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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Amos 3

 

 

Verse 1

Amos 3:1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,

Ver. 1. Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken, &c.] Here beginneth the second sermon, tending to confirm what had been affirmed in the former, and evincing the equity of the judgments there threatened for their hateful ingratitude and other horrible offences, condemned and cried out upon by the very heathens.

Hear this word] Verbum hoc decretorium, this notable word. There are three articles in the original; and there is not the least tittle in the text upon which there hangeth not a mountain of sense, said the Rabbis; this next verse ( את הרבר חזה; so Matthew 22:21; τα του Yεου τω Yεω).

That the Lord hath spoken] And shall he not do it? Who ever waxed fierce against God and prospered? Job 9:4.

Against you, O children of Israel] By his word Christ many times secretly smites the earth, Isaiah 11:4, that is, the consciences of carnal men, glued to the earth: He sets a continual edge upon the word, and consumes them by his rebukes, till he have wearied them with his secret buffets and terrors; and then in the end casts them into a reprobate sense, as he did the Pharisees, who were toties puncti et repuncti, minime tamen ad resipiscentiam compuncti.

Against the whole family] The Dodecaphylon, all the twelve tribes, the whole house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, Isaiah 48:1; God stands not upon multitudes, Psalms 9:17, nor matters whether it be against a nation that he speaketh and acteth, or against a man only, Job 34:29.

Which I brought up from the land of Egypt] This they often hear of by way of exprobation, as Amos 2:10. God seeming to repent him for their detestable unthankfulness, as David did of the kindness he had shown unworthy Nabal, in safe guarding his substance, 1 Samuel 25:7; and to complain, as Frederick III, Emperor of Germany did, that of those courtiers whom he had advanced he found scarcely any that proved faithful to him, but the worse for his courtesy; or as Queen Elizabeth, that in trust she had found treason.


Verse 2

Amos 3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

Ver. 2. You only have I known] That is, owned and honoured, called and culled, chosen and accepted to be my people, when I had all the world before me to choose in, Deuteronomy 10:14-15, and nothing to move me thereto but mine own mere grace, even the good pleasure of my will ( ευδοκια).

Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities] Not passing by the least without a sensible check: the least, I say, that is allowed and wallowed in; and that because of the disloyalty and treachery that is therein. Other mens’ sins are rebellions against God; but the saints’ sins are treacheries, because against the covenant. Let such, therefore, look to themselves, and walk accurately, or they shall be sure to rue it, ακριβως, Ephesians 5:15. God will be sure to plough his own ground, whatsoever becomes of the waste; and to weed his own garden, though the rest of the world should be let alone to grow wild. His own he will not fail to punish. 1. In case of scandal, as David. 2. For sins unrepented of, though not scandalous. Oh the bloody welts that God hath left upon the backs of his own dear children for such sins! Bastards may escape scot-free, but sons shall pay for it. Ingentia beneficia, fiagitia, supplicia. The punishing angel is bidden begin at God’s sanctuary, Ezekiel 9:6. He will be sanctified in all that draw near unto him, Leviticus 10:3. Sanctified I say, either actively or passively; either in the sincerity of men’s conversation or in the severity of their visitation; at which time his articles of inquiry will be very strict and critical against his own professed people, who are therefore worse than others (and shall therefore speed worse), because they ought to be better.


Verse 3

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Ver. 3. Can two walk together, except they be agreed] God permits his people to walk together with him in a humble familiarity; but then they must take care that familiarity breeds not contempt; and that they conceit not that he will connive at their iniquities, or that their holy services will bear them out in any known sin. He is just and jealous of his glory, wherein he should be no small loser, if he did wink at any besides involuntary failings and unavoidable infirmities; for which there is a pardon of course, if sued out. If I shall walk with you, saith God, as a father, friend, husband, you must agree with me, consent and conform to me, idem velle, et idem nolle, will and nill the same that I do; or else I shall walk with you no otherwise than as a severe judge or cruel enemy, Leviticus 26:24, as a lion with the prey that he hath taken, as the fowler with the bird he hath caught, or the hunter with the wild beast he hath gotten into his snare.


Verse 4

Amos 3:4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?

