1Hört dieses Wort, das der Ewige über euch, Kinder Jisraël, geredet hat, über die ganze Sippschaft, die ich aus Mizraim heraufgeführt habe, sagend:2Hab ich nur euch gekannt aus allen Erdensippen? Drum ahnde ich an euch all eure Sünden.3Gehn zwei zusammen, sei's