*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Amos 9:5-6 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Amos 9:5
  • Amos 9:6

Following the description of judgment upon the disobedient Israelites (vv. 14), Amos portrays the LORD as the sovereign God who has complete control over all creation.

As Amos continued his description of God’s judgment on the disobedient Israelites, he now portrayed the LORD as the sovereign God who has complete control over all creation. He began by referring to God as the Lord GOD of hosts. The word translated as “Lord” is Adonai in Hebrew, which means “master” or “ruler.” The term translated as GOD is Yahweh, the covenant name of God; it means “The existent One.” Here it is followed by the phrase “of hosts,” meaning that the Suzerain or Ruler God is the commander of the army. As the Lord GOD of hosts, Yahweh is able to fight and win every battle because His divine army is superior to any other armies.

Yahweh’s power and authority over all creation can be seen in how He controls the universe. The prophet told his audience that the Lord GOD of hosts is the one who touches the land so that it melts. The verb translated melt means to quake or to tremble. God’s power caused cosmic disturbances as the earth trembles at His touch. The severity of the earthquake resulted in the loss of many lives for whom all those who dwelt in the earth mourned. The land of Israel would melt, and its inhabitants would mourn at the LORD’s destructive attack (Amos 8:8).

Amos compared the LORD’s judgment on Israel’s land as the Nile of Egypt, saying, And all of it rises up like the Nile and subsides like the Nile of Egypt. Each year, there is an inundation of flooding that flows from the Nile river in Egypt from August to October. This annual inundation was the foundation of agricultural wealth in Egypt because the covering of the land by the waters served to renew, enrich, and water the soil (Amos 8:8). During God’s judgment, the land of Israel would react like the Nile of Egypt would react during an inundation. Israel’s land would rise and subside by the LORD’s touch. Judgment would wash over and cover the land.

As the prophet continued his praise of the LORD, he portrayed Him as the one who builds His upper chambers in the heavens and has founded His vaulted dome over the earth. The word “upper chambers” could refer to God’s dwelling place in the heavens (Isaiah 66:1) or to the fact that God created the heavens (Genesis 1:1). The Suzerain (ruler) God created the heavens. He created the heavens just as a builder would build a vaulted dome. Anyone with the power to create something as massive as the heavens has absolute control and power over all His creation.

Finally, Amos told the Israelites that the LORD is the one who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth. The LORD is His name. While in heaven, the LORD controls the affairs of the earth and dictates how nature should operate (Colossians 1:17). In summary, the LORD is the all-powerful God who established a covenant relationship with the Israelites, which they had agreed to (Exodus 19:8). The Suzerain God is everywhere; nothing is out of His sight (Psalm 139:6-7). This further reinforces that the Israelites would not be able to escape from His judgment.

Biblical Text

The Lord GOD of hosts,
The One who touches the land so that it melts,
And all those who dwell in it mourn,
And all of it rises up like the Nile
And subsides like the Nile of Egypt;
The One who builds His upper chambers in the heavens
And has founded His vaulted dome over the earth,
He who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the face of the earth,
The Lord is His name.

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