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Amo 9:1 I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.
Ver. 1. I saw the Lord ] This seer, Amos 7:12 , saw the Lord in a vision; for otherwise God is too subtile for sinew or sight to seize upon him. We cannot look upon the body of the sun, neither can we see at all without the beams of it; so here.
Standing upon the altar ] Or, firmly set, sc. to do execution upon that altar, sc. that idolatrous altar at Bethel mentioned before, and formerly threatened by another prophet, 1 Kings 13:1-2 . The Rabbis say, God was seen standing upon that altar, as ready to sacrifice and slay the men of that age, whose idolatries and other impieties he could no longer bear with. And hence it is haply, that he is brought in standing; like as Acts 7:55 , Jesus, at Stephen’s death, was seen standing at the right hand of God, where he is usually said to sit. Stat ut vindex, sedet ut iudex. He stood as his defender and sat as his judge.
And he said ] sc. to the angel that stood by, Zechariah 3:7 , or to the enemy commissioned by him, or to some other creature, for they are all his servants, Psalms 119:91 , neither can he want a weapon to tame his rebels with.
Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake ] Smite with a courage, as Ezekiel 9:5 . Angels give no light blows. "Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And he shall cut down the thickets of the forests with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one," Isaiah 10:33-34 ; that is, by an angel shall he smite to the ground that mighty army which was like a thick wood. See Isa 37:36 Psalms 78:25 ; Psalms 89:6 . So at our Saviour’s resurrection, an angel, in despite of the soldiers set to watch, rolled away the grave stone, and sat upon it. And as a mighty man, when he sitteth down, shaketh the bench under him, so did he shake the earth; "and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men," Matthew 28:2 ; Matthew 28:4 . Down with this idol temple, down with it, saith God here, even to the ground.
And cut them in the head, all of them ] Cleave them down the middle, so that every post may be sure to fall, being divided from the top to the bottom; and let this act be a sign to them all of what I intend to do to their persons, as many of them as by this gate have entered into this idol temple and altar. A deep cut in the head is dangerous and deadly, Genesis 3:15 Psalms 68:21 .
And I will slay the last of them ] I, by mine agents and instruments, as before: for it is but one hand and many executioners that God slays men with. Job could discern God’s arrows in Satan’s hand, and God’s hand on the arms of the Sabean robbers. The sword is bathed in heaven before it is imbrued in men’s blood, Isaiah 34:5 . "The Lord killeth and maketh alive," saith holy Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:6 .
He that fleeth of them shall not flee away ] See Amos 2:14 . See Trapp on " Amo 2:14 " and say, Behold the severity of God, Romans 11:12 .
Amo 9:2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
Ver. 2. Though they dig into hell, &c. ] No starting hole shall secure them from the wrath of God and rage of the creature, set at work by him. "Hell and destruction are before the Lord," Proverbs 15:11 , yea, hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering, Job 26:6 . He hath a sharp eye, and a long hand, to pull men out of their lurking holes; as he did Adam out of the thicket, Manasseh from among the thorns, 2 Chronicles 33:11 , Jonah from the sides of the ship, the Duke of Buckingham in Richard III’s time, &c. "Be sure," saith Moses, "your sin will find you out," Numbers 32:23 , and God’s hand will hale you to punishment.
Though they climb up to heaven ] That is (by a hyperbole), to high and strong places; as the Babel builders, the Benjamites that fled to the rock Rimmon, and there abode four months, Judges 20:47 , the gibing Jebusites, that were so confident of their stronghold of Zion that they flouted David and his forces, 2 Samuel 5:8 , the proud prince of Tyre, and others.
Thence will I bring them down ] From their loftiest tops of pride and creature confidence, which God loves to confute and defeat: as I might instance in Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, Haman, Sejanus, Bajazet, that terror of the world, and (as he thought) superior to fortune, yet in an instant, with his state, in one battle overthrown into the bottom of misery and despair; and that in the midst of his great strength. The same end awaits the Pope and his hierarchyruet alto a culmine Roma, that Jupiter Capitolinus shall be one day unroosted by him, who casteth the wicked down to the ground, Psalms 147:6 .
