Amos 7

 

 

Part III of Amos (ch. 7:1-9:10) contains five visions, with explanations, continuing and

confirming the previous prophecy.   The afflictions are climactic, increasing in intensity.

The first two symbolize judgments which have been averted by the prophet’s

intercession; the third and fourth adumbrate judgments which are to fall inevitably;

and the fifth proclaims the overthrow of the temple and the old theocracy.

 

 

The first vision (vs. 1-3), of locusts, represents Israel as a field eaten down to the

ground, but shooting up afresh, and its utter destruction postponed at the prophets

prayer.

 

1  “Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, He formed

grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter

growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings.”

Thus hath the Lord God showed unto me. By an inward illumination

(compare vs. 4, 7; and ch.8:1; Jeremiah 24:1-3). He formed grasshoppers; rather,

locusts (Nahum 3:17). This points to the moral government of God, who uses nature

to work His purposes,“Fire, and hail; snow, and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling

His word” (Psalm 148:8).  In the beginning of the shooting up of the latter

growth; when the aftermath was beginning to grow under the influence of the latter

rains. If the herbage was destroyed then, there would be no hope of recovery in

the rest of the year. After the king’s mowings. It is deduced from this expression

that the first crop on certain grounds was taken for the king’s use — a kind of

royal perquisite, though there is no trace of such a custom found in Scripture, the

passage in I Kings 18:5, where Ahab sends Obadiah to search for pasture, having

plainly nothing to do with it; and in this case, as Keil remarks, the plague would

seem to fall upon the people only, and the guilty king would have escaped.

But to interpret the expression entirely in a spiritual sense, with no

substantial basis, as “Jehovah’s judgments,” destroys the harmony of the

vision, ignoring its material aspect altogether. It is quite possible that the

custom above mentioned did exist, though it was probably limited to

certain lands, and did not apply to the whole pasturage of the country. It is

here mentioned to define the time of the plague of locusts — the time, in

fact, when its ravages would be most irremediable. The Septuagint, by a little

change of letters, render, ijdou< brou~cov ei=v Gw<n oJ basileu>v idou

brouchos eis Gon ho basileus - by which they imply that the locusts would be

as innumerable as the army of Gog. The whole version is, “Behold, a swarm of

locusts coming from the East; and behold, one caterpillar, King Gog.” The vision

is thought to refer to the first invasion by the Assyrians, when Pul was bribed

by Menahem to withdraw.  (II Kings 15:19-20)

 

2 “And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the

grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee:

by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.”  The grass of the land.

The term includes vegetables of all sorts, the feed of man and beast (Genesis 1:11;

see note on Zechariah 10:1). O Lord,...forgive. The prophet is not concerned to

obtain the fulfillment of his prophecy; his heartfelt sympathy for his people

yearns for their pardon, as he knows that punishment and restoration

depend upon moral conditions. By whom shall Jacob arise? better, How

shall Jacob stand? literally, as who? If he is thus weakened, as the vision

portends, how shall he endure the stroke? Small; weakened by internal

commotions and foreign attack (II Kings 15:10-16, 19).

 

3 “The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.”

Repented for this; or, concerning this destruction. The punishment was

conditioned by man’s behavior or other considerations.  Here the prophet’s

intercession abates the full infliction of the penalty (compare analogous

expressions, Deuteronomy 32:36; I Samuel 15:11; II Samuel 24:16;

Jeremiah 18:8; 42:10; Jonah 3:10, where see note). Amos may have had in

memory the passage in Joel 2:13. The Septuagint here and in v. 6 has

Metano>hson Ku>rie ejpi<tou>tw| kai< tou~to oujk e]stai le>gei Ku>riov

Metanoaeson Kurie epitouto kai touto ouk estai legei Kurios

Repent, O Lord, for this; and this shall not be, saith the Lord.” Hence

some early commentators gathered that the prophet’s intercession was rejected;

but the words do not necessarily bear that sense. It shall not be. This respite

refers to the retreat of the Assyrians under Pul, the usurping monarch who

assumed the name of Tiglath-Pileser II. (II Kings 15:17, etc.). Some commentators

consider the judgment to be literally plague of locusts; but this is not probable.

