1 Thus hath Adonai Yahweh shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers [locusts - Revised version] in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.

2 And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Adonai Yahweh, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.

Chapter 7 begins visions of calamities. 

First, three visitations of increasing severity: a further warning, in God's mercy. He did not bring the Assyrians all at once to destroy them, but gradually. Still Israel did not heed.

Amos, the prophet of judgment, pleaded for mercy. This must be the attitude, the heartfelt desire, of all who proclaim God's judgments. Otherwise we are but fierce Jehus, with "zeal for the Lord" only for destruction. We must, in faithfulness, point out what we believe to be wrong. But it must always be done in sympathy and compassion and the fellow-feeling of deeply-realized personal unworthiness.

This prophecy of the grasshoppers was fulfilled in 2 Kings 15:19-20, when Tiglath Pileser, king of Assyria, came against Israel about 740 BC. Menahem raised a tribute and bought them off. 

Israel now had twenty years to go.

Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live


3 Yahweh repented for this: It shall not be, saith Yahweh.

4 Thus hath Adonai Yahweh shewed unto me: and, behold, Adonai Yahweh called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.

The king of Assyria came again about 730 BC, and carried away many captives (2 Kgs. 15:29). Amos, typical of the "salt of the earth" class, pleaded for mercy for wicked Israel, and again final destruction was postponed. Israel now had ten years to go. The specific cause of this second visitation was that the kings of Israel and Syria had united to attack Judah with the purpose of destroying the House of David and setting up their own choice as king in Judah.

Isaiah promised Judah help from God, and gave the prophecy of the virgin with child, but king Ahaz chose rather to appeal to the Assyrian power, sending them all the treasures of the Temple, and causing them to come against Israel and Syria. To all outward appearances, these were just natural political events, but Amos shows us it was all in the hands of God, and fulfilling His purposes. So by the light of prophecy must we see and realize the hand of God today.

7 Thus he shewed me: and, behold, Yahweh stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.

8 And Yahweh said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said Yahweh, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:

This was to be the end - and so it was. The plumbline is a fitting symbol of the spirit of Amos' whole prophecy: the searching and undeviating perfect standard of righteousness: that by which all must at last be tried.

This third and final judgment, from which there was no possibility of turning back, is recorded in 2 Kings 17. Typically, and in harmony with God's ways of retribution, its immediate cause was Israel's own treachery. Hoshea, the last king, after being supported in the kingdom by Assyria and covenanting to serve them, conspired with Egypt. The king of Assyria came; Samaria was besieged three years with great suffering and loss of life, as Amos had warned; and finally the kingdom was broken up and most of the people carried away to Assyria.

Summing up Israel's sad history, 2 Kings 17:7-22 gives a long catalogue of their persistent and continued disobedience, from the day of their coming out of Egypt, concluding (v. 23)-

"Until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day."

They had chosen from the beginning to give God lip service, but to do just as they wanted, and cater to their own desires. And this was the inevitable result at last, as it always must be.

Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live.