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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Amos 2

Verses 1-16

Amos 2:2 . Kirioth, a city of Moab, having palaces. Jeremiah 48:24.

Amos 2:6 . For three transgressions of Israel. This phrase, explained in Amos 1:3, is repeated against five nations, marking the greatness of their sin.

Amos 2:7 . A man and his father will go in to the same maid. Herodotus has delicately mentioned the licentiousness of the feasts of Venus, or Astarte. Incest is a crime which always made the heathen blush, At the end of Calvin’s Commentary on Joshua, there is a collation of the moral law of Moses with the laws of the Romans, edition 1603, in which he found seven laws by successive emperors against marriages within the prohibited degrees of affinity. The providence of God decided in the case of Moab’s feasts, that the culprits should be punished with death.

Amos 2:8 . They lay down on clothes laid to pledge by every altar. The dwellings of the wicked are habitations of cruelty. The poor in ancient times were often ragged, or clad in garments much impaired: no nation could dress like the British poor. Here the garments were pledged for wine at the idol feast; and the humane law of Moses required all such garments to be restored at sunset, redeemed or not redeemed. Exodus 22:27. Nay, the judges and the priests, in the more depraved times, drank fines of men condemned for breaches of the peace. In our laws of king Ina, who reigned in the west of England, all crimes had their price.

Amos 2:9 . Yet destroyed I the Amorite whose height was like a cedar. The tall sons of Anak were, without a doubt, ten feet high, according to Genesis 6:4. In battle, the strokes of their arm must have resembled those of the scythe which cuts the grass. They were however greater monsters in crime than in stature. But where was Israel’s gratitude for deliverance from these giants, which made the ten spies faint with fear.

Amos 2:11 . Nazarites. See the notes on the sixth chapter of Numbers.

REFLECTIONS.

The prophet, in reproving guilty nations, speaks like one who knew the Lord, who knew the people he addressed, who understood his mission, and the object of his ministry. Cruelty was the leading sin of Moab. The burning of the king of Edom in the limekiln to make lime, as the Chaldaic renders the text, for the king’s palace, was a most inhuman atrocity. Whatever were the peculiar provocations of this prince, nothing can apologize for the cruelty of the king of Moab. When the life of a culprit is once taken, indignities to the body add nothing to his punishment; but we may disgrace human nature, and injure ourselves by ferocious conduct.

Apostasy from the law of the Lord was the sin of Judah; and this apostasy was the more provoking because the laws and statutes of the Lord were peculiarly wise and good. They also did this for vanity and lies, and that they might embrace a pagan mythology founded on fiction, error, and impurity. Sin is always provoking, but the circumstances attending it often render it doubly so.

The transgressions of Israel were peculiarly aggravated. The dealing in slaves, the turning the meek out of the good way, the whoredoms and impurities consequent on apostasy, intoxicating the Nazarites, always accounted holy, Lamentations 4:7, and silencing the Lord’s prophets by exile and martyrdom, were all grievous crimes, and indulged to high excess. But the instances of ingratitude were crimes yet fouler in their shades. God had multiplied them in Egypt with marvellous kindness, he had delivered them from Pharaoh with a cloud of miracles, and vanquished the gigantic Amorites to give them the promised land. Now behold, they had polluted it worse than the Amorite!

As the sin of Israel was peculiarly great, so their punishment should be peculiarly severe. The Lord would, as Newcome reads the text, press them in their place or cities, as a cart is loaded with sheaves; and they should not escape the calamities. So it happened. The Assyrians, finding them weakened by former wars, besieged them in their cities, and carried away the survivors to distant places. Thus the hope of impunity shall perish; for the Lord will render to every man according to his works.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Amos 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/amos-2.html. 1835.