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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Amos 7

Verse 1

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.

Amos 7:1-17 consists of two parts: First (Amos 7:1-9), PROPHECIES ILLUSTRATED BY THREE SYMBOLS:

(1) A vision of grasshoppers, or young locusts, which devour the grass, but are removed at Amos' entreaty;

(2) Fire drying up even the deep, and withering part of the land, but removed at Amos' entreaty;

(3) A plumb-line to mark the buildings for destruction. (3) A plumb-line to mark the buildings for destruction.

Secondly (Amos 7:10-17), NARRATIVE OF AMAZlAH'S INTERRUPTION OF AMOS IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE FOREGOING PROPHECIES, AND PREDICTION OF HIS DOOM.

Thus hath the Lord God showed unto me; and, behold - the same formula prefaces the three visions in this chapter, and the fourth, in Amos 7:1.

He formed grasshoppers - rather, locusts in the caterpillar state [ gobay (H1462), from a Hebrew root, gaabaah (H1362)]; Arabic, Jabaa, to creep forth; in the autumn the eggs are deposited in the earth; in the spring the young come forth from the eggs, which have been hatched by the heat (Maurer).

In the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth - namely, of grass, which comes up after the mowing. They do not in the East mow their grass and make hay of it, but cut it off the ground as they require it.

And, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings - the first-fruits of the mown grass, tyrannically exacted by the king from the people. 'The hay harvest was some time before the grain harvest, and the "latter growth," or the after-grass ( halaaqesh (H3954)), began to spring up at the time of the latter rain (malqowsh). It was at this critical season that Amos saw the locusts making an end of eating the grass of the land' - i:e., the green herb, which is for the sustenance of man as well as beast. The literal locusts, as in Joel, are probably symbols of human foes: thus the growth of grass after the king's mowings will mean the political revival of Israel under Jeroboam II. (2 Kings 14:25), after it had been mown down, as it were, by Hazael and Ben-hadad of Syria (2 Kings 13:3; 2 Kings 13:22). (Grotius.)

Verse 2

And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.

Then I said, O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? If thou, O God, dost not spare, how can Jacob maintain his ground, reduced as he is by repeated attacks of the Assyrians, and ere long about to be invaded by the Assyrian Pul? (2 Kings 15:19-20.) Amos follows Moses' intercession (Numbers 14:19, "Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now").

By whom ... Literally, 'who shall Jacob arise?' Who is he, that he should arise, so bereft of strength as he is [ miy (H4310)]. Compare Isaiah 51:19 "These two things are come unto thee ... desolation and destruction ... by whom shall I comfort thee?" The mention of "Jacob" is a plea that God should "remember for them His covenant" with their forefather the patriarch (Psalms 106:45).

For he is small - reduced in numbers and in strength.

Verse 3

The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.

The Lord repented for this - i:e., OF this. The Lord, after the awful visitation by locusts, and when Israel's power had been reduced to "small" dimensions, in consequence of Amos' intercession, repented of the further evil which otherwise he would have inflicted. The "this" is not particularly defined. The change was not in the mind of God (Numbers 23:19; James 1:17), but in the effect outwardly. God unchangeably does what is just; it is just that He should hear intercessory prayer (James 5:16-18), as it would have been just for Him to have let judgment take its course at once on the guilty nation, but for the prayer of one or two righteous men in it (cf. Abraham's intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 18:23-33; 1 Samuel 15:11; Jeremiah 42:10). The repentance of the sinner, and God's regard to His own attributes of mercy and covenanted love, also cause God outwardly to deal with him, as if He repented (Jonah 3:10); whereas the change in outward dealing is in strictest harmony with God's own essential unchangeableness.

It shall not be - Israel's utter overthrow now. Pul was influenced by God to accept money from Menahem (2 Kings 15:19-20), and withdraw from Israel.

Verse 4

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.