 

 

Natural Causes Prepared and Used for a Moral End (vs. 1-3)

 

Manasseh’s captivity leads to his conversion (II Chronicles 33:11-13). Israel’s

desert discipline cultivates a robustness of national character which was

wanting at the Exodus. So a long captivity in heathen Babylon puts an end to the

ever-recurring national idolatry. When all God’s measures were executed, He

 could look on the Hebrews and say,  “This people have I formed for myself;

they shall show forth my praise” (Isaiah 43:21).  And that is God’s method in

all cases. Scripture declares, and experience and observation argue:

 

“All discord, harmony not understood:

All partial evil, universal good.”

(Pope.)

 

In this section we learn that the hand of judgment may be arrested by the touch of

prayer.  “Jehovah repented of this: It shall not take place, saith Jehovah.”

The pictured events never transpired.  God does not change His mind but His

method and often does. Up to a certain point is mercy. Then it is expostulation,

denunciation, and judgment in quick succession. When one method fails to bring

about desired results, another and another are resorted to by a God who will not fail.

The variation of method is really the expression of an unalterable plan.  (For instance,

God had originally planned on the children of Israel going straight to the Promised

Land, probably a week’s journey.  Their disobedience and lack of faith changed

this:  “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even

forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty

years, AND YE SHALL KNOW MY BREACH OF PROMISE” [altering

of purpose] – CY – 2013)

 

Learn: 

 

  • God does not destroy A PENITENT PEOPLE!
  • The difference between what the Church is and what she

might have been is the measure of her delinquency before God!

  • Sin is selfish. Seeking salvation, the sinner prays for himself only.

He is conscious of need, but as yet knows nothing of supply. Only when

he gets spiritual blessing himself does he know HOW VALUABLE

IT WOULD BE TO OTHERS  and begin to desire it for them.

The prayer circle widens as personal religion deepens.

  • Philanthropy grows with the love of God.

 

God has committed himself to His people!  To Israel His word of promise

was pledged, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” (Genesis 28:15;

Hebrews 13:5). To us it is pledged with greater emphasis still, “They shall never

perish;” (John 10:28; “Whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Romans

8:30), None shall pluck the Christian out of Christ’s hand, nor shall the

gates of hell prevail against His Church. (John 10:28 again; Matthew 16:18).

The circle of the promises towers a wall of fire around the saints. The result is pledged

To them; so are the means. The inheritance is reserved for them, and they for

the inheritance (I Peter 1:4-5). Their faith will keep them, and God will keep their

faith (Ibid. v.5). Then God had already begun to help. Israel had been upheld in

many an evil. And there is continuity in the operations of God. He does not abandon

a work once begun (“faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it”

(I Thessalonians 5:24), nor allow after disaster to neutralize accomplished good.

He had done something for Israel; He has done something for us. Then He will do

more, and He will do all. Having bestowed His grace, He swears by the gift that

the circle of our good will He made complete. A part already of the work of God,

invulnerable in His armor, and immortal in His life, they have “a strong

consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set

before us”  (Hebrews 6:18).

 

The second vision devouring fire (vs. 4-6), represents a more severe judgment than

the preceding one, involving greater consequences, but still one which was again

modified by the prayers of the righteous prophet.

 

4 “Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord

GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and

did eat up a part.” Called to contend by fire; Septuaguint, ejka>lese th<n

di>khn ejn puri> - ekalese taen dikaen en puri - called for judgment by fire;

Vulgate, vocabat judicium ad ignem. God called the people to try their cause

with Him by sending fire as a punishment among them (compare Isaiah 66:16;

Ezekiel 38:22); and in the vision the fire is represented as so vehement that it

devoured the great deep, drank up the very ocean itself (Genesis 7:11; Isaiah

51:10); or the subterranean fountains and springs, as Genesis 49:25.

