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God's wrath against Moab, Judah, and Israel. God complaineth of their unthankfulness.
Before Christ 787.
Amos 2:1. Because he burned the bones, &c.— "That not even the ashes of the bones might remain, or be distinguished from lime." See 2 Kings 3:27.
Amos 2:3. I will cut off the judge— "I will so destroy this nation, that there shall not be in it king, governor, or chief." For the name of judge is here used for all in authority. Compare this prediction with that in the 48th of Jeremiah.
Amos 2:5. I will send a fire upon Judah— The war commenced in Judah, at the end of the reign of Jotham son of Uzziah, when the Lord sent against him Rezin king of Assyria, and Pekah king of Israel. See, for the history here alluded to, 2 Kings 15:37; 2Ki 16:7; 2Ki 18:7 and 2 Chronicles 28:0.
Amos 2:6. Because they sold the righteous— That is to say, they received the money as a bribe, to condemn the just; and for a little paltry gain,—for a pair of sandals, they sacrificed the interests and the cause of the poor. It is a proverbial manner of speaking, similar to that in Ezekiel 13:19. See also Joe 3:3 and chap. Amo 8:6 of our prophet. The author of the Observations remarks, that Maillet speaks diminutively of the cobeal, or the sandals of the ladies, which are carried in their nuptial processions, with the rest of the bride's furniture; though, according to his account, they are not wholly without ornament. Shoes perhaps of this kind are here referred to; where shoes have been commonly, and as should hence seem justly, understood to mean something of small value. "The Turkish officers, and also their wives, (says Rauwolff, speaking of Tripoli on the coast of Syria,) go very richly clothed with flowered silks artificially made, and mixed of divers colours. But these clothes (he observes) are commonly given them by those who have causes depending before them, (for they do not love to part with their own money,) to promote their cause, and to be favourable to them." We seem here to have a picture of that corruption of the Jewish judges, which Amos complains of. Silver made them pervert the judgment of the righteous; nay, so mean a piece of finery, as a pair of wooden sandals for their wives, would make them condemn the innocent poor, who could not afford to make them a present of equal value. Chap. Amo 8:6 may possibly in like manner be understood of the rich defrauding the poor; knowing that if those poor complained, they could carry their point against them for a little silver, if not for a pair of cobeal. Observations, p. 244.
Amos 2:7. That pant, &c.— That stamp upon, or tread upon the heads of the poor, in the dust of the earth, &c. Houbigant.
Amos 2:8. And they lay themselves down, &c.— Amos here reproves the Israelites for three abuses. The first, that they kept the clothes which they had received as pledges from the poor, contrary to the law, which commanded that the clothes received in pledge should be returned by the going down of the sun. See Exodus 22:26. The second, that they made feasts in the houses of their gods, in the temples of their idols or golden calves; for then they no longer came to the temple at Jerusalem; and, as if to insult the holiness of God's laws, and to carry the marks of their iniquity even to the feet of their altars, they sat them down in their temples, upon the garments which they had received in pledge from the poor. The third abuse is, that they caroused at the expence of those whom they had unjustly condemned.
Amos 2:13. Behold, I am pressed under you— Behold, I will make a pressure under you, as a cart loaded with sheaves makes a pressure;—ver. 14. And flight shall, &c.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, God's controversy still proceeds:
1. With Moab. Their multiplied transgressions called for vengeance, and one peculiarly heinous is noted: Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime, probably in revenge for the distress to which the king of Edom had reduced him, 2 Kings 3:26-27.; sometime after which, he seized the person of the king of Edom, and burnt him alive; or, having ravaged the country, dug up his bones out of his grave, and burnt them to lime; for which inhumanity God threatens to punish him with an invading foe, who with all the horrid din of war should seize his cities and palaces, put to death the inhabitants, and cut off all the princes and judges of Moab; which was done by Nebuchadnezzar a few years after the destruction of Jerusalem.
