Amos 2


Vs. 1-3  Judgment on Moab.


1 “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four,

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones

of the king of Edom into lime:”  Moab. The prophet now denounces the other

nation connected by ties of blood with Israel (see on ch. 1:13). Moab’s hostility had

been shown in the hiring of Balaam to curse the Israelites, and in seducing

them to idolatry (Numbers 22-25:3). He was their oppressor in the time of

the Judges (Judges 3:12); and David had to take most stringent measures against

him (II Samuel 8:2). The Moabites joined in a league against Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles

20:22), and later against Jehoiakim (II  Kings 24:2-3), and, as we see by the inscription

on the Moabite Stone, were always ready to profit by the disasters or weakness of the

chosen people. “I erected this stone,” says Mesha, “to Chemosh at Kirkha, a stone

of salvation, for he saved me from all despoilers, and made me see my

desire upon all mine enemies, even upon Omri, King of Israel.” And then

he goes on to recount his victories. He burned the bones of the King of

Edom into lime. This profanation of the corpse of the King of Edom (see

II Kings 23:16; Jeremiah 8:1-2) is not mentioned in the historical

books. Some of the older commentators, as Tirinus and Corn. a Lapide,

think that the prophet wishes to show that the sympathy of God extends

beyond the covenant people, and that he punishes wrongs inflicted even

 on heathen nations. But as in the case of the other nations, Amos reproves

only crimes committed against Israel or Judah, so the present outrage must

have the same connection. The reference to the King of Moab’s sacrifice of

“his eldest son,” even if we suppose (which is improbable) the son of the

King of Edom to be meant, is plainly inapplicable (II Kings 3:27), as the

offence regarded the king himself, and not his son, and the expression,

“burned into lime,” can hardly be thought to refer to a human sacrifice. The

act mentioned probably occurred during the time that the Edomites joined

Jehoram and Jehoshaphat in the league against Mesha, the King of Moab

(Ibid. vs.7, 9), the author of the inscription on the celebrated stone

erected by him at Dibon. Unfortunately, the last lines of that inscription,

describing the war against the Edomites, are lost. The paragraph that

remains is this: “And Chemosh said to me, Go down, make war against

Horonaim [i.e. the men of Edom], and take… Chemosh… in my days.

Wherefore I made… year … and I…” The Jewish tradition, quoted by

Jerome, tells that after this war the Moabites, in revenge for the assistance

which the King of Edom had given to the Israelites, dug up and

dishonored his bones. Edom was then in vassalage to Israel, but regained

its independence some ten years later ( 8:20). The sacrilegious

act was meant to redound to the disgrace of Israel


2 “But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of

Kirioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with

the sound of the trumpet:”  Kirioth; cities, and so taken as an appellative

by the Septuagint translators, τῶν πόλεων αὐτῆςton poleon autaes

but it is doubtless a proper name of one of the chief Moabite towns

(Jeremiah 48:24, 41). Keil, after Burckhardt, identifies it with the decayed

town of Kereyat, or Korriat; others, with Ar, or Kir, the old capital (Isaiah 15:1).

The plural termination of the word, like Athenae, Thebae, etc., may denote a

Double city — upper and lower, or old and new. Moab shall die. The nation is

personified. With tumult; caused by war (compare Jeremiah 48:45, and

the prophecy of Balaam, Numbers 24:17). Septuagint, ἐν ἀδυναμίᾳ - en

adunamia - “in weakness.” With shouting. Omitted by the Vulgate (see on

ch.1:14). Trumpet (ch.3:6; Jeremiah 4:19). Trochon cites Virgil,

AEneid,’ 2:313, “Exoritur clamorque virum clangorque tubarum,” “Rises

the shout of men and trumpets’ blare.”


3 “And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all

the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.”  The judge; shophet, probably

here a synonym for “king” (compare Micah 5:1). it implies the chief magistrate,

like the Carthaginian sufes, which is the same word. There is no ground for deducing,

as Hitzig and Ewald do, from the use of this form that Moab had no king at this

time. The country was conquered by the Chaldeans, and thenceforward

sank into insignificance (Jeremiah 48.; Ezekiel 25:8-11).



The Woe against Moab (vs. 1-3)


Much that has been said of Ammon applies equally to Moab. The two

nations had close relations and affinities, and in Scripture are generally

mentioned together. Both were mildly treated by Israel (Deuteronomy 2:9,19)

as long as such treatment was possible. Yet were they at one in an

implacable hatred of her, and a national policy of outrage towards her. A

spring raid into Hebrew territory seems to have been an established

Moabitish institution (II Kings 13:20, literally, “were wont to come”).

Again, Moab adopted the novel and unlikely expedient of employing a

prophet of God to curse his own people (Numbers 23:7). Of the

comprehensive and thorough character of the national hatred, which these

doings reveal, we have evidence in the passage before us.



ITS HATRED OF ISRAEL. “It has burned the bones of the King of Edom.”

The particular occasion referred to here is not known. But the events that led

up to it are briefly recorded. Moab was for some time tributary to Israel,

and rebelled against it in the reign of Jehoram (II Kings 3:1, 4-5). In the

repressive war that followed, Jehoram was joined by the King of Judah and

the King of Edom, then probably a tributary of Judah (Ibid. ch. 8:20).

This war, the only one in which Edom and Moab came into conflict,

exasperated Moab against it even more fiercely than against Israel itself

(Ibid. ch.3:26-27). The horrible sacrifice of the King of Edom’s son by

the King of Moab, and the subsequent burning of the King of Edom’s

bones by the Moabites, were both expressions of this wild and savage

resentment. Moab’s hatred of Edom was hatred of her as Israel’s ally,

and therefore at bottom was hatred of Israel itself. So the ungodly hate

things from the standpoint of their connection with religion. They

hate believers for Christ’s sake (Matthew 10:22), and the friends of

believers for believers’ sakes. The compensation for this is that for Christ’s

sake also Christians love each other and the ungodly as well, and God for

His own sake loves them all.  (Also, not the attitude of Cain – I John 3:12 –

CY – 2013).



APPEASE. This fact illustrates its insatiability. The soul being after death

beyond man’s reach, the hatred vented upon his remains is a sort of

impotent grasping at eternal vengeance. It wreaks on what it knows to be

insensible the hatred with which it would pursue, if it could, the living

being who is beyond it. The employment of the burnt bones as

lime is a circumstance which, like the ripping of pregnant women by

Ammon, reveals the savage debasement of the people, and that

contemptuous disregard of the human body which is generated by a career

of blood and lust. There is a sacredness about death. It introduces an

unseen factor, marks off a territory into which we may not intrude. There is

a sacredness, too, about the human body. It is for a temple of the Holy

Ghost, and to be treated as holy (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Its members

are to be members of Christ, and to be treated as consecrated things

(Ibid. vs.15-18). The best guarantee against intemperance, uncleanness,

violence, and every abuse of the body is respect for it as THE HOME




EDOM MAKES GOD HER FRIEND. Edom’s alliance with Israel had

results in two directions, it embroiled her with Israel’s enemies, and

commended her to Israel’s friends. And primarily it commended her to

Israel’s God. His favor to His people includes, to certain intents, their

friends. Members of the families of Noah and Lot were spared for their

fathers’ sake. A mixed multitude of foreigners were fed miraculously in the

desert, because they were servants to the Israelites. Even the Egyptians

were favored because they for a time had given Israel a home

(Deuteronomy 23:7). So with Edom. He was a brother by blood

(Ibid.), and had been an ally against Moab, and so his cause is championed

by God in this exactly as the cause of Israel is in the other woes. So with

more spiritual relations. The virgin companions of the bride, the Church, are

brought, as her companions, to the King (Psalm 45:14). The final judgment

apart, service rendered to God’s people will not go unrewarded (Matthew

10:40-42). No investment brings in surer return than help and kindness

shown to the saints of God.



die with tumult.” The Moabites were “sons of tumult” (Numbers 24:17;

Jeremiah 48:45), and as in tumult they lived, so in tumult they should

die. This is providential, the punishment being made appropriate to the

crime. It is also natural, violence provoking violence, and so fixing the

character of its own punishment. Moab had probably lost its kings

before the prophecy was fulfilled, but the judges and princes who

had headed the nation in its violence fitly head it in its destruction also.

(Compare Romans 1:27 – CY – 2013)





                        Moab’s Brutality Avenged (vs. 1-3)


It is natural for the mind to lay hold upon and to retain in memory some

one out of many characteristics of a nation, some one out of many

incidents of a war. The one thing that is remembered is representative of

many things that are forgotten. So is it with Amos’s treatment of the sins

of the surrounding nations. Several of these are characterized by some

special quality. In the case before us in this passage an incident of

malignant brutality is mentioned, not as standing alone, but evidently as a

sample of the conduct of which the children of Lot had been guilty, and

which was about to bring down upon them the wrath of Heaven.




nothing of the circumstance here referred to. The Moabites had made war

upon the Edomites; had conquered them, had captured their king, and had

slain him, and then consumed his bones with fire. This last action must be

judged by the standard of the habits and feelings of the time. In some

nations and at some periods cremation has been regarded as an honorable

mode of disposing of dead bodies. In the time of the prophet, and among

the Hebrews and their neighbors, it was held in detestation. No greater

insult, no more horrible evidence of brutality, was possible. The dead are

always considered, by civilized and religious communities, as entitled to

tender and reverential treatment. Especially those who believe in a future

life are bound to support their creed by treating a dead body as something

better than a carcass. The instance of irreverence here recorded was

aggravated by the fact that it was a king whose body was thus treated. War

is in itself bad enough; but savage brutality renders war still worse.





