Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amos 1: 6-10

6Thus says the LORD,
"For three transgressions of Gaza and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because they deported an entire population
To deliver it up to Edom.
7"So I will send fire upon the wall of Gaza
And it will consume her citadels.
8"I will also cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod,
And him who holds the scepter, from Ashkelon;
I will even unleash My power upon Ekron,
And the remnant of the Philistines will perish," says the Lord GOD.
9Thus says the LORD,
"For three transgressions of Tyre and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because they delivered up an entire population to Edom
And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
10"So I will send fire upon the wall of Tyre
And it will consume her citadels."

This week, we move on to the next two cities on Amos' list of those receiving God's judgment for actions against Israel. The first is Gaza, which, represents the entire region of Philistia and, specifically, four additional major cities (see map above). Nestled between Egypt and Israel, with the Mediterranean Sea a western border, Gaza was a big center of trade in the day.

Today, the Gaza Strip is a Palestinian territory and a place of continued violence with Israel.

The cities mentioned in verse 8--Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron--were other prominent cities in Philistia. Gath would also be included on that Top 5 list. My study Bible explains that it is not in Amos' message because the city had already been destroyed by King Uzziah of Judah (II Chronicles 26:6).

The major sin of note is the deportation of Israelites to Edom. (And if you remember Edom from our study of Obadiah, you'll remember there's nothing good about Edom. More on the region next week!)

The word of the LORD is against you,
O Canaan, land of the Philistines
And I will destroy you
So that there will be no inhabitant.
So the seacoast will be pastures,
With caves for shepherds and folds for flocks.
And the coast will be
For the remnant of the house of Judah,
They will pasture on it
In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening;
For the LORD their God will care for them
And restore their fortune.

--Zephaniah 2: 5 (portion)-7

Tyre comes next, and this was a wealthy, fortified city with an active seaport in the region of Phoenicia, north of Israel and west of Syria.

The punishment in Amos' message to the city is similar to Gaza's: "delivered up an entire population to Edom." (vs. 9) But, there was something unique to Tyre's message in that there is mention of a special covenant--"the covenant of brotherhood."

Some 200 years before, in the days of David and Solomon, Israel had a covenant relationship with Phoenicia. There was to be no war between Israel and Phoenicia, especially the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Apparently, Tyre was guilty of breaking this special relationship, thus leading God to bring forth punishment. Although Amos' prophecy is matter-of-fact, note how God's intimate knowledge of Tyre comes through in this cross-reference from Ezekiel:

"Son of man, because Tyre has said concerning Jerusalem, 'Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has opened to me. I shall be filled, now that she is laid waste,' therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. 'They will destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; and I will scrape her debris from her and make her a bare rock."

--Ezekiel 26: 2-4

Jesus would refer to Tyre and Sidon in his chastising of the nations which had seen His miracles yet had not repented of their sins as a result of being in the Messiah's presence.

"For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you."
--Matthew 11:21-22

Tyre was destroyed in a conquest by Alexander the Great more than 400 years after Amos' prophetic words and 330 years before Jesus came. Yet, Jesus brings these cities and their judgment to light for those in His midst and for all to read in the New Testament. That is a long time to consider repentance, yet they did not. And what of us on the day of judgment?....

Closing with a review verse from Joel:

"Moreover, what are you to Me, O Tyre, Sidon and all the regions of Philistia? Are you rendering Me a recompense? But if you do recompense Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense on your head."
--Joel 3:4

Edom and Ammon follow in Gaza and Tyre's shoes....'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Amos 1: 11-15

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).

1 comment:

Carmen said...

Re: The Covenant of Brotherhood. You know, my memory is not so good these days, and sometimes I wonder if I've made a promise I've neglected to keep. God takes us seriously, and at our words. How much more careful should we be before uttering anything before Him. Interesting post, Sue! Made me think.