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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Amos 8

 

 

Verses 1-14


The Vision of the Ripe Fruit, followed by a Fifth Address

1-3. The vision.

4-14. The address, denouncing dishonest traders (Amos 8:4-6), threatening earthquakes, eclipse, mourning, a painful sense of abandonment by God, an utter destruction of the superstitious (Amos 8:7-14).

1-3. Notwithstanding the interference of Amaziah, the prophet finishes the recital of his visions.

1, 2. Another play on words—qayits is the word for ripe fruit, and qçts for end. We might represent it by, 'A basket of ripe fruit. My people are ripe for judgment.'

3. The literal translation of this picturesque v. is, 'And the songs of the Temple shall howl in that day—utterance of the Lord Jehovah! Many the corpses! In every place they cast forth! Hush!' Temple] RM 'palace.' The building is regarded as the palace of the Great King; the word came to the Hebrews from Babylonia, and literally signifies 'Great House.' The pestilence is so fatal that men have no time either to burn or bury the dead, and no inclination to talk.

4. To make the poor of the land to fail] i.e. to exterminate those who are in lowly circumstances. 'They make a solitude and call it peace.'

5. The new moon was originally a more important festival than the sabbath. For points in its observance see 1 Samuel 20:6; 2 Kings 4:23; Isaiah 1:13; Hosea 2:13, and cp. the Levitical ritual in Numbers 28:11.

The ephah] the measure by which they sold, was fraudulently small; the weight by which they tested the money paid them was as dishonestly great. Money was not coined, but was weighed on every business occasion (Genesis 23:16). The ephah contained about 65 Imp. pts.; the shekel of 252 grs. would be worth about £21s. of our money.

7. Jehovah Himself is the Excellency, the Pride and Boast of His people.

8. The movements of the land shaken by the earthquake, or whatever other calamity was divinely inflicted, are compared to those of the Nile: 'Yea, it shall rise up wholly like the River; and it shall be troubled and sink again, like the River of Egypt' (RV). The word for 'river' is regularly employed of the Nile.

9. The eclipse of June 15th, 763 b.c., may have impressed his imagination powerfully.

10. Feasts] religious, not secular. The cloth of camel's or goat's hair was bound round the loins with a cord. Shaving the head was a sign of mourning (Leviticus 21:5; Isaiah 22:12). This day would end as badly as it began.

11. The word which they craved was not one of spiritual instruction, but of guidance out of trouble: cp. 1 Samuel 3:1.

12. From sea to sea] i.e. from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea.

14. The sin, or, rather, the 'guilt' of Samaria, is the idolatrous object worshipped by the Samaritans, either the calf at Bethel (1 Kings 12:29; Hosea 10:5), or the Asherah at Samaria (2 Kings 13:6).

The manner] RV 'the way of Beer-sheba' may perhaps mean the pilgrimage thither. Mohammedans swear by the pilgrimage to Mecca. But Amos not improbably wrote, 'By the life of the deity of Beer-sheba.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Amos 8:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/amos-8.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 16th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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