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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Amos 7

Verses 1-17


Three Visions and an Interruption

1-9. The visions.

10-17. The interruption.

There are two senses in which the word ’Vision’ may be used of one of the forms of Hebrew prophecy. In the first sense a state of mind closely akin to that of a dreamer is intended: ’I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, I will speak with him in a dream’ (Numbers 12:6). The prophet falls into a kind of ecstasy, and has no control over the pictures which pass before his mind. Every one will remember the language ascribed to Balaam: ’He saith.. which seeth the vision of the Almighty, falling down, and having his eyes open’ (Numbers 24:4, Numbers 24:16). In the second sense of the word it is meant that the subject-matter of the preaching was divinely inspired, but the prophet’s own mind and will played an important part in throwing this matter into the form of a picture. The visions of Amos belong to the latter class. God’s Spirit made the coming destruction of Israel certain to this man. Amos drew, and then explained, the pictures which were emblems of that destruction, the locusts, the devouring flame, the measurement with a plumb-line, the basket of summer fruit, the fall of temple and column.

1. Grasshoppers] RV ’Locusts.’ The latter growth may possibly mean the grass which springs in Palestine after the late rains in March-April. We cannot be quite certain whether the king’s mowings or ’shearings’ are here mentioned. Sheep-shearing in N. Palestine takes place about April. The king’s mowings would be a portion of the crops taken to feed his horses.

2. Render, ’And as they were about to make an end of eating.. Who shall raise up Jacob?’ The question is equivalent to an exclamation: ’Oh that Jacob might be raised up!’

4. He would not conduct His controversy with words, but with a consuming fire (Isaiah 66:16).

The great deep] the abyss on which the earth was supposed to rest (Genesis 7:11; Psalms 24:2). A part] RV ’the land,’ the portion appointed to Israel: this, also, the fire was about to consume.

7, 8. Upon a wall] RV ’beside a wall.’ The testing of the wall is a symbol of the searching investigation into the people’s conduct, which would be followed by a strictly just recompense (2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 34:11; Jeremiah 1:11-12; Lamentations 2:8).

9. The high places of Isaac] i.e. Beersheba (Amos 5:5), which was especially associated with Isaac (Genesis 27:23; Genesis 28:10).

10, 11. Amaziah, being a royal official, intervenes as soon as the king’s name is brought in (Amos 7:9). He sends a message to Jeroboam II at Samaria (2 Kings 14:23), charging the prophet with stirring up sedition at the very centre of the national life. And he exaggerates. Amos had not said that the king himself should be killed.

12, 13. How contemptuous Amaziah is! His words literally are: ’Seer, go, flee thee away,’ etc. There is a proverbial saying, ’Eat your pudding, slave, and hold your tongue.’

The king’s chapel] RV ’The king’s sanctuary’: his ’Chapel Royal.’ The king’s court] RV ’a royal house’: one of his residences (Daniel 4:30).

14. We catch the emphasis if we render: ’No prophet am I, and no son of a prophet am I.’ The latter expression may mean that he had not been trained in one of the schools for prophets (1 Samuel 19:24; 2 Kings 4:38; 2 Kings 9:1), but it is better to understand it as referring to the Oriental custom of the son following his father’s occupation. A gatherer of sycomore fruit] RV ’A dresser of sycomore trees.’ The sycomore fig required pinching or scraping to bring it to ripeness. It was not thought much of in Palestine.

15. Cp. 2 Samuel 7:8; 1 Kings 19:19; Psalms 78:70-71; Galatians 1:1.

16. Thou sayest] in opposition to what the Lord said (Amos 7:17). Drop not thy word] don’t let it drip, drip, drip, in imbecile and wearisome fashion (Micah 2:6, Micah 2:11; Ezekiel 21:2, Ezekiel 21:7).

17. An harlot] violated by the victorious soldiers. The greatest disaster that can befall an Eastern is to leave no son to continue his name. The ample domain of the wealthy priest would be divided into small properties for the new settlers (Jeremiah 6:2; Micah 2:4). A polluted land] or, ’a land that is unclean’ (RV), is one where Jehovah, not being its recognised lord, could not be legitimately worshipped (1 Samuel 26:19; 2 Kings 5:17; Hosea 9:3-5; Ezekiel 4:13).

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Amos 7". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/amos-7.html. 1909.