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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Amos 7

Introduction

A.M. 3217. B.C. 787.

This chapter represents,

(1,) God contending with the Israelites by lesser judgments, and removing them at the prayer of Amos , vv1-6; but at last abandoning them, as incorrigible, to utter destruction, Amos 7:7-9 .

(2,) Amaziah, the idolatrous priest of Beth-el, accusing the prophet to King Jeroboam, and advising him, and charging him to leave the country and return to Judea, Amos 7:10-13 .

(3,) Amos vindicating his office, and denouncing ruin to Amaziah, and his family and nation, Amos 7:14-17 .

Verse 1

Amos 7:1. Thus hath the Lord showed unto me The Lord also showed me the following things. Here the prophet mentions the first of five prophetic representations of what was coming upon this people. He formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the latter growth He appeared to me as bringing a vast multitude of grasshoppers upon the land at the season when the grass begins to shoot again after the first mowing. Though this be spoken in a literal sense of a plague of grasshoppers, yet some commentators think it is to be understood metaphorically, and that by the grasshoppers is meant the army of Pul, king of Assyria, mentioned 2 Kings 15:19. After the king’s mowings It is supposed that the first crop of grass was set apart for the use of the king’s stables.

Verses 2-3

Amos 7:2-3. When they had made an end of eating the grass With us grasshoppers are not hurtful, but those in our text were locusts, as the word גבי , here used, is rendered, Isaiah 33:4: in which sense the word is understood by the Vulgate and Houbigant: see also Nab. 3:17. By whom shall Jacob arise? Or, who shall raise up Jacob; for he is small? If thou suffer these calamities to proceed to extremities, by what means shall the small remains of the riches and strength of the kingdom be rescued from utter destruction? The Lord repented for this, &c. The prophet here informs us, that it was represented to him in his vision, that the Lord was pleased to hearken to his earnest supplication, and to promise that the threatened judgment should not proceed to an utter destruction of the whole kingdom. Those who suppose all this to be metaphorically expressed, understand this of Pul’s being induced by a sum of money to depart out of the land, as we read 2 Kings 15:20: but it may be understood of a threatened judgment of locusts and other insects, which was deprecated by the prophet’s prayers, and so not executed.

Verses 4-6

Amos 7:4-6. The Lord God called to contend by fire, &c. This represented a sorer judgment than the former, and, in the opinion of some expositors, denoted the invasion of Tiglath-pileser, who carried a great part of Israel away captive, 2 Kings 15:29, and so was properly represented by a raging fire, which consumed the sea by turning it into vapours, and then devoured a great part of the land. Then said I, O Lord God, cease, I beseech thee, &c. Here the prophet observes, that upon this judgment being represented to him in his vision, he made supplication to God as he had done before, and that God hearkened to him in this instance also, and promised that this judgment should not be executed, or should have a stop put to it.

Verses 7-9

Amos 7:7-9. The Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line A wall strongly and beautifully built. God’s judgments are sometimes represented in Scripture by a line and a plummet, to denote that they are measured out by the exactest rules of justice. Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel I will exactly measure my people Israel; I will take a particular view of the whole kingdom of the ten tribes, and notice how far it is right, or how far it is out of order, and will judge and punish according to their sins. I will not again pass by them any more I will not any longer pass over their transgressions. The high places of Isaac shall be desolate The idolatrous altars and groves which they have erected at Beer-sheba, where their holy ancestor Jacob erected an altar to the true God, and devoutly worshipped him, shall be entirely spoiled and made desolate. And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste All the other places in Israel, set apart for idolatrous worship, shall also be entirely destroyed.

Verses 10-11

Amos 7:10-11. Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam This was a priest not of the tribe of Levi, but such a one as those were whom Jeroboam I. had consecrated to perform the idolatrous services at Beth-el: see 1 Kings 12:31. Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst, &c. That is, in an open and barefaced manner. He represents the prophet as exciting sedition, because he denounced destruction against the kingdom, and threatened the house of Jeroboam. The same crime was objected to Jeremiah 26:9-10; to Christ, Luke 23:2; and to St. Paul, Acts 24:5. The land is not able to bear all his words The friends of the government cannot patiently hear his words, and the enemies of it will take advantage from them to make some disturbance. If he proceed to speak in this manner, the inhabitants will be moved to take up arms against each other. For Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword This was a perverting of the prophet’s words; for he did not prophesy against the king himself, but against his family, or posterity.

Verses 12-13

Amos 7:12-13. Amaziah said, O thou seer, go flee, &c. Thou that sayest thou art a prophet, get thee hence, where thou signifiest that thou art so much displeased with the actions of the people, and go into the land of Judah Where it is likely thou wilt be better entertained than thou art here. And there eat bread, &c. There they will feed thee well, because thou pretendest to be a prophet. Prophesy not at Beth-el, for it is the king’s chapel, &c. This is the place where the king performs his religious worship in person, and often resides here with his court, that he may the better attend upon the service performed at this place; (see 1 Kings 13:1;) and therefore thou oughtest to reverence it, and not utter thy sham prophecies here.

Verses 14-15

Amos 7:14-15. I was no prophet Not originally, or by study, or by any human designation; neither was I a prophet’s son Neither was I bred up at the schools of the prophets; as those usually were who took that office upon them. But I was a herdman By breeding and occupation I was, and still am, a herdman; and a gatherer of sycamore fruit I got my livelihood also in part by gathering wild figs for those who had occasion for them. The Lord took me, &c. As I was following my flock, and thinking of nothing else; and said unto me By an extraordinary irradiation, or impulse of his Divine Spirit; Go, prophesy unto my people Go, and as a prophet divinely commissioned, reprove, instruct, exhort, and warn my people of the calamities impending over them, and which will assuredly fall upon them, unless they avert them by turning to me in true repentance.

Verses 16-17

Amos 7:16-17. Now, hear thou the word of the Lord Who hath sent me, and whom thou contradictest; from him I have a message to thee also, which much concerns thee. Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel Thou usest thy power to silence me; therefore thus saith the Lord Because thou hast so directly and wilfully opposed the Lord; Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city Shall be treated as a harlot in this very city of Beth-el. The meaning probably is, that she should be abused, or ravished, by the Assyrian soldiers, when they should take Beth-el. Thy land shall be divided by line Conquerors were used to divide conquered lands in portions among their soldiers, which was done by measuring out every one’s part by a line; so that this expression signified, his land should be divided among the enemy. And thou shalt die in a polluted land Thou shalt be carried captive from thine own country, and die in a land where the inhabitants are idolatrous.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Amos 7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/amos-7.html. 1857.