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humiliation and prayer are the most likely means of removing any calamity, though we cannot tell how far they will prevail. Real and final judgments we may be assured they will avert : but let us remember that they must be sincere and affectionate; we must rend the heart, and not the garments only. It is godly sorrow that worketh repentance unto salvation; and the fervent prayer, that availeth.
3. Let us be thankful that our country is not liable to these terrible scourges. God deals wonderfully with us in the plentiful products of every returning year; and they should lead our hearts to him in love and thankfulness.
4. Let us especially rejoice in the pouring out of the holy Spirit, and pray that we may be partakers of his gracious influences. It was at first miraculously poured out on the apostles, and, through them, on all the disciples, young and old, male and female, rich and poor; and this contributed much to the spread and establisment of the gospel. We also have encouragement to hope for the same Spirit, though not in so extraordinary a manner, if we call on the name of the Lord with humble faith, and in the practice of evangelical obedience. Even the servant and handmaid may have a supply of this Spirit, if they earnestly seek it. And by this shall we all be led to holiness here, and to complete and everlasting happiness in the new Jerusalem.
This chapter refers to some things yet to be accomplished; such as the conversion of the Jews to christianity in the latter days; of the Messiah's kingdom, and the destruction of some enemies that will confederate against them, after their return to their own land.
OR, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah aud Jerusalem; not 2 only a small remnant, but the whole nation, I will also gather all the neighbouring nations who are their enemies, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, or, to a place of divine judicature, as the name signifies, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land; I will vindicate my people's cause, convince their enemies of their wickedness, and execute my righteous judgments upon 3 them. And they have cast lots for my people, an instance both of their cruelty and contempt; and have given a boy for a harlot, a Jewish boy for the hire of an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink to excess. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts
of Palestine ? O Tyre, and Zidon, what have my people done to you, that you should assist their enemies? and ye Philistines, will ye render me a recompense? and if ye recompense me, swiftly [and] speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head; Do ye remember the former calamities which I have brought upon you? and will ye revenge them upon my people ? if je do so, ye shall find how swiftly and speedily I will be re5 venged upon you. Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things; not only the ark formerly, but the plunder of the tem 6 ple and city: The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might re7 move them far from their border. Behold, I will raise them, that is, their posterity, out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompense upon your own 8 heads: And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off; for the LORD hath spoken 9 [it.] Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war,
wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up; ironically encouraging them to oppose the 10 design of Providence: Beat your ploughshares into swords,
and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I [am] strong get all possible weapons, make all possible efforts; let 11 even the unwarlike arm themselves on this occasion. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones, the an12 gels, to come down and destroy them, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, let their courage be roused, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the 13 heathen round about. And I will say to the angels, Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness [is] 14 great; they are ripe for destruction. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD [is] near in the valley of decision; great multitudes shall be destroyed in that appointed valley, where God will decide the controversy be15 tween his people and their enemies. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
This does not refer to the same event; it is a digression to v. 9, and foretells their approaching destruction by Alexander, as a specimen of the future final destruction of the enemies of the church.
The Tyrians dealt with the Grecians in slaves, as we find in Ezek. xxvii. 13. and history mentions many thousand Jews being sold for slaves at different times.
Accordingly, Alexander sold thirty thousand Tyrians for slaves.
As Alexander showed particular favour to the Jews, he might probably sell them many Tyrian slaves, and they might sell them to the Sabeans, or Arabians, from whom they had their incense. This power of the Jews over the neighbouring nations, was to be an emblem of their triumph over them in the latter day, to which the prophet then returns.
The destruction of the antichristian army is spoken of in like terms, Rev. xiv. 15. 18.
16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD [will be] the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel; there shall be dreadful convulsions and revolutions among the vanquished nations: but while he tears and destroys his enemies like a lion, he will protect his peo17 file. So shall ye know, by the visible effects of my protection, that I [am] the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain then, when God shall return and dwell with Israel again, shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more: she shall no more be polluted or oppressed by unbelievers.
And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, universal plenty and happiness shall attend you in all your concerns, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, there shall be no more drought, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim, a dry country in the plains of Moab; that is, the gospel shall go forth from Jerusalem and occasion the most happy changes; 19 like water making a dry valley fruitful. Egypt shall be a des olation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness; Egypt and Edom are put for the rest of the enemies of the converted Jews, who shall all be destroyed; for the violence [against] the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in the 20. land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from
generation to generation; they shall no more nationally apos 21 tatise from God. For I will cleanse their blood [that] I have not cleansed; I will cleanse them from all pollution; or rather, this remarkable expression may signify their being forgiven their sin in the death of Christ, whose blood they imprecated upon themselves and their children: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion; that is, he will take up his lasting residence with them.
OW mad is the opposition which sinners make to God. The nations bordering upon the Jews, are here represented as quarrelling with God for punishing them, and reeking their revenge upon his people. Such a degree of desperate boldness there is in the hearts of sinners still. When they are afflicted and distressed, they murmur against God, and show their resentment by their rage against his instruments and his cause. But, wo to him that striveth with his Maker! for he will return their recompense on their own heads. None ever hardened himself against God, and prospered.
2. How vain is all the power of man against the designs of Providence. Many beautiful images are used to represent the strongest confederacy of a numerous people against the Jews: all weapons, and all arts, were used for their destruction. But the Lord of hosts has ten thousand times ten thousand mighty ones at his command; and if he should send but one of them down, it were sufficient to destroy the most formidable armies, let them come with ever so much rage. We may therefore be confident of the security of the church, and that the schemes of Providence in its favour shall all take place; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
3. Whatever commotions there are in the world, God's people shall be safe and easy. When states and kingdoms are in con fusion, when the heavens and earth shake, (v. 16.) he is the object of their hope and trust, and will strengthen their arms, sup. port their courage, and animate their hearts. How desirable, how necessary then is it, to have him for our friend and helper. Blessed is the man whose trust is in God, and whose hope the Lord is; for he will be the strength of his heart, and his portion for ever.
4. Let us rejoice in the comfortable declarations which are here made respecting the poor dispersed Jews. This, and many other prophecies foretell their conversion; their being gathered together to their own land; and brought to a state of gospel pu rity, peace, and happiness; God will cleanse them from the guilt and pollution of blood, even that of Christ, and will be for ever among them. Let the eye of our faith be directed to this happy event and in the mean time let it be our prayer, that the gos pel, like a fountain, may water the dry parts of the gentile world, and that all Israel may be saved.
The Book of the PROPHET
AMOS was contemporary with Hosea, though it is probable he did not live so long. He was not educated in the schools of the prophets founded by Samuel, but was called to the prophetic office from being a herdsman in Tekoa, in the territory of Judah, and sent to call the people of Israel to repentance. He begins, however, with denouncing judgments against other nations, and concludes with comfortable promises of God's restoring the tabernacle of David, and erecting the Messiah's kingdom. Several of this prophet's images are borrowed from those rural objects, which were familiar to him as a herdsman; his sentiments are frequently lofty, and his style beautiful, though plain; for Isaiah at the court, and Amos at the fold, were inspired by one and the same spirit. He is generally supposed to have written about the year 787 before the Christian æra.*
In which Amos foretells God's judgments upon Syria, the Philistines, Tyrus, Edom, and Ammon.
HE words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, (God, in this case, going out of his usual way in the choice of a prophet) which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of 2 Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither, by reason of drought.
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions, of Damascus, and for four, that is, for many transgressions, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof: because they have threshed, oppressed and harassed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron; that is, planks with iron teeth, which were drawn ▲ over the corn. But I will send a fire, consuming judgments,