Amo 9:3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:
Ver. 3. And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel ] In densis silvis, inter spelaea ferarum. In the thick woods among the dens of the wild beasts. Lawful enough it is in some cases to hide, as David did often and Elias, and Christ, and Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 , and Athanasius, and various other saints. Tertullian was too rigid in condemning all kind of hiding in evil times. But to hide from God, who searcheth Jerusalem with lights, and to whom the darkness and the light are both alike, Psalms 139:12 , to whom obscura clarent, muta respondent, silentium confitetur, this is base and bootless. Carmel shall not cover them, nor any other startinghole secure them from Divine justice. The poor Jews were pulled by the Romans out of privies and other underground places, where they had hid themselves, as Josephus writeth; and so were those Samaritans served by the Assyrians, who ferreted them out, and slaughtered them.
And though they be hid from my sight ] As they think, but that cannot be; for he (like the optic virtue in the eye) sees all and is seen of none.
In the bottom of the sea ] Which, how deep and troublesome soever, is to God a sea of glass like unto crystal, Revelation 4:6 : corpus diaphanum, a pervious, clear, transparent body such as he sees through, and hath the sole command of.
Thence will I command the serpent ] For therre is that crooked serpent leviathan, Isaiah 27:1 , there are also creeping things innumerable Psalms 104:26 , to arrest wicked men as rebels and traitors to the highest majesty, and to drag them down to the bottom of bell. All elements and creatures shall draw upon them, as servants will do upon such as assault their lord Rebellisque facta est, quia homo numini, creatura homini, as Austin truly and trimly avoucheth.
Amo 9:4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.
Ver. 4. And though they go into captivity, &c. ] And so may hope the worst is over ("Surely the bitterness of death is past," 1Sa 15:32 ) yet it shall prove otherwise: the hypocrite’s hope is as the giving up the ghost, saith Job and that is but cold comfort; or, as the spider’s web, spun out of her own bowels; and, when the besom comes, swept to the muckhill.
Before their enemies ] Whose custom was to drive their captives before them, Lam 1:5 young and o1d, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, Isaiah 20:4 . Or, "before their enemies," that is, before they are taken captive by the enemies, by voluntary yielding, in hope of quarter for their lives. The Jews indeed had a promise from the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 21:9 , that if they went out and fell to the Chaldeans that besieged them they should have their lives for a prey but the ten tribes had no such promise made them; they were strangers from the covenants Ephesians 2:12 , and therefore could look for no mercy. Loammi, and therefore Loruhamah Hosea 1:8 , the ark and the mercy seat were never sundered.
Thence will I command the sword ] See Isa 13:15-16 Jeremiah 9:10 ; Jeremiah 43:11 Ezekiel 14:17 .
And I will set mine eyes upon them ] Heb. eye (Emphaticoteron est quam si dixisset Oculo pluraliter. Mercer), viz. the eye of my providence, that oculus irretortus, whereby I will look them to death, and take course that nothing shall go well with them; see a little below, Amos 9:8 Jer 21:10 Psalms 34:10 . In Tamerlane’s eyes sat such a majesty as man could hardly endure to behold; and man in talking with him became dumb. He held the East in such awe, as that he was commonly called, The wrath of God and terror of the world. Augustus Caesar frowned to death Cornelius Gallus; and so did Queen Elizabeth Sir Christopher Hatton, lord chancellor God’s enemies are sure to perish at the rebuke of his countenance, Psalms 80:16 , and if he but set his eyes upon them for evil, and not for good, all occurrences shall certainly work together for the worst unto them.
Amo 9:5 And the Lord GOD of hosts [is] he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as [by] the flood of Egypt.
