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In this first Chapter, Amos in the Lord's name is calling to account the several nations in the neighborhood of Israel, and rousing them to the apprehension of divine judgments.
The Prophet in a very modest preface, here introduceth himself and his commission, He was but a poor herd man, and that was among the humblest stations. And yet he was called by grace to the work. Reader! recollect how many in all ages of the Church, have been thus Singled out, and set apart for the ministry. What a damp to the pride of life! Elisha shall be called from plowing; and David from the sheep cotes; yea, the Apostles of Christ from fishing! The gospel never flourished in our land equal to those days, when men went forth with their lives in their hand, not sent by men, but by the Lord. The time of Amos commencing his labors is noted by the earthquake. Concerning this earthquake, we have a more certain account of the fact than we have of the time of it. Zechariah con-firms that it was in the days of Uzziah, but doth not state the year. Zechariah 14:5 . Some make it to he about the time of Isaiah's vision. Isaiah 6:0 . And others when Uzziah profaned the temple. 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 . But what I more particularly beg the Reader to remark is, the solemn way and manner in which the Lord's warnings are given. Amos calls it, the Lord roaring from Zion, and uttering his voice from Jerusalem. All the Lord's calls are powerful. And those from his Church and people more alarming than every other!
The Lord begins with Damascus, one of the most ancient enemies of Israel when in Canaan. The three or four transgressions means many and for every one of which the Lord will account with them, and a dreadful account it will be when it comes. All the palaces of their kings shall be destroyed, and the inhabitants of their cities shall be punished. And these things were literally accomplished, as we read 2 Kings 16:9 . If the Reader compares dates, he will find the distance between the prophecy and the accomplishment near fifty years.
Similar punishments are here held forth to Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron, the chief cities of the Philistines, those bitter fees of the Church. They all are brought in for their punishment, who had been so forward in their cruelties to God's people Israel.
The conduct of Tyre was base towards Israel, and now Tyrus comes to be reckoned with. The breach of the brotherly covenant, seems to have an allusion to the friendly compact which had been made between Solomon and Hiram many years before, which we may read 1 Kings 5:12 .; and so much friendship was there between them, that Hiram called Solomon brother, 1 Kings 9:13 .
The Chapter closeth with the judgment of the children of Ammon; and a solemn one it is. When the Lord comes to reckon with his enemies, how tremendous his judgments are!
READER! we shall lose the beauty of this solemn scripture, and overlook the interests we ourselves have in it, if we do not behold the Lord of hosts thus calling the nations to account for their hatred to Christ and his people! It is all on Christ's account that their hatred began. In all ages of the Church, this bitterness of the carnal hath gone forth against the Lord's heritage and chosen. It began in the heart of Cain, against Abel, wholly on this account: Ishmael mocked Isaac; Esau hated Jacob: and thus the seed of the Serpent have shewn their deadly teeth against the seed of the Woman, and his offspring. What an awful consideration it is! And what very awful consequences are involved in it! Reader! in the absence of higher evidences, this is no small one, to bring comfort to a child of God; I mean his love to Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, (said one of old) let my right hand forget her cunning! If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Reader! can you adopt this language? Is Jesus and his Church; Jesus and his members, dear to you? If so, take with you the comfortable assurance of the beloved Apostle in his testimony of the divine life, and say with the same confidence as he said; we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren!
Edom, that is the descendants of Esau, now come in for their ac-count. Never surely was there ever a more bitter hatred and animosity, and that descending from father to son, than what Esau's children manifested against the children of Jacob. But, Reader! the thing is explained to us by the Holy Ghost. Galatians 4:29 . Of all wrath that is the greatest. How blessed is it that there is One looking on, and will ultimately reckon for all.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Amos 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany