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Bible Commentaries
Amos 5

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Lamentation. Such canticles were usual, Isaias xiv. --- Israel. It no longer formed a separate kingdom. (Calmet) --- When the people fear no evil, God laments for them. (Worthington)

Verse 3

City, before (Calmet) or after the captivity. It required a long time to fill the cities as they had been. (Haydock) --- When the Assyrians invaded the country, it was greatly reduced. (Calmet)

Verse 5

Bethel,...Galgal,...Bersabee. The places where they worshipped their idols. (Challoner) --- They had all been honoured by the patriarchs. Bersabee had belonged to Juda under Achab, 3 Kings xix. 3. But it was originally in the tribe of Simeon, and Jeroboam II recovered all that had been lost, 4 Kings xiv. 25. (Calmet) --- Unprofitable. Hebrew leaven, "for vanity," (Haydock) Bethaven.

Verse 6

Joseph. His two grandchildren gave name to the principle tribes of the kingdom. --- Bethel. Septuagint, "Israel," which seems preferable. (Calmet) --- Yet Bethel may stand, as it denotes the apostate Israelites.

Verse 7

You. Septuagint, "the Lord, [God] who does judgment on high, and has placed justice on the earth; (8) who maketh and transformeth all things, and turneth," &c. (Haydock) --- Hebrew agrees with the Vulgate. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Arcturus and Orion. Arcturus is a bright star in the north, Orion a beautiful constellation in the south. (Challoner) --- Shepherds in Arabia and Spain are well acquainted with the stars. (Calmet) --- We have examined the meaning of cima and cesil, Job ix. 9., and xxxviii. 31. St. Jerome’s master asserts that the latter means "efflugence." Cima is rendered the Pleiades by Aquila and Theodotion; "the seven stars," by Protestants. (Haydock) --- When such allusions to the heathen mythology occur, they give no sanction to it, but serve to explain what is meant. (St. Jerome) --- Morning, affording comfort, chap. iv. 13. --- Earth, by floods (Calmet) or rain. (St. Jerome)

Verse 9

With a smile. That is, with all ease, and without making any effort. (Challoner) --- Aquila has "grinning," to shew displeasure. (St. Jerome) --- Hebrew, "he strengthens the oppressor against the strong," so that those whom he pleases to chastise cannot escape.

Verse 10

They, the wicked, could not endure Amos, (chap. vii. 12.) nor those who rebuked them.

Verse 12

Grievous. Hebrew also, "numerous."

Verse 13


Time. It is to no purpose speaking to the deaf, (Ecclesiasticus xxxii. 9.) or throwing pearls before swine, Matthew vii. 6. Amos was silent for a while, till God opened his mouth again, chap. iii. 8., and vii. 12.

Verse 14

Said. Probably Amaias took occasion, from the flourishing state of the kingdom, to assert that the Lord approved of their conduct. (Calmet)

Verse 15

May be. God will not be wanting on his side. But this implies that man may find a difficulty in seeking good, and neglect to do it, though he may if he please, with God’s assistance. (Worthington) --- Remnant. Posterity. (Calmet)

Verse 16

Lament. Such hired mourners often seemed more grieved than those who were really affected. (Horace, art.) All were invited to join in the common sorrow, Jeremias ix. 17., and xlviii. 31.

Verse 18

The day. Some imprudently laughed at the prophets, Isaias v. 19., and Jeremias xvii. 15. Others wished for the coming of the Lord, not reflecting that he would punish their guilt. (Calmet) --- Thus, many through impatience, desire to die. We must rather, repent, and leave our lives at God’s disposal. (St. Jerome)

Verse 19

Serpent. All his attempts would thus proved abortive. The Israelites were not ruined by Phul, or by Theglathphalassar. But the serpent, (Haydock) Salmanasar, came and took them in their own houses, 4 Kings xvii. 7. (Calmet)

Verse 21

Festivities. Some were still observed, chap. iv. 4.

Verse 22

Vows. Hebrew, "peace-offerings of your mercies;" a sort of oxen, 2 Kings vi. 13., and 3 Kings i. 9. Septuagint, "the salvation of your appearance," or what you offer for your welfare.

Verse 23

Harp. Praise ill becomes the sinner, Ecclesiasticus xv. 9., and Psalm xlix. 17.

Verse 24

Mighty. Hebrew, "Ethan." Let your virtue appear, or the greatest miseries will shortly overwhelm you. (Calmet)

Verse 25

Did you offer, &c. Except the sacrifices that were offered at the first, in the dedication of the tabernacle, the Israelites offered no sacrifices in the desert. (Challoner) --- They ceased after the beginning of the second year. (St. Augustine, q. 47 in Exodus, Leviticus vii., &c.) (Worthington) --- God did not require sacrifices when the people came out of Egypt, Jeremias vii. 22., and Deuteronomy xii. 8. They were not performed so regularly in the desert, (Calmet) and the people still bore a secret affection for idols, (ver. 26.) which rendered all their victims useless. (Haydock)

Verse 26

A tabernacle, &c. All this alludes to the idolatry which they committed, when they were drawn away by the daughters of Moab to the worship of their gods, Numbers xxv. (Challoner) --- They imitated the superstitions of Egypt, and bore the image of Osiris, adorned with a star and crescent, on a sort of base, under a canopy. Hebrew, "You carried the tents of your king and the base of your statues, the star of your gods, which you have made for yourselves." Septuagint by changing (Calmet) ciun in Rephan, or Greek: raiphan, (Haydock) have caused great confusion among commentators. If any change were requisite, (Calmet) cima (Haydock) would be preferable, ver. 8., and Job ix. 9. Yet the Hebrew seems to be correct, and chiun denotes a pedestal rather than an idol. Some read Kevan, the Saturn of the Arabs, &c., and think that Rephan has been mistaken for it. The only difficulty is the authority of St. Stephen, who follows the Septuagint, Acts vii. 43. Yet he probably spoke in Syriac, and might pronounce Chevan; though St. Luke might adopt the Septuagint in a matter of so little consequence. (Calmet, Diss.) --- This decision may not probably give satisfaction to those who reflect that both these authors were under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, and that if an error had crept into the copy of the Septuagint, he would have corrected it. Truth is always of sufficient consequence. See Kennicott, Diss. ii. p. 344. (Haydock) --- Chiun and Rephan are "expressive of the same" god or idol, representing the machine of the heavens. The people of Peru worshipped Choun. (Parkhurst, p. 137.) --- Remvan may be Remmon, (4 Kings vi. 18.) or Saturn. (Grotius) --- In a Coptic alphabet of the planets it is thus explained: (De Dieu. Collier. Dict. Sept. and Acts) "You have taken the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your Rempham, figures," &c. Protestants marginal note, "the Siccuth, your king, and Chiun, your images, the star," &c. (Haydock)

Verse 27

Damacus, or Babylon, (Acts vii.) into Mesopotamia, &c. The sense is the same. (Calmet) --- When the apostles quote passages, "they do not consider the words but the sense." (St. Jerome) --- One Greek copy, however, has Damascus in the Acts. (Haydock)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Amos 5". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/amos-5.html. 1859.
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