Ver. 5. And the Lord God of hosts is he, &c ] Here the prophet proveth what he had said in the foregoing verses, by an argument drawn from the wonderful power of God, which profane persons are apt to question, that they may harden their hearts against his fear. Consider, saith he, first, that he is the Lord God of hosts, and (as the Rabbis well observe) he hath the upper and lower troops ready pressed, as his horse and foot, to march against his enemies. Next, that he toucheth the land, as it were, with his little finger, and it shall melt, like the fat of lambs before the fire; it shall crumble to crattle, moulder away, and be moved, because he is wroth, Psalms 18:7 : and shall men be unmoved? shall they be more insensible than the senseless earth? The people of Antioch, though many of them gave their hands for Chrysostom’s banishment, yet, terrified by an earthquake (which wrought in them a heartquake, as it had done in the jailer, Act 16:25-30 ), they immediately sent for him again. But, thirdly, the tremendous power of God appears in this, that
The land shall rise up wholly like a flood; and it shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt ] God can float it and flood it at his pleasure, see Amos 8:8 . Water is naturally above the earth as the garment above the body, saith David; and would (but for the power and providence of God) prove as the shirt made for the murdering of Agamemnon, where the head had no issue out. Let God be seen herein, and men’s hearts possessed with his holy fear; who can so easily pull up the sluices, let in the sea upon them, and bury them all in one universal grave of waters. "Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it; and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?" Jeremiah 5:22 . This Aristotle admires, and David celebrates in his physics (as one calleth that 104th Psalm), Psalms 104:6 ; Psalms 104:9 , and all men should improve, to frighten their consciences from provoking to anger so great a God.
Amos 9:6 [It is] he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name.
Ver. 6. It is he that buildeth his stories (or spheres) in the heaven] Surgit hic oratio. The prophet here riseth in his discourse; and as Chrysostom said of St Paul, Tricubitalis est, et coelos transcendit; Low though he were, and little, yet he got up into the third heaven; so may we of Amos, though but a plain spoken and illiterate herdsman, yet, in setting forth the power of God, he mounts from earth to heaven, and shows himself to be Virum bonum, dicendi peritum, an exquisite orator, according to Quintilian’s character. God, this great architect and public workman, δημιουργος (as the apostle after Plato, whom he seemeth to have read, calleth him, Heb 11:10 ), hath, without tool or toil, Isaiah 40:28 , builded his stories in the heaven, which is three stories high, 2 Corinthians 12:2 , wherein, as in a theatre, or molten looking glass, Job 37:18 , his majesty most clearly shineth, Amos 4:13 ; Amo 5:8 Psalms 104:3 ; every sphere and star twinkling at us, and as it were, beckoning to us, to remember his omnipotence (whereof that rare fabric is a notable work and witness), and not to think to escape his judgments if we go on in sin. For although he be higher than the heavens, Job 35:5 , yet "his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men," Psalms 11:4 ; Psalms 11:6 , "Upon the wicked he shall rain down snares, fire and brimstone," &c.
And hath founded his troop (or bundle) in the earth] That is, the other three elements, say some: the sea, which, together with the earth, maketh one globe, say others: the universe (saith Mr Diodati), which is like the fabric of a building; of which the earth, being the lower part, and only unmoveable, hath some resemblance of a foundation.
He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out, &c. ] See Trapp on " Amo 5:8 "
Amos 9:7 [Are] ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?
Ver. 7. Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me ] The emphasis lieth in this last word, "unto me," who am no respecter of persons, "but in every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him," Acts 10:35 . Unto yourselves indeed you seem some great business, because Israelites; "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants," Romans 9:4 . To others also you seem a great nation, yea, a wise and understanding people, as having God so nigh unto you and so set for you, Deuteronomy 4:6-7 ; Deuteronomy 33:29 . But tell me, Quis te discrevit? Who made you to differ? and what have ye more than others that ye have not me to thank for? You look upon the Ethiopians with scorn, as an ignoble and servile people; as likewise upon the uncircumcised Philistines and unhallowed Syrians. But wherein are you beyond them, if you look back to your original, and consider my dealings with them and you? It is nothing else but self-love that maketh you thus insolent; and teacheth you to turn the glass to see yourselves bigger, others lesser than they are. You foolishly set up your counter for a thousand pound; and are in some sense like those Ethiopians, or Negroes, so much slighted by you; of whom it is said they paint the devil white, as being a colour contrary to their own. But much more to blame are you, that being God’s peculiar people, and partakers of such great privileges, you do no more change your evil manners than the Ethiopians do their black hue, Jeremiah 13:23 , you are nowhere white but in your teeth, as they; good a little from the teeth outward. I am near in your mouths, but far from your reins, Jeremiah 12:2 . Such a one was that stigmatic Cush the Benjamite, mentioned in the title of the seventh Psalm (perhaps Saul, the son of Kish the Benjamite, is intended), non tam cute quam corde Aethiopicus, of black and ill conditions; and therefore to God no better than an Ethiopian, or any other Pagan people.
Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt ] q.d. I grant I have; and you glory very much in it; whereas you should rather glorify me much for it, and walk worthy of such a deliverance; for every blessing is a binder, and every new deliverance a new tie to obedience. But what singular thing have I herein done for you more than for Philistines and Syrians, whom yet you look upon as dogs and outcasts!
Have not I also brought up the Philistines from Caphtor ] i.e. from Cappadocia (called an island, Jeremiah 47:4 , because it bordered upon the sea), or, as some will have it, from Cyrus, a rich island, called therefore Macariah, that is, blessed.
And the Syrians from Kir ] Syros e Ciro, from Cyrene, a country of Asia, as Beroaldus thinketh. It is mentioned, Isaiah 22:6 , as subject to the king of Assyria; and thither the Syrians were resettled by Tiglathpileser, 2 Kings 16:9 , but when either these or the Philistines were brought back again to their own countries, we read not in Scripture or elsewhere at this day. "These are ancient things" (as it is said in another case, 1Ch 4:22 ), and are here alleged as well known to the Israelites, who are nipped on the crown, as they say, and pulled from that perilous pinnacle of self-exaltation, whereupon they had unhappily perked themselves.
Amo 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD [are] upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.
Ver. 8. Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom ] Be it Ethiopia, Palestina, Syria, or Israel, but especially Israel, Amos 3:2 , not his eye only, his εκδικον ομμα , his jealous eye, as Amos 9:4 , for evil, and not for good; but both his eyes, yea, his seven eyes, for he is ολοφθαλμος , all eye, to look through and through the sinful kingdom, to judge and punish, to inflict "tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first," because of his privileges, "and also of the Gentile," Romans 2:9 . "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, with the point of a diamond," Jeremiah 17:1 , and Israel is therefore worse than others, because he ought to have been better. His whole kingdom is a kingdom of sin, a merum seclus, from pure wickedness, a very Poneropolis, as that place in Thraeia was called whither Philip had assembled all the infamous persons and men of evil demeanour. "What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria?" Micah 1:5 ; their capital sins were most in their capital cities; and thence overflowed the whole kingdom; called therefore here a sinful kingdom, wholly given to idolatry (as Athens was, Acts 17:16 , κατειδωλος ), which is that sin with an accent, that wickedness with a witness, Exodus 32:21 1 Kings 12:30 ; 1Ki 15:3 ; 1 Kings 15:30 , that land desolating sin, Jeremiah 22:7-9 Psalms 78:58-62 .
And I will destroy it ] See here the venomous nature of sin, and shun it, else we shall prove traitors to the state, and have our hands, if not upon the great cart ropes, yet upon the lesser cords, that draw down vengeance upon the land. And here some one sinner may destroy much good, Ecclesiastes 9:18 , how much more a rabble of rebels, conspiring to provoke the eyes of God’s glory!
Saying that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob ] A remnant shall be left for royal use, reliquas faciam reliquias, and so make a manifest difference, see Jeremiah 30:11 , remembering my promise, Leviticus 26:40 , which is a special text touching the rejecting and conversion of the Jews, as is also this in some men’s judgments. For here (say they) is a threatening of extreme desolation with some comfort interlaced of a remnant to be reserved; among whom it is further promised, 1. That the kingdom of David through Christ shall be set up as glorious as ever it was before, in the most flourishing times of David or Solomon, Amos 9:11 Amos 9:2 . Next, other nations shall join with them and be made partakers of one common inheritance, Amos 9:12 . So doth James, Acts 15:16-17 , expound it. 3. Thirdly, there is promised the fruitfulness of their land, Amos 9:13 , the inhabiting in their own country, Amos 9:14 , and the perpetuity of their abode there, Amos 9:15 . But all this others think to be, optabile magis quam opinabile, little better than a golden dream.
