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Am 8:1-14. VISION OF A BASKET OF SUMMER FRUIT SYMBOLICAL, OF ISRAEL'S END. RESUMING THE SERIES OF SYMBOLS INTERRUPTED BY AMAZIAH, AMOS ADDS A FOURTH. THE AVARICE OF THE OPPRESSORS OF THE POOR: THE OVERTHROW OF THE NATION: THE WISH FOR THE MEANS OF RELIGIOUS COUNSEL, WHEN THERE SHALL BE A FAMINE OF THE WORD.
1. summer fruit--Hebrew, kitz. In Am 8:2 "end" is in Hebrew, keetz. The similarity of sounds implies that, as the summer is the end of the year and the time of the ripeness of fruits, so Israel is ripe for her last punishment, ending her national existence. As the fruit is plucked when ripe from the tree, so Israel from her land.
2. end-- (Eze 7:2, 6).
3. songs of . . . temple--
The joyous hymns in the temple of Judah (or rather, in the
Beth-el "royal temple,"
for the allusion is to Israel, not Judah, throughout this
chapter) shall be changed into "howlings." GROTIUS
translates, "palace"; compare
as to the songs there. But
and Am 7:13,
favor English Version.
4. Hear--The nobles needed to be urged thus, as hating to hear reproof.
5. So greedy are they of unjust gain that they cannot spare a single
day, however sacred, from pursuing it. They are strangers to God and
enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days;
and they who have lost piety will not long keep honesty. The new moons
and sabbaths were to be kept without working or trading
6. buy . . . poor for silver . . . pair of
shoes--that is, that we may compel the needy for money, or any
other thing of however little worth, to sell themselves to us as
bondmen, in defiance of
the very thing which brings down God's judgment
7. Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob--that is, by
Himself, in whom Jacob's seed glory [MAURER].
Rather, by the spiritual privileges of Israel, the adoption as His
peculiar people [CALVIN], the temple, and its
Shekinah symbol of His presence. Compare
where it means Jehovah's temple (compare
8. the land . . . rise up wholly as a flood--The land will, as it
were, be wholly turned into a flooding river (a flood being the image of
10. baldness--a sign of mourning
11. famine of . . . hearing the words of the Lord--a just retribution on those who now will not hear the Lord's prophets, nay even try to drive them away, as Amaziah did (Am 7:12); they shall look in vain, in their distress, for divine counsel, such as the prophets now offer (Eze 7:26; Mic 3:7). Compare as to the Jews' rejection of Messiah, and their consequent rejection by Him (Mt 21:43); and their desire for Messiah too late (Lu 17:22; Joh 7:34; 8:21). So, the prodigal when he had sojourned awhile in the "far-off country, began to be in want" in the "mighty famine" which arose (Lu 15:14; compare 1Sa 3:1; 7:2). It is remarkable that the Jews' religion is almost the only one that could be abolished against the will of the people themselves, on account of its being dependent on a particular place, namely, the temple. When that was destroyed, the Mosaic ritual, which could not exist without it, necessarily ceased. Providence designed it, that, as the law gave way to the Gospel, so all men should perceive it was so, in spite of the Jews' obstinate rejection of the Gospel.
12. they shall wander from sea to sea--that is, from the Dead Sea to
the Mediterranean, from east to west.
14. swear by the sin of Samaria--namely, the calves
"Swear by" means to worship