Ø      War, with all its accompanying horrors, is the doom of the savage

slaughterers. They that take the sword perish by the sword. The

measure they mete is measured to them again.


Ø      In this retribution the great suffer equally with the multitude. They who

insult their neighbors’ kings may suffer in the person of their own mighty

ones. Fire devours the palaces as welt as the cottages, and the judges and

princes are cut off and slain along with the meanest of the subjects. The

Lord is King and Judge, and He will not allow those nations always to

prosper which violate His Law and defy His authority.


In vs. 4-5, Judah is summoned to judgment, the prophet thus passing from alien

nations, through the most favored people, to Israel, the subject of his prophecy.


4“Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four,

I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised

the law of the LORD, and have not kept His commandments, and their lies

caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:”  They have

despised the Law of the Lord. The other nations are denounced for their

offences against God’s people; Judah is sentenced for her offences against

God Himself. The former likewise had offended against the law of conscience,

natural religion; the latter against the written Law, revealed religion. By thus

denouncing Judah, Amos shows his perfect impartiality. The Law, Torah, is the

general name for the whole body of precepts and commandments, chuqqim,

 moral and ceremonial. Their lies; Vulgate, idola sua, which is the sense, though

not the translation, of the word.  Idols are so called as being nonentities in themselves,

and deceiving those who trust in them. “We know,” says Paul (I Corinthians 8:4).

that an idol is nothing in the world.” The Septuagint gives, τὰ μάταια αὐτῶν ἃ 

ἐποίησανta mataia auton a epoinaesan -  their vain things

which they made.Their fathers have walked. This is the usual expression

for attachment to idolatrous practices. From this error the Israelites were never

weaned till their return from the penal CAPTIVITY!




                        Heredity and the Idol Taint (v. 4)


“And their lies led them astray, after which their fathers walked.” Idolatry

was Israel’s besetting sin. Within two months of their leaving Egypt they

fell into it, and, in spite of Divine deterrent measures, they returned to it

persistently for nine hundred years. They took to idol worship, in fact, as

to the manner born” And that the sin was constitutional, and in the grain,

is evident from the fact that there was no corresponding secession from

idol worship to the service of the true God (Jeremiah 2:11). It was,

moreover, the germinal sin. Deranging the primary relation to God, it led

to the derangement of all other relations subordinate to this. From it, as a

fruitful seed, sprang up in a luxuriant crop the hateful national vices, in

which the heathen around were not merely imitated but outdone. And then,

as was natural, all the national troubles, including the crowning one of

captivity in Babylon, were brought on them by this and its resultant sins,

and were designed to be at once its punishment and cure. How near the

practice lay to the sources of national corruption and calamity this passage

shows. We have here:


·         AN IDOL A LIE. This is a strong figure, and very apt (Jeremiah 16:19-20;

Romans 1:25).


Ø      It is a figment of the imagination. “An idol is nothing in the world”

(1 Corinthians 8:4). It is simply, as the very name implies, the creation

of an errant fancy. If we think that to be something which is nothing, we

deceive ourselves; and the idol which is the occasion of the deception is an

illusion and a lie. There are idols in every human heart. Such are all its

passions and lusts (Colossians 3:5; 1 John 5:21). And they are lies.

They are conversant with unrealities only. They deceive by false shows and

promises. They promise joys that are purely visionary. They afford joys

that turn out greatly poorer than they seemed. They refuse to believe in evil

consequences that are manifold and inevitable. Every man who has given

them entertainment has deceived himself (Romans 6:21).


Ø      It is the devils figurehead. This is Paul’s reading of the natural history

of an idol (1 Corinthians 10:19-20), and it was that of Moses

(Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17) and Ezra (II Chronicles 11:15)

and David (Psalm 106:37) before him. Thus the imaginary god

is, after all, a real devil, and therefore doubly a lie; for he “is a liar, and the

father of it.” (John 8:44) He suggests it, and designs it, and works through it,

and embodies himself in it, and then crowns all by concealing the fact. The

kingdom of the beast” in prophecy is probably the great idolatrous

confederation or false Church in which idolatry is wedded to empire.

So with the spiritual idols of our hearts. They are of the devil (1 John 3:8),

produced by his working (Acts 5:3) and charged with his evil nature

(John 8:44). To serve the flesh in the lusts of it is, in a very literal sense,

to serve the devil.


Ø      It disappoints all expectations from it. “Ye are of nothing,” says Isaiah,

addressing idols, “and your work of naught” (Isaiah 41:24). So we say,

“Out of nothing nothing comes.” Idol impotence, declared is in Scripture

(Jeremiah 14:22), and proved by experiment (1 Kings 18:24, 29), is

a corollary from the very nature of things. So with spiritual idols. Nothing

comes out of them to the purpose. Covetousness and concupiscence and

frivolity promise happiness, and it never comes, but is wasted by them

beyond recovery. And then, instead of happiness, there comes a:


o        ruined estate,

o        shattered health,

o        blasted hopes, and

o        an accusing conscience,


and the first tooth of the worm that never dies.


·         AN IDOL A CORRUPTING LIE.Caused them to err,” or “led them

astray.” There is a whole philosophy of morals in this statement.


Ø      Wrong belief leads to wrong action. The modern byword that “religion

is not a creed, but a life,” is cant generally, and a blunder always. Religion

is neither a creed nor a life; it is both. if ye know these things, happy are

ye if ye do them.”  (John 13:17) You cannot do them otherwise; and in that

case, to know them is useless. It is impossible to steer right with a wrong

theory of navigation or with no theory. (There is no right way to do the\

wrong thing! - CY - 2022) So a right life is impossible where there is a

wrong creed or no creed. A creed is but a formula, of which the intelligent

life is the tilling up. Belief in idols, or in any ordinance of their worship,

is a mistake, and acted on must lead astray. So, too, with the idols of sinful

appetites. We expect happiness from serving them, and serve them with

that view. What is this but committing sin on principle — wrong practice

the inevitable outcome of wrong theory?


Ø      Idolatry casts off God, and so all restraints on ill-doing. Morality has

its basis in religion. The standard morality it is GOD’S CHARACTER!

The ground of it is God’s command. If there is no God there is no duty, as

theists understand duty, and men may live as they list. This was what Israel

did as soon as they became idolatrous (v. 7). Idolatry was equivalent with

them to a deed of indemnity for sinning. So with the worshippers of idol lusts.

The idolatry that makes a god of ourselves makes us also a law to



Ø      An idol is evil even as a conception, and the worship of it makes the

idolater like it. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?”

(Job 14:4)  The idol invented by corrupt man is a corrupt creation. The gods

of Greece and Rome were many of them simply the embodiments of human

vices; and as they were models for men to study and imitate, the worship of

them made the people like them. We are naturally assimilated to the likeness

of the thing we serve, if we serve it truly. Let this warn us to take service

only with a pure master.


·         AN IDOL AN HEREDITARY LIE. “After which their fathers

walked.” Reason suggests and history shows that the idols of the fathers

are the idols of the children.


Ø      All practices tend to become hereditary. Children are imitative. They do

what they see done. An act repeated becomes a habit, and the habit leading

to persistence in the act, presses it on others’ attention, and leads to its

being imitated. It is thus that the social and religions customs of a

community assume an aspect of heredity, and propagate themselves down

the generations.


Ø      Evil practices do so especially. (Proverbs 22:15) Evil is congenial

to human nature, and men will do the thing that is pleasant. Hence evil

never dies, whilst good is dying out continually; and evil propagates itself,

whilst good can be propagated only by a perpetual exercise of Divine



Ø      Family sins are the most surely hereditary of all. Dispositions run in the

blood. The drunkard, the thief, the libertine, each transmits his evil appetite

or tendency to his children, and so practically ensures their failing into his

sin. There is no reason to except a taste for idol worship from the

operation of this law. In the literal sense it is an appetency easily

transmissible. In the spiritual sense it is more easily propagable still. If “the

fathers have eaten the sour grapes” of idol service in any form, “the

children’s teeth” are more than likely to be “set on edge.”


Ø      Idol worship is self-worship in an insidious form, and therefore

specially congenial to human nature. Self is the idol easiest to enthrone.

The injunction to love ourselves is not given in Scripture. It is safely and

properly assumed, and made the model and measure of our love to others

(Matthew 19:19). Self-love is an affection native to the heart, and that

in ideal strength. Now, an idol represented the maker’s ideal of himself.

It was, therefore, agreeable to his nature, and its service congenial, and so

of easy transmission from generation to generation. All sin is really at

bottom self-worship. We prefer ourselves to God; our will, our pleasure,

our way, to His. We push Him off the throne, and ourselves on it, and

then do as we wish. It is only grace that says, “Lord, what wilt thou have

me to do?”