Amo 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as [corn] is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
Ver. 9. For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel ] It is not without God’s command and good leave that evil spirits and men can sift the saints, as Satan desired to have done Peter. He desired it, as a challenger desireth one of the other side to combat with; so he begged leave to sift Job, and so he tempted David to number the people, but it was by God’s permission. Up therefore and pray, that ye enter not into temptation, Luke 22:31 ; Luke 22:46 , or, that ye may come clear out of it, and more than conquerors, even triumphers. The enemy is stinted; yea, Christ will tread him under your feet shortly, Romans 16:20 .
And I will sift the house of Israel among all nations ] The ten tribes among the Assyrians (who were emperors of the whole East), and whither since are they scattered, whether into China, Tartary, West Indies, or other countries, is not known. The whole twelve tribes (those also that once "instantly served God day and night," Act 26:7 ), are now woefully dejected and dissipated; being cast out of the world, as it were, by a common consent of nations, and generally slighted and hated. The Romans permitted other nations to call themselves Romans after they had conquered them; but so they would not suffer the Jews upon any terms to do; lest there should be some blot stick to the glory of the Romans by that odious and sordid people. The Pope useth them as spunges, the Turk as slaves.
Like as corn is sifted in a sieve ] Or, by a fan, to the same sense as that, Zechariah 13:9 , for as here a sieve, so there fire serveth to denote affliction with the use of it; sc. to purge God’s people, specially of those two troublesome choke weeds, high-mindedness and earthly mindedness: cribratione Dei non perditur sed purgatur frumentum, saith Zanchy, God’s good grain is not lost, but made clean by the sifting they suffer.
Yet shall not the least grain (Heb. stone) fall upon the earth] As the chaff and dust shall; for "what is the chaff to the wheat?" saith the Lord, Jeremiah 23:28 . Improbi nobiscum esse possunt in horreo, sed non in area The wicked are able to be with us in the storehouse but not on the theshingfloor. (Augustine). Christ hath his fan in his hand, and will surely discriminate, Matthew 3:12 ; he will take out the precious from the vile, he will drive the chaff one way and the wheat another; and take care that not the least grain of weighty wheat, that had good tack in it (as a stone hath, though but a little stone), shall be lost. He will turn his hand upon the little ones, and secure them, Zechariah 13:7 .
Amo 9:10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
Ver. 10. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword ] The flagitious, presumptuous persons, that bless themselves when I curse them, saying, We shall have peace, though we walk every man in the imagination of his heart, and take his full swing in sin, Deuteronomy 29:19 . Such sinners in Zion, Isaiah 33:14 , such sacrificing Sodomites, Isaiah 1:10 , such profligate professors shall die by the sword; either by the hand of the enemy, or, which is worse, gladio spiritali, saith Mercer, by the spiritual sword, being blinded and rejected by God; so that their preservation is but a reservation to a greater mischief. Whereas, on the other side, some of God’s elect might in a common calamity perish by the sword, but then (Josiah-like) they died in peace, though they fell in battle; their death was right precious in the sight of the Lord, and a plentiful amends made them in heaven.
Which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us ] Or, for our sakes, by our default, Begnadenu propter nos. If affliction do find us out, yet we have not deserved it; common occurrences we cannot be against. Thus the wicked man "flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful," Psalms 36:2 . "In all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin," Hosea 12:8 . "Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned," Jeremiah 2:35 .
Amo 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
Ver. 11. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David ] A most sweet conclusion of the prophecy by sundry evangelical promises, after so many very severe and sharp menaces: the Sun of righteousness liketh not to set in a cloud. In that day, that happy day, whensoever it shall dawn, that Christ shall come; for the prophets knew not the certain time when, but made diligent inquiry as far as they might with sobriety, 1 Peter 1:11 , and well knew that the law, which they preached and explained, was an introduction to a better hope, Hebrews 7:19 , which they saw afar off and saluted, Hebrews 11:13 .
