Amos 8:7 says, “The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.’” What is this “Pride of Jacob”?
Interpreters are divided on the understanding of this phrase. First, some suggest the Pride of Jacob is a reference to Israel’s sins, in which the wicked took unabashed pride. Others suggest the Pride of Jacob is a title of God. The latter is probably the better interpretation. The Pride of Jacob was the One to whom Jacob, the nation’s forefather, looked for strength. A similar title is found in 1 Samuel 15:29, where God is referred to as “the Glory of Israel.”
To say, “The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob,” means that the Lord has sworn by Himself. The Bible speaks of God swearing by Himself in at least one other passage: “For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, ‘Surely I will bless you and multiply you’” (Hebrews 6:13-14).
But what has the Lord sworn by Himself? Amos 8:7 says, “I will never forget anything they have done.” This is the Lord’s promise to deal with the sins of the people. He would not let their rejection of Him go unpunished; rather, judgment would soon come.
Some confusion arises due to the same phrase, “pride of Jacob,” being used in two other passages. First, in Psalm 47:4 we read, “He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.” Here, the phrase is in reference to the land of Israel rather than to God. Second, “pride of Jacob” is used in Amos 6:8 in reference to actual, sinful pride: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds.” The city of Samaria served as Israel’s capital, and “stronghold” likely refers to that city. They were trusting in their city’s defenses rather than in God.
In summary, the “Pride of Jacob” in Amos 8:7 is a reference to God Himself. The Lord makes a solemn promise, based on His own character and faithfulness, that He would bring judgment against Israel. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7).