Ver. 4. Will a lion roar in the forest, when, &c.] It is said of the lion, that he sets up a double roar; first, when he spies his prey, next, when he seizeth it; then, saith Plutarch, he roareth, or rather belloweth like a bull, that other beasts may come to him, and take part with him. It is not for nothing that the lion uttereth his voice; much less that Almighty God thundereth and threateneth by his prophets, your sins without repentance will be your ruin, according to those threatenings; though you are so sturdy, or at least so stupid, as to fear them no more than Behemoth doth the iron weapons, which are esteemed by him as straws, or bullrushes, Job 40:15. Shall the wrath of a king be as the roaring of a lion, Proverbs 19:12, and as the messengers of death, Proverbs 16:14, and shall God’s menaces be slighted? will vile men imagine him a God of clouts? One that howsoever he speaketh heavy words, will not do as he saith? intends them no otherwise than in terrorem, for spectres? Surely they will find it far otherwise; and it must be concluded, that being already sentenced, either their beds are very soft, or their hearts very hard, that can sleep securely in so deplorable a condition. Surely God’s predictions shall have their accomplishment, 1 Samuel 3:19; 1 Samuel 15:29. Believe them, therefore; stand in awe and sin not, since he that "despiseth the word shall be destroyed; but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded," Proverbs 13:13. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 13:13"}

Will a young lion cry out of his den] q.d. Is it for nothing that God so terribly threateneth? "Is there not a cause?" as David said in another case, 1 Samuel 17:29. Surely, as in the Revelation we never read that heaven opened, but some great matter followed; so here: Hath the Lord spoken it, and shall he not do it? Never think it. Oh think of God as of one not to be thought of; as one whose wisdom is his justice, whose justice is his power, whose power is his truth, and all himself. He is the God of Amen, Psalms 31:6, faithful and true; he can as soon die as lie; neither can he be hindered or resisted, as angels, men, and devils may. In the creature there is an essence and a faculty whereby they work; as in fire is the substance and the quality of heat. Now between these God can separate, and so hinder their working, as in the Babylonish fire. In the angels there is an essence and an executive power: God comes between these often and hinders them from doing what they would. Not so in God, who is most simple and entire, armed with power irresistible to tame his rebels: "Every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame," Zephaniah 3:5; the fool passeth on and is punished, Proverbs 22:3.


Verse 5

Amos 3:5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin [is] for him? shall [one] take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?

Ver. 5. Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth? &c.] Think you that all things are carried here by blind fortune, and not by a particular providence, as if

mundo nullus inesset

Rector, et incerto fluerent mortalia casu? ”

Will you say of the evils you have suffered, in the language of Ashdod, "It is a chance?" 1 Samuel 6:9. Is that heathen idol fortune anything in the world, 1 Corinthians 10:19, more than a blasphemy, spued out by the devil against the Divine providence? Can a sparrow fall to the ground, or any the least bird into a snare upon the earth, without your heavenly Father? Matthew 10:29. Birds flying seem to be at liberty, yet are guided by an overruling hand. They fall sometimes into a gin; and do not you thereupon conclude that some fowler’s hand is in it? Lo, you are ensnared and ensnarled by your enemies; and can you not discern that it is the Lord who hath done it? Lamentations 3:37-38 Acts 17:25; Acts 17:28 Ecclesiastes 9:12, "For man knoweth not his time" (nor his chance, Amos 3:11): "as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly" (but providentially) "upon them."

Or shall one take up a snare from the earth, &c.] No wise fowler will take up his nets till he have gotten his prey; no more will God withdraw his hand, or call off the enemy and the avenger, till he have his design; till he hath either reformed or ruined you.


Verse 6

Amos 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]?

Ver. 6. Shall a trumpet be blown] sc. out of a watch-tower in time of war, to sound an alarm, and to say, Hannibal ad portas, the enemy is at hand, the Philistines are upon you.

And the people not be afraid] Or run together to make resistance? Will ye not then tremble at my threats, saith the Lord? "Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob," Jeremiah 5:22, Psalms 114:7. Fear is an affection of the soul, shrinking in itself from some eminent evil. God is the proper object of it, whence he is called fear in the abstract, Psalms 76:11, and those that come on his errand should be received with reverence, yea, "with fear and trembling," as was Titus, 2 Corinthians 7:15, and before him Samuel, by those elders of Bethlehem, 1 Samuel 16:4, as suspecting it was the purpose of some judgment that brought him thither. Comest thou peaceably? said they. It is a good thing to stand in awe of God’s messengers, and to tremble at his judgments, while they yet hang in the threatenings. It appeareth by this prophet that carnal security was grown epidemical, and had overspread the land, Amos 6:2-3. Some there were that said, God had not sent the prophets to denounce those evils, but that they had done it of their own volition, as we say. Others doubted the certainty of those evils denounced, Amos 6:3, against whom he here disputeth by these foregoing similitudes; and in the next words plainly asserteth the Divine providence, and the authority of the prophets, God’s privy councillors.