And, behold, the Lord God called to contend by fire - namely, with Israel judicially (Job 9:3; Isaiah 66:16, "By fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh;" Ezekiel 38:22). Pusey explains the phrase, 'God called His people to maintain their cause with Him by fire.' Others explain it, He ordered to come at His call the infliction of punishment, by fire on Israel - i:e., drought (cf. Amos 4:6-11, "I caused it to rain upon one city and ... not ... upon another city ... I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning"). (Maurer.) Compare, for this use of "called," Psalms 105:16, "He called for a famine upon the land." Rather, war (Numbers 21:28) - namely, Tiglath-pileser (Grotius).

And it devoured the great deep - i:e., a great part of Israel, whom he carried away. Waters are the symbol for many people (Revelation 17:15).

And did eat up a part - namely, all the land (cf. Amos 4:7) of Israel east of Jordan (1 Chronicles 5:26; Isaiah 9:1, "At the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations"). Translate, as the Hebrew [ 'et (H853) hacheeleq (H2506)], 'did eat up the portion,' namely, that appointed by God to destruction. This was a worse judgment than the previous one: the locusts eat up the grass; the fire not only affects the surface of the ground, but burns up the very roots, and reaches even to the deep.

Verses 5-6

Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 7

Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.

And, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line - namely, perpendicular.

Verse 8

And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:

Amos. "The Lord knoweth them that are his" (2 Timothy 2:19). As He saith to Moses, "I know thee by name" (Exodus 33:12; Exodus 33:17). "He calleth his own sheep by name" (John 10:3).

Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel - no longer are the symbols, as in the former two, stated generally; this one is expressly applied to Israel. God's long-suffering is worn out by Israel's perversity: so Amos ceases to intercede, as Abraham did in the case of Sodom (cf. Genesis 18:33). The plummet-line was used not only in building, but in destroying houses (2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 28:17; Isaiah 34:11; Lamentations 2:8). It denotes that God's judgments are measured out by the exactest rules of justice. Here it is placed in the midst of Israel - i:e., the judgment is not to be confined to an outer part of Israel, as by Tiglath-pileser; it is to reach the very center. This was fulfilled when Shalmaneser, after a three years' siege of Samaria, took it in the 9th year of Hoshea the king of Israel, and carried away Israel captive finally to Assyria (2 Kings 17:3; 2 Kings 17:5-6; 2 Kings 17:23).

I will not again pass by them anymore - I will not forgive them anymore (Amos 8:2; Proverbs 19:11; Micah 7:18). I will not again pass by them anymore - I will not forgive them anymore (Amos 8:2; Proverbs 19:11; Micah 7:18).

Verse 9

And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

And the high places - dedicated to idols.

Of Isaac. They boasted of their following the example of their forefather Isaac, in erecting high places at Beer-sheba (Amos 5:5: cf. Genesis 26:23-24; Genesis 46:1); but he and Abraham erected them before the temple was appointed at Jerusalem, and to God; whereas they did so after the temple had been fixed as the only place for sacrifices, and to idols. In the Hebrew here Isaac is written with the Hebrew letter called sin (s), instead of the usual Hebrew letter called tsaade (ts); both forms mean laughter; the change of spelling perhaps expresses that their "high places of Isaac" may be well so called, but not as they meant by the name; because they are only fit to be laughed at in scorn. Probably, however, the mention of "Isaac" and "Israel" simply expresses that these names, which their degenerate posterity boasted in, as if ensuring their safety, will not save them and their idolatrous "sanctuaries," on which they depended, from ruin (cf. Amos 8:14).

And I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword - fulfilled in Shallum's slaughter of Zachariah, son of Jeroboam II, the last of the descendants of Jeroboam I, who had originated the idolatry of the calves (2 Kings 15:8-10).

Verse 10

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.

Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el - chief priest of the royal sanctuary to the calves at Bethel.

Sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee. The "calves" being an engine of state policy to keep Israel separate from Judah, Amaziah construes Amos' words against them as treason. So in the case of Elijah and Jeremiah (1 Kings 18:17; Jeremiah 37:13-14). So the antitype Jesus was charged (John 19:12); political expediency being made in all ages the pretext for dishonouring God and persecuting His servants (John 11:48-50). So in the case of Paul (Acts 17:6-7, the Jews cried, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Cesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus;" Acts 24:5, Tertullus said before Felix, as to Paul, "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes"). In the midst of the house of Israel - probably alluding to Amos' own words, "Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel" (Amos 7:8), foretelling the state's overthrow to the very center. Not secretly, or in a corner, but openly, in the very center of the state, so as to upset the whole utterly.

