Amos 7

1 In this section God shows Amos three possible punishments for Israel. These seem to be in vision form, but some have suggested that the first two were plagues that actually started but were halted when Amos interceded.

The first possible punishment is a plague of locusts. They would attack and devour all the vegetation after the king had harvested his share of the crop. The result would be a severe famine for the common people.

2 Amos then intercedes for the people. Amos has no illusions but recognizes that Israel is small and weak despite its arrogance. It is important to note that Amos has genuine concern about the people. It is not enough to point out weaknesses -- there must be a true desire to help those who need it.
3 God did not "change His mind" in the way we think of it. God would still judge Israel, but He would not use this method.
4 God now shows a worse possible disaster. Amos uses the term "fire" which probably refers to a severe heat wave and drought. This plague would be even worse because it would destroy the crops and the water supply. People and animals would die of hunger and thirst.
7 A plumb line is a piece of string with a small weight on the end. "Plumb" comes from the Latin for "lead" which is what the original weights were made of. The purpose of the plumb line was to see if a structure was vertically straight.

The wall represents the kingdom of Israel. When God "measures" the people by His standards they fall woefully short.

8 God will no longer accept intercession for the kingdoms. God had changed His course of action with the first two punishments, but he would not change on this one. Amos may have been dismayed to find that the final punishment would be worse then the previous two possibilities.
9 God will call an army to destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The army will first destroy the common people and will finally kill the king.
10 Amaziah was the priest of the golden calf idol that Jeroboam I had made as a substitute for God. He had personally been stung by Amos' rebuke of Israel's religious practices and the revelation that God detested their sacrifices. Amaziah felt that Amos' words undercut the political and religious integrity of the nation and thus accused him of treason.
11 Israel was enjoying peace and prosperity. Amos' preaching about the coming destruction of Israel seemed out of place and became an irritation to all the leaders.
12 It appears that Jeroboam II simply ignored Amos, and felt that his words were harmless, even if they were irritating. Amos was not starting a rebellion, nor did it appear he had gathered any support for his cause, so the charges of treason were unsubstantiated. Amos would not be executed, but he could be deported.
13 Amaziah chastises Amos from speaking against Israel in its religious capital (where Jeroboam II apparently had a palace), and orders him to leave the country.
14 In verse 12 Amaziah accuses Amos of being a professional prophet and perhaps insinuates that Amos is saying these things for personal gain. Amos replies that he is not a prophet, nor was he trained as a prophet. He was a sheepherder with orchards.
17 Amaziah had rebuked Amos for speaking God's word. Because of Amaziah's refusal to obey God, he would live long enough to see the prophecy come true. Amaziah and his family would become victims of the impending invasion.