And did eat up a part; th<n meri>da kuri>ou taen merida kuriou

(Septuagint). This version takes eth-hacheleq as the “inheritance” or

“portion” of the Lord, i.e. the land of Israel (Jeremiah 12:10); but Canaan

is nowhere called absolutely “the portion;” nor were the ten tribes specially so

designated. Rather, the portion (not a part) is that part of the land and people

which was marked out for judgment. The particular calamity alluded to is the

second invasion of Tigiath-Pileser II, when he conquered Gilead and the

northern part of the kingdom, and carried some of the people captive to

Assyria (II Kings 15:29).

 

Again and again in Scripture, God contends by fire. 

 

  • It is the most destructive element in nature. It destroys all comfort,

inflicting intense pain. It destroys all  life, no animal or vegetable organism

being capable of enduring it. It destroys  the very form of organic matter,

reducing it to its original elements. It destroys  with unparalleled rapidity

and thoroughness almost anything it attacks.

 

  • It is the element used and to be used by God in bringing about the

greatest catastrophes. It was in the fire shower from heaven that Sodom

was overwhelmed (Genesis 19:24 – I recommend www.arkdiscovery.com

and check out the section on Sodom and Gomorrah – CY – 2013). Fire

“very grievous” was mingled with the plague of hail which smote the land

of Egypt (Exodus 9:24). It was the fire of the Lord that burnt up

complaining Israel at Taberah, and also Korah and his company in their

gainsaying (Numbers 11:1; 26:10).  By fire from heaven were Ahaziah’s

two captains and their fifties consumed before Elijah (II Kings 1:10-12).

It was by bringing down fire that James and John proposed to destroy

the inhospitable Samaritans (Luke 9:54). And it is in a lake burning with

fire that the beast, the false prophet, and all the finally impenitent shall

be overwhelmed at last. 

 

  • It is in Scripture a frequent emblem of active power.

 

Ø      God the Father in wrath (Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; Hebrews 12:29),

Ø      God the Son in judgment (II Thessalonians 1:8),

Ø      God the Holy Ghost in grace, are each so figured (Luke 3:16).

Ø      the busy mischief-making tongue is fire (James 3:6);

Ø      God’s Word is a fire (Jeremiah 23:29);

Ø      His ministers are “burning ones” (seraphim – Hebrews 1:14);

Ø      spiritual life is fire (Luke 12:49);

Ø      affliction is fire (I Corinthians 3:13; I Peter 4:12); and

Ø      the misery of the finally lost is fire (Mark 9:44).

 

A God contending by fire is a God putting forth the extreme of

destructive energy.  At last, God’s judgment against sin will be

overwhelming,  all sin will be dealt with by judgment.  There will

no tares escape, nor any wheat burned (Matthew 13:30).

 

5 “Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall

Jacob arise? for he is small.  6 The LORD repented for this: This also

shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.” The intercession is the same as in v. 2,

except that the prophet says “cease” instead of “forgive;” and in effect the

tide of war was rolled back from Israel, and Samaria itself was spared for the time.

 

“The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  (James 5:16).   It puts

the soul on a line in which the light of God falls.  “Ask and ye shall receive.”

(Luke 11:9-10).

 

“More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats,

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friends?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”

                        (Alfred Lloyd Tennyson)

 

There is great power in prayer!  Who knows whether evil may not be averted until

it has actually fallen? Besieged cities have been saved even after the garrison had

thrown open the gates, and battles won after the ranks of the victors had begun

to break. With God all things are possible, and by prayer He is always moved.

Till the moment of death we may pray for life, for salvation till the moment of

destruction.  And having received, we may ask again and again. “Men ought

always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).  Prayer has reference to returning

wants, and is normally a habit of soul. As often as we hunger we eat, and, on

the same principle, as often as we need we pray. Continued prayer is matter

of necessity, a command of God, and an instinct of the soul. “In everything

by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made

known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).   In this instance, half a century later the

mercy of God’s dealings appeared. After ravaging the greater portion of the

land, the Assyrians unaccountably withdrew, and left the capital untouched.

The connection between Amos’s prayer and the unwonted slackness of

Tiglath-Pileser belongs to that region into which sense cannot penetrate, but

which is all patent to the eye of faith.

 

God’s judgments are directed against us as transgressors in a certain way.