Shall there be evil in a city] Understand it of the evil of punishment. See Lamentations 3:37, Isaiah 45:7, Micah 1:12, Ecclesiastes 7:14, 1 Kings 9:9; 1 Kings 21:29. See my treatise called God’s love-tokens.

And the Lord hath not done it?] Although God doth it not but only as it is bonum iustitim, good in order to his glory. That which we are here advertised is that it is not luck and fortune that doth toss and tumble things here below; but that God sits at the stern, and steers the affairs of the world. The Gentiles, indeed, held Fortune as a goddess; representing her by a woman sitting upon a ball, as if the whole world were at her command; having with her a razor, as if she could at her pleasure cut off and end man’s happiness; bearing in her right hand the stern of a ship, as if she could turn about all things at her pleasure, and in her left hand the horn of abundance, as though all plenty came from her. This was abominable idolatry, to be shunned by Christians; yea, the very name of luck or fortune is to be spit out of their mouths with utmost detestation. It repented Austin that ever he had used that wicked word, Fortuna , Chance (Aug. Retract.).


Verse 7

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Ver. 7. Surely the Lord God will do nothing] i.e. hardly anything. He loveth to foresignify, to warn before he wound; and this merely out of his philanthropy. Howbeit sometimes, and in some cases, he is more sudden and still in his revenges; that he may thereby, first, maintain his honour and glory, the eyes whereof are by some sins extraordinarily provoked, as Acts 12:23. And secondly, to teach men not to continue in sin, no, not for a moment; since they may be presently cut off from all further time of repentance, acceptation, and grace for ever; this made Austin say that he would not be an atheist, no, not one half hour, to gain all the world. See Luke 17:32; Luke 12:20. Pharaoh had warning of the first and second plagues, not so of the third; and again of the fourth and fifth, but not of the sixth; and yet again of the seventh and eighth, but not of the ninth. And when neither warning nor no warning would do good, then came that sweeping plague;

Tandem prototocos ultima plaga necat.

But he revealeth his secret to his servants the prophets] God’s prophets, then, are his menial servants; not his underlings, or inferior hinds but of noblest employment about him. Every faithful minister is servant to the King of heaven (Acts 27:23, "whose I am, and whom I serve"; this the devil denied not, Acts 16:16-17), yea, his steward, ambassador, herald (as here), by whom he proclaims war, but first proffers pardon and proposes conditions of peace: a practice usual not only among the people of God, by his appointment, Deuteronomy 20:10, but also among the heathens, as histories inform us. The Romans had their Lex Faecialis; by their heralds they sent to such as had wronged them, Caduceum et Hastam, as ensigns of peace and war, that within thirty days they might take their choice; within which time, if they did them not right, the herald presently denounced war against them, casting forth a dart in token thereof. Alexander’s course was as follows, when he sat down before a city, to set up a torch; to show that if they would come in and submit before that torch were burnt out, they should have hearing; Tamerlane hanged out first a white flag, then a red, and lastly a black; and the Turks to this day first make to their enemies some offer of peace, how unreasonable soever it matters not. God’s offers in this kind are all of grace, and for our good. If it were otherwise, what need he give warning? and why doth he not as Absalom did, when, intending to murder Amnon, he spake neither good nor evil to him? Well might the Lord say, "Fury is not in me: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself. As I live, I desire not the death of a sinner," &c. If he did, why might he not rush suddenly upon such and confound them at once, as he did the reprobate angels, even in the very act and first moment of their sin? Why comes he first in a soft still voice, when he might justly thunder strike us? and why sendeth he his heralds to proclaim war, but yet with articles of peace and reconciliation open in their hands? Why was he but six days in making tbe world, and yet seven days in unmaking and destroying one city, Jericho? (Chrysost.). Was it not to show that "the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and of great kindness?" Psalms 103:8. And this he hath commanded his prophets to make known, that the goodness of God may lead men to repentance, Romans 2:4. As, if they turn his grace into wantonness, and pervert his patience to presumption, their commission is to declaim against such practices with all authority, Titus 2:15, and to proclaim hell fire, in case men amend not. Necessity is laid upon them so to do, and woe be to them if they preach not law as well as gospel; that when they return up their commission they may report the matter, saying, "Behold, we have done as thou hast commanded us," Ezekiel 9:11. True it is, that perverse people question the prophets, and quarrel them for this plain dealing; as Ahab did Elijah for a troubler of Israel, and Amaziah our prophet Amos for a trumpeter of rebellion. But this is as great folly as if some fond people should accuse the herald or the trumpet as the cause of their war; or as if some ignorant peasant, when he seeth his fowls bathing in his pond, should cry out of them as the causes of foul weather.


