Saturday of Week 13 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on Amos 9:11-15

Today we have our final reading from Amos. It deals with the happiness that messianic times will bring. It raises a hope underlying Amos’ words, one that runs through the whole Hebrew Testament from Genesis 3:15 onward – that God will bring blessing after judgement, and will not ultimately reject Israel.

After many denunciations of hypocritical religion and unjust treatment of the poor, the prophet concludes on an upbeat note of hope for the future. The promises for the future include the restoration of the Davidic kingdom, material prosperity and the homeland recovered forever. The day is coming when the Lord will raise up again the “booth of David that is fallen”, which had come on hard times and was continually being humiliated by outsider conquerors while being unfaithful, idolatrous and corrupt within its own borders.

He says the “booth” (“hut” in some translations) rather than the “house” perhaps to remind us of the humble beginnings of David, the shepherd boy who was picked out by God to succeed Saul as king of God’s people. Or perhaps it is an image of a once proud dynasty fallen on sad times.

And he says God will:

…repair its breaches
and raise up its ruins
and rebuild it as in the days of old.

That is, it will be as it was in the glorious days of David and Solomon. Then they will conquer the “remnant of Edom”, what is left of Israel’s bitter enemy, and “all the nations who are called by my name”. This will be the extent of the rule of Yahweh’s anointed future King, recalling the many nations surrounding Israel over which David reigned. Somewhere in the future, the ruins of Israel will be rebuilt, unfinished battles over enemies will be completed and former subjects will once again come under the rule of David’s house. It will be a time of prosperity and abundance.

The time is surely coming, says the Lord…

After all the forecasts of destruction, hardship and death, Amos’ final words picture a glorious prosperity like a new Eden, when the seasons will run together so that sowing and reaping are without interval, and there will be a continuous supply of fresh produce, and the hills will run with an abundance of wine, so unlike the times of suffering and invasion. God’s people will return to their own lands from which they will never again be taken.

There is no time scale given for this. It is really a statement of hope and confidence in God’s caring for his people and a call for them to behave in a way that shows they truly belong to him. It is a prophecy which was fulfilled, but in a very different way by the coming of Jesus, David’s descendant as King and Lord, whose kingdom will never end.

Whatever the circumstances of our lives, we too, look forward to a time of a never-ending happiness when we are totally united with the God for whom we were made. Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in Him.

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