                                    The Privileged but Faithless (v. 4)


The preceding denunciations refer to the idolatrous nations by whom the

chosen people were surrounded. But the impartiality of the prophet is

apparent from his condemnation of his own kindred. Amos came from

Tekoah, a city of Judah, and, instructed by the righteous Ruler of all, he

did not spare his own tribe.




From the days of the desert wanderings the Jewish people had enjoyed the

unspeakable privilege of possessing the laws of Moses, which were the

laws of Jehovah. A treasure of incomparable value should have been highly

esteemed and diligently used. That there were those to whom the Law was

as “fine gold,” as “honey and the honeycomb,” cannot be questioned. But

the people as a whole were insensible of their privileges, and neglected and

abused them; indeed, they are charged with having despised them. The

surrounding and heathen nations were not guilty of this heinous offence.

Great is the sin of those who have the Word of God, but who treat it with

neglect and disdain.





people were taught not only by words, but by facts; not only by the books

of Moses, but by the history of their ancestors. How often had the Hebrew

people forsaken their God! How grievously had they sinned! And how

terribly had they been scourged for their folly! Yet the lesson, emphatic and

impressive though it was, was overlooked and unlearned.



THEIR LAPSE INTO IDOLATRY. The “lies” spoken of by the prophet

refer to the deceptive and hideous rites and practices of the heathen.

Jehovah was the true God; the “gods of the nations” were but idols, the

professions of whose worshippers and priests were delusive and vain. That

those who had been trained to idolatry should persevere in it was

intelligible; but that Judah should forsake the righteous, pure, and gracious

God for the capricious and obscene and ridiculous divinities of the

surrounding nations, was monstrous, and only to be accounted for by an

awful abandonment to self and sin. The greater the height from which one

falls, the deeper is his descent.



A SEVERE RETRIBUTION. Nebuzaradan and the army of the Chaldees

fulfilled this prediction to the letter.


5 “But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of

Jerusalem.”  The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans is here briefly

foretold (Jeremiah 17:27; Hosea 8:14; II Kings 25:9-10).



The Woe against Judah (vs. 4-5)


In the form of this woe, as compared with those before, is nothing to

indicate the difference of underlying principles which it involves. A woe on

a Hebrew and a heathen have little in common but the inevitable

connection between PUNISHMENT and SIN.




VERY DIFFERENT. The six woes against the heathen are fathered

 exclusively on their sins against Israel or its friends. This woe against Judah

is denounced with exclusive reference to sins against God himself. This is

exactly what we might expect. Each is judged out of his own law

(Romans 2:12).  The revelation of God and duty to Him was the first

great commandment of the Law given to the Jews (Matthew 22:37-38),

and for this God reckons with them — first, because it was at once the

guiltiest sin, and the sin of which they were oftenest guilty. The law revealed

to the heathen made known the existence and many perfections of God

(Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20), and threw a side light on the way to worship Him

(Acts 17:29). But this was not their clearest revelation, and so their sin

against it is not the sin that is emphasized. The law written on their heart

(Romans 2:14-15) — i.e. speaking in reason, conscience, and human

feeling — was specially the law of duty to their fellow creatures; and it is

for their sin in this matter specially that God brings them into judgment. It

is its blindness, and not its darkness, that is the condemnation of the world

(John 3:19). Where the white ray of revelation focuses, there the red

ray of judgment shall fall and burn.



EACH OTHER. “Despised the Law of Jehovah, and kept not His

commandments.” The Law is the abstract thing — God’s revealed will as a

whole. The commandments are the “particular precepts”  into which

it is broken up. The first, Being general, is fitly described as being

“despised;” i.e. its drift disliked and its authority spurned. The second,

being precepts enjoining particular duties, is said with propriety to be

disobeyed. The order of enumeration is also the logical and natural order.

Action is ever the outcome of sentiment, and its expression. What a man

outwardly disobeys he has begun by INWARDLY DESPISING.

             And so what he begins by despising he naturally goes on to disobey. It is

in the heart that the eggs are hatched which, in a later stage, are the birds

of evil doing. It is, therefore, at the door of his heart that the wise man will

MOUNT GUARD!  (Proverbs 4:23).



Their lies led them astray. “By ‘lies’ here we are to understand idols. And

the figure is most appropriate. Amos calls the idols ‘lies,’ not only as res

quoe fallunt, But as fabrications and nonentities” (I Corinthians 8:4). It is

this lying character that makes them inevitably the occasion of sin. The first

sin was brought about by a lie, in which the truth of God’s threat was denied,

and so its practical power destroyed. And every idol is just such a lie in

embodied form. It is an abrogation of God’s authority, a denying of His very

existence; and it is a substitution for these of a god and a code congenial to

our fallen nature. Under such circumstances violation of God’s Law is a

foregone conclusion.



FATHERS. Imitation is easier than invention. Hence Israel, when they first

wanted an idol, adopted the calf of Egypt (Exodus 32:4); and Jeroboam,

also just left Egypt, set up calf worship in Dan and Bethel  (I Kings 12:28).

Then, other things being equal, the persons men are most likely to imitate

are their fathers, who are their teachers and guides and natural examples.

Add to this that national tastes and habits and characters, formed in

connection with a particular idol worship, would be in special

harmony with it, and would be transmitted with it from sire to son.



WITH ON THE SAME PRINCIPLES. The manner of the sin was the

same with Judah and the heathen. It was a transgression, or act of

disobedience to a known law, as distinguished from a sinful disposition. It

was a series of these acts, culminating in a final one of special enormity.

For three transgressions, and for four.The manner of treatment was the

same. God threatened to strike. Then He lifted His hand for the stroke.

Then He withheld it for a time. Then He declared the limit of forbearance

was past, and nothing could now prevent the falling of the blow. The mode

of punishment was to be the same. The agent would be devouring fire. This

would fall on the capital. Sin in a visible spiritual relation, and however

mixed up with acts of worship, is no whit less guilty. There is only one hell,

and all sin alike deserves it, and, unrepented of, must bring to it.


Vs. 6-16 are a summons and general denunciation of Israel for injustice, cruelty,

incest, luxury, and idolatry.


6 “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for

four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they

sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;”

They sold the righteous for silver. The first charge against Israel is

perversion of justice. The judges took bribes and condemned the

righteous, i.e. the man whose cause was good. Pusey thinks that the literal

selling of debtors by creditors, contrary to the Law (Exodus 21:7; Leviticus

25:39; Nehemiah 5:5), is meant (compare ch.8:6 and Matthew 18:25).

The needy for a pair of shoes. For the very smallest bribe they betray the

cause of the poor (compare Ezekiel 13:19); though, as sandals were

sometimes of very costly materials (Song of Solomon 7:1; Ezekiel 16:10),

the expression might mean that they sold justice to obtain an article of luxury.

But the form of expression is opposed to this interpretation.



Great Sufferings Following Great Sins

     (ch.1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; ch. 2:1, 4 ,6)


“For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away

the punishment,” etc. Amos, we are informed, was a native of Tekoah, a

small region in the tribe of Judah, about twelve miles southeast of

Jerusalem. Nothing is known of his parents. He evidently belonged to the

humbler class of life, and pursued the occupation of the humble shepherd

and dresser of sycamore trees. From his flock he was divinely called to the

high office of prophet; and though himself of the tribe of Judah, his mission

was to Israel. He was sent to Bethel, into the kingdom of the ten tribes. He

commenced his ministry in the reign of Uzziah, between B.C. 772 and 746,

and therefore labored about the same time as Hosea. In his time idolatry,

with its concomitant evils and immoralities of every description, reigned

with uncontrolled sway amongst the Israelites, and against these evils he

hurls his denunciations. The book has been divided into three or four parts:

First, sentences pronounced against the Syrians, the Philistines, the

Phoenicians, the Edomites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Jews, and

the Israelites (ch. 1 and 2). Second, special discourses delivered against

Israel (ch. 3 to 6). Third, visions, partly of a consolatory and partly of a

comminatory nature, in which reference is had both to the times that were

to pass over the ten tribes previous to the coming of the Messiah, and

finally to what was to take place under his reign (ch. 7 to 9). His style is

marked by perspicuity, elegance, energy, and fulness. His images are

mostly original, and taken from the natural scenery with which he was

familiar. We may say that the whole passage, extending from ch.

1:13 to ch. 2:8, illustrates the three following great truths:


  • The sins of all the people on the earth, whatever the peculiarities of their

character or conduct, are under the cognizance of God.


  • That of all the sins of the people, that of persecution is peculiarly

abhorrent to the Divine nature.


  • That these sins expose to suffering not only the actual offenders, but

others also.


The first and second of these truths we will not here notice; but to the third we

must now give a moment’s attention. In all the passages to which we have referred

at the head of this sketch punishment is the, subject. We offer two remarks on this




threatened to these different tribes of different lands are of the most terrible

description. But they are all such as to match their crimes.


Ø      The connection between great sins and great sufferings is inevitable. The

moral Governor of the world has so arranged matters that every sin

brings with it its own punishment, and it is only when the sin is

destroyed the suffering ceases. Thank God, this sin can be destroyed

through faith in the mediation of Jesus Christ who came to put away

sin by faith in the sacrifice of Himself.


