Amos – Fallen Nation
1 Hear this word which I take up against you, a lamentation, O house of Israel:
(a) 2 The virgin of Israel has fallen;
(b) She will rise no more.
(a’) She lies forsaken on her land;
(b’) There is no one to raise her up.
(x) 3 For thus says the Lord God:
(c) “The city that goes out by a thousand
(d) Shall have a hundred left,
(c’) And that which goes out by a hundred
(d’) Shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”
Last time we made some observations in verse Amos 5:1. We discovered the word “lamentation” to mean funeral song or dirge. This is an important observation because subsequent verses are in the Hebrew poetic form. In verse 2 you’ll notice a sort of alternating chiastic form in that “The virgin of Israel has fallen;” corresponds nicely with “She lies forsaken on her land;” and “She will rise no more” follows “There is no one to raise her up.”
I’ve marked verses 2 and 3 with letters and their corresponding primes (a…a’) as I see them, to help us recognize the form. Using this style of assembling the words would make it easy to apply music in the form of a dirge.
Amos identifies the metaphor “Virgin of Israel” to be the “house of Israel” at the end of verse three. Why would God chose to refer to the Nation of Israel as a Virgin? Could it be the Covenant God Yahweh intended the nation to remain pure in their relationship and worship of Him? Yet they had broken covenant and engaged in the pagan practices of worshipping false gods. They had become perverse, violent, and merciless. Israel did not remain pure and true to the one and only God.
I see a recurring theme throughout the book of Amos. Even though God is punishing them for their rebellion, He extends His hand of grace in verse three. We see God’s grace extended in that even though the nation would be destroyed He preserved a remnant for Himself. This is a kindness the people did not deserve. What an amazing God!
I believe the book of Amos is one more example of “not either or, but both”. It isn’t that God is either one who judges sin, or one who lovingly forgives, He is both!
Remember that God is the God of both the Old and New Testaments and that He changes not.
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.