2. Judah is brought to the bar, alike in sin with heathen nations, and therefore alike in punishment. Many were her transgressions; but the root of all, and the most criminal, is her revolt from God, that God which the nations around her never knew: they despised God's law, and kept not his commandments, rejecting his worship, and disobedient to his holy will; and their lies caused them to err, their idols, their false prophets, the lying vanities on which they trusted, and the lying visions in which they believed, as their fathers had done before them, the measure of whose iniquities they filled up. Justly, therefore, is the fire of wrath kindled, and ready to devour the palaces of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 52:13. Note; If other sinners must perish, apostates surely will fall under double vengeance.
3. Israel brings up the rear; last in judgment, not least in punishment. The crimes of this people were peculiarly aggravated by their relation to God, and therefore are more particularly insisted upon.
[1.] Their perversion of justice: before their corrupt judges, the bribe, not the truth, carried the cause; and the meanest gratifications influenced their decisions.
[2.] Their oppression of the poor: the very pittance that they possessed, their rulers, as greedy cormorants, panted after; or they wanted to drag them through the dust, to gratify their pride and cruelty; and because they were meek and patient, the more insolently they trampled upon or plundered them, which was a great aggravation of their wickedness.
[3.] Their abominable impurities, even incest itself; for where the reins are once cast upon the neck of lawless appetite, men are hurried into excesses which at first they would have started at with horror: and such wickedness in God's professing people, could not but greatly profane his holy name, and give abundant cause to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.
[4.] Their impiety and idolatry. They lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge, by every altar, which, according to the law, should have been restored before sunset, Exo 22:26 but they carried them into their idol-temples, and either slept there on them all night in honour of their deities, or regaled themselves there on the sacrifices they had offered; while the poor were pining in want and nakedness; and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their God, as if their idolatry could atone for their injustice, and the price of blood would be an acceptable offering. For such transgressions, no wonder God threatens, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.
2nd, The base ingratitude of Israel was among their blackest crimes.
1. God reminds them of what he had done for them. He had destroyed the Amorites before them, though so warlike and mighty a people; had cut them off root and branch, and given them their land for a possession. He had brought them marvellously from the iron bondage in Egypt, had led and fed them in the wilderness by continual miracles. He had honoured them with peculiar marks of favour, raising up their sins for prophets, from Moses to that time, and their young men for Nazarites, as Samuel and others, whose holy abstinence and self-denial should have taught them to imitate such gracious examples. Is it not thus, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord? The facts were notorious beyond contradiction. Note; (1.) Faithful ministers are the greatest blessings to a nation; and not to have profited by their labours, will one day bring a heavy reckoning. (2.) When in the heat of youth the power of divine grace is seen effectually restraining the corrupt appetite, and purifying the heart, such examples are peculiarly striking.
2. He upbraids them with what they had done against him. They gave the Nazarites wine to drink, enticing or threatening them into a compliance, and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not; while the people turned a deaf ear to them, the rulers and priests persecuted and endeavoured to silence them, chap. 7:
12, 13. These and the like abominations were as a heavy burden which the Lord was weary to bear. I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves; though some read this as a threatening, I will press you or your place as a cart full of sheaves presseth, intimating the distress which should be brought upon them in the siege of Samaria. Note; (1.) The devil and his agents are very busy to draw off the minds of young men from divine things; and they triumph if they can succeed in the debauch of a Nazarite. (2.) They who hate the truth, and exert their power to suppress it, shall shortly answer for it at their peril. (3.) Though God's patience bears long with sinners, he will not bear always; the day of recompence will come, when he will ease him of his adversaries, Isaiah 1:24.
3. Judgment is pronounced upon them for their sins. He will load them with his wrath, who have burdened him with their iniquities. The Assyrian, the rod of his anger, shall come, and flight or resistance will be alike in vain: the mighty shall fall, and the swift be overtaken by their swifter pursuers. The most courageous warriors shall flee naked, casting away their armour, and consulting only how they may escape; and this is confirmed by Thus saith the Lord, whose denunciations shall have a sure accomplishment. Note; The sinner in the day of God will find his case desperate, unable to endure or escape from the wrath that he has provoked.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Amos 2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30