Ø      The connection between great sins and great sufferings is universal. All

these sinful peoples had to realize it from their own bitter experience. It

does not matter where, when, or how a man lives, his sins will find him

out.  (Numbers 32:23).





which is here the instrument of God’s retribution to us sinners, would not

only scathe the persons and consume the property of the actual offenders,

but others. The fact is patent in all history and in all experience, that men

here suffer for the sins of others. We are so rooted together in the great

field of life, that if the tares are pulled up the wheat will be injured if not

destroyed. The cry of men in all ages has been, “Our fathers have sinned

….and we have borne their iniquities.”  (Lamentations 5:7) - “The fathers

 have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

 (Ezekiel 18:1; Jeremiah  31:29)  (I remember as a child eating grapes too

early before they were ripe and they made the edges of the teeth

extremely sensitive to touch – CY – 2013).  Two facts may reconcile our

consciences to this.


Ø      That few, if any, suffer more than their consciences tell them they



Ø      That there is to come period when the whole will appear to be in

accord with the justice and goodness of God.




The Enormity of the Sin of Persecution

    (ch.1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; ch. 2:1, 4 ,6)


“For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four,” etc. “They are all

charged in general,” says an old expositor, “with three transgressions, yea,

with four; that is, with many transgressions, as by ‘one or two’ we mean

many; as, in Latin, a man that is very happy is said to be terque quaterque

beatus — ‘three and four times happy;’ or, ‘with three and four,’ that is,

with seven transgressions — a number of perfection, intimating that they

have filled up the measure of their iniquities, and are, ripe for ruin; or,

with three’ (that is, a variety of sins), and with a fourth especially, which is

specified concerning each of them, though the other three are not, as

Proverbs 30:15, 18, 21, 29. Where we read of ‘three things, yea, four,’

generally one seems to be more especially intended. Now, the sin

especially referred to here as the “fourth” is taken to be that of

persecution, that is, the sin of inflicting suffering upon others because of

their peculiar religious convictions and doings. Other sins innumerable,

varied and heinous, they had committed, but this fourth seems to be the

crowning of their evil. Persecution has been called the measure filling sin of

any people, the sin that will be taken into account on the last great day. “I

was hungry, and ye gave me no meat,” etc. (Matthew 25:42-43).



persecutor acts upon the assumption that his ideas of religion are

absolutely true, that his theological knowledge is the test by which all other

opinions are to be tried. Such a man is represented by the apostle as one

thatsitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God

(II Thessalonians 2:4). Presumptuous mortal! The proud tyrant who has won

his way through seas of blood to the throne, and claims authority over

men’s bodily movements, shows an arrogance before which servile spirits

bow, but from which all thoughtful and noble men recoil with disgust and

indignation. But his arrogance is shadowy and harmless compared with the

arrogance of him who enters the temple of human conscience, and claims

dominion over the moral workings of the soul. Yes, such arrogant men

abound in all ages, and are by no means rare even in this age and land of

what is called civil and religious liberty. The most arrogant title that mortal

man can wear is “Vicar of Christ.”


  • PERSECUTION IS A MOST ABSURD CRIME. Far wiser is the fool

who would legislate for the winds or the waves, and, like Canute, give

commands to the billows than he who attempts to legislate for human

thoughts and moral convictions. Still more foolish to attempt to crush

men’s religious beliefs by inflicting civil disabilities or corporeal suffering.

In sooth, the way to give life, power, and influence to religious errors is to

persecute. And truth never seems to rise in greater power and majesty than

under the bloody hand of cruel persecution. It has been well said that “the

blood of the martyrs is THE SEED OF THE CHURCH.”



“A blameless faith was all the crime the Christian martyr knew;

And where the crimson current flowed upon that barren sand,

Up sprang a tree, whose vigorous boughs soon overspread the land;

O’er distant isles its shadow fell, nor knew its roots decay,

E’en when the Roman Caesar’s throne and empire passed away.”



      inhumanities are in these verses charged against the various peoples

mentioned — those of Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus, etc.! It has often been

observed that no anger is so savage as the auger which springs up between

relations of blood. A brotherly hate is the chief of hates; and it may be truly

said that there is no animosity that burns with a more hellish heat than that

connected with religion. Gibbon, referring to the cruelties inflicted upon

the early Christians, says, “They died in torments, and their torments were

embittered by insult and derision. Some were nailed on crosses, others

sewn up in the skins of wild beasts and exposed to the fury of dogs; others,

again, smeared over with combustible material, were used as torches to

illuminate the darkness of the night. The gardens of Nero were destined for

the melancholy spectacle, which was accompanied by a horse race and

honored with the presence of the emperor, who mingled with the

populace in the dress and attitude of a charioteer.”  (“Who through

faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained

promises, stopped the mouths of lions.  Quenched the violence

of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were

made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies

of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again:

and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they

might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of

cdruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and

imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder,

were tempted, were slain with the sword:  they wandered about

in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

(Of whom the world was not worthy:)  they wandered in deserts,

and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And

these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received

not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for

us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”  (Hebrews



7 “That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and

turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in

unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:” That pant after the

 dust of the earth on the head of the poor. This is the second charge —

oppression of the poor. The obscure expression in the text is capable of two

explanations. Hitzig, Pusey, Trochon, assume that its meaning is that in their

avarice and cupidity the usurers or tyrannous rich men grudge even the dust

which the poor man strews upon his head in token of his sorrow at being

brought to so low a state. But this seems unnatural and farfetched, and

scarcely in harmony with the simple style of Amos. The other explanation,

supported by Kimchi, Sehegg, Keil, and Knabenbauer, is preferable. These

oppressors desire eagerly to see the poor crushed to the earth, or so miserable

as to scatter dust on their heads (compare I Samuel 4:12; II Samuel 1:2;

Job 2:12). The poor (dal, not the same word as in v. 6); depressed, as

brought low in condition. The Septuagint joins this with the previous

clause, “And the poor for sandals, the things that tread on the dust of the

earth, and smote on the heads of the needy.” The Vulgate gives, Qui

conterunt super pulverem terrae capita pauperum, “Who bruise the heads

of the poor on the dust of the earth.” Turn aside the way of the meek.

They thwart and hinder their path of life, and force them into crooked and

evil ways. Or way, according to Kimchi, may mean “judicial process,” as

Proverbs 17:23. This gives, to the clause much the same meaning as

v. 6. The meek are those who are lowly and unassuming. And a man and his

 father will go in unto the same maid; This sin, which was tantamount to

incest, was virtually forbidden (Leviticus 18:8,15; 20:11). Some (as Ewald, Maurer,

Gandell) see here an allusion to the organized prostitution in idol temples

(Hosea 4:14), but this seems unnecessary. To profane my holy Name

(Leviticus 22:32). Such crimes dishonored the God who called them

His people, so that to them could be applied what Paul says

(Romans 2:24),The Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles

through you” (compare Leviticus 20:3; Ezekiel 36:20, 23). The word

lemaan, “in order that,” implies that they committed these sins, not through

ignorance, but intentionally, to bring discredit upon the true faith and worship.


8 “And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every

altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their God.”

The prophet condemns the cruel luxury which, contrary to the Law, made the

poor debtor’s necessities minister to the rich man’s pleasures. They lay

 themselves  down upon; Vulgate, accubuerunt. Ewald translates, “they cast

lots upon;” but the Authorized Version is supported by the highest authorities,

and gives the most appropriate meaning. The Septuagint, with which the Syriac

partly agrees, refers the clause to the immoralities practiced in heathen worship,

which the perpetrators desired to screen from observation, Τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν

δεσμεύοντες σχοινίοις παραπετάσματα ἐποίουν ἐχόμενα τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου, "

ta himatia auton desmeuontes schoiniois parapetasmata

epoinoun echomena tou thusiastaeriou -  “Binding their clothes with cords,

they made them curtains near the altar.” This is far from the intention of the

prophet’s words. Upon clothes laid to pledge; or, taken in pledge. The “clothes”

(begadim) are the large outer garments which formed poor men’s dress by

day and cover by night, and which, if pledged, were ordered to be returned

by nightfall (Exodus 22:26; Deuteronomy 24:12). These the hardhearted usurers

kept as their own, and reclined luxuriously upon them at their feasts and carousals

in their temples. By every altar. At the sacrificial feasts in the temples at Dan and

Bethel. They drink the wine of the condemne;  οϊνον ἐκ συκοφαντιῶν - oinon ek

sukophantion - wine from the blackmailer.  Wine obtained by

fines extorted from the oppressed. So it is better to translate, “of such as

have been fined.” In the house of their god. The true God, whom they

worshipped there under the symbol of the calf.



The Woe against Israel (vs. 6-8)


This is the last woe and the greatest. “The thunder cloud of God’s

judgments having passed over all the nations round about, and even

discharged the fire from heaven on Judah and Jerusalem, settles at last on

Israel”. Just as God’s honor suffered specially by their sin, so

does His heart suffer specially in their punishment. And so, whilst

compendious justice may be meted out to heathen nations, the destruction

of the chosen people cannot be denounced without regretful enlargement

on the circumstances of the case.