Verse 8

Amos 3:8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?

Ver. 8. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?] Who that knoweth the terror of the Lord can dare to do otherwise, when he commandeth it? Shall men fear fire, water, bears, lions, &c., and not the great and terrible God? If he roar upon his servants and say, as to Jeremiah he once did, "Thou therefore, gird up the loins of thy mind, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them," Jeremiah 1:17. We must roar against men’s sins, and be instant, though they roar against us for so doing, and threaten never so much. Micaiah will not budge for a king’s authority when once he had seen the Lord in his majesty; nor Paul for an angel’s, Galatians 1:8, the rest of the apostles for the Sanhedrim’s, Acts 4:19; Acts 5:25. When the emperor threatened Basil with imprisonment, banishment, death, he answered: Let him threaten boys with such spectres; I am resolved: neither menaces nor flatteries shall silence me, or draw me to betray a good cause or conscience. If I deal not plainly and faithfully with your souls, said Bernard, vobis erit damnosum, mihi periculosum. Timeo itaque damnum vestrum, timeo damnationem meam si tacuero: i.e. it will be ill for you, and worse for me. The truth is, you would be betrayed, and I should be damned, if I should hold my peace. Let me be accounted proud, pragmatic, anything rather than found guilty of sinful silence when the Lord calleth me to speak, saith Luther. These were men whose hearts were fraught with the reverential fear of God; and therefore found themselves necessitated to be faithful; besides the love of Christ constraineth them, 2 Corinthians 5:14, so that they could do no less, they could not but speak, Acts 4:19.


Verse 9

Amos 3:9 Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof.

Ver. 9. Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, &c.] That is, in the courts of the Philistine princes, and of the Egyptian kings, who are here attested and invited, to judge between God and his vineyard, to pass an impartial sentence, and to say whether Israel’s sins deserved not all the judgments that God by his prophets had denounced, yea, and greater too. Holy Ezra acknowledgeth as much, Ezra 9:13. But because that many were ready to say, as those in Jeremiah, "Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee (saith the Lord), because thou sayest, I have not sinned," Jeremiah 2:35. Yea, thy sworn enemies shall give true evidence against thee, and judge of the justice of my proceedings with thee, that I may be justified, and every mouth stopped.

Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria] That therehence ye may be eyewitnesses, and have a full prospect of their lewdness; which will be to you a pleasant spectacle; that out of their tragedies you may frame comedies. Samaria was a city set upon a hill; and as itself, so its wickedness, could not be hidden. Carnal people are very inquisitive into the miscarriages of professors; and ready to search more narrowly thereinto than Laban did into Jacob’s stuff. What a jeer made Ammianus Marcellinus of the pride and luxury of some of the primitive bishops! Averroes, of the Papists’ breaden god! the Turks, of the Papists’ Asinus palmaris! the Jews, of their clipping the crucifix, and weeping over it in the pulpit! as also the swearing that is so common among Protestants, together with that mad conceit of some, that he that cannot swear with a grace, wanteth his tropes and figures befitting a gentleman! This and such like unchristian practices made learned Lineker, when he read Christ’s Sermon in the Mount, cry out, Certainly, either this is not Gospel, or we are but bad gospellers ( Profecto aut hoc non est Evangelium; aut nos non sumus Evangelici). It is a lamentable thing, that it should be commonly reported that there be such abominations found in the Church as are hardly heard of among the heathens, 1 Corinthians 5:1.

pudet haec opprobria nobis,

Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli. ”

Why should it be told in Gath, or published in the palaces of Ashdod? 2 Samuel 1:20; why should Egyptians condemn Israelites, as the Scythians once did the Greeks, and the heathen Indians now do the beastly Spaniards that tyrannize over them? Why should there be any successors to those heretics mentioned by Bellarmine, and called Christianocategori, accusers of Christians; because by their unchristian conversation they delivered up Christ and his people to be buffeted and spat on by their enemies? {See Trapp on "Hosea 7:16"} "This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt."