If we cease so to transgress the reason for them is gone, and they will not

be sent. The knowledge of these two facts operates as a powerful incentive

to reformation, and so a means to the arrest of impending judgment. We

face a different way when we adequately realize that we thereby face a

different end.  God warns before He strikes. He warns that He may not

need to strike at all. His threats are the merciful heralds of His judgments,

offering terms of peace before the stern hour of intervention arrives. “Except

ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5).  A threat like that is only a

promise in disguise. It speaks of a gracious heart which “wills not that any

should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (II Peter 3:9)

 

 

 The third vision, the plumb line (vs. 7-9), represents the Lord Himself as coming to

examine the conduct of Israel, and finally deciding on its entire ruin.

 

7 “Thus He shewed me: and, behold, the LORD stood upon a wall

made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in His hand.” Upon (rather, over) a wall

 made by a plumb line. The word translated “plumb line” (anakh) occurs only here.

Septuagint ajda>mav adamas -  so the Syriac; Vulgate, trulla caementarii; Aquila,

ga>nwsiv gamosis - brightening,”“splendor;” Theodotion, th>komenon

 taekomenon - As the word in other dialects means tin or lead, it is usually taken

here to mean the plumb line which builders use to ascertain that their work is even

and perpendicular. The “wall” is the kingdom of Israel, once carefully built up,

solidly constructed, accurately arranged. God had made it upright; how was it now? 

(“…God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”

(Ecclesiastes 7:29)

 

Righteousness in the moral world answers to straightness in the world of matter.

It is the moral rectilineal, or line of “oughtnessthe line along which moral

beings ought to move. This is manifestly the plumb line by which to adjust the

wall Israel to the perpendicular. Exemplified in the character, this righteousness is

uprightness. Exemplified in the conduct, it is justice. In either case it is the

ideal of rightness.  It is righteousness as it exists in God. GOD IS UNIVERSAL

PERFECTION“Light,” “Love,” “Truth,” “the Holy One,” “the righteous

God,” and ALL IN IDEAL FORM!   He is, in fact, the typical moral Being.

Each grace exists in Him in its highest form. His righteousness is unspotted

righteousness, and the realized ideal of ALL THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS

OUGHT TO BE!

 

8 “And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said,

A plumbline. Then said the LORD, Behold, I will set a plumbline

in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any

more:”  Amos, what seest thou? A question asked to give occasion for

the explanation of the symbol, as in Jeremiah 1:11,13; 24:3. I will set

a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel. As it was built by rule and

measure, so it should be destroyed. The line was used not only for building,

but also for pulling down (see II Kings 21:13; Isaiah 34:11; Lamentations 2:8).

And this should be done “in the midst” of the people, that all might be tried

individually, and that all might acknowledge the justice of the sentence,

which now denounced complete ruin. Pass by; so as to spare, or forgive (ch.8:2;

Proverbs 19:11; Micah 7:18). The judgment is irremediable, and the prophet

intercedes no more. The final conquest by Shalmaneser is here typified.

 

The Testing.  Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people.

This is to apply the plumb line to the wall, so as to reveal irregularity if it exists.

God has only one standard, and He uses it always. Things ought to be as He

made them, and He tries them to discover if they are so. The measure of

divergence from original righteousness, whether in men or Churches, is the

 measure of guilt in the diverging party. Comparison with its own pure ideal

would bring out Israel’s corruption in the strongest light.  This ACCOUNTING

is no longer to be put off. “I shall pass by it no more.” The limit of

Divine forbearance was now reached. No more passing by, no longer

indulgence, no further forgiveness, no more postponement of the

vengeance vowed. THERE IS A LAST WORD FROM GOD TO EVERY

MAN and after it nothing can come but the blow.

 

9 “And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries

of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of

Jeroboam with the sword.” The high places of Issac. The shrines of idolatry

all over the land. The bamoth are the altars erected on high places and now

dedicated to idols (I Kings 3:2; II Kings 23:8; Isaiah 16:12; Hosea 10:8).