The land is not able to bear all his words - they are so many and so intolerable. A sedition will be the result. The mention of "the land" in general, and the expression "conspired," implies that Amos probably went at some great festival at Bethel, and by his denunciation of the calf-worship shook the idolatrous faith of many. So the opponents of Stephen were "not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake" (Acts 6:10). The Hebrew for "conspired" is properly banded, implying that others had been induced to join Amos, and formed a party [ qaashar (H7194)]. The mention of his being "priest of Beth-el" implies that it was for his own priestly gain, not for the king or state, he was so keen.

Verse 11

For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.

For thus Amos saith - whereas Amos spoke not in his own name, but, "Thus saith the Lord."

Jeroboam shall die by the sword. Amos had not said this, but that "the house of Jeroboam" should fall "with the sword" (Amos 7:9). But Amaziah exaggerates the charge, to excite Jeroboam against him. The king, however, did not give ear to Amaziah, probably from religious awe of the prophet of Yahweh.

Verse 12

Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:

Also Amaziah said unto Amos. Besides informing the king against Amos, lest that course should fail, as it did, Amaziah urges the troublesome prophet himself to go back to his own land, Judah, pretending to advise him in friendliness.

O thou seer - said contemptuously in reference to Amos' visions, which precede.

Flee thee away into the land of Judah. Amaziah tauntingly tells him his words against Israel and Bethel will be acceptable in Judah; implying that the prophet had no sympathies with the people among whom he prophesied, but was a traitor at heart to them, and favoured their enemy. There eat bread, and prophesy there - you can earn a livelihood there, whereas remaining here you will be ruined. He judges of Amos by his own selfishness, as if regard to one's own safety and livelihood are the paramount considerations. So the false prophets (Ezekiel 13:19) were ready to say whatever pleased their hearers, however false, dishonouring to God, and destructive to souls, for "handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread."

Verse 13

But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.

But prophesy not again anymore - (Amos 2:12, "But ye ... commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not").

At Beth-el. Amaziah wants to be let alone, at least in his own residence.

For it is the king's chapel - rather, 'the king's sanctuary' [miqªdash]. Bethel was the state-temple, and was preferred by the king to Dan, the other seat of the calf-worship, as being nearer Samaria, the capital, and as hallowed by Jacob of old (Genesis 28:16; Genesis 28:19; Genesis 35:3; Genesis 35:6-7). Bethel was about 12 miles north of Jerusalem, and so about 24 miles from Tekoa, the prophet's birthplace, which was about 12 miles southeast of Jerusalem. He argues by implication against Amos' presumption, as a private man, in speaking against the worship sanctioned by the king, and that in the very place consecrated to it for the king's own devotions.

And it is the king's court - i:e., residence; literally, 'the house of the kingdom,' the seat of empire, where the king holds his court, and which thou oughtest to have reverenced. Samaria was the usual king's residence; but, for the convenience of attending the calf-worship, a royal palace was at Bethel also.

