Amos 9

CHAPTER IX

The first part of this chapter contains another vision, in

which God is represented as declaring the final ruin of the

kingdom of Israel, and the general dispersion of the people,

1-10.

The prophet then passes to the great blessedness of the people

of God under the Gospel dispensation, 11-15.

See Ac 15:15, 16.

NOTES ON CHAP. IX

Verse 1. I saw the Lord standing upon the altar] As this is a

continuation of the preceding prophecy, the altar here may be one

of those either at Dan or Beer-sheba.

Smite the lintel] Either the piece of timber that binds the wall

above the door, or the upper part of the door frame, in which the

cheeks, or side posts, are inserted, and which corresponds to

the threshold, or lower part of the door frame.

And cut them in the head] Let all the lintels of all the doors

of all those temples be thus cut, as a sign that the whole shall

be thrown down and totally demolished. Or this may refer to their

heads-chief men, who were principals in these transgressions.

Mark their temples, their priests, their prophets, and their

princes, for destruction.

He that fleeth-shall not flee away] He shall be caught before he

can get out of the reach of danger.

And he that escapeth (that makes good his flight) shall not be

delivered.] Captivity, famine, or sword, shall reach him even

there.

Verse 2. Though they dig into hell] Though they should get into

the deepest caverns; though they climb up to heaven-get to the

most inaccessible heights; I will drag them up from the one, and

pull them down from the other.

Verse 3. Though they hide themselves] All these are metaphorical

expressions, to show the impossibility of escape.

Verse 4. I will set mine eyes upon them for evil] I will use

that very providence against them which before worked for their

good. Should they look upward, they shall see nothing but the

terrible lightning-like eye of a sin-avenging God.

Verse 5. The Lord God of hosts is he] So powerful is he that a

touch of his hand shall melt or dissolve the land, and cause all

its inhabitants to mourn. Here is still a reference to the

earthquake. See Clarke on Am 8:8, where the same images are

used.

Verse 6. Buildeth his stories in the heaven] There is here an

allusion to large houses, where there are cellars, or places dug

in the ground as repositories for corn; middle apartments, or

stories, for the families to live in; and the house-top for

persons to take the air upon. There may be here a reference to the

various systems which God has formed in illimitable space,

transcending each other, as the planets do in our solar system:

and thus we find Solomon speaking when addressing the Most High:

"The heavens and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee,

hashshamayim ushemey hashshamayim, 1Ki 8:27.

SIX heavens are necessarily implied in these three words.

According to the points, the first and third are in the dual

number, and the second is the contracted form of the plural. But

how many more spheres may be intended who can tell? There may be

millions of millions of stellar systems in unlimited space; and

then what are all these to the VAST IMMENSITY of God!

Hath founded his troop in the earth] aguddatho, from

agad, to bind or gather together, possibly meaning the seas

and other collections of waters which he has gathered together and

bound by his perpetual decree, that they cannot pass; yet when he

calleth for these very waters, as in the general deluge, he

"poureth them out upon the face of the earth."

The Lord is his name.] This points out his infinite essence.

But what is that essence? and what is his nature? and what his

immensity and eternity? What archangel can tell?

Verse 7. Children of the Ethiopians] Or Cushites. Cush was the

son of Ham, Ge 10:6; and his descendants inhabited a part of

Arabia Petraea and Arabia Felix. All this stock was universally

despised. See Bochart.

The Philistines from Caphtor] The island of Crete, the people of

which were the Cherethim. See, 1Sa 30:14; Eze 25:16; Zep 2:5.

The Syrians from Kir?] Perhaps a city of the Medes, Isa 22:6.

Aram, from whom Syria had its name, was the son of Shem,

Ge 10:22. Part of his descendants settled in this city, and

part in Aram Naharaim, "Syria of the two rivers," viz.,

Mesopotamia, included between the Tigris and the Euphrates.

The meaning of the verse is this: Do not presume on my having

brought you out of the land of Egypt and house of bondage, into a

land flowing with milk and honey. I have brought other nations,

and some of your neighbours, who are your enemies, from

comparatively barren countries, into fruitful territories; such,

for instance, as the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians

from Kir.

Verse 8. The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom]

The kingdom of Israel, peculiarly sinful; and therefore to be

signally destroyed by the Assyrians.

I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob] The race shall

not become extinct: I will reserve them as monuments of my

justice, and finally of my mercy.

Verse 9. I will sift the house of Israel among all nations] I

will disperse them over the face of the earth; and yet I will so

order it that the good shall not be lost; for though they shall be

mixed among distant nations, yet there shall be a general

restoration of them to their own land.

The least grain] tseror, little stone, pebble, or gravel.

Not one of them, howsoever little or contemptible, when the time

comes, shall be left behind. All shall be collected in Christ, and

brought into their own land.

