Scripture Thought (What I Learned):
In these chapters we find a rhetorical formula that introduces judgment upon each people in this manner; “…For three transgressions of ____, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof…” The blank is replaced with Syria, Edom, Israel, Ammon, etc. Clearly we can see that the Lord is angered by the transgressions. I personally believe that this expression did not literally mean that the transgressions occurred 3 or 4 times… but that they were occurring many times and that was enough to cause a punishment.
Chapter 1: The Lord Judges Syria, Tyre and Edom
Amos shows the Lord’s judgments upon Syria, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom and Ammon. We learn a little about Amos, who is a sheepbreeder of Tekoa; a simple farmer with no prophetic or theological training. Amos lived in the days of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel.
The Lord roars from Zion; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and top of Carmel (in Israel) withers. The people of Damascus shall go captive to Kir in Assyria. Judgment against Gaza and Tyre, because they delivered God’s people to the Edomites. Edom will be punished because of its pitiless anger. Ammon will be punished, because it killed pregnant women in Gilead. The king of the Ammonites will be taken captive.
Chapter 2: The Lord will Judge Moab, Judah and Israel
The Lord will pour out judgments upon Moab; Moab will be destroyed with fire, and its princes slain, because it burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. Judah will be sent fire, because their lies have led them astray. Israel will be punished for its sins against the righteous, poor and humble. The Lord vanquished the Amorites so the Israelites could occupy their Canaanite land, and the Israelites responded by giving wine to Nazirites and forbidding people from prophesying. The most courageous of men shall flee naked in the Day of Judgment.