Verse 14

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet - in answer to Amaziah's insinuation (Amos 7:12), that he discharged the prophetic office to earn his "bread" (like Israel's mercenary prophets). So far from being rewarded, Yahweh's prophets had to expect imprisonment and even death as the result of their prophesying in Samaria or Israel; whereas, the prophets of Baal were maintained at the king's expense (cf. 1 Kings 18:19). I was not, says Amos, of the order of prophets, or educated in their schools, and deriving a livelihood from exercising the public functions of a prophet. I am a shepherd (cf. Amos 7:15, "I followed the flock;" the Hebrew for 'herdman' includes the meaning shepherd, cf. Amos 1:1, though more commonly used as to a cowherd bowqeer (H951)) in humble position, who did not even think of prophesying among you until a divine call impelled me to it. Neither was I a prophet's son - i:e., disciple. Schools of prophets are mentioned first in 1 Samuel; in these youths were educated to serve the theocracy as public instructors. Only in the kingdom of the ten tribes the continuance of the schools of prophets is mentioned. They were missionary stations near the chief seats of superstition in Israel, and associations endowed with the Spirit of God; none were admitted but those to whom the Spirit had been previously imparted. Their spiritual fathers traveled about to visit the training schools, and cared for the members, and even their widows (2 Kings 4:1-2). The pupils had their common board in them, and after leaving them still continued members. The offerings which, in Judah, were given by the pious to the Levites, in Israel went to the schools of the prophets (2 Kings 4:42). Prophecy (ex. gr., that of Elijah and Elisha) in Israel was more connected with extraordinary events than in Judah, inasmuch as, in the absence of the legal hierarchy of the latter, it needed to have more palpable divine sanction.

A gatherer - one occupied with their cultivation (Maurer). The mode of cultivating it was, they made an incision in the fruit when of a certain size, and on the fourth day afterward it ripened (Pliny, 'Natural History,' 13: 7, 14). So the Septuagint translation [knizoon], 'puncturing,' or 'a puncturer of sycamore fruit.' Grotius from Jerome says, if it be not plucked off and 'gathered' (which favours the English version), it is spoiled by gnats. The Hebrew expresses simply 'one employed about sycamore fruit' [bowleec].

Of sycamore fruit - abounding in Palestine. The fruit was like the fig, but inferior; according to Pliny, a sort of compound, as the name expresses, of the fig and the mulberry. It was only eaten by the poorest (cf. 1 Kings 10:27).

Verse 15

And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

And the Lord took me as I followed the flock. So David was taken (2 Samuel 7:8; Psalms 78:70-71). Messiah is the antitypical Shepherd, (Psalms 23:1-6; John 10:1.) The breed of sheep and goats, naaqaad, from which he took his special name as 'shepherd,' noqeed (H5349) (Amos 1:1), is still known by the same name in Arabia; a stunted, thin, and ugly breed (whence arose the proverb, viler than a naaqaad), but famed for their wool. As Peter and Andrew, James and John, left their nets and their father, and as Matthew left the receipt of custom, at the Lord's call-so Ames left his sheep and the sycamore trees at the summons of God, to go in his shepherd's costume to the idolatrous temple of the state, and denounce the idolatry practiced by the king and people there. This he did in the reign of Jeroboam II, the most powerful of the Israelite kings; and at a time of great national prosperity he boldly foretold the termination of the royal line, and the captivity of the people.

And the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel - against (Maurer); so Amos 7:16. Yahweh claims them still as His by right, though slighting His authority. God would recover them to His service by the prophet's ministry.

Verse 16

Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.

Thou sayest ... drop not thy word against the house of Isaac - "drop," distill as the refreshing drops of rain (Deuteronomy 32:2, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass;" Ezekiel 21:2; cf. Micah 2:6; Micah 2:11, "Prophesy (Hebrew, drop) ye not, say they to them that prophesy"). The ungodly regard the testimony of God's ministers as a wearisome dropping.

Verse 17

Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.

Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city - i:e., shall be forced by the enemy, while thou art looking on, unable to prevent her dishonour (Isaiah 13:16; Lamentations 5:11). The words, "saith THE LORD," are in striking opposition to "thou sayest" (Amos 7:16).

And thy land shall be divided by line - among the foe.

And thou shalt die in a polluted land. Israel regarded every foreign land as that which really her own land was now, "polluted" (Isaiah 24:5; Jeremiah 2:7). Probably, in Pul's invasion of Israel under Menahem, Amaziah met his doom. God is not anxious to vindicate His word. He does not as to Shebna (Isaiah 22:17-18), Amaziah, Ahab, or Zedekiah (Jeremiah 29:20-22). The sentence of the criminal, unless reprieved, in itself implies the execution. 'The majesty of Scripture doth not lower itself to linger on baser persons' (Pusey).

