V The deplorable condition of Israel, ver. 1-3. An exhortation to seek God, ver. 4-15. Judgments denounced, ver. 16-20. Notwithstanding their outward services, ver. 21-27.
Verse 2. The virgin - So she was, when first espoused to God. Upon her land - Broken to pieces upon her own land, and so left as a broken vessel.
Verse 3. By a thousand - That sent out one thousand soldiers. An hundred - Shall lose nine parts of them.
Verse 4. Ye shall live - It shall be well with you.
Verse 5. Seek not - Consult not, worship not the idol at Bethel, Gilgal, or Beersheba.
Verse 6. The house of Joseph - The kingdom of the ten tribes, the chief whereof was Ephraim, the son of Joseph. In Beth-el - If once this fire breaks out, all your idols in Beth-el shall not be able to quench it.
Verse 7. Ye - Rulers and Judges. Judgment - The righteous sentence of the law. To wormwood - Proverbially understood; bitterness, injustice and oppression. Leave off - Make to cease in your courts of judicature.
Verse 8. The seven stars - A constellation, whose rising about September was usually accompanied with sweet showers. Orion - Which arising about November brings usually cold, rains and frosts intermixt very seasonable for the earth. The shadow of the earth - The greatest adversity into as great prosperity. Dark with might - Changes prosperity into adversity. That calleth - Commands the vapor to ascend, which he turns into rain; and then pours from the clouds to make the earth fruitful.
Verse 9. The strong - The mighty, victorious and insolent. Shall come - Shall rally and form a siege against their besiegers.
Verse 10. They - The Judges and people. In the gate - Where Judges sat, and where the prophets many times delivered their message.
Verse 11. Your treading - You utterly oppress the helpless. Ye take - Ye extort from the poor great quantities of wheat, on which he should live.
Verse 12. In the gate - In their courts of justice.
Verse 13. Shall keep silence - Be forced to it. Evil - Both for the sinfulness of it, and for the troubles, wars, and captivity now at hand.
Verse 14. With you - To bless and save you yet.
Verse 15. The evil - All evil among the people, and yourselves. Love - Commend, encourage, defend: let your heart be toward good things, and good men. Remnant - What the invasions of enemies, or the civil wars have spared, and left in Samaria and Israel.
Verse 16. Therefore - The prophet foreseeing their obstinacy, proceeds to denounce judgment against them. The husbandman - This sort of men are little used to such ceremonies of mourning, but now such also shall be called upon; leave your toil, betake yourselves to publick mourning.
Verse 17. Vineyards - In these places were usually the greatest joy. Pass through - To punish all every where.
Verse 18. That desire - Scoffingly, not believing any such day would come. To what end - What do you think to get by it? Is darkness - All adversity, black and doleful. Not light - No joy, or comfort an it.
Verse 19. And a bear - You may escape one, but shall fall in another calamity. Into the house - At home you may hope for safety, but there other kind of mischief shall meet you.
Verse 21. I hate - Impure and unholy as they are. Will not smell - A savour, of rest or delight, I will not accept and be pleased with.
Verse 23. Thy songs - Used in their sacrifices, and solemn feasts; herein they imitated the temple-worship, but all was unpleasing to the Lord. Will not hear - Not with delight and acceptance. Thy viols - This one kind of musicalinstrument is put for all the rest.
Verse 24. Let judgment - Let justice be administered constantly. Righteousness - Equity. Stream - Bearing down all that opposes it.
Verse 25. Have ye - Their fathers and they, tho' at so great a distance of time, are one people, and so the prophet considers them. Unto me - Was it to me, or to your idols, that you offered, even in the wilderness?
Verse 26. Ye have born - Ye carried along with you in the wilderness; the shrine, or canopy in which the image was placed. Moloch - The great idol of the Ammonites. Chiun - Another idol.
Verse 27. Therefore - For all your idolatry and other sins, in which you have obstinately continued.