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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Amos

- Amos

by Thomas Coke

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET AMOS.

HE began to prophesy the second year before the earthquake which happened in the reign of Uzziah, and which Josephus, with most of the ancient and modern commentators, refers to this prince's usurpation of the priest's office, when he attempted to offer incense to the Lord. The first of his prophesies, in order of time, are those of the seventh chapter: the others he pronounced in the little town of Tekoa, in the tribe of Judah, four leagues southward from Jerusalem, whither he returned after the event mentioned in the seventh chapter; and where he was a herdsman. It is probable, that he was born within the territories of Israel, and that his mission was directed principally to this kingdom. His first two chapters are against Damascus, the Philistines, Tyrians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the kingdom of Judah and of Israel. The evils with which he threatens them, refer to the times of Salmaneser, Tiglath-pileser, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar. He foretold the misfortunes, into which the kingdom of Israel should fall after the death of Jeroboam II. who was then living. He foretold the death of king Zechariah, and the invasion of the lands belonging to Israel, by Pul and Tiglath-pileser, kings of Assyria. He speaks of the ten tribes, and of their returning to their own country. He delivers sharp reproaches against the sins of Israel, against their effeminacy and avarice, their severity to the poor, the splendour of their buildings, and the delicacy of their tables. The time and manner of his death are not known. St. Jerome observes, that there is nothing great and sublime in the style of Amos; and he applies to him those words which St. Paul is pleased humbly to apply to himself, that he was rude in speech, though not in knowledge. His authority, says Bishop Lowth, has occasioned many commentators to represent this prophet as intirely rude, void of elegance, and wanting in all the embellishments of style; whereas any one who reads him with the least attention, will find him, though an herdsman, not a whit behind the very chiefest prophets; almost equal to the greatest in the loftiness of his sentiments, and not inferior to any in the splendour of his diction, and the elegance of his composition: for, indeed, the same heavenly Spirit which inspired Isaiah and Daniel in the palace, inspired David and Amos in their shepherds' tents; always choosing proper interpreters of his will, and sometimes perfecting praise even out of the mouths of babes; now using the eloquence of some, now making others eloquent, for his own great purposes. See his 21st Prelection, and Calmet.