HUMAN LIFE. “They sell the righteous for money, and the poor for a

 pair of shoes.” This may be either a commercial or a judicial transaction,

but in either case the principle involved is the same. An undue estimate of

wrong involves an inadequate estimate of all else. Wealth becomes the one

good, and gain the one pursuit. Human life is as nothing in comparison with

personal aggrandizement to the extent of even a paltry sum. Officialism, to

which the death of a human being is mainly a question of a burial or

registration fee, is not an altogether unheard of thing. This principle has a

bearing, not only on murder and the perversion of justice, but on slavery,

oppression, the opium and liquor traffics (in this day cocaine, meth, heroin,

and many other mind and life altering drugs – CY – 2013), and every method

of making money at the expense of human life or health or well being. The

extent to which such things prevail, and the tens of thousands of human lives

annually sacrificed for gain, is a startling commentary on the maxim that

“the love of money is a root of all evil.”



OTHER VICES ITS TRIBUTARIES. Israel’s besetting sin as against their

fellow men was covetousness.


Ø      This was inhuman. It bore hardest on the poor. These, being helpless,

were its easiest victims. Humanity was put out of the question, and the

unspeakably greater suffering involved in making the same gain off the

poor, as compared with the rich, was no deterrent whatever. Gain,

though it be the very heart’s blood of miserable fellow creatures, was

all they had an eye for or a heart to consider.


Ø      It was ungodly. It made special victims of the righteous. This course

was partly utilitarian, no doubt. The righteous might be expected to

submit to the maximum of wrong with the minimum of retaliation. But it

was profane as well. The wicked hate good, and all in whom it is found.

“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”

(I John 2:15).  It was natural, therefore, that a worldly act should assume

an ungodly character where opportunity arose.


Ø      It was devilish. “Who pant after the dust of the earth on the head

of the poor.” It rejoiced in all the incidental evils which oppression of the

poor involved. When those it impoverished were leveled in the dust of

misery and degradation, this was the sort of thing it panted after. One side

of a man’s moral nature cannot become vitiated without affecting the other

sides. The vices have an affinity for one another, and tend to come

together in groups. If evil gets in the little finger of one vice, the intrusion

of the whole body is only a question of time.




satisfy any time, and the longer it is followed up it satisfies the less. In the

commission of it appetite increases, and relish diminishes pari passu, and

so the candle of actual enjoyment is being shortened at both ends. One

device in mitigation of this is to increase the dose, and another to multiply

the ingredients. (Does not America’s demand for drugs validate this? – CY –

2013).  Reduced to the latter expedient, Israel mixed:


Ø      Carousal with uncleanness. The two things often go together. They

are the two chief indulgences craved for by carnal appetite. The one,

moreover, helps to produce the other. A Falstaff who combines the

drunkard with the libertine is the typical debauchee.  (I once had

a girl in health class, who in her oral report made this statement:

alcohol increases the desire but hinders the performance.”  - CY –



Ø      Uncleanness with incest. “A man and his father go to the same girl.”

This act was equivalent to incest, which was a capital crime according to

the Mosaic code (Leviticus 18:7,15; 20:11). It outdid the heathen

themselves, among whom this crime was not so much as named

(I Corinthians 5:1). An apostate is always the vilest sinner (II Peter



Ø      Robbery with all three. Stretch themselves upon pawned clothes.

This was robbery in two forms. They retained pawned clothes overnight,

contrary to the Law of Moses (Exodus 22:26-27), and in further

violation of it used them to sleep on (Deuteronomy 24:12-13). “And

drink the wine of the amerced.” Again a double injustice. The fine

was unjustly inflicted, and then dishonestly appropriated.


Ø      Profanity with the entire troupe. “In order to profane my holy

 Name.”  Incest was the guiltiest, but as a carnal indulgence it had no

advantage over any other form of uncleanness, It must, therefore, have

been sought out because of its very horrors, and with a view to the

profanation of God’s holy name, making the “members the members

of an harlot” (I Corinthians 6:16).  “Before every altar,” i.e. at

Beersheba and Dan, where Jehovah was worshipped after a

fashion, and therefore in determinate contempt of God. “In the

house of their God,” not the idol god probably, but the God of Israel.

In the time of Jeroboam II there was no heathenish idolatry in the

kingdom of the ten tribes, or at any rate it was not publicly maintained.

But the sin, though less complicated, was scarcely less heinous than if

idolatry had been a part of it. It was done of set purpose to dishonor

Him, and in order to this the place selected for the commission of it was

His house, and the occasion the celebration of His worship. What a

horrible exhibition of extreme and multiplex depravity! “They condensed

sin. By a sort of economy in the toil of sinning they blended many

sins in one… and in all the express breach of God’s commandments!




                                    A Nation’s Crimes (vs. 6-8)


The ministry of Amos was mainly to the northern kingdom. With this

passage commences the long impeachment and warning which the prophet

was inspired to address to Israel. The previous denunciations are pungent,

but brief; now Amos puts forth all his strength of invective, reproach, and




DEBASEMENT. Israel did not, indeed, abjure religion; but Israel

solemnly rejected God. “The house of their god,” says the prophet with

a quiet irony, referring to the idol temples which the people had taken to

frequenting. The reverence of the supreme Lord of righteousness is the very

root of national morality. Let a people worship such deities as were worshipped

by Israel’s neighbors, the Philistines, the Amorites, the Syrians, and it is well

known to what fatal results such worship will surely lead. And let a nation

abandon all worship, and live a life of sense, and it is certainly upon the

high road to moral ruin.



NATIONAL UNGODLINESS. In the state of society with which Amos

was conversant, these immoral habits displayed themselves in the

enslavement of the poor or in their deprivation of the ordinary comforts of

life. There was no human law to prevent some of the base transactions

mentioned, and all belief in a Divine Law was abandoned. History gives us

many proofs of the pernicious effect of secularism and superstition upon

human relations. Not only are all restraints, save those of civil law and

physical force, spumed and ridiculed; there is no impulse and no motive to

a higher than the selfish and animal life.



NATION’S IRRELIGION. The passions which lead to such atrocities as

those here mentioned are, no doubt, deep seated in human nature. But

religion assists men, not in repressing them wholly, but in controlling and

guiding them. It is believed by many that Amos refers to some of the

practices which were encouraged by the idolatries to which the Israelites

were conforming. Certain it is that infidelity is often associated with the

vilest principles of an immoral life, and tends to the letting loose of that

wild beast-sensual appetite which works DIRE DEVESTATION IN



·         APPLICATION. These considerations should induce those who prize true

religion for themselves to seek its maintenance at home against the assaults

of infidelity, and to seek its propagation in lands where its absence is so

morally deleterious.


9 “Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like

the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I

destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.”

God complains of Israel’s ingratitude for the favor which He

had shown them. And yet I. The personal pronoun has a prominent

position, and is continually repeated, to contrast God’s faithfulness and the

people’s unthankfulness. The Amorite (Joshua 24:8, 18). The

representative of the seven nations of Canaan who were dispossessed by

the Israelites (Genesis 15:16; Exodus 23:27; 34:11). The hyperbolical description

of this people is taken from Numbers 13:32; Deuteronomy 1:28. Thus is shown

Israel’s inability to cope with such an enemy, and their entire dependence on

the help of the Lord. Fruit… roots. Keil explains that the posterity of a nation

is regarded as its fruit, and the kernel of the nation out of which it springs as the

root, comparing Job 18:16; Ezekiel 17:9; Hosea 9:16. The expression

is equivalent to our “root and branch” (Malachi 4:1).


10 “Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty

years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.”

The deliverance from Egypt and the guidance through the desert, though

chronologically first, are mentioned last, as the great and culminating example


prepared the land for Israel, and then trained them for possessing it. From

the many allusions in this section, we see how familiar Amos and his

hearers were with the history and law of the Pentateuch. Led you forty

years (Deuteronomy 2:7; 8:2-4).


11 “And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men

for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the

LORD.”  Having mentioned two temporal benefits conferred on Israel,

the prophet now names two spiritual favors the presence of holy

speakers and holy doers. I raised up. The prophet and the Nazarite were

alike miracles of grace. The former gave heavenly teaching, the latter

exhibited holiness of life. It was THE LORD who gave the prophet power

 and authority to proclaim His will; it was THE LORD  who inspired the

 vow of the Nazarite and enabled him to carry it out in practice. Prophets.

To Israel belonged Samuel (I Samuel 1:1), Ahijah of Shiloh (I Kings 14:2, 4),

Jehu, son of Hanani (Ibid. ch.16:7), Elijah and Elisha, Hosea and Jonah.

Young men. In the height of their passions, lusty and strong. Nazarites. The law

concerning the Nazarites is given in Numbers 6. The special restrictions by which

they bound themselves (viz. abstention from strong drink, from the use of the razor,

and from all ritual defilement) were the outward signs of inward purity and

 devotion to God. Their very name implied separation from the world and

devotion to God. They were, in fact, the religious of the old Law, analogous

to the monks of Christian times.  The vow was either temporary or lifelong.

Of perpetual Nazarites we have as instances Samson, Samuel, and John the

Baptist. Is it not even thus? Is not the existence of prophets and Nazarites

among you a proof that you are signally favored by God, separate from other

nations, and bound to be a holy people? Taking the general import of the

passage and the signification of the word “Nazarite,” the Septuagint renders,

εἰς ἀγιασμόν eis agiasmon - “I took… and of your young men for





            The Manifold Mercies of the Covenant People (vs. 9-11)


In striking contrast to Israel’s treatment of God stands out His treatment of

them. Mercy rises above mercy, tier on tier, in a mighty pyramid of

blessing. Of these there was:


·         NATIONAL ADOPTION. This is not mentioned, but it is implied, as

underlying all the other favors. God’s first step was to make them his

people. He loved and chose them (Deuteronomy 10:15; 7:7-8). He

separated them from the peoples, and took them into covenant with Himself

(Exodus 33:16; Genesis 17:7, 19). That covenant he sealed (ibid. v.13), and

all who observed the seal He styled His own people (Isaiah 43:1), lavishing

on them in addition many a title of affection. This national adoption is the

fact that attends the whole line of Israel’s national favors.


·         NATIONAL DELIVERANCE. “Brought you up,” etc. (v. 10). This

was a stupendous providence; stupendous in its measures and stupendous

in its results, and therefore of immense moral significance and weight. The

mighty forces of nature are utilized. A haughty heathen nation is brought to

its bended knees before the God of the down-trodden Israel. A rabble

becomes an army. Crouching slaves become the fearless free. And, out of

the chaos of despair and death emerges the young world of fresh national

life. This astounding work was Jehovah’s rod to conjure with in the after

centuries. He makes it the fulcrum on which to rest the lever of resistless

motive. His Law, in its moral (Exodus 20:2), judicial (Deuteronomy

24:18-22; 15:15), and ceremonial aspects (ibid. 16:12), is bespoken a

ready and glad obedience in the word, “I am the Lord thy God,

which brought thee out of the land of Egypt,” etc.


·         NATIONAL PRESERVATION. “And led you forty years.” The

sustained but quiet miracles of the desert pilgrimage were a worthy

sequence to the prodigies of the Exodus. Divine energies were not

exhausted in the thunder bursts under which Egypt was made to reel. They

were but the stormy prelude to the sunshine and soft showers and gentle

wooing winds of a long spiritual husbandry. In the manna falling silently,

and the mystic guiding pillar, and the Shechinah glory lighting up the most

holy place, Jehovah by a perpetual miracle kept Himself before the

nation’s eye in all providential and saving relations. The resistless

Deliverer was the jealous Protector, the bounteous Provider, and the

solicitous and tender Friend.


·         NATIONAL TRIUMPH. “I destroyed the Amorite,” etc. The

Hebrews had fierce and powerful enemies in all the neighboring nations.

These were generally their superiors in physical strength and courage and

the warlike arts. Apart from miraculous help, it is doubtful whether Israel

would not have been overmatched by almost any one of them (Exodus

17:11; 1 Samuel 17:42). Yet the giant races were subdued before them

and wasted off the earth. When the grasshopper (Numbers 13:33)

seizes on the lion’s domain there are forces at work that invert the natural

order of things. To make the minnows of unwarlike, timid, plodding Israel

victorious over the tritons of Anak, the colossal warriors of Hebron

(Joshua 11:21), was a moral miracle, sufficient in itself to carry a

nation’s faith and a nation’s gratitude till the end of time.


·         NATIONAL ENFEOFFMENT (under the feudal system, the deed by which

a person was given land in exchange for a pledge of service) “To possess the

land of the Amorite.” An earthly inheritance was included in the earliest

promise to Israel (Genesis 17:8). The tradition of this ideal provided home

was never lost. In the stubble fields and by the brick kilns, where, “like

dumb, driven cattle,” they toiled throughout the years of their Egyptian

bondage, the vision of it came as a ray of comfort lighting the darkest

hours. When they marched from Egypt they consciously went to possess

their own land, and the long detention in the desert was taken as a tedious

but appropriate schooling to prepare them for the coming of age. Palestine,

when at last they settled in it, was the very garden of the world, and a home

so perfect of its kind as to be made AN EMBLEM OF THE ETERNAL

HOME ABOVE.   God’s standing monument, written over with the story

of His goodness, was to every Israelite the teeming, smiling land in which

he lived.


·         NATIONAL EVANGELIZATION. “And I raised up of your sons,”

etc. The prophet was a characteristic national institution among the Jews.

He was a man to whom God made revelations of His will (Numbers

12:6), and through whom He communicated that will to the people

(Hebrews 1:1). Of this communication more or less was generally,

although not invariably, committed to writing, and embodied in the

Scriptures. The prophet did not regularly instruct the people; that was

rather the business of the priest. But he did so often, and was besides

God’s mouthpiece for the communication of new truth, speaking it always

according to the analogy of faith (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). The

permanent establishment thus of a Divine oracle in their midst, giving

constant access to the fountainhead of truth, was a notable privilege to

Israel. The institution of Nazarites was little less so in another direction.

They were consecrated ones, separated from common men and common

uses, and devoted in a special manner to God (Numbers 6:1-21). Such

consecration was the ideal human life (John 17:19). Therefore what the

prophet did for truth in the abstract the Nazarite did for it in the concrete.

The one revealed God’s will, the other embodied it, or at least its great

central principle. Their respective functions were complementary of each

other, and between the two the Israelitish nation was “throughly furnished

unto good works.”




                                    A Nation’s Privileges (vs. 9-11)


The transgressions of Israel were all the more reprehensible because of the

peculiar favor which had been shown, to the people who were

descendants of the father of the faithful and the friend of God. Upon these

special privileges the prophet here dwells  with a view to bring home to t

he offenders the magnitude of their sin.




in the land of the Canaanites, of whom the Amorites are in this passage

taken as the representatives. These foes of the chosen nation are pictured

majestic as the cedar and mighty as the oak. Yet Jehovah had smitten them

in the lofty branches, and had extirpated them from the roots, and had

planted in their stead the vine brought out of Egypt. It was not by Israel’s

sword or bow, but by the right hand of the Lord, that the Amorites had

been vanquished. A devout mind will trace the presence and the action of

Divine Providence, in a nation’s history. In great crises England has been

succored by the interposition of Omnipotence from the assaults of

powerful and unpitying foes. The “good hand of our God” has been upon

us to protect and to deliver.  (Ezra 8:18) 




“I led you:” such is the language in which Jehovah reminded the forgetful

and unfaithful Hebrews of His treatment of His chosen. The epoch of

wilderness wandering was the critical epoch of Israel’s life; it was then that

the nation was consolidated and disciplined. A marvelous story it remains

to this day, the story of the forty years in the Peninsula of Sinai. Fraught,

too, with encouragement for all who trust God. What Christian nation has

not reason to give thanks to “Him who led His people through the

wilderness” for His mercy endureth forever”?  (Psalm 136:16)  The eye

must be dull which cannot see, the heart must be cold which does not 

confess, the directing hand of the Eternal in the career of such a nation

as our own.




AND EXAMPLES. The prophets and Nazarites of the Jews may represent

men of sanctified genius and insight, and mental and moral force, whom

Providence appoints to be the inspiration of the community towards all that

is beautiful and good. A people’s greatest strength and most valuable

possession must be sought in its finest, purest, ablest men. God did much

for Israel in the way of outward guidance and interposition; but all His

mercies were transcended by the gift of heroes and saints, judges and seers,

valiant, true-hearted kings, fearless prophets, faithful priests. Rich as our

own country is in many other respects, its true wealth must be sought in its

noblest, most unselfish sons. God give us grace to appreciate and to profit

by His goodness in this respect!


12 “But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the

prophets, saying, Prophesy not.”  Ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink.

Far from profiting by their example, or acknowledging the grace of God

displayed in their holy lives, ye tried to get rid of their testimony by

seducing or forcing them to break their vow. Prophesy not. Israel was

impatient of the continued efforts of the prophets to warn and to win; and,

unmindful of the fact that the man of God had a message which he was bound to

deliver (compare Jeremiah 20:9; I Corinthians 9:16), this ungrateful nation

systematically tried to silence the voices which were a standing rebuke to

them. (Thus, falling into this category is the American Civil Liberties Union,

not in theory, since the ACLU pledges to protect the rights of Americans,

and should  recognize the First Amendment, that Congress shall make no law

“forbidding the exercise of religion” but in reality, a very vicious “anti-religious”

organization.  While working on my master’s degree in the early 1970’s at

Murray State University, I ran across the fact that the United States Congress

in the 1930’s investigated the ACLU as a communist organization – CY –

2013).  Thus Amos himself was treated (ch.7:10). (For proof of

this opposition, see I Kings 13:4; 18:10; 19:2; 22:26-28; II  Kings 6:31;

II Chronicles 25:15-16; and compare Isaiah 30:10; Micah 2:6; Matthew 23:37.




                         Children that are Corrupters (v. 12)


“But ye made the dedicated drink wine; and ye commanded the prophets,

saying, Ye shall not prophesy” Action and reaction have a natural

connection and a normal relation to each other. In all departments of being

they meet and answer, as face answers to face in a glass. The rebound is as

the blow, the conviction as the argument, the response as the appeal. The

mention of what God had done for Israel brings up the question — How

had Israel been affected by it all? Had things occurred in the normal way?

