far the longest diatribe for his own country, Israel. The wrongdoing he describes can only be the witness of a citizen who lives among them and sees what goes on in the background: the poor are cheated out of what little they have, and sexual immorality abounds even at the so-called sacred sites. They behave wickedly even though God rescued them from slavery in Egypt, gave them the land of the Amorites to occupy, gave some of their children (remember Samuel?) the gift of prophecy and inspired some of their young people to take sacred vows. Even the strongest, fastest, bravest, and most skilled warriors among them will be easily dispatched.


The book of Amos is a warning that if we as a people are not respectful of God, God will leave us to be overrun by our enemies. Pray that our country will never become so disrespectful of God that God will turn a deaf ear to all our pleas and let us suffer the results of our unfaithfulness.