Isaac here and in v.16 is used as a synonym for Israel, perhaps with some ides

of contrasting the deeds of the people with the blameless life of the

 patriarch and his gentle piety. Septuagint, bwmoi<tou~ ge>lwtov

bomoitou gelotos - “altars of derision” - with reference to the meaning of the

name Issac, whence Jerome’s version, excelsa idoli. The sanctuaries of

Israel. The idol temples at Dan and Bethel (I Kings 12:29), at Gilgal

(ch.4:4), and perhaps in other places, which had been sanctified by

ancient patriarchal worship. Septuagint, aiJ teleetai<tou~ jIsrah>l

hai teleetahitou Israel -  the rites of Israel;” Vulgate, sanctificationes Israel.

With the sword. God is represented as standing like an armed warrior taking

vengeance on the guilty family. Jeroboam II,  had saved Israel from Syria, and

was popular owing to his success in war (II Kings 14:25-28); but his dynasty was

overthrown, and this overthrow was the destruction of the Israelitish

monarchy. The murder of his son Zachariah by Shallum (II Kings 15:10) led to

those disastrous commotions which culminated in the conquest of Samaria by

the Assyrians and the deportation of the people.

 

The Demolition.  The wall  is found to have bowed and word is given to

pull it down.  In this, DESTRUCTION IS INVOLVED!  Broken idols and

leveled shrines, would alone remain, a commentary on the impotence of the

“lying vanities” to which blinded Israel persistently turned.  It was especially

fitting that the family of the arch-idolater, himself, Jeroboam II, should be

the one to sink in the burning grave of idolatry which he set up.

 

From vs. 10-17, we find this bold prophecy, no longer conceived in general

terms or referring to distant times, but distinct and personal, arouses the

animosity of the priestly authorities at Bethel, who accuse Amos before the king,

and warn him to leave the country without more words, or to fear the worst.

 

10 “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel,

saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house

of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.” Amaziah the priest

of Bethel. Amaziah (“the Lord is strong”), the chief of the idol priests at Bethel,

a crafty and determined man, hearing this prophecy against the royal house,

takes it up as a political matter, and makes a formal accusation against Amos

with the view of silencing him. Hath conspired against thee. Probably some

of the Israelites had been convinced by the prophet’s words, and had joined

themselves to him; hence Amaziah speaks of “a conspiracy” (I Samuel 22:8,13;

I Kings 15:27) against the king. Or very possibly the story was fabricated in

order to accentuate the charge against Amos. In the midst of the house of

Israel. In the very center of the kingdom, where his treasonable speeches

would have the greatest effect. The land, personified, cannot endure such

language, which is calculated to disturb its peace, and is quite contrary to its

ideas and hopes.  (Likewise, the modern press is all over the influences of

Christianity in our day, and attack anything that is not POLITICALLY

CORRECT!  – CY – 2013)

 

Amos (like Christians concerned for the United States today – CY – 2013), 

had deserved better from Israel. He took a more practical interest in their

welfare than any other man from the king down. He saw their sin, and

lamented it; their impending ruin and would have averted it; their one way

of escape, and pressed its adoption strenuously. Had they not been as blind

as besotted, they would have revered him as a national benefactor. But the

reformation he preached meant the abandonment of rooted habits and the

harassing of vested interests in sin, neither of which would be so much as

named. Accordingly, Amos anticipated the experience of all reformers

since, in being ASSAILED BY A POLICY OF FALSEHOOD, BACKED

BY FORCE.   We have here:

 

  • A Meddling Priest.  The priest of Bethel” was the chief idol priest

at the sanctuary of the golden calf there. His position and functions were in

profane mimicry of those of the high priest at Jerusalem. In making this

charge:

 

Ø      He appeals to force. The tyrant Jeroboam was the embodiment of

IRRESPONSIBLE POWER IN ISRAEL.   Idolatry is the religion

of brute force. Its appeal to the strong arm as the only argument

worth using is characteristic.  Error eschews argument. The kingdom

of darkness instinctively fears the light. What is an outrage on reason

takes its shelter COWARDLY BEHIND A SWORD.  The true

religion makes its appeal to truth. The religion that appeals to the

sword is prima facie FALSE.