Had gratitude waited on blessing in due proportion, and improvement

followed privilege? This verse is the disappointing answer. Israel’s

response to God’s appeal, as contained in His gracious dealings, was not

the gratitude and fealty due, but unaccountable and aggravated sin. God

delivered them from bondage, and they oppressed each other; He defended

them against unjust violence, and they wrought injustice. He guided them

in their journeys, and they led one another astray. He plied them with

evangelizing agencies, and they responded by committing sacrilege and

procuring blasphemy. The last is the sin charged against them here.


·         THIS WAS PRIMARILY A SIN AGAINST GOD. The Nazarite and

the prophet were both Divine institutions. The vow of the one and the

message of the other were alike prescribed by God (>Numbers 6:1-8;

12:6). It was His will that they should perform their characteristic acts. In

doing so they were but His instruments, accomplishing His purpose toward

the nation. Accordingly, Israel’s action against them was really against Him,

against His servants, against His ordinance, against His authority. So with

all action against God’s people as such. As we deal by them will He regard us

as dealing by Himself. They are all God’s prophets, understanding the

mysteries of His kingdom, and “holding forth the Word of life.” (Philippians

2:16)  They are all His dedicated ones, separate from the world, and living,

not to themselves, but to Him who died and rose again for them.”

(II Corinthians 5:15)  And whether as the one thing or the other, they are

His accredited representatives on earth (Matthew 10:40). Our treatment of

them is virtually our treatment of Him that sent them (Matthew 25:40).

A kiss to them reaches the Master’s lips; a blow to them touches the apple

of His eye.



compeling the prophet and the Nazarite to disobey God. Now,

disobedience is sin, even when committed under pressure. “We ought to

obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:27-29)  Men have faced death rather

than the guilt of disobedience to known law. And so long as there is any

alternative, even death itself, there is no place for disobedience. Israel’s

was the sin of compeling others to sin. This was soul murder, and therefore

guilt of the darkest dye. Early persecutors sometimes compeled Christians

to swallow poison, an infernal device to make them suicides as well as

martyrs, and so destroy them soul and body both. So diabolically ingenious

was the young persecutor, Saul of Tarsus, that he compelled believers to /

blaspheme (Acts 26:11); and when recalling the sin of his unconverted life

he makes that fact the bitterest count in his self-accusation. Kindred to this

was Israel’s sin. It was an attempt to compass not men’s death alone, but

their damnation — a crime to which killing the body is as nothing. And it is

not so uncommon in Christian lands and Christian Churches. How many

among us are tempters to drunkenness, tempters to uncleanness, tempters

to falsehood, tempters to profanity! Well, every tempter is a murderer — a

murderer not merely in the ordinary sense, but in the Satanic sense of

destroying or trying to destroy an immortal soul.




INTERESTS. All sin is unprofitable, but this was doubly so. The prophet

brought God’s message, not for their destruction, but for their salvation.

When they shut his month they cut themselves off from their only chance

of being saved. “Where no vision is the people perish” (Proverbs

29:18) and in deliberately cutting it off, Israel sealed its own

DESTRUCTION!  Then the Nazarite was an embodied revelation,

a typical representation of a consecrated life. A heedful eye might have

read a spiritual lesson out of his separation. “The life of the Nazarites

was a continual protest against the self-indulgence and worldliness of the

people.... It was a life above nature and thought They were an evidence

what all might do and be if they used the grace of God. But, in the

compulsory violation of his vow, the rich page was blotched and its lesson

blotted out. It presents the piteous sight of A PEOPLE STOPPING


OF THIRST!  Israel would neither:


Ø      listen to the Divine voice nor

Ø      look at the Divine life.


And the sight is not confined to Israel (II Timothy 4:3). There are Churches

that will not tolerate faithful preaching. There is a preaching that minces the

gospel testimony against sin. It is the case of Israel over again. The people

sinfully silence the preacher, and the preacher sinfully submits to be

 silenced.  A Church asleep, and the minister rocking the cradle, is a poor

interpretation of the pastoral relation.



ENJOYMENT OF SPECIAL MERCIES. All that God had done was a

motive to obedience and an argument against sin. But all the arrows of

influence fell pointless and broken from their hearts of stone. The more

Divine mercies multiplied, the more did abominable wickedness increase.

Sin, under such unlikely circumstances, argues special inveteracy (obstancy;

persistent tenacity), and involves corresponding aggravation of guilt

(Romans 2:4). With every want supplied and every better feeling appealed

to, it was sin not only without temptation, but in spite of strong deterrents,

and was therefore hopeless as it was guilty. The love and goodness of God

are the most potent persuasives to His service. Where these fail the case

is desperate. What mercy cannot bend judgment will only break. If you

sin against mercy YOU CAN SIN ETERNALLY! There is no spiritual

argument that can make you yield (II Peter 3:15; Romans 2:3-4).




Vs. 13-16 threaten severe punishment for the sins mentioned above.


13 “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of

sheaves.” Behold, I am pressed under you; Septuagint, κυλίω ὑποκάτω ὑμῶν

kulio hupokato humon -  I roll under you;” Vulgate,

stridebo subter vos; Syriac, as Anglican; Hitzig, “I make it totter beneath you,

as a cart tottereth;” Ewald, Keil,” I will press you down, as the cart presseth;”

Baur, Pusey, “I straiten myself under you, as a cart is straitened;” Revised Version,

“I will press you in your place, as a cart presseth.” The translation of Keil, which

is that of Gesenius, is most suitable, meaning, “I will press you with the full

force of war, as a loaded wain presses the earth over which it passes.” The

sense of the English Version is that God is burdened and wearied with their

sins, as Isaiah 43:24; Malachi 2:17. The verb, being hiphil, is an

objection to this explanation. The comparison of the wain is very natural in

the mouth of the shepherd Amos.




                                    God and Nations  (vs.. 9-13)


“Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the

height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit

from above, and his roots from beneath,” etc. These verses suggest a few

remarks in relation to God and nations.



TOWARDS THEM. In these verses He reminds Israel of two great

merciful interpositions of His on their behalf.


Ø      The destruction of the Amorite — the original inhabitant of Canaan.

Amorite here stands for all the old Canaanites. He drove out the

Canaanites that Israel might possess and enjoy the goodly land in which

they then lived (Exodus 23:27).


Ø      Their emancipation from Egypt and their guidance into the Holy Land.

“Also I brought you up from Egypt, and led you into the promised land.”

These two great acts of kindness are mentioned only as specimens of

millions of others. The language in which these acts are represented

suggest three great truths in relation to God’s conduct toward the world.


o        He often sacrifices one people in order to advance the interests of

another. The old Canaanites He sacrificed for the good of Israel. in the

history of the world this is often done; one country ruined for the

advantage of another. This is marvelous; it clashes with our primitive

ideas of justice and Divine goodness. But we cease to murmur when

we remember that there is a great explaining day, and that the peoples

that have been ruined for the interests of others have never suffered

more from the hands of God than they have justly deserved.


o        That the mightiest human powers cannot obstruct Him in His procedure.

The Amorites, the original inhabitants of Canaan, were a great people.

It is said their “height was like the height of cedars,” and they were

strong as oaks” They were in the great field of mankind not like the

tender sapling or the stunted shrub; they were tall as the cedars and

mighty as the oak (Numbers 13:32-33). Then Egypt, too, from which

He delivered them, was a mighty power. Pharaoh was the greatest

despot of the old world. But what was all this human power before

the march of Omnipotence? The mighty Canaanite and the powerful

Egyptian were as mere stubble under His feet. God will not be hindered.


o        That He fulfils His great purposes with nations by the agency of men.

He crushed the Canaanites and He crushed the Egyptians, not by

hurling directly from his hand the thunderbolts, No; but by the

agency of Joshua and Moses. God works with men by men. By men

He blesses and by men He punishes, He allows man to be the devil

of man, and He makes man the saviour of man.



CONFERRED ON THEM. He specifies here two special mercies which He

had bestowed upon Israel.


Ø      A spiritual ministry. “And I raised up of your sons for prophets.” He

gave them men whom He duly qualified to indoctrinate and inspire them

with the highest truths of duty and of destiny. The greatest blessing

which God bestows upon a people is a true ministry.


Ø      Virtuous young men. “Your young men for Nazarites.” “These were

young men who,” to use the language of another, “bound themselves by

a vow to God and His service, and, in pursuance of that, denied

themselves many of the lawful delights of sense, as drinking wine and

eating grapes. There were some of their young men that were in their

prime for the enjoyment of the pleasures of this life, and yet voluntarily

abridged themselves of them; these God raised up by the power of His

grace to be monuments of His grace, to His glory, and to be His witnesses

against the impieties of that degenerate age. Virtuous and high-minded

young men are amongst the chief ornaments and brightest hopes of a

people. But how did Israel treat these Divine mercies? “They commanded

the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.” They did not wish to hear their

voices; they closed their ears to their ministry. To a great extent this is

the case with our own country now. The great bulk of our people say

to the pulpits of England, by their conduct, “Prophesy not;” we do

not want your ministry. Sad state this — a state of sin and the

PRECUSOR OF RUIN!   How did Israel treat these

virtuous young men? “They gave the Nazarites wine to drink,” They

caused them to break their vow. This they did, it may be, by seductive

promises, or frightening threats, or abashing ridicule and reproach. A

greater crime than the crime of a people endeavoring to make young

men drunkards can scarcely be imagined, and this crime England is on

all hands earnestly promoting. The multiplication in our midst of beer

houses and gin palaces (in America, now, it is marijuana shops - CY -

2022), all under the sanction of law, is an insult to Heaven, an outrage

on decency, a curse to the country. It behoves every philanthropist to

take his stand against this abomination, and to sweep from the earth

such huge establishments of the devil as the Burton breweries and

the infernal spirit distilleries, whence streams of poison flow through

every grade of social life. “Every inordinate cup is unbless’d, and the

ingredient is a devil;” “O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast

                        no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!” (Shakespeare).




