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Amos sees a swarm of locusts devouring all the vegetation of the land. He intercedes on behalf of the descendants of Jacob, and God changes His plan to destroy Israel’s vegetation.
In his second vision, Amos sees an all-consuming fire that evaporates the waters of the deep sea. The prospects of this devouring fire prompt the prophet to intercede again on Israel’s behalf to ask God to stop the judgment. God listens to Amos and relents concerning this judgment as well.
Amos also envisions a plumb line that the LORD sets amid Israel to determine their level of devotion to Him. Israel fails the test, so God will destroy their religious structures.
The priest Amaziah hears Amos’s visions and tries to intimidate him into leaving Israel. He asks Amos to return to Judah and cease prophesying in Bethel because Bethel is a sanctuary of the king.
Amos responds to Amaziah the priest by telling him that he is not a professional prophet. Instead, he is a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs who is called by the LORD to proclaim a prophetic message. Amos proceeds to predict judgment on Amaziah and his family, and on the nation Israel.
Amos 7 begins a new section of the book of Amos. At this point the prophet switches from typical prophetic sayings or oracles (such as ‘hear this word’ or ‘the words of Amos’ or ‘thus says the LORD’) to prophetic visions; that is, visual representations of God’s will that may or may not require interpretation (Amos 7-9).
Chapter 7 contains three of the five visions of this section. After seeing the first two visions, Amos intercedes for the people asking God to stop the judgment. In the third vision, Amos sees a plumb line measuring tool that the LORD sets amid Israel to determine their level of devotion to Him. This time Amos does not intercede for Israel because the Suzerain God says He will not relent.
At this point in the chapter, the visions are interrupted. A priest named Amaziah confronts the prophet to get him to stop prophesying judgment. The prophet responds by defending his prophetic ministry and by proclaiming judgment against Amaziah. The chapter can be outlined as follows: