Problem: Because of the sin of Israel, God pronounced through His prophet Amos that He would bring judgment upon the people. One aspect of that judgment was that there would be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. However, there is no indication from history that the Hebrew Scriptures were destroyed or removed from Israel at this time. To what does the “famine” in hearing the words of the Lord refer?
Solution: This verse addresses the lack of messengers from God, such as His prophets. Israel had not only despised the messengers of God, but had put many of them to death for their words. In God’s judgment upon Israel, there would come a time when Israel would seek for help and guidance, but God would be silent (compare Ezek. 7:26 and Micah 3:7). He would not send any messengers to them. Although they would still have the written Hebrew Scriptures, there would be a famine of the words of the Lord through His prophets.