Ø      Men’s Sins a Divine burden (v. 13)


The figure of the text is one taken by Amos from his own experience as a

husbandman. In the harvest field the cart is piled high with sheaves to be

taken to the garner or the threshing floor. The wain (wagon) groans — as poets

put it — beneath the load. Even so, it is represented that the sins of Israel

oppress Jehovah; He is distressed by their magnitude and their






Ø      His repugnance to sin is here brought before us. The deities of the

heathen do not seem to have been represented as hating sin, though they

were pictured as resenting the neglect of their worshippers. It was

otherwise with Jehovah, for He was not an invention of human ignorance

and frailty. The Old Testament writers, with one consent, represent

THE ETERNAL AS HOLY and as hating sin as sin.


Ø      His distress at sin is conveyed in this declaration. This is no

imperfection. Mere disapproval would have been an imperfection.

But it is an encouraging view which we are justified in taking of the

Divine character, as we read that God is pained by human iniquity.

What an appeal to sinful man is this, “I am pressed under you”!



HUMAN SIN. Men’s transgressions are not unheeded by God, neither are

they a matter of indifference to Him. The Supreme Being is not oppressed

by the vast care of the material universe. But sin is so heinous and awful

that it affects His feelings — if we may use language so human. Shall man

be careless with regard to that which is so felt by the infinite heart? Of all

ills there can be none like this.



OF REDEMPTION. This light may be dim, but it is an advance upon

darkness. If man’s sin is so distressing to God, there is reason to hope that

Divine wisdom and grace will concur to provide means for its forgiveness

and its canceling. The feeling which is uttered in the figurative language of


gospel of salvation.


14 “Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall

not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself:”

In this and the two following verses Amos INDIVIDUALIZES THE

“PRESSURE” THAT WAITS THEM when every means of resistance

and escape shall fail. The flight shall perish from the swift. The swift of foot

shall have no time or way to flee (Jeremiah 25:35; 46:6), Ewald, Pusey,

Gandell, for “flight” render “place of flight, refuge,” as Job 11:20 “their hope

shall be as the giving up of the ghost”; Psalm 142:5;  Septuagint, φυγή -

 phugaeflight - Vulgate, fuga. Shall not strengthen his force. The strong

 man shall not be able to collect or put forth his strength to any good purpose

(compare Proverbs 24:5; Nahum 2:1). Neither shall… himself. Some of the

Greek manuscripts omit this clause. Deliver himself occurs three times —

a kind of solemn refrain.


15 “Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and he that is swift of

foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse

deliver himself.” Stand (“they did not stand, because the day of their

calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation”

 Jeremiah 46:21; compare Revelation 6:12-17; Nahum 2:8). The skilled

Archer shall not stand firm. That handleth the bow (Jeremiah 46:9).


16“And he that is courageous among  the mighty shall flee away naked

in that day, saith the Lord.” He that is courageous among the mighty;

literally, the strong in his heart; i.e. the bravest hero. The Septuagint takes the

words differently.   κραταιὸς οὐ μὴ εὑρήσει τὴν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ ἐν δυσαστείαις

 Ho krataios ou mae heuraesei taen kardian autou en dusasteiais  -  The strong

shall not find his heart (confidence) in powers.” Naked. Casting away heavy

garments and weapons and whatever might hinder flight (compare Mark 14:52;

John 21:7).




                        The Wrath of Outraged Goodness (vs. 13-16)


“A wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14)  Even God will not bear it

forevermore. A “base contempt of covenant mercies,” exemplified here, may go

too far. The limit of intelligent forbearance will be passed, and the pent-up vials

of wrath restrained will be poured forth.


·         THE CRUSHER. “Behold, I will press you down as the cart presses that

is filled with sheaves” (Keil). This is a strong figure. God, in His retributive

action, is compared not only to a cart, but to a heavily loaded one, which

crushes all it passes over. His stroke, when it falls, will be heavy in

proportion as, in mercy, it has been long suspended. His love had long been

spurned, and now at last it is turned into righteous indignation. Unspeakable

goodness disregarded persistently will now give place to thick disasters.

His power had been insanely dared, and Israel would now discover

whether they had an arm like His. “On whomsoever it shall fall, it shall

grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:44)  How indignant love can be that

has suffered persistent outrage! How stern goodness becomes when it finds

itself thrown away unappreciated and with contempt! How overwhelming

OMNIPOTENCE is, which nevertheless endures defiance from worms of the

dust so long! How terrible God will be as a Foe where He will not be

accepted as a Friend (Psalm 18:26; Proverbs 1:24-28)!


·         THE CRUSHED. These are not the nation in general, but each class in

particular — the strong, the courageous, the swift, the fighter, the runner,

and the rider alike. NONE SHALL ESCAPE! God’s wrath, like His love, is

distinctive — rests not on masses, but on individuals. And, answering to

this, the judgments which execute His wrath are elaborated in detail They

are no more necessary than reluctant, no more reluctant than sure, no more

sure than thorough.


“The mills of God grind slowly,

But they grind exceeding small.”


It is noticeable, too, that of those who fall in the sweep of God’s sword, it

is the best protected who are emphasized. Nothing is said of the weak and

timid and slow. Their destruction might be taken for granted. But, lest any

should cherish a hope of escape under any circumstances, the persons to

whom such hope would be most natural are doomed BY NAME! 

An occasion of remaining in sin is, with many wicked, the stealthy hope

that somehow or other they will escape at last (Isaiah 28:15). Perhaps they

have no definite expectation, no theory even, on the subject. They know

the Word of God to be decisive, and feel the chances are against them.

But they cajole the judgment into negligently making the wish the father

to the thought, and go down to death the half-conscious victims of a make

believe. The gospel to such wants heralding with a Saviour’s warning cry,

“How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33)


·         THE CRUSHING. A variety of figures combine to illustrate this.


Ø      It cannot be resisted. “The strong one will not fortify his strength,” etc.

There are no arms we can use against God. They are suited to a

material, not a spiritual, foe. There is no strength to be put in

competition with His. The bare thought of a struggle is the climax

of all absurdity. “Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds

of the earth.” (Isaiah 45:9)


Ø      It cannot be faced. “The courageous one among the heroes will flee

away.” Man has strength, and confidence in it, for a struggle with

fellow man. But his strength leaves him in GOD’S PRESENCE!

(John 7:44). He cannot even attempt resistance. “He falls at His feet

like one dead.”


Ø      It cannot be escaped. “The flight will be lost to the swift.”



            To fly from Omnipresence is as inconceivable as to fight against Omnipotence.

Darkness cannot hide, nor distance separate, from God. (Psalm 139:7-12)  We

live in His presence. We sin in His presence. We die in His presence. Even

the destruction from His presence as gracious (II Thessalonians 1:9) is

destruction in His presence as filling heaven and earth.


Ø      Judgment is the obverse of grace. There are only the two ways of it.

There is no compromise between obedience and disobedience

(Matthew 12:30). So there is no via media (middle road) between

salvation and destruction. The coin of Scripture truth comes to us

with a nimbus on the one side and a death’s head on the other. We

may choose between the two, but one or other we must take

(Mark 16:16). God will save if He may, but He will destroy if

He must.


Ø      Grace is the converse of judgment. Judgment empties the strong of

strength. Grace makes the weak to be strong in God. You may have

either; and you must have one. Which shall it be?




                                    Judgment Inevitable (vs. 14-16)


In the preceding verses there is observable an accumulation of human

transgression and iniquity. And in these closing verses of the chapter the

reader is equally struck with the rhetorical accumulation of figures intended

to convey a deep impression of the inevitableness of retribution.


·         A PICTURE OF HUMAN GREATNESS. Man has his own standard of

greatness. The prophet piles up epithets to represent man’s power. In vivid

colors and in rapid succession there rise before the imagination the figures

of the “swift” runner who is wont to overtake his foe, the “strong” hero

whose blow cleaves the helmet in twain, the “mighty” whose praise is upon

all lips, the “bowman” whose arrow pierces the fugitive in the battlefield,

the “swift on foot” who trusts for safety to his speed, the “horseman”

whose charge has often broken the fearless ranks of the enemy, the

courageous,” “the strong of his heart,” whom no danger daunts.




have been described shall be powerless in the day of the Lord. Exemption

from the operation of righteous law is not to be obtained by any human

craft or might. The swift shall be overtaken, and the arm of the warrior

shall tall powerless by his side. Justice must be vindicated; the Lord of right

will never abandon His sovereign throne.




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