Amos 7

CHAPTER VII

In this chapter God represents to Amos, by three several

visions, the judgments he is about to bring on Israel. The

first is a plague of locusts, threatening to cut of the hopes

of the harvest by attacking it in the time of the second

growth; the first luxuriances of the crop being probably mowed

for the king's horses, 1-3.

The next vision threatens a judgment by fire, which would

consume a great part, 4-6;

and the third a total overthrow of Israel, levelling it as it

were by a line, 7-9.

The rest of the chapter is a denunciation of heavy judgments

against Amaziah, priest of Beth-el, who had brought an

accusation to the king against the prophet, 10-17.

NOTES ON CHAP. VII

Verse 1. Behold, he formed grasshoppers] gobai is

generally understood here to signify locusts. See the notes on

Joe 1:1-2:32.

The shooting up of the latter growth] The early crop of grass

had been already mowed and housed. The second crop or rowing, as

it is called in some places, was not yet begun. By the king's

mowings we may understand the first crop, a portion of which the

king probably claimed as being the better hay; but the words may

signify simply the prime crop, that which is the best of the

whole. Houbigant thinks the shearing of the king's sheep is

meant.

Verse 2. By whom shall Jacob arise?] The locusts, the symbols of

the many enemies that had impoverished Jerusalem, having devoured

much of the produce of the land, were proceeding, till, at the

intercession of the prophet, they were removed. Then, seeing in

the light of prophecy the nation in every sense brought low, he

cries, "By whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small." Calmet justly

remarks: "After the death of Jeroboam the second, the kingdom, so

flourishing and powerful before, was reduced to such weakness that

it was obliged to have recourse to strangers for support. Menahem

applied to Pul, king of Assyria, whence arose the final misery of

the state.

Verse 3. The Lord repented] Changed his purpose of destroying

them by the locusts. See Am 7:6.

Verse 4. The Lord God called to contend by fire] Permitted war,

both civil and foreign, to harass the land, after the death of

Jeroboam the second. These wars would have totally destroyed it,

had not the prophet interceded.

It devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.] We are here

to understand the partially destructive wars which afterwards took

place; for the Lord causes all these things to pass before the

eyes of Amos in the vision of prophecy; and intimates that, at the

intercession of his prophets, total ruin should be prevented.

Verse 7. With a plumbline in his hand.] This appears to be

intended as an emblem of strict justice, and intimated that God

would now visit them according to their iniquities.

Verse 8. I will set a plumbline] I will visit them by justice

without any mixture of mercy.

Verse 9. And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate] Their

total destruction is at hand. The high place of Isaac was

Beer-sheba, where Isaac had built an altar to the Lord,

Ge 26:25. This high place, which had been abused to idolatrous

uses, was demolished by Josiah, king of Judah, as we read in

2Ki 23:8, for

he defiled all the high places from Geba to Beersheba.

I will rise against the house of Jeroboam] The Lord had promised

to Jehu, the ancestor of Jeroboam, that his family should sit on

the throne of Israel to the fourth generation. Zechariah, the son

of Jeroboam, was the fourth in order after Jehu; and on him the

threatening in this verse fell; for he was murdered by Shallum

after he had reigned six months, and in him the family became

extinct. See 2Ki 10:30; 15:8-10.

Verse 10. Amaziah the priest of Beth-el] The idolatrous priest

who had been established by the king to maintain the worship of

the golden calves which Jeroboam the elder had set up at this

place.

Amos hath conspired against thee] This was truly a lying

prophet; there is not one word of truth in this message which he

sent to Jeroboam. Amos had not conspired against the king-had not

said that Jeroboam should die by the sword-and had not said that

Israel should be carried away captive, though this last was

implied in God's threatening and afterwards delivered by this

prophet; see Am 7:17.

Verse 12. O thou seer] He pretends kindness to the prophet, and

counsels him to go into Judea, and prophesy there and be safe,

even in the time that he had accused him of high treason against

Jeroboam. Hireling priests of this kind have ever been the great

enemies of the true prophets of God; and when they could bring no

charge of false doctrine or immorality against them, have accused

them of conspiring against the government; and because they have

preached against sin, have held them up as exciting insurrection

among the people.

Verse 13. But prophesy not-at Beth-el] He must not speak against

idolatry, because that was the king's religion; and he who speaks

against the king's religion must be an enemy to the state. This

was the doctrine held in England by popish James II. and his

insidious Jesuit hireling priests, till God in his mercy put this

pitiful tyrant down, and with him his false prophets, and the

degrading superstition which they endeavoured to establish in

these lands.

Verse 14. I was no prophet] I am an extraordinary messenger of

God. I am not called to the prophetic office but for this

occasion. I have no message to Judah, and therefore need not go

there. I have a message to Israel alone, and I must faithfully

deliver it.

For the account which Amos gives here of himself, see the

introduction. See Clarke on Am 1:1.

Verse 16. Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord] While he

was speaking in his own vindication, God seems to have inspired

him with the awful prediction which he immediately delivers.

Verse 17. Thy wife shall be a harlot] As this was the word of

the Lord, so it was fulfilled; but as we have no farther account

of this idolatrous priest, so we cannot tell in what circumstances

these threatenings were executed. 1. His wife was to be a public

prostitute; she was probably such already privately in the temple,

as the wife of an idolatrous priest. 2. His sons and daughters

were to fall by the sword. 3. Their inheritance was to be taken by

strangers. 4. And himself was to die a captive in a heathen land.

Israel shall surely go into captivity] He now declares fully

what he had not declared before, though Amaziah had made it a

subject of accusation. This particular was probably revealed at

this instant, as well as those which concerned Amaziah and his

family.

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