And behold the great tumults] Or the humming noises, the garboils, the violent irruptions upon the poor oppressed, causing them to cry out, as those that are crushed or broken in pieces.

And the oppressed in the midst thereof] Whether by force or fraud oppressed; whether it were επιβολη or επιβουλη, "The Lord is the avenger of all such," 1 Thessalonians 4:6. This the heathen shall take special notice of, and say, with Calocerius the consul, Vere magnus est Deus Christianorum, The Christian’s God is a righteous God indeed.


Verse 10

Amos 3:10 For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.

Ver. 10. For they know not to do right] They have done wrong so long together, against knowledge and conscience, that now they are given up to a reprobate sense, to an injudicious mind, εις νουν αδοκιμον, Romans 1:28, having sinned away the light they had, and lost that little knowledge they had learned out of the law of Moses concerning good works: this they had wickedly blotted out of their own minds; as also those common notions of good and evil, that glimmering of Divine light left in the natural man; this in a defiled conscience is wholly extinct. "Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?" No, not they, as appears by what follows: "they eat up my people as they eat bread," Psalms 14:4. These cannibals, like pickerels in a pond, or sharks in the sea, devour the poorer as they the lesser fishes. And though they cannot but know this to be evil, condemned by the light of nature, and much more of Scripture, yet they do it, and will do it; their eyes being put out with the dust of covetousness, and their hearts so exercised therewith, 2 Peter 2:14, that they can say, as that wretched fellow did, We are masters of our consciences, we can do what we will for all them; and as Balaam resolved at length, to curse, whatever came of it.

Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces] Till the screech owls of woe cry aloud from the walls, and the beams out of the timber make answer, Habakkuk 2:11-12; till their cursed hoards of evil gotten goods witness against them, and eat their flesh as it were fire, James 5:3; till very Philistines and Egyptians cry shame on them, and say, as the Indians did of the cruel Spaniards, that they carried themselves neither like Christians nor men, but like devils; that it had been better the Indies had been given to the devils of hell than to them; and that if the Spaniards went to heaven when they were dead, they would never come there. Let no man think to thrive, violentia et vastitate, by rapine and robbery; to treasure up sin is to treasure up wrath, Romans 2:5, which, as a fire, will devour their palaces, and it shall not be quenched, Jeremiah 17:27.


Verse 11

Amos 3:11 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD An adversary [there shall be] even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled.

Ver. 11. Therefore thus saith the Lord] And he saith it in great haste and heat; as appeareth by that concise kind of expression that he here useth, after the manner of those that are thorough angry, and therefore say not much, but mean to do the more, Aposiopesis, ut Quos ego (Virg. Aen. i. 135).

An adversary round about the land] A distresser at every corner; that as all the borderers have beheld thy wickedness, so shall they thy wretchedness, by reason of the enemy and the avenger, who shall meet thee at every turn, and leave thee neither hope of better nor place of worse.

And he shall brinq down thy strength from thee] Thee in the feminine gender; haply because they should be so enfeebled and impoverished: or else, to express the heat of God’s anger against them, as Numbers 11:15, where meek Moses, being in a great passion of anger and grief together, saith to God, "If thou" (in the feminine) "deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand," &c.; he was so out of measure moved that he could not fill up his speech, nor utter the last syllable, At for Atta, ex magna perturbatione.

Thy strength] Thy strongholds, or thy riches, those treasures of wickedness wherein thou trustest, Proverbs 10:2, Amos 3:15, "The rich man’s wealth is his strong city." It is called his strength because he confideth in it, 1 Timothy 6:17, and because he is enabled, by it, to bring about his designs.

And thy palaces shall be spoiled] They shall be blown up, because their foundation was laid upon fireworks, their mortar mixed with blood, their materials raked together by rapine and robbery; their furniture, and those ill gotten goods therein hid and hoarded, shall be given, hosti non haeredi, not to thine heir, but to thine enemy for a booty. "An inheritance may be hastily gotten at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed," Proverbs 20:21. "As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end be a fool," Jeremiah 17:11. A poor fool God will make of him ere he hath done with him, as he did for Balaam, Achan, Ahab, Gehazi, the rich man, Luke 12:16-21; Luke 16:19-31.


Verse 12

Amos 3:12 Thus saith the LORD As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus [in] a couch.

