Amos 1

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Webster's Bible         

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1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

2 And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.

3 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:

4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad.

5 I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the scepter from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity to Kir, saith the LORD.

6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment: because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom:

7 But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour its palaces:

8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the scepter from Ashkelon, and I will turn my hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.

9 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment: because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant:

10 But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyre, which shall devour its palaces:

11 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment: because he pursued his brother with the sword, and cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever:

12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.

13 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away their punishment: because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border:

14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour its palaces, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind:

15 And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
Chapter summary

Exploring the Meaning of Amos 1      

By Steve David

Internal Meaning of Amos, Chapter 1
Verses 1-2 describe the Lord teaching us about the Word and doctrine from the Word. In this book of the Bible, the prophet Amos symbolizes the Lord. Amos was a shepherd, and of course that metaphor is used to describe the Lord Jesus Christ, too, in the New Testament.

The book of Amos describes the Lord's anger and impatience with the Children of Israel - in the literal sense. Inside, though, it is really a story of the Lord’s great love and concern for us. This is a book of promise: The Lord will triumph over hell’s quest to dominate us and destroy the gift of salvation. This victory is not an occasional interest of the Lord’s; He has an “ardent zeal” to protect us.

In verse 2, the roaring of the Lord from Zion and the uttering of His voice from Jerusalem teach us several things about Him in this context:
- He has grievous distress for His church and people.
- He has an ardent zeal for protecting heaven and the church.
- He warns of coming vastations.
- He points to the drying up of our “Mount Carmel” and the effects this will have on our “vineyards.”

There are different ways to destroy true ideas and good loves. Verses 3-15 in this chapter describe the different ways that people do this.

Verses 3-5 are talking about people who pervert knowledges from the Word, knowledges which help us form true, useful doctrine. When people successfully corrupt knowledge from the Word, they also undermine the good that would come from that knowledge. But, these people will perish, spiritually.

Verses 6-8 describe people who apply the Word to create or reinforce heretical false ideas. That's not a good thing to do; they will perish, too.

Verses 9-10 address people who pervert knowledges [cognitiones] of good and truth, and thereby injure the external sense of the Word.

Verses 11-12 are about people who pervert the sense of the letter of the Word by falsity, by which doctrine perishes.

Finally, verses 13-15 describe people who falsify the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word: they do not resist in the day of combat, but destroy the truth of doctrine.

What are we to make of this? One take-away is that the Lord loves us, and wants to protect us. Another is that he wants us to carefully read the Word and seek the truths in it - those in the literal sense, and those in the internal sense. From these we should form sound doctrine, and develop good loves that can be built on true ideas.

See Arcana Coelestia 2606, 10325, and The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 201 for further reading.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 2606, 10325

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 201


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 367, 1197, 3995, 4171, 6419, 6804, 9340, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 343, 612


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 419, 532, 601, 746, 817, 850

Scriptural Confirmations 9, 75

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 27:41, 36:33

Exodus 3:1

Numbers 20:20

1 Samuel 6:17

2 Samuel 12:31, 14:2

2 Kings 8:12, 14:23, 28, 15:16, 16:9

2 Chronicles 20:10, 11, 21:16, 17, 26:1

Psalms 29:4

Isaiah 8:4, 17:1, 21:11, 23:1, 33:9, 34:5

Jeremiah 25:30, 28:8, 47:1, 49:1, 7, 23

Ezekiel 21:25, 25:1, 12, 15, 26:1, 27:1, 27, 28:1, 30:17, 35:1

Hosea 1:1, 10:8, 14:1

Amos 2:2, 5, 3:8, 9, 5:5, 7:14, 9:7

Obadiah 1:1

Zephaniah 2:4, 8

Zechariah 9:1, 2, 3, 5, 14:5

Malachi 1:4

Word/Phrase Explanations

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

king
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

judah
City of Judah,' as in Isaiah 40:9, signifies the doctrine of love towards the Lord and love towards our neighbor in its whole extent.

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

voice
'Voice' signifies what is announced from the Word. 'Voice' often refers and is applied to things that cannot have a voice, as in Exodus 4,...

Jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

shepherds
The Writings tell us that shepherds represent those who lead and teach others, using knowledge and true ideas to help people reach the goodness of...

mourn
In a general sense, mourning in the Bible represents a state of grief over the lack of desires for good and true ideas about life....

carmel
Carmel (Isa. 16:10) signifies the good of the church. Carmel also signifies the celestial church. (Isa. 35:2.)

wither
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

transgressions
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

damascus
Damascus and Aroer (Isaiah 17:1, 2) signify the knowledges of truth and good. See Eliezer of Damascus.

four
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

turn
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

punishment
Punishment' is the consummation of evil, because after punishment, reformation succeeds. This is why it says in Deuteronomy 25:3, 'that no more than forty stripes...

threshing
'To thresh,' as in Micah 4:13, signifies dissipating evils among people of the church.

Iron
'Iron,' in Deuteronomy 8:9, signifies natural or rational truth. Iron' signifies natural truth, and consequently, the natural sense of the Word. At the same time,...

send
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

palaces
'A palace,' as in Psalm 144:12, represents the understanding in which truths have a beautiful form. They have a beautiful form when they are from...

break
To “break” something creates an image that is much different from “attacking,” “destroying,” or “shattering.” It is less emotional, less violent in its intent; it...

bar
Bars, as in Lamentations 2:9, signify doctrinals

eden
According to the Writings, “Eden” by itself means love, in most cases the love that comes from the Lord and our love for the Lord,...

syria
'Syria,' as in Ezekiel 27:16, signifies the church regarding knowledges of truth and good.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Kir
Kir' denotes people who possess the knowledges of good and truth but pervert them.

gaza
Gaza (or Azzah) signifies things revealed concerning charity.

edom
'Edom' or 'Idumea,' as in Isaiah 34:5, signifies those who are in evil and in falsities thence derived.

wall
'A wall' signifies truth in outer extremes. 'A wall,' as in Revelation 21, signifies the divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and so, the truth...

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

philistines
The Philistines play a large role in the Bible as one of the longest-standing and most bitter rivals of the people of Israel, clashing with...

Tyre
'Tyre,' as in Ezekiel 27:13-14, represents people with knowledge of celestial and spiritual things.

brother
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

Sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

kept
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

bozrah
Bosrah, as in Isaiah 63:1 signifies a vintage, which is predicated concerning truth. Bozrah has respect to the divine truth, and Edom, to the divine...

child
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

ammon
The children of Ammon ('Jeremiah 49:1'), signify those who falsify the truths of the Word, and of the church.

might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

Border
A border as in Isaiah 54:12 signifies the scientific and sensual principle. "And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand-breath round about."...

rabbah
Rabbath

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

battle
War in the Word represents the combat of temptation when what is good is assaulted by what is evil or false. The evil that attacks...


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