Verse 10. All the sinners of my people] Those who are the

boldest and most incredulous; especially they who despise my

warnings, and say the evil day shall not overtake nor prevent us;

they shall die by the sword. It is no evidence of a man's safety

that he is presumptuously fearless. There is a blessing to him who

trembles at God's word.

Verse 11. Will I raise up the tabernacle of David] It is well

known that the kingdom of Israel, the most profane and idolatrous,

fell first, and that the kingdom of Judah continued long after,

and enjoyed considerable prosperity under Hezekiah and Josiah. The

remnant of the Israelites that were left by the Assyrians became

united to the kingdom of Judah; and of the others, many afterwards

joined them: but this comparatively short prosperity and respite,

previously to the Babylonish captivity, could not be that, as

Calmet justly observes, which is mentioned here. This could not

be called closing up the breaches, raising up the ruins, and

building it as in the days of old; nor has any state of this kind

taken place since; and, consequently, the prophecy remains to be

fulfilled. It must therefore refer to their restoration under the

Gospel, when they shall receive the Lord Jesus as their Messiah,

and be by him restored to their own land. See these words quoted

by James, Ac 15:16, 17. Then indeed it is likely that they shall

possess the remnant of Edom, and have the whole length and breadth

of Immanuel's land, Am 9:12. Nor can it be supposed that the

victories gained by the Asmoneans could be that intended by the

prophet and which he describes in such lofty terms. These

victories procured only a short respite, and a very imperfect

re-establishment of the tabernacle of David; and could not warrant

the terms of the prediction in these verses.

Verse 12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom] Bp. Newcome

translates this clause as follows: "That the residue of men may

seek Jehovah, and all the heathen who are called by my name."

Here, instead of Edom, he reads Adam, men or

mankind, which is the reading of the Arabic, and some MSS. of

the Syriac, and of Ac 15:17.

The Pachomian MS. of the Septuagint adds here, οπωςεκζητησωσι

με, that they may seek me. And the Arabic has [Arabic] the

Lord; and in stead of yireshu, "they shall possess," the

learned bishop seems to have read yidreshu, "they may seek;"

and thus the text resembles the quotation by St. James, Ac 15:17,

"That the residue of men might seek after the Lord." It is strange

that not one of the MSS. collated by Kennicott and De Rossi, nor

any of my own, favours or countenances any of these alterations. I

am of opinion, therefore, that we must dismiss all these

conjectural emendations, and take the Hebrew text as we find it.

That it speaks of the conversion of the Jews in Gospel times, we

have the authority of the New Testament as above to prove; and if

we cannot make the words, as they stand there, entirely to agree

with the words here, the subject is not affected by it. The Jews

shall be converted and restored, and this text in both covenants

is a proof of it.

Verse 13. The ploughman shall overtake the reaper] All the

seasons shall succeed in due and natural order: but the crops

shall be so copious in the fields and in the vineyards, that a

long time shall be employed in gathering and disposing of them; so

that the seasons of ploughing, sowing, gathering the grapes,

treading the wine-press, &c., shall press on the heels of each

other; so vast will be the abundance, and so long the time

necessary to gather and cure the grain and fruits. We are

informed by travellers in the Holy Land, Barbary, &c., that the

vintage at Aleppo lasts from the fifteenth of September to the

middle of November; and that the sowing season begins at the close

of October, and lasts through all November. Here, then, the

ploughman, sower, grape-gatherer, and operator at the wine-press,

not only succeed each other, but have parts of these operations

going on at the same time. But great fertility in the land,

abundance in the crops, and regularity of the seasons, seem to be

the things which the prophet especially predicts. These are all

poetical and prophetical images, by which happy times are

pointed out.

Verse 14. They shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine] When

threatened with great evils, Am 5:11, it is said, "They shall

plant pleasant vineyards but shall not drink the wine of them."

Previously to their restoration, they shall labour for others;

after their restoration, they shall labour for themselves.

Verse 15. I will plant them upon their land] They shall receive

a permanent establishment there.

And they shall no more be pulled up] Most certainly this

prophecy has never yet been fulfilled. They were pulled out by the

Assyrian captivity, and by that of Babylon. Many were planted in

again, and again pulled out by the Roman conquest and

captivity, and were never since planted in, but are now scattered

among all the nations of the earth. I conclude, as the word of God

cannot fail, and this has not yet been fulfilled, it therefore

follows that it will and must be fulfilled to the fulness of its

spirit and intention. And this is established by the conclusion:

"Saith the Lord thy God." He is JEHOVAH, and cannot fail; he is

THY GOD, and will do it. He can do it, because he is JEHOVAH; and

he will do it, because he is THY GOD. Amen.

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