 

Ø      He is prompted by jealousy. He had a vested interest in the

national idolatry. To abolish it would be to take the bread out

of his mouth. Like the chief priests and scribes with Christ,

and the Ephesian silversmiths with Paul, Amaziah was striking

for his livelihood.  Conflicting self-interest, actual or supposed,

is a constant and effective obstacle in the way of the religious

life. It is the preliminary necessity of leaving all in act or spirit

that makes the followers of the Lord so few.

 

Ø      He makes a lying accusation. (v.11) Amos had not really made

either statement. That applied to Jeroboam had been made about

Jeroboam’s house. That about Israel had been accompanied by a

call to repentance, and a conditional promise of escape, which

modified its character altogether. The charge, therefore, consists

of a lie and a half-truth, and is an attempt to work on the king’s

personal fears, by construing into a conspiracy against his kingdom

and life what Amos did to save both.  For this now stale device

PERSECUTORS IN ALL AGES  have shown a

characteristic predilection. Christ was calumniously accused of

speaking against Caesar (Luke 23:2; John 19:12; Matthew 22:21).

Paul was falsely charged with “doing contrary to the decrees

of Caesar,” and “stirring up sedition among the Jews”

(Acts 17:7; 24:5). And often since has the assertion of liberty of

conscience been construed into rebellion against the civil power.

Falsehood and violence are the traditional propaganda of

THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS.

 

Ø      He judges the prophets morals by the standard of his own.

(v. 12.)  His relation to his own office was utterly sordid. He

held the office of priest for the “bit of bread” it secured him.

And he assumes that Amos is like himself. It is thus that the

saint “judges the world, yet himself is judged of no man”

(I Corinthians 2:15).  Forming an estimate of the righteous,

the wicked leave conscience out of the computation, and so

vitiate the finding.

 

Ø      He condemns idolatry by the argument he uses in its defence.

(v.13.) “The king’s sanctuary,” set up and consecrated by the king,

maintained by his authority, and subordinated to his purposes. The

national idolatry was a creature of the king. Its claim to be a religion

was no stronger than his claim to be a god. For religious ordinances

state authority is so inadequate as only to expose them to suspicion —

the suspicion of adjustment to a state policy rather than to

 the WORD AND GLORY OF GOD! 

 

11 “For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel

shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.” This is a partly

correct account of what the prophet had said, but it differed in some important

particulars. Amaziah carefully omits the fact that Amos had merely been the

mouthpiece of God in all his announcements; he says falsely that a violent death

had been predicted for Jeroboam himself; and, in stating that Amos had foretold

the captivity of Israel, he says nothing of the sins which led to THIS DOOM

or of  the hope held out to repentance, or of the prophet’s intercession.

 

12 “Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into

the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:”

Also Amaziah said. Jeroboam appears to have taken no steps

in consequence of this accusation, either deeming that the words of a

visionary were unworthy of serious consideration, or, like Herod

(Matthew 14:5), fearing the people, who had been impressed by the

prophet’s words and bold bearing. Therefore Amaziah endeavors by his

own authority to make Amos leave the country, or else does not wait for

the command of the king, who was probably at Samaria. O thou seer!

Amaaiah calls Amos chozeh - oJ oJrw~n - ho horonseer - (I Chronicles

21:9; 25:5), either with reference to the visions just given, or in derision of

his claims — as we might say, “visionary.” Flee thee away; fly for thine

own good to escape punishment, patronizing and counseling him. Go to the

land of Judah; where doubtless your announcement of the ruin of the rival

kingdom will be acceptable. Eat bread. Amaziah speaks, as if Amos was

paid for his prophecies, made a gain of godliness. Prophesy there.

The idoloatrous priest has no conception of the inspiration under

which the prophet speaks. He judges others by himself, attributing to

Amos the sordid motives by which he himself was influenced.

 

13 “But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s

chapel, and it is the king’s court.” The king’s chapel; i.e. a sanctuary

(Exodus 25:8; Leviticus 19:30) founded by the king (I Kings 12:28), not by God.

So in truth it had only an earthly sanction, and the prophet of the Lord was

out of place there. The king’s court; literally, house of the kingdom.

“National temple” (Kuenen); “a royal temple, the state church” (Pusey).

