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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Amos 9

 

 

Introduction

Amos 7:1 to Amos 9:8. Visions of the Prophet Amos.—This section contains a series of visions, interrupted by a historical passage (Amos 7:10-17). The visions are described and then interpreted as symbolical illustrations of apostate Israel's fate.


Verses 1-8

Amos 9:1-8. The Vision of an Avenging God.—The last vision impresses upon Amos the anger and omnipotence of the supreme ruler and judge. Yahweh is seen (Amos 9:1) stationed by or over the altar (i.e. of Bethel) or over an altar. The agents of His vengeance are bidden by the prophet to smite the Temple. The command goes forth to "cut them (the pillars) off at the top of all of them." Those who escape the shattering of the Temple ("the last of them") will fall by the sword. There will be no escape for them either in the superhuman heights and depths (Amos 9:2) or in the terrestrial thickets and caves of the almost inaccessible heights of Carmel (Amos 9:3), or in the bottom of the sea. The serpent, that terrible monster which was supposed to have its home in the sea (cf. Genesis 12:1, Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9 f.), will rout them out there and bite them, even if they could escape the eye of Yahweh. This time not even captivity (Amos 9:4) will serve as a substitute for death. For Yahweh's kindly regard for His people is to give place to relentless punishment. There follows (Amos 9:5 f.) a kind of doxology (cf. Amos 4:13, Amos 5:8 f.), which hardly suits its present context and is held by many scholars to be a later addition. Yahweh, the God of Hosts, it is who by a touch convulses the earth (Amos 8:8). He is the Creator of the heavens, the earth, and the waters of the sea (Amos 9:6). The usual interpretation of the next verse (Amos 9:7; see Driver and Kent) makes Yahweh say that Israelites, Ethiopians, Philistines, and Aramæans are all equal in God's sight. This is too "beautiful and evangelic" (Horton) to be the correct interpretation (cf. especially Amos 3:2). A more plausible interpretation is offered by Ehrlich. Yahweh says, "Are ye not (in your behaviour) to me like Cushites?" In other words, your apostasy has become second nature. You can as little change your ways as the Ethiopian can change his skin. The rest of the verse may then be explained thus: You think I am bound to you by a covenant that cannot be annulled. But have I not brought also the Philistines from Caphtor (Egyptian Keftiu, Crete and the whole of the neighbouring district; see Macalister, Philistines) and the Aramæans from Kir? The last clause of Amos 9:8 would seem to have been added by a later scribe.

Amos 9:5. For the Lord, the God of Hosts: take this, with Ehrlich, as the subject to "Yahweh is his name" (Amos 9:6), all that intervenes being a description of the subject.—and it shall rise up wholly like the River (cf. Amos 8:8): Riessler would read ka-yě'or kil'ayim (cf. Bab. killalân, Ar. kilâ), "and it shall rise up like the Double River," i.e. the Euphrates-Tigris.

Amos 9:6. his vault: i.e. the vault of the heavens. But the word might be translated "his band" (phalanx), as in 2 Samuel 2:25. So Ehrlich, who thinks that the reference is to the earthly elements, of which one, water, is mentioned immediately.

Amos 9:7. and the Syrians from Kir: cf. Amos 1:5*. For "from Kir" (mik-kîr) Riessler would read "from Haran" (mi-ḥârân; Haran in Mesopotamia, cf. Genesis 11:31).


Verses 1-15

Amos 9:9-15. The Restoration of God's People.—This section is probably a post-exilic appendix to the book. The point of view has changed, the fate of Israel being quite different from that contemplated in the rest of the book, and the ideas reflecting the mind of a much later Jewish community.

Yahweh will destroy, but He will not utterly destroy (cf. end of Amos 9:8, if genuine). Israel must be sifted and scattered among the nations (Amos 9:9). But it shall be like the sifting of corn in a sieve. The chaff is scattered, but the compact grains (rather than "least grain") remain. The guilty indeed must suffer (Amos 9:10), and it is useless to say "Disaster shall not touch or befall us" (so translate with Kent). But for the faithful remnant a glorious day is dawning (Amos 9:11), the happy Messianic age, in which Israel will be reunited to Judah, as they were united in the happy days of old. Yahweh will repair the ruin "in order that those over whom my name is called may inherit the remnant of Edom and all the nations" (Amos 9:12; so translate with Ehrlich). In this glorious Messianic age seedtime and harvest will follow in rapid succession, and the harvests be wonderfully rich and abundant (Amos 9:13). The exiles shall return and enjoy a happiness and prosperity (Amos 9:14) that shall not again be interrupted (Amos 9:15). This is the promise of Yahweh, says the prophet, who has become again "thy God."

Amos 9:13. the plowman shall overtake the reaper: Ehrlich reading wě-nâgas, "the plowman shall press the reaper." The plowman will press the reaper to finish his work, that he may start plowing the field again.—sweet wine: the word denotes "either must or wine made by a process in which fermentation was artificially arrested" (ICC on Joel 1:5).—and all the hills shall melt: Riessler would add, "with milk" (ḥâlâb), comparing Jl. 4:18.

Amos 9:14. And I will bring again the captivity of: or, "and I will turn the fortune of": more literally "restore the restoration of."

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Amos 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/amos-9.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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