Remarks:

(1) The Lord here marks three stages in His punishment of Israel. Each succeeding one exceeds the preceding in severity. The two earlier ones, through the intercession of the prophet, stop short of utter ruin. The third and last brings with it complete destruction. These three prophetic stages correspond to the three successive invasions of the Assyrians. The first, under Pul, brought upon the Israelite king, Menahem, and his people, a heavy fine. The second, under Tiglath-pileser, who was invited by Ahaz, king of Judah, brought on Pekah and Israel the deportation of the northern and eastern Israelites. The third, under Shalmaneser and Esar-haddon, utterly extinguished the kingdom of the ten tribes.

(2) The prophet saw in vision the Lord God in the act of forming (for such is the force of the Hebrew) locusts as instruments to execute His judgments. The least as well as the greatest creatures are continually being formed by His hand. "My Father worketh, hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17), is the Lord's own refutation of those who deify 'the laws of nature,' and substitute their operation for that of the Omnipresent and Omnipotent God. God overrules and guides those laws of His own appointment, according to His own sovereign will. The same God forms the locust, who created the universe: and both alike execute the mission for which He appoints them.

(3) The power of intercessory prayer is remarkably illustrated in the prophet's intercessions with God for his afflicted country, and their results. Unlike his self-seeking countrymen, Amos was truly "grieved for the affliction of Joseph" (Amos 6:6). Those are our best friends who are friends of God, and who pray for us. Like grass that had been mown down, and then sprang up afresh, but was again, and more utterly, eaten up by locusts (Amos 7:1-2), so Israel, after its sufferings from the Syrian invasions, had temporarily revived under Jeroboam II, but was again reduced to "small" dimensions by the Assyrian, Pul. At this critical time Amos lifted up his prayer, "O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee" (Amos 7:2). His plea is his people's prostrate state, which precluded all hope of "arising," save by the special grace of God. We can use no more effective argument with God than our necessity, as the ground for His exercise of mercy. 'Who is Jacob, that he should arise? for he is small.' When we learn, through chastisement, to become small in our own eyes, the Lord repents of the further evil which otherwise we should have incurred. God heard His servant Amos' prayer: "It shall not be, saith the Lord" (Amos 7:3). How immediate is the answer to prayer, and how God waits to be gracious, if only we will wait on Him!

(4) When one chastisement fails to lead men to thorough repentance, another and a severer follows. The Lord God has at His "call" (Amos 7:4) all the elements wherewith to "contend" with sinful rebels who virtually dare to "contend" with Him. If the locusts will not bring the rebels to submission, "fire," which is still more destructive, shall follow. And if this also fail, then the plumb-line of final and everlasting destruction shall be extended over the doomed transgressors. Amos at this point ceases to intercede, because the extreme limit of God's forbearance was now, in vision, by this time past, and nothing remained but consuming judgment.

(5) It was a thing most improbable that the Assyrian monarch, after having utterly destroyed the Syrian monarchy, and depopulated half of Israel, should turn back in the full tide of victory, and not advance on the capital, Samaria. Yet so it came to pass. No doubt there were secondary causes that operated for this result; but the primary cause was the gracious answer of God to the intercessory prayer of the herdman of Tekoa, about 47 years before. Like the planets that revolve on their own axis, and all the while are constrained to revolve round the central sun, so the politics of man, while turning on the axis of human policy, are all the while overruled so as to move in the orbit of God's purposes.

