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THE words of Amos, who was among herdsmen of Thecua: which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Ozias king of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joas king of Israel two years before the earthquake.

Ver. 1.  Herdsmen.  S. Jerom's MSS. after Aquila, have "pastorals," (H.) pastoralibus.  C.

 

--- Theodotion retains Nokedim.  Sept. read Accarim, (H.) substituting r for d, (S. Jer.) and perhaps a for n.  H.

 

--- They have also "Jerusalem," for Israel, though the prophecy regard the latter.  The country south of Thecua has no towns, and is solely for pasture.  S. Jer.

 

--- Amos might have many flocks, like Mesa and king Dejotarus.  4 K. iii. 4.  C.

 

--- David was taken from the flocks to be king, and Amos to be a prophet.  W.

 

--- King.  These two lived long in prosperity.  C.

 

--- Earthquake.  Many understand this of a great earthquake, which, they say, was felt at the time that king Ozias attempted to offer incense in the temple.  But the best chronologists prove that the earthquake here spoken of must have been before that time: because Jeroboam the second, under whom Amos prophesied, was dead long before that attempt of Ozias.  Ch.

 

--- This is asserted by Usher.  Yet his arguments are not conclusive.  If the attempt and earthquake happened in the 23d year of Ozias, Amos might commence A. 3215, six years before the death of Jeroboam.  4 K. xv. 5.  Zac. xi. 15.  C.

 

--- Josephus (ix. 1.) fixes upon the former period.  Jeroboam, however, died in the 38th of Ozias, who was deposed 14 years later.  W.


THE PROPHECY OF AMOS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

Amos prophesied  in Israel about the same time as Osee, and was called from following the cattle to denounce God's judgments to the people of Israel and the neighbouring nations, for their repeated crimes, in which they continued with repentance.  Ch.

 

--- The kingdom was then almost free from idolatry, except that of the calves, yet dissolute and flourishing under Jeroboam II.  The prophet spoke at Bethel, (C. vii.) till the idolatrous priest, Amasias, forced him to flee to Thecua, four leagues south of Jerusalem, where he continued to prophesy against the various nations of Damascus, Juda, &c. but particularly against Israel.  C. i. &c.  How long he continued is uncertain.  S. Jerom and others account his style rustic; but S. Aug. (Doct. iv. 7.) as good a judge, pronounces that it was eloquent, and like that of the other inspired writers, suited to the speakers.  C.

 

--- Amos means "one carrying," or "a people torn away."  S. Jer. in Joel.  H.

 

--- He deals in metaphors agreeably to his pastoral education, but is profound in sense.  Id. ep. ad Paulin.

 

--- After denouncing judgments on different nations, he foretells the coming of Christ and abundance of grace.  W.



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Amos

Amos

The words of Amos, who was among herdsmen of Thecua: which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Ozias king of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joas king of Israel two years before the earthquake.



2 And he said: The Lord will roar from Sion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: and the beautiful places of the shepherds have mourned, and the top of Carmel is withered.

Ver. 2.  Carmel.  "God's vineyard," may dente any fruitful mountain.  Amos refers to pastoral affairs.  C.



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Carmel

Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12. --- Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais. This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon. Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name. Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed. Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia. Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. --- Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides. Carmel means "the vineyard of the Lord," or the excellent vineyard, &c. It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial. The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel. C. vii. 5. Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel. It was covered with wood and fruit. S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18. Jer. iv. 26. The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana. The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was "that of Syria," says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died.

3 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Damascus, and for four I will not convert it: because they have thrashed Galaad with iron wains.

Ver. 3.  Three, four.  That is, for their many unrepented of crimes.  Ch.

 

--- three is the first number of which we can say "many or all."  Four denotes excess.  Thus God forgives many sins, yet punishes when they become excessive.  W.

 

--- Thus profane authors say, (C.)

Terque quaterque pectus percussa decorum.  Æn. iv.

 

--- Convert it.  That is, I will not spare them, nor turn away the punishments I design to inflict upon them.  Ch.

 

--- My decree is absolute.

 

--- Wains, designed to make the corn come out, (C.) or to cut the straw.  S. Jer.

 

--- Such instruments were sometimes trailed over men.  Sept. "they have sawed the pregnant women," &c.  This circumstance is borrowed from 4 K. viii.  Damascus was often at war with Israel.  But Jeroboam punished it as Theglathphalassar did afterwards, v. 5. and 4 K. xvi. 9.  Amos might witness the ravages of the former.  C.

 

--- Azael, or Hazael, who slew his master, Benadad.  H.




4 And I will send a fire into the house of Azael, and it shall devour the houses of Benadad. 5 And I will break the bar of Damascus: and I will cut off the inhabitants from the plain of the idol, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of pleasure: and the people of Syria shall be carried away to Cyrene, saith the Lord.

Ver. 5.  Plain.  The city "Bikhath-Aven," or the latter word, probably denotes Baal, as the Syrians style Baal-Bek, the city which the Greeks call Heliopolis.  The valley between the two mountains extending northward, is still called Bucca.

