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into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of 5 Benhadad his son and successor. I will break also the bar of Damascus, will demolish its strength and fortifications, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, or iniquity, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden, or, his pleasure house and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.*
6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof: because they carried away captive the whole captivity, all they could seize, to deliver [them] up to Edom; to sell them 7 for slaves to the Edomites: But I will send a fire on the wall 8 of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron; and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God.t
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof: because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom; the Edomites did all they could to get the Jews into their custody, that they might exercise cruelty upon them, and bought them of the Philistines and Tyrians, and remembered not the brotherly covenant; the league between David, Solomon, and Hiram, 10 1 Kings v. 1. ix. 11-13. But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus by Nebuchadnezzar, Ezek. xxvi. 7-14. which shall devour the palaces thereof.
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof: because he did pursue his brother with the sword, they took all occasions to injure and oppress the Israelites, though descended from the brother of Esau their ancestor, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his 12 wrath for ever: But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah, their two principal cities.
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof: because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border; in order to recover the country which Jephtha had taken from them, they joined the Syrians, and were guilty of the 14 most cruel executions, destroying both root and branch: But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, their capital city, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day
Accordingly, about fifty years after, they were carried captive by the Assyrians.
See 2 Kings xvi. 9.
† Aecordingly, after the invasion of the Chaldeans we read no more of the Philistines. But others refer it to Alexander the great, who took Gaza. Quint. Curt. 1. iv. 6.
of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind; they 13 shall be overwhelmed by the irresistible judgments of God: And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.
1. TE are again called upon to observe the sovereignty of
to further his designs. Amos was of a low family, of a mean occupation, not educated at the schools of the prophets; and yet he was called to the prophetical office. God often chooses the weak things of this world, and things that are foolish, to confound the wise and the mighty; and it becomes us to acquiesce in his choice; as it is designed to display his power and grace, and to hide pride from man. We must not think to confine him to our rules. Those ministers who have abilities, and endeavour to do good, ought not to be despised on account of their want of education and learned accomplishments; but to be received with candour and respect. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings God can perfect praise.
2. The chief lesson which is taught in this chapter is, the high displeasure of God against persecution and cruelty. The charge against most of these nations fixes upon these vices. God will sooner or later avenge the ill treatment which his servants have received. Cruelty and malice are always abominable to God, especially when indulged in violation of the brotherly covenant, or against those who ought to be treated with brotherly affection. Too many, like the Edomites, cast off pity when once offended, and delight to vex and torment even their nearest relatives; yea, continue to study revenge, and keep their wrath for ever. Let such persons remember, that by this diabolical spirit they kindle the anger of God against themselves; and that he shall have judgment without mercy, who showeth no mercy. It is the glory of the divine nature, and the happiness of sinful man, that God doth not always chide, nor retain his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful.
In which is declared God's wrath against Moab, upon Judah, and upon Israel; God complains of their unthankfulness.
HUS 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 VOL. VI.
into lime; a circumstance of cruelty which is not elsewhere recorded, that having slain the king of Edom (if not burned him alive) he made lime of his bones, probably to plaister his house. 2 But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth and Moab shall die with tumult, with 3 shouting, [and] with the sound of the trumpet: And I will cut off the judge, or king, from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.
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, their idols and false prophets, caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked. 5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the 6 palaces of Jerusalem, not excepting even the temple. 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 perverted justice for the smallest present; even a 7 pair of shoes or sandals would draw them to act wickedly; That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, or rather, they bruise the head of the poor in the dust of the earth, that is, trample upon them, and turn aside the way of the meek; bring the meek into such circumstances that they know not what way to take and a man and his father will go in unto the [same] maid, to profane my holy name; that is, when an elderly man married a young woman, his son would debauch her: And they lay [themselves] down upon clothes laid to pledge, which by the law they ought to restore, by every altar, they lie on carpets spread on the ground to feast at their idolatrous altars, and they drink the wine of the condemned [in] the house of their god; they make feasts with the money which they have got by the fines of those whom they have unjustly condemned.
Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, the accursed na tions, the sons of Anak,or, the giants, 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; utterly destroyed them root and branch, fathers and children, princes 10 and subjects. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and led you forty years through the wilderness, to posses the land of the Amorite; another signal instance of my goodness to 11 you. And I raised up of your sons for prophets in the ten tribes,
to instruct and warn them, and of your young men for Nazarites, who were solemnly devoted to God and his service. [Is it] not even thus, O ye children of Israel? let your own consciences 12 tell you; saith the LORD. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; debauched and corrupted them by tempting, and perhaps forcing them to act contrary to their vow and commanded the
prophets, saying, Prophesy not; ye would not bear to have 13 your darling sins reproved. Behold, I am pressed under you as
a cart is pressed [that is] full of sheaves; I am so provoked by your wickedness, that I am quite overborne with it, speaking after 14 the manner of men. Therefore the flight shall perish from the
swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither 15 shall the mighty deliver himself: 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 16 himself. And [he that is] courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the LORD; he shall throw away his armour as an incumbrance to him.
E have before seen how much God is displeased with cruelty, and must here add, with oppression and injustice; which is worse than burning men's dead bones to lime. See here how fatal is the influence of the love of money; it is the root of all evil; it leads men to trample on the poor, and sell them for a pair of shoes. Nothing is too base and mean for men to stoop to, when the love of gain wholly possesses their hearts. These things are highly displeasing to God; and though the oppressed and wronged are not able to oppose, or dare not; or though the oppressors may evade human laws, yet God will not turn away punishment from such unjust and cruel men.
2. It is a great instance of the goodness of God to us, that the schools of the prophets are continued with us, and our sons taken for his ministers. Many among the Israelites were taken from such schools, to deliver God's messages to them; and are still, though they have no extraordinary inspiration: and it is an honour to the places and families whence they spring. Those seminaries, where young men are trained up for sanctuary service, are great blessings to our land and we shall incur great guilt if we do not improve the ministry of the word, but forbid its preachers to deal faithfully with us, or censure them for doing so.
3. See the aggravated guilt of those who corrupt others. There are too many such in every place, who tempt others to drink to excess, entice them into bad company and public houses; to the ruin of multitudes who have been devoted to God, and of some too, who have dovoted themselves to him. Beware of such persons; fly them as you would the plague; and if sinners entice you, consent ye not.
4. See the detestable nature of sin, and how offensive it is to an holy God. That is a remarkably strong expression, I am pressed under you; as if it grieved him, tired out his patience, and he was unable longer to bear it. Thus does God represent to us
his hatred of sin, especially the sins of his professing people: and it ought to fill us with a deep abhorrence of all sin, and make us solicitous and watchful to avoid that abominable thing which his soul hateth.
In this chapter is shown the necessity of God's judgment against Israel; also the publication and causes of it.
TEAR this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I 2 brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore, because you have sinned against greater light and greater obligations, I will 3 punish, or visit, you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? there can be no agreeable conversation without friendship, nor can I behave like a friend 4 and benefactor to you, while you break my laws; Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion 5 cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin [is] for him? shall [one] take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? or, Will a snare spring from the ground, when it hath not taken any thing? Thus, it is not by chance that sinners fall into destruction, but because God hath made the necessary preparation for it; nor will he remove his judgments till 6 the end is answered. Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall it not throw them into an alarm? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it,] or, inflicted it? are not all calamities to be ascribed to the hand of God, and not to chance? he knows and appoints 7 every grievous circumstance. Surely the Lord God will do nothing, or, doeth nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets, that is, to a series of prophets; he hath revealed these things to me, and I to you, for your warning. 8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy? God hath given me a commission to denounce his vengeance, and ye ought to hear it with more fear than the roaring of a lion.
Publish in the palaces of Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, that is, upon the flat roofs of the palaces, the usual place of proclaiming events, (see Matt. x. 27.) and say, Assem
Alluding here to the noise the lion makes before he rushes on his prey, or to his roaring over it when taken; referring to God's denunciations by his prophets, and intimating that he had something awful to do to his people.