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Amos 9:11-15 meaning

The Suzerain (ruler) God promises to restore the Israelites along with their fortune. He will repair, raise up, and rebuild the fallen dynasty of David. He will bless them with national stability and grant them peace of mind.

This final section of the book of Amos continues the primary point of the chiasm in verses 9 and 10, which is to emphasize a message of hope and restoration through a remnant that will be scattered among the nations. This pattern is typical of prophetic literature. The prophets were commanded by God to confront the Israelites with the Mosaic law, particularly its blessings and curses, as outlined in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28. But while the prophets announced judgment on the disobedient Israelites, they repeatedly told the people that God's judgment would not mean abandonment of Israel. In the future, God would raise up a righteous remnant so that His covenant promises with Israel's forefathers might be fulfilled (Genesis 12:1-3, 2 Samuel 7:16, Hosea 14:4-5, Joel 3:18-21, Jeremiah 23:5-8).

The Suzerain (ruler) God therefore begins with the phrase In that day to refer to the time in which He would reverse His covenant curses on Israel and bring blessings on them. Then He described His future actions in a series of verbs. The LORD said that He would raise up the fallen booth of David. The word used here for booth is "sukkah" in the Hebrew language. It literally refers to a temporary shelter or hut constructed of branches and sticks, providing shade during the day and protection from the dew and winds during the night (Genesis 33:17, Jonah 4:5). It was used to provide shelter for soldiers on the battlefield, and to celebrate the "feast of booths" (Leviticus 23:33, 2 Samuel 11:11, 1 Kings 20:12, 16).

Here in Amos, the word "sukkah" is used figuratively for something fragile and easily destroyed (Job 27:18, Isaiah 1:8). Thus, the booth of David refers to the dynasty of David in its fragile and precarious state. It was fallen because it was split into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Both kingdoms sinned greatly against the LORD instead of living righteously, resulting in judgement. The northern kingdom will be ended. The southern kingdom of Judah (David's tribe) will be exiled multiple times. The dynasty of David, which was once glorious during the days of King David and his son Solomon, became sinful in the days of Amos, and will be judged. But in the future, the Suzerain (ruler) God of Israel would raise up the house of David, meaning that He would establish it again.

To secure and establish the dynasty of David again, the Suzerain God promised to wall up its breaches. That means, God would repair it; He would erect its walls to cause it to stand again. God would also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.

Since the split of the united monarchy after the death of King Solomon, both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah had much struggle maintaining their independence because they were constantly menaced by other ancient Near Eastern nations (near and far). As a result, the dynasty of David could no longer be glorious, as it was in the days of King David and Solomon. The Suzerain or Ruler God promised to revive the kingdom and reestablish it as an important force with which to be reckoned. The divided kingdom would be replaced by the united monarchy, as it was prior to Solomon's death.

The purpose of reestablishing the nation Israel, the LORD declared, was so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name. The Edomites were descendants of Esau and thus kinsmen to the Israelites since Esau and Jacob were brothers (Genesis 25:21-26).

Despite their family ties, the Edomites and the Israelites rarely displayed brotherly love for one another. The Edomites attacked the Israelites on various occasions, and many wars were fought as a result. During his kingship, David conquered Edom (2 Samuel 8:14). King Uzziah had captured the Edomite port of Elath (2 Kings 14:22) but it had subsequently been lost again in the reign of Ahaz to the Syrians and Edomites (2 Kings 16:6). However, when God restores the Davidic empire, the remnant of Edom will undergo defeat and will be conquered by the Davidic kingdom.

The LORD also said that the restored Davidic empire would rule over all the nations because they are called by His name, which means they are under His control and dominion. Since all nations belong to the LORD, they will all be included in the blessings of the restored Davidic kingdom. This would fulfill God's promises to Abraham that through his seed "all the families of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:3, Genesis 18:18). The likely fulfillment of this prophecy will be when Jesus, the Son of David, returns to earth a second time, and establishes His physical kingdom on earth.

A restoration of a descendant of David to the throne was the event Jesus's disciples expected for Jesus, as indicated many times through Jesus's earthly ministry. Even after Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples expected Jesus to take up His earthly reign on the throne of David in Israel (Acts 1:6). This was particularly after Jesus declared to them that all authority had been granted to Him, in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Jesus did not deny that He would reign physically on the earth, only asserting that it was not for them to know the time (Acts 1:7).

Continuing with the theme of restoration and hope, the LORD provided a picture of abundant blessings. He began with the particle behold followed by the statement the days are coming to describe the imminent nature of the blessed hope. God would bless Israel with agricultural abundance. During this glorious time, the plowman will overtake the reaper.

The plowman is someone who uses a farming tool to turn over and loose the top layer of the soil, preparing it for sowing. In ancient Israel, such an activity usually took place in October-November. The reaper is someone who harvests a crop, usually in April-May. This was the normal agricultural cycle in ancient Israel. However, in the coming days, the crops would be so abundant that the agricultural activities of one season would coincide with the next. Before the people could finish harvesting the crops of one season, the time would come for them to plant for the next.

In a similar vein, the LORD stated that the treader of grapes will overtake him who sows seed. The treader of grapes was someone who pressed the grapes (usually, by foot), and this activity usually took place during the months of August and September. The one sowing seed usually began his activity in November and December. In the future, God's abundant blessings would cause the grape harvest to coincide with the planting season. Moreover, the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved. The abundance of sweet wine will flow due to the large harvest of grapes. The hills melting might picture a great expansion of farmable land. Hills are generally not great soil for agriculture. This could mirror the prophecy of the Messianic kingdom that the rough places will be made plain (Isaiah 40:4). It could also be a picture that so much wine will flow from the mountains that it will melt the surrounding hills, a hyperbolic picture of abundance.

God's blessings upon His covenant people continue. He stated that He would bless them with national stability and reverse the curses placed upon them for their disobedience. The statements that follow in v. 14 contrast nicely with the curse God placed upon His people, as required by the covenant stipulations (Deuteronomy 28:15-68) especially those rich Israelites who mistreated the poor and denied righteousness and truth: "Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, yet you will not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine" (Amos 5:11).

Here, however in v. 14, God stated, I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine and make gardens and eat their fruit. The Israelites would proudly return to their homeland, rebuild desolate cities, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This prophecy has partially been fulfilled because many captives returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt some cities under the decree of King Cyrus of Persia (Haggai 1-2, Ezra 1, 6). Then, after the exile due to Rome, many have returned to Israel after it was revived as a state in 1948.

But many captive Jews have not returned to their homeland and many cities are not rebuilt, this level of abundance has not transpired, Israel has not regained its borders, and an heir of David has not ascended the throne. So, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled completely.

Finally, the Suzerain (Ruler) God promised to grant His covenant people peace of mind. He pictured them as a tree, saying that He would plant them on their land, and they would not again be rooted out from their land which He had given them. Although this has not yet been fulfilled, it would surely come to pass because it is a declaration of the LORD God. One day the Israelites will be permanently planted in their land, and nobody will be able to drive them out. God never rejects His children, they are always His. This is true of Israel (Romans 11:26-29). It is true of New Testament believers:

"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God."
(Romans 8:16-17a)

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
(Romans 8:28)

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."
(2 Timothy 2:13)

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