Ver. 12. As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion] By a country comparison (as before often) the prophet sets forth the fewness of such as shall escape the enemy’s hands. It is but a little that a shepherd dare pull out of the jaws of a lion. 1 Samuel 17:35. Few Davids or Lysimachuses, that dare look such fierce creatures in the face. Something a shepherd in this case may adventure to do, that he may not be made to stand to the loss, Exodus 22:13, Genesis 31:39. But it is not much; neither are they many that shall make escape, and those few shall be of the poorer sort too, that have scarcely a corner of a bed to lie on ( quibus non est lectus integer, Tarnov.): or such as are sick in bed and not cared for by the enemy, not counted worth the killing. Or such as are in good health, but glad to hide themselves for fear of the enemy under any bed or bench hole, as is usual in the sack of a city.

And in Damascus in a couch] Or in the corner of a couch. Now Samaria and Damascus are joined together, because they were both desolated about the same time, by the same enemy, and for the same cause, viz. their invading Judaea in a hostile manner, 2 Kings 16:7; 2 Kings 16:9, Isaiah 7:4; Isaiah 8:4; Isaiah 17:3.


Verse 13

Amos 3:13 Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,

Ver. 13. Hear ye and testify, &c.] Ye my prophets and all true believers. The Septuagint add, O ye priests, whose lips were to preserve knowledge, and to present it to the people. All that were thereunto commissioned by the Lord God, the God of hosts, are here straitly charged to hear and to charge, testify, or contest, [2 Timothy 4:1] and what they have received of the Lord to deliver the same to the whole house of Jacob: not stealing away the word from them, Jeremiah 23:30, or shunning to declare unto them his whole counsel, Acts 20:27, but faithfully handling the law, Jeremiah 2:8.


Verse 14

Amos 3:14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.

Ver. 14. That in the day that I shall visit, &c.] Tell them so from me, saith God: say to these wicked, Woe be unto them, it shall be ill with them! Isaiah 3:11. The jealous Lord of hosts will surely visit the iniquity of idolatrous fathers upon their children to the third and fourth generation, Exodus 20:5. See Jeremiah 3:21-22, Ezekiel 16:21; Ezekiel 16:36, Hosea 2:4. As they have their day of defection, so hath he of visitation; his season, his harvest for judgment, Matthew 13:30. What then will they do when God riseth up: and when he visiteth, what will they answer him? Job 31:14.

I will also visit the altars of Bethel] At first there was but one altar, 1 Kings 12:32-33; 1 Kings 13:2, but afterwards they multiplied, as in Peter’s at Rome there are said to be now over one hundred altars, Hosea 8:11; Hosea 10:1 : there is no end of will worship; but, like the Jerusalem artichoke, plant it where you will, it overruns the ground and chokes the heart. Now as God "loved the gates of Zion," where he was solemnly worshipped, "more than all the dwellings of Jacob," Psalms 87:2, and as the walls of good people (whose houses are little churches) are continually before him, Isaiah 49:16, so he heartily hateth places and monuments of idolatry; and layeth them waste as he hath done our abbeys and monasteries. Zisca overthrew three hundred of them in Bohemia; and among the rest the famous monastery called the King’s Court, a mile from Prague; in the walls whereof the whole Bible was most exquisitely written in letters of gold; but little read or regarded by those filthy abbey lubbers, of whom Luther testifieth that they were tam desperatae malitiae, &c., so desperately debauched that they dared adventure upon any villany whatsoever.

And the horns of the altar, &c.] Which were held the holier parts thereof. This was fulfilled by good Josiah many years after, 2 Kings 23:15, 2 Chronicles 34:4; 2 Chronicles 34:6. Nullum tempus occurrit Regi. Time can be no prejudice to God’s proceedings; neither is his forbearance any quittance.


Verse 15

Amos 3:15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.

Ver. 15. And I will smite the winter house with the summer house] Heb. upon the summer house, I will lay them both on one heap; they shall one dash against the other. To have change of houses or of rooms in one house fit for the several seasons is not unlawful, so we set them not up by wrong dealing, nor set our hearts upon them ( Haec sunt quae nos invitos faciunt mori); for so we are apt to do (as Charles V, emperor, told the Duke of Venice, who had showed him his stately palace), and this brings a curse.

And the houses of ivory] i.e. decked and enamelled, checkered and entrailed with ivory ( eboratus), as some sense it. Ahab had made him an ivory house, Heb. a house of tooth, i.e. of elephant’s tooth: so did other kings (likely) after him. The Porphyrogeniti in Constantinople were born in a room made of porphyry, a precious stone, &c. All must down together.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Amos 3:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/amos-3.html. 1865-1868.

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