Amos 9

The Word Made Fresh

1I saw the LORD standing by the altar, saying,
“Strike the columns and make the doorways shudder.
Shatter them on the people’s heads,
and I will kill with the sword all who are left.
Not one of them will flee and escape.”
2Though they dig down into the deepest grave,
even from there my hand will take them.
If they climb up into the heavens,
I will bring them down.
3If they try to hide on top of Mt. Carmel
I will search until I find them and grab them.
If they hide from my sight beneath the sea,
I will order the sea serpent to bite them.
4Even if their enemies drive them into captivity,
I will order the sword to do away with them,
and I will keep a close watch on them –
to harm them, not to do them any good.
5The LORD God the Almighty melts the ground with a touch,
and all who live there will mourn as it rises and sinks
like the Nile of Egypt.
6The LORD builds lofty rooms in the heavens
and establishes a vault on the earth.
The LORD summons the sea
and pours out its waters over the earth in the LORD’s name.
7Aren’t you like the Cushites to me, Israel?
The LORD brought Israel up from Egypt,
and the Philistines from Caphtor,
and the Arameans from Kir.
8The eyes of the LORD God are upon the sinful kingdom,
and the LORD will wipe it off the face of the earth.
But I will not completely destroy the family of Jacob,”
says the LORD.
9“I will issue the command that will shake the family of Israel
among all the nations as one shakes with a net,
but not even a pebble will fall to the ground.
10The sinful ones among my people will be put to the sword
even though they say, ‘No evil will ever overtake us!’
11That is the day when I will restore David’s house.
I will repair its cracks and rebuild its ruins to their former state.
12Then they may take control of what is left of Edom
and all the other nations that are called by my name.
Thus says the LORD, who will accomplish these things.
13The time is coming,” says the LORD,
“when the one who plows will overtake the one who reaps,
and the one who treads the grapes
will overtake the one who sows the seed.
Then the mountains will drip with the sweetest wine,
and the hills will be flowing with it.
14Then I will restore my people Israel.
They will rebuild the devastated cities and live there.
They will plant vineyards and drink wine from them.
They will plant gardens and eat what they produce.
15And I will settle them in their land.
They will never again be taken from the land I have given them,”
says the LORD your God.


1: A description of divine punishment: the pagan altar is broken and so are the people.

2-4: Psalm 139:7-12 is recalled. We cannot hide from God. In the psalm that was a good thing; here it is a threat.

5-6: We are again reminded that the authority behind the pronouncement is the God who rules the heavens and the earth and the sea.

7-8: God takes responsibility for the displacement and resettlement of Israel, Philistia, and Aram, and there is no doubt God can do it again. However, there is once more the promise that the destruction of Israel, though seemingly complete, will not be forever.

9-10: It is, in the end, the wicked people who are the target of God’s wrath.

11-12: The line of David will be restored. This is the fervent and nearly universal hope of all the prophets. It smacks, just a little, of longing for the “good old days.”

13-15: The restoration of Israel will be dramatic. The land will become fertile, and the harvest season will last so long it will be time for the next planting season before the harvest is ended. Cities will be rebuilt, fields and vineyards will be restored — all of this symbolic of the fruitfulness and prosperity of the people, planted to “never again be taken from the land.”


Thus, we reach the apparently inevitable and happy ending of sayings from yet another prophet of doom. God will always restore those who sincerely call on the LORD. Those who reject the LORD are always in danger of punishment; if not in this life, then in the life to come.