(6) When destruction at last came upon Israel it was in accordance with the divine announcement made through Amos long before. The Lord had "stood over (so the Hebrew may be better rendered, instead of the English version) the wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in His hand" (Amos 7:7). The wall symbolizes the Israelite state, originally designed to be "Jeshurun," the upright people (Deuteronomy 33:5; Deuteronomy 33:26; Isaiah 44:2). Just as a wall is originally made straight by the perpendicular plumb-line, and is afterward by the architect discovered with the same plumb-line to have fallen out of the perpendicular, and to be a bowing, bulging wall, so, now that Israel was proved, by the exact rule of God's perfect law, to be altogether crooked in her ways, God was about to destroy her by the same rule of right wherewith He had built her up (Amos 7:8). The high places called after Isaac, whose meditative, gentle piety, his descendants so utterly failed to copy, were to be desolate. The Lord Himself world rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword (Amos 7:9). A day is coming upon us all when, by the law and the grace which we have received, by the same shall we be judged. As the Lord stood "in the midst of Israel," so shall He "stand at the latter day (Job 19:25) upon the earth," and shall give to each in exact accordance with has deserts: and He who has so often spared "will not again pass by" the impenitent "anymore" (Amos 7:8).

(7) They who will be faithful to their Lord are sure, like Amos, to encounter adversaries. Amaziah, the priest of the idolatrous altar at Bethel, feared that his craft, whereby he had his wealth (Acts 19:25), was in danger, through the prophesyings of Amos, which led many to renounce the worship of the calves. He therefore sent to Jeroboam II, accusing the prophet of a conspiracy against the king "in the middle of the house of Israel" (Amos 7:10). Amos had declared the words of God, "I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel." This Amaziah construes into treason against the king in the midst of the people. In all ages the servants of God have been maligned as if they were enemies of their king and country. Involuntarily the worldly recognize the power of the really religious man's words, as Amaziah did when he said of Amos, "The land is not able to bear all his words." "Unable to resist the wisdom and the spirit" by which God's servants speak (Acts 6:10), they have recourse to persecution, the resource of those who feel their cause a bad one, and who dare not appeal to reason and the Word of God.

(8) Amaziah, retaining part of Amos' words in his allegation against him, alters the rest: "Thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword." But Amos had always said, not I say, but "Thus saith the Lord." Again, what Amos had said was, not Jeroboam shall die with the sword, but "I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword" (Amos 7:9). A lie blended with partial truth is the most subtle, and therefore the most dangerous form of falsehood. The grain of truth gains credence for the wholesale lie. It was so that the father of lies first gained the ear of Eve, and then from an insinuated lie boldly advanced to an open lie. Amaziah suppresses the truth that Amos had stated Israel's sins as the ground of Israel's coming punishment. Amaziah also omits Amos' repeated calls to repentance, with the accompanying promise, "Seek the Lord, and ye shall live" (Amos 5:6). Thus slander and heresy ever recommend their falsehoods with fragments of truth. Let us see that, in speaking to and of others, we scrupulously respect the majesty of truth, not only shunning a lie, but neither suggesting what is untrue, nor suppressing aught of the whole truth, which would tend to deceive our neighbour.

(9) Worldly men think that those who profess religion do so for the sake of gain. Visionary "seer," said Amaziah to Amos in contempt, "flee away into Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there." The self-seeking men of the world do not credit the existence of disinterested piety. He preaches, say they of the self-denying minister, because he is paid for it. He is indeed paid for it; but not in earthly gain: the service and glory of his God are his richest reward.

(10) "Prophesy not again anymore at Beth-el," said Amaziah, "for it is the king's chapel" or sanctuary. Unwittingly he lets out the truth, that the altar at Bethel was the creation of the king, not the ordinance of God. Amos in reply alleges the Lord's mission as his warrant for prophesying-a mission which he durst not resist. "The Lord took me, as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel" (Amos 7:15). 'Heaven thundered, and commanded him to prophesy; the frog croaked in answer out of his marsh, Prophesy no more' (from Pusey). However humble our sphere, when God calls, we must answer the summons. "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Therefore Amos, when accused of rebellion against the earthly king, pronounces boldly the doom of his accuser, who had rebelled against the King of kings. Amos now expressly uses the words, inaccurately before attributed to him by Amaziah, "Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land" (cf. Amos 7:17 with 11). Thus the sinner pronounces unwittingly his own sentence. They who pollute themselves with earthly idols shall die in their pollutions, and shall be given up to them everlastingly (Amos 7:17). Let us adore the righteous God for His judgments, and live as those who have passed from under condemnation into life!

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Amos 7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/amos-7.html. 1871-8.