Not the political, but the religious, capital, the chief seat of the religion

appertaining to the nation. Amaziah speaks as a thorough Erastian; as if the

human authority were everything, and the Lord, of Himself, had no

claims on the land.

 

14 “Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet,

neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer

of sycomore fruit:” The prophet, undaunted by Amaziah’s threats, in simple

language declares that he does not practice prophesying as a profession or

to gain a livelihood, but in obedience to the voice of God. The exercise of

the prophetical office was restricted neither to sex nor rank. There were

many prophetesses in Israel, e.g. Deborah (Judges 4.), Huldah (II Kings

22:14), Noadiah (Nehemiah 6:14); and besides a large number of

nameless prophets there are twenty-three whose names are preserved in

Holy Writ, omitting those whose writings have come down to us. A prophet’s son;

i.e. brought up in the schools of the prophets, the pupils of which were called

“sons of the prophets” (see I Kings 20:35; II Kings 2:5). Amos was neither

Self-commissioned nor trained in any human institution. A herdman (boger);

usually “a cowherd;” here “a shepherd;” aijpo>lov -  aipolos - (Septuagint). A

gatherer of sycomore fruit. The phrase, boles shiqmim, may mean either

one who plucks mulberry figs for his own sustenance, or one who

cultivates them for others. The latter is probably the meaning of the term

here. The Septuagint rendering, kni>zwn suka>mina knizon sukamina

pricking sycamore fruit,” and that of the Vulgate, vellicans sycomoros,

indicate the artificial means for ripening the fruit, which was done by scraping,

scratching, or puncturing it, as is sometimes done to the figs of commerce.

As the tree bore many crops of fruit in the year, it would afford constant

employment to the dresser.

 

God has chosen the man, and that means unconditional consecration. God has

commissioned him, and he makes the fact the basis of his whole life program.

“I  must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day:  the night

cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).  That is a comprehensive life

maxim. In the spiritual circle nothing is held supremely important but that

God’s work be done.

 

15 “And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD

said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.” As I followed;

literally, from after from behind, as in the call of David (II Samuel 7:8;

Psalm 78:70), The Divine call came to him suddenly and imperatively, and he

must needs obey it. He, therefore, could not follow Amaziah’s counsel.

Like the Apostle Paul, “woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.”

(I Corinthians 9:16)

 

16 “Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest,

Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the

house of Isaac.”  Hear thou the word of the Lord. The punishment of him

who tried to impede God’s message. Drop not thy word. Be not

continually pouring forth prophecy. The word is used similarly in

Micah 2:6,11 and Ezekiel 21:2. The idea, though not the term, is

taken from Deuteronomy 32:2. Septuagint, mh< ojclagwgh>sh|v

mae ochlagogaesaes -  raise no tumult,” which rather expresses

Amaziah’s fear of the effect of the utterance than translates the word.

 

17 “Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the

city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy

land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land:

and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.”

With this denunciation compare that of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:3-6) against

Pashur. As husband, as father, as citizen, Amaziah  shall suffer grievously.

Shall be an harlot in the city. Not play the harlot willingly, but suffer open

violence when the city is taken (compare Isaiah 13:16; Lamentations 5:11).

And thy daughters. This would be abnormal cruelty, as the Assyrians

usually spared the women of conquered towns. Shall be divided by line.

Amaziah’s own land was to be portioned out to strangers by the measuring line

(Zechariah 2:2). A polluted land; an unclean land; i.e. a Gentile country.

Amaziah himself was to share his countrymen’s captivity. The sins and

idolatry of the people are often said to defile the land; e.g. Leviticus 18:25;

Numbers 35:33; Jeremiah 2:7. Shall surely go into captivity; or, be led

away captive.  Amos repeats the very words which formed part of his

accusation (v.11), in order to show that GOD’S PURPOSE IS

UNCHANGED, and that, he the prophet, must utter THE SAME

DENUCIATION! (see the accomplishment, II Kings 17:6-23).

 

BEWARE OF PRACTICAL ATHEISM – It is getting a foothold

in America today as it did in Israel in 650 B. C.

 

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