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Am 9:1-15. FIFTH AND LAST VISION.
None can escape the coming judgment in any hiding-place: for God is omnipresent and irresistible (Am 9:1-6). As a kingdom, Israel shall perish as if it never was in covenant with Him: but as individuals the house of Jacob shall not utterly perish, nay, not one of the least of the righteous shall fall, but only all the sinners (Am 9:7-10). Restoration of the Jews finally to their own land after the re-establishment of the fallen tabernacle of David; consequent conversion of all the heathen (Am 9:11-15).
1. Lord . . . upon the altar--namely, in the
idolatrous temple at Beth-el; the calves which were spoken of in
Hither they would flee for protection from the Assyrians, and would
perish in the ruins, with the vain object of their trust [HENDERSON]. Jehovah stands here to direct the destruction
of it, them, and the idolatrous nation. He demands many victims on the
altar, but they are to be human victims. CALVIN
and FAIRBAIRN, and others, make it in the
temple at Jerusalem. Judgment was to descend both on Israel and
Judah. As the services of both alike ought to have been offered on the
Jerusalem temple-altar, it is there that Jehovah ideally stands, as if
the whole people were assembled there, their abominations lying
unpardoned there, and crying for vengeance, though in fact committed
This view harmonizes with the similarity of the vision in Amos to that
at Jerusalem. Also with the end of this chapter
which applies both to Judah and Israel: "the tabernacle of
David," namely, at Jerusalem. His attitude, "standing," implies fixity
3. Carmel--where the forests, and, on the west side, the caves,
4. though they go into captivity--hoping to save their lives by voluntarily surrendering to the foe.
5. As Amos had threatened that nowhere should the Israelites be safe from the divine judgments, he here shows God's omnipotent ability to execute His threats. So in the case of the threat in Am 8:8, God is here stated to be the first cause of the mourning of "all that dwell" in the land, and of its rising "like a flood, and of its being "drowned, as by the flood of Egypt."
6. stories--literally, "ascents," that is, upper chambers, to which
the ascent is by steps
[MAURER]; evidently referring to the words in
Ps 104:3, 13.
GROTIUS explains it, God's royal throne,
expressed in language drawn from Solomon's throne, to which the ascent
was by steps (compare
1Ki 10:18, 19).
7. unto me--however great ye seem to yourselves. Do not rely on past privileges, and on My having delivered you from Egypt, as if therefore I never would remove you from Canaan. I make no more account of you than of "the Ethiopian" (compare Jer 13:23). "Have not I (who) brought you out of Egypt," done as much for other peoples? For instance, did I not bring "the Philistines (see on Isa 14:29, &c.) from Caphtor (compare De 2:23; see on Jer 47:4), where they had been bond-servants, and the Syrians from Kir?" It is appropriate, that as the Syrians migrated into Syria from Kir (compare Note, see on Isa 22:6), so they should be carried back captive into the same land (see on Am 1:15; 2Ki 16:9), just as elsewhere Israel is threatened with a return to Egypt whence they had been delivered. The "Ethiopians," Hebrew, "Cushites," were originally akin to the race that founded Babylon: the cuneiform inscriptions in this confirming independently the Scripture statement (Ge 10:6, 8, 10).
8. eyes . . . upon the sinful kingdom--that is, I am watching all its
sinful course in order to punish it (compare
Ps 34:15, 16).
9. sift--I will cause the Israelites to be tossed about through all nations as corn is shaken about in a sieve, in such a way, however, that while the chaff and dust (the wicked) fall through (perish), all the solid grains (the godly elect) remain (are preserved), (Ro 11:26; compare Note, see on Jer 3:14). So spiritual Israel's final safety is ensured (Lu 22:32; Joh 10:28; 6:39).
10. All the sinners--answering to the chaff in the image in
which falls on the earth, in opposition "to the grain" that does not
11. In that day--quoted by James
(Ac 15:16, 17),
"After this," that is, in the dispensation of Messiah
Ho 3:4, 5;
Joe 2:28; 3:1).
12. That they may possess . . . remnant of Edom, and of all the
heathen--"Edom," the bitter foe, though the brother, of Israel;
therefore to be punished
(Am 1:11, 12),
Israel shall be lord of the "remnant" of Edom left after the punishment
of the latter. James quotes it, "That the residue of men might
seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles," &c. For "all the
heathen" nations stand on the same footing as Edom: Edom is the
representative of them all. The residue or remnant in
both cases expresses those left after great antecedent calamities
Here the conversion of "all nations" (of which the earnest was
given in James's time) is represented as only to be realized on the
re-establishment of the theocracy under Messiah, the Heir of the throne
The possession of the heathen nations by Israel is to be spiritual, the
latter being the ministers to the former for their conversion to
Messiah, King of the Jews; just as the first conversions of pagans were
through the ministry of the apostles, who were Jews. Compare
"thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles" (compare
A remnant of Edom became Jews under John Hyrcanus, and the rest
amalgamated with the Arabians, who became Christians subsequently.
13. the days come--at the future restoration of the Jews to their own