Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Hook. Hebrew, “basket of summer fruit.” Septuagint, “bird-cage or net.” (Haydock) — Israel was ripe for destruction, ver. 2., and chap. vii. 8. (Calmet) — Not only those who were near, (4 Kings xv. 29.) but the rest also were taken, (4 Kings xvii. 6.) as we pull with a hook the fruit which we cannot reach otherwise. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Temple, when God comes like a mighty warrior; or when the profane temples shall be pillaged, chap. ix. 1. Hebrew also, “the canticles of the temple or palace shall be changed into lamentations.” — Place. Hebrew, “a multitude of dead bodies shall be cast in every place. Keep silence.” (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Month: the first day was observed as a festival, Numbers x. 10. (Haydock) — At the expiration of the month usurers demanded their money. (Horace, i. sat. 3.; Aristophanes, Nub. ii. 1.) — Corn, to sell after the sabbatical year, when it was dearest. Sabbath also denotes all “festivals.” These misers think that there are too many. — Sicle. Having a large measure to buy, and a small one to sell again, Deuteronomy xxv. 13., and Proverbs xx. 10.
Ver. 6. Shoes, for almost nothing. Thus they forced the poor to serve, or to sell their effects.
Ver. 7. Jacob, because the rich despise the poor. It may also mean, that he swore by heaven, or the temple, (Leviticus xxvi. 19.) or that he would destroy the high places. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Altogether. Septuagint, “its total ruin shall rise as a river.” — Egypt. The whole land shall be visited with misery, as Egypt is by the Nile. (Haydock) — The enemy shall retire with the booty. The Nile overflows in summer, and covers Egypt for six weeks, carrying much earth with its impetuous waves, Isaias xviii. 2.
Ver. 9. Light. Usher (the year of the world 3213.) explains this of an eclipse, at Pentecost. The Fathers generally understand that which accompanied the death of Christ; but it only implies great desolation and terror, Jeremias xv. 9., and Joel iii. 11. (St. Jerome, &c.) (Calmet) — In their greatest prosperity, calamities shall unexpectedly fall upon them. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Baldness, the hair being cut in mourning, Job i. 20. — Son, most afflicted, Zacharias xii. 10., and Jeremias vi. 26. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Lord. During the siege provisions were wanting, but instruction still more so. (Worthington) — Israel had banished Amos. They would be left destitute. We find no prophet among them during the captivity, except Tobias, Tobias xiii. 3. We may apply this to the state of the Jews since the death of Christ. They have no guides. (Calmet) — They read incessantly, and do not understand (St. Jerome; Mercer.) the Bible, which none will ever penetrate who refuse to receive the key from the Church. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Sea to sea: from west to south, or to the ocean; in whatever part of the world they may be. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Sin. Septuagint, “propitiation,” which the pagans deemed requisite; (Horace, i. ode 2.) or worship (Haydock) of Baal, (4 Kings xvii. 16.; Calmet) and all the other superstitions. (Haydock) — Way. Septuagint, “thy God,” or religion, (Acts ix. 2.) or pilgrimage to Bersabee, chap. v. 5. Perhaps the true God was here adored; but it was in a manner which he condemned. (Calmet) — In vain do those pretend to honour Him, who follow the traditions of unbelieving men. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Under the figure of a hook, which bringeth down the fruit, the approaching desolation of Israel is foreshewed, for their avarice and injustices.
1 These things the Lord shewed to me: and behold a hook to draw down the fruit.
2 And he said: What seest thou, Amos? And I said: A hook to draw down fruit. And the Lord said to me: The end is come upon my people, Israel: I will not again pass by them any more.
3 And the hinges of the temple shall screek in that day, saith the Lord God: many shall die: silence shall be cast in every place.
4 Hear this, you that crush the poor, and make the needy of the land to fail,
5 Saying: When will the month be over, and we shall sell our wares: and the sabbath, and we shall open the corn: that we may lessen the measure, and increase the sicle, and may convey in deceitful balances.
6 That we may possess the needy for money, and the poor for a pair of shoes, and may sell the refuse of the corn.
7 The Lord hath sworn against the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget all their works.
8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein: and rise up altogether as a river, and be cast out, and run down as the river of Egypt?
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that the sun shall go down at mid-day, and I will make the earth dark in the day of light:
10 *And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation: and I will bring up sackcloth upon every back of yours, and baldness upon every head: and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the latter end thereof as a bitter day.
11 Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the word of the Lord.
12 And they shall move from sea to sea, and from the north to the east: they shall go about seeking the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
13 In that day the fair virgins, and the young men shall faint for thirst.
14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say: Thy God, O Dan, liveth: and the way of Bersabee liveth: and they shall fall, and shall rise no more.
10: Tobias ii. 6.; 1 Machabees i. 41.