on Amos 1 :1
The words of Amos - This person and the father of Isaiah, though named alike in our translation, were as different in their names as in their persons. The father of Isaiah, אמוץ Amots; the prophet before us, עמוס Amos. The first, aleph, mem, vau, tsaddi; the second, ain, mem, vau, samech. For some account of this prophet see the introduction.
Among the herdmen - He seems to have been among the very lowest orders of life, a herdsman, one who tended the flocks of others in the open fields, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. Of whatever species this was, whether a kind of fig, it is evident that it was wild fruit; and he probably collected it for his own subsistence, or to dispose of either for the service of his employer, or to increase his scanty wages.
Before the earthquake - Probably the same as that referred to Zechariah 14:5, if הרעש haraash do not mean some popular tumult.
on Amos 1 :1
The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen - "Amos begins by setting forth his own nothingness, and withal the great grace of his Teacher and Instructor, the Holy Spirit, referring all to His glory." He, like David, Peter, Paul, Matthew, was one of "the weak things of the world, whom God chose to confound the mighty." He was himself a herdsman only "among herdsmen;" but the words which he spake were not his own. They were words which he saw, not with eyes of flesh, but "with that vision wherewith words can be seen, the seer's vision in the mind." They were "words concerning," or rather "upon Israel," heavy words coming upon the heavy transgressions of Israel. The Hebrew word "saw" is not of mere sight, but of a vision given by God. Amos only says that they were "his" words, in order immediately to add, that they came to him from God, that he himself was but the human organ through which God spake.
Two years before the earthquake - This earthquake must plainly have been one of the greatest, since it was vividly in people's memories in the time of Zechariah, and Amos speaks of it as "the earthquake." The earthquakes of the east, like that of Lisbon, destroy whole cities. In one, a little before the birth of our Lord , "some ten thousand were buried under the ruined houses." This terrific earthquake (for as such Zechariah describes it) was one of the preludes of that displeasure of God, which Amos foretold. A warning of two years, and time for repentance, were given, "before the earthquake" should come, the token and beginning of a further shaking of both kingdoms, unless they should repent. In effect, it was the first flash of the lightning which consumed them.
on Amos 1 :1
1:1 He saw - Received by revelation. Israel - The kingdom of the ten tribes. Jeroboam - The great grand - son of Jehu. The earth - quake - Of which, only this text, and Zech 14:5, make any particular mention.