 

--- Pleasure.  Heb. "Beth Heden."  We find Eden in a delightful part of Libanus.

 

--- Cyrene, not in Africa, but on the river Cyrus, in Albania.  4 K. xv. 29.



Cyrene (Media)

Cyrene was the capital of a province in Africa, near Lybia. See Acts ii. 10. Some are of opinion that this Simon was a Jew; his name favours that sentiment, and there were many Jews in that province. V.

6 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Gaza, and for four I will not convert it: because they have carried away a perfect captivity to shut them up in Edom.

Ver. 6.  Edom.  the Philistines and Tyrians (v. 9.) exercised this inhumanity on the Idomeans, probably before they had thrown off the yoke of Juda, under Joram, (4 K. viii. 21.) as the Lord seems concerned for them; (C.) or they sold the captive Israelites to Edom, to increase their misery.  S. Jer.

 

--- Sept. "the captivity of Solomon," or the subjects of that monarch.  But the Heb. word means also perfect, (H.) or absolute, (Jer. xiii. 19.  C.) or "pacific," seizing the citizens in times of peace.  H.




7 And I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, and it shall devour the houses thereof.

Ver. 7.  Gaza. Ozias, Ezechias, and Psammetichus, ravaged the country.  2 Par. xxvi. 6. and 4 K. xviii. 8.  Is. xiv. 29.  The Philistines recovered strength; but Nabuchodonosor, Alexander, and the Machabees conquered them again.

 




8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Azotus, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ascalon: and I will turn my hand against Accaron, and the rest of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God.

Accaron

Accaron, the most northern city of the Philistian principalities, (H.) attributed to Juda or Dan, though neither held it for any length of time. Beelzebub was chiefly adored here, 4K. i. 2.

Azotus

Azotus, or as the Heb. writes, Asdod, on the Mediterranean, was noted for the temple of Dagon, (1 K. v. 1,) which Jonathas destroyed. Joseph. xxii. 8. C.

9 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Tyre, and for four I will not convert it: because they have shut up an entire captivity in Edom, and have not remembered the covenant of brethren.

Ver. 9.  Brethren; for Edom and the Jews sprung from the same stock.  Some think that he alludes to the alliance of the king of Tyre and David.  But that had long ceased, and was not agreeable to the law; (Ex. xxii. 32. and 3 K. ix. 13.  C.) at least when it was attended with much danger.  H.




10 And I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, and it shall devour the houses thereof.

Ver. 10.  Thereof.  Salmanasar besieged it five years (Menander) and Nabuchodonosor thirteen, when he destroyed Tyre.  Ezec. xxvi.




11 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Edom, and for four I will not convert him: because he hath pursued his brother with the sword, and hath cast off all pity, and hath carried on his fury, and hath kept his wrath to the end.

Ver. 11.  Sword.  Edom was subdued by David, and remained tributary till Joram.  It attempted to recover its liberty under Josaphat, though the Heb. text have improperly Aram.  2 Par. xx. 2, 23.  The two nations were often at variance.  C.

 

--- Cast off.  Sept. "violated the womb, or the mother on the earth."




12 I will send a fire into Theman: and it shall devour the houses of Bosra.

Ver. 12.  Houses, &c.  Sept. "its foundations," (H.) or the fortified country.  S. Jer.

 

--- Bosor lay towards Philadelphia, in the ancient territory of Edom.  Their strong places were seized by Ozias, by the Chaldeans, and by the Machabees.



Bosra

Bosra, 1 (Isa 63:1; Edom): Buseireh, S. of the Dead Sea. — 2 (Josh 21:27), mistranslation for Astaroth. — 3 (Jer 48:24): Bosor, 1. --- Bosra, or Bezer, was the capital of Idumea, in the tribe of Ruben. C.

13 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of the children of Ammon, and for four I will not convert him: because he hath ripped up the women with child of Galaad to enlarge his border.

Ver. 13.  Border.  They pretended that Galaad belonged to them.  Judg. xi. 12.  David subdued Ammon; but after the division of the kingdom, they recovered their independence, and took occasion to commit these cruelties, while Israel had to contend with Syria.  Jeremias (xlix. 1.) speaks of a later period.




14 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabba: and it shall devour the houses thereof with shouting in the day of battle, and with a whirlwind in the day of trouble.

Ver. 14.  Babba, the capital, called also Philadelphia.  Ozias and Joatham attacked the people with advantage.  C.


15 And Melchom shall go into captivity, both he, and his princes together, saith the Lord.

Ver. 15.  Melchom, the god or idol of the Ammonites, otherwise called Moloch, and Melech; which, in Heb. signifies a king, or Melchom their king.  Ch.

 

--- He assumed the title of "their king."  Judg. xi. 14.  Jer. xlix. 3.  H.

 

--- Blind people, who could not see the vanity of such impotent gods!  C.

 

--- Both he.  Sept. "and their priests."  H.


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