Will I raise up the tabernacle of David ] That is, the kingdom of the house of David, saith the Chaldee paraphrast; meaning, of the Messiah, whom the sounder sort of Rabbis from this text call Ben Niphlei, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. Now the Church is here called the tabernacle of David, because that once stately palace of David was by many desolations reduced to a tent, as it were, and that ready to drop too. The Branch grew out of the root of Jesse, when that goodly family was sunk so low as from David the king to Joseph the carpenter. Besides, all was out of order both in Church and State when Christ came.
And close up the breaches thereof ] Heb. wall up; by unwalling (as the Hebrew hath it, Num 24:17 ) all the children of Seth; by subduing the sons of men, the godly seed, to the obedience of faith; by bringing into captivity every haughty thought, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (that at the name of Jesus every knee may bow, Php 2:10 ), and getting a full conquest by the preaching of the gospel, which shall quickly close up all ruptures, and raise up all ruins, by chasing away terrors and false worships, doctrines of devils, and traditions of men, whereby the scribes and Pharisees had made the commandment of God of none effect.
And I will build it as in the days of old ] In those purer times of David and the other holy patriarchs, who made up but one and the same Church with us, and were saved by the same faith in Christ Jesus, that Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, Revelation 13:8 . Mine antiquity is Jesus Christ, said Ignatius, the martyr. As we prefer the newest philosophy, so the most ancient divinity, saith another.
Amo 9:12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
Ver. 12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom ] "That they" which are called by my name, which are called Christians, viz. the apostles and their successors to the end of the world, "may possess," together with Christ (to whom the Father hath given the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession), "the remnant of Edom"; those few of them that receive the faith, who are but as a remnant to the whole piece, a handful to a houseful. And not of the Edomites only, those inveterate and hereditary enemies to the Israel of God, but of all the heathen which are called by name, Psalms 2:8 , who beseech and are baptized into Christ’s name, being content to receive his mark and to profess his religion, which formerly they were perfect strangers to. These and those first preachers of the gospel, and planters of Churches (being Israelites by birth), are said to possess by inheritance, because Christ was pleased to make use of their ministry; and upon these his white horses to ride abroad the world, "conquering, and to conquer," Revelation 6:1-2 . In a like sense it is promised, Isaiah 14:2 , that the house of Israel shall possess their proselytes in the land of the Lord for servants and for handmaids, and take them captives whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors. Such a change shall the gospel make.
Saith the Lord that doeth this ] For indeed none else could have done it. Effectual conversion is his work alone. God persuaded Japhet. Noah may speak persuasively, but God only can persuade. Rebecca may cook the venison, but Isaac only can give the blessing. "Paul may plant," &c. Deus potest facere, nec solet fallere.
Amo 9:13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
Ver. 13. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman ] The gospel of peace brings with it the peace of the gospel, and with peace plenty, with the horn of salvation the horn of plenty, a confluence of outward comforts and contentments, as in Solomon’s days and Constantine’s (whom God prospered and blessed beyond all that he could have wished, saith Austin, Bonus Deus Constant tantis terrenis implevit muneribus quanta optare nullus auderet. De C. D. l. 5, 25), and Queen Elizabeth’s whom, for her care to propagate the gospel, he made to be the happiest woman that ever swayed sceptre, as her very enemies were forced to acknowledge: so liberal a paymaster is the Lord, that all his retributions are more than bountiful; and this his servants have not ex largitate, sed ex promisso, out of his general providences, but by virtue of a promise, which is far sweeter. The Masorites have observed, that in this verse are found all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (as also in 26 more verses of the Old Testament), Hebrew Text Note to note, say the Calvinists, that in the kingdom of the Messiah ( In instauratione casulae Davidicae collapsae ) there shall be great abundance of all things, et plenum copiae cornu: or, if that should fail, yet plenty of all spiritual benedictions in heavenly things, Ephesians 1:3 , and contented godliness, 1 Timothy 6:6 , which hath an autarkeia, a self-sufficiency; so that having nothing, a man possesseth all things, 2 Corinthians 6:10 . This the prophet expresseth in the following words, by many excellent hyperboles, though (to say sooth) Christus et regnum eius non patiuntur hyperbolen. All words are too weak to set forth the worth of Christ and his kingdom.
The plowman shall overtake the reaper ] In signis hyperbole, saith Mercer: no sooner shall harvest be ended but seeding shall succeed and that promise be fulfilled, Leviticus 26:5 : all businesses belonging to the tillage of the ground and the inning of the fruit shall have their fit and suitable seasons; where, under the name of corporal blessings, spiritual are to be understood; and indeed those blessings out of Zion are far beyond any other that come out of heaven and earth, Psalms 134:3 .
And the treader of grapes, him that soweth seed ] "Precious seed," Psalms 126:5 , sowingseed (as one translates it), drawn out of the seed basket, and cast all along upon the land: the meaning is, that the vintage shall last so long, that the seedsman shall scarcely have time to do his business, for waiting upon the winepress.
And the mountains shall drop sweet wine ] Or juice of pomegranates, more delicious liquor than that which the Italians profanely call Lachryma Christi, or that which at Paris and Louvaine is called Vinum Theologicum, or Vinum Cos, that is, coloris, odoris, saporis ortirol, the best in the country for colour, savour, and taste, to please the palate.
And all the hills shall melt ] sc. With milk, honey, oil, Joel 3:18 , the same almost with this. And the heathen poet (Claudian) hath the like,
- “ Subitis messor gaudebit aristis:
Rorabunt querceta favis stagnantia passim
Vina fluent oleique lacus. ” -
Amo 9:14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
Ver. 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people ] There is an elegance in the original that cannot be translated into English, and God seems delighted with such alliteration, as hath been before observed; to show the lawful use of rhetoric in divine discourses, so it be not affected, abused, idolized. This promise is fulfilled when believers are by the gospel brought "from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins," Acts 26:18 , and be set free from the tyranny of corruption and terror of death, Heb 2:14-15 Col 1:13 Luke 1:74 Zec 9:11 Psalms 68:19 .
And they shall build the waste cities ] Restore the sincere service of God, as those noble reformers did in all ages; fetching the Church, as it were, out of the wilderness, where she had long lain hidden, Revelation 12:6 , and whence she is said at length to come "leaning upon her beloved," Song of Solomon 8:5 .
And they shall plant vineyards ] That is, particular Churches.
And drink the wine thereof ] Have the fruit and comfort of their labours in the Lord, which they shall see not to be in vain, 1 Corinthians 15:58 .
They shall also make gardens, and eat of the fruit ] While they shall see their people to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:8 , but far off flourishing, Psalms 92:13 , actuosi et fructuosi, Isaiah 51:3 . The Popish commentators (as it is the manner of many of them to mar and bemire the text with their absurd glosses) by cities here would have men to understand the state of married people, by vineyards their prelates, and by gardens monks. Is not this to wrest the Scriptures, and so to set them on the rack, as to make them speak more than ever they intended? Is it not to compel them to go two miles when they are willing to go but one? Is it not to taw them, and gnaw them, as Tertullian saith that Marcion, the heretic (that Mus Ponticus, as he therefore calls him), did, to make them serviceable to his vile purposes?
Amo 9:15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Ver. 15. And I will plant them upon their land ] As "trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified," Isaiah 61:3 ; Isaiah 61:11 , being well-rooted and no worse fruited, Philippians 1:6 .
And they shall no more be pulled up ] None shall pull them out of Christ’s hand; for he and the Father are one, John 10:29-30 . None shall separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:39 , they shall be sure of continual supplies of sap and safety, being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, 2 Peter 1:3 . The paradise of God was so planted, that it was watered on all sides with most noble rivers, to keep it flourishing; how much more will the Lord do this in his heavenly garden, the Church! see Psalms 92:13-14 , when it comes to be transplanted especially.
Saith the Lord thy God ] "Thy God," O prophet, who will ratify and verify what promises soever thou hast uttered in his name. Or "thy God," O people, now reconciled unto thee in Christ, John 20:17 , and therefore ready to heap upon thee all things needful for life and godliness.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Amos 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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