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
ground, but shooting up afresh, and its utter destruction postponed at the prophet’s
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
desert discipline cultivates a robustness of national character which was
wanting at the Exodus. So a long captivity in heathen
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.”
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,
had originally planned on the children of
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)
might have been is the measure of her delinquency before God!
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.
committed himself to His people! To
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.
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
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
meri>da kuri>ou – taen
(Septuagint). This version takes eth-hacheleq as the “inheritance” or
“portion” of the Lord, i.e. the
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
northern part of the kingdom, and carried some of the people captive to
Again and again in Scripture, God contends by fire.
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.
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.
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
“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.”
“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
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
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”
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.”
Righteousness in the moral world answers to straightness in the world of matter.
It is the moral rectilineal, or line of “oughtness” — the 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
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
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
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
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
(ch.4:4), and perhaps in other places, which had been sanctified by
ancient patriarchal worship. Septuagint, aiJ teleetai<tou~ jIsrah>l –
With the sword. God is represented as standing like an armed warrior taking
vengeance on the guilty family. Jeroboam II, had saved
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
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
and warn him to leave the country without more words, or to fear the worst.
10 “Then Amaziah the priest of
saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house
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
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:
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
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 prophet’s 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
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
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
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
Amaaiah calls Amos chozeh - oJ oJrw~n - ho horon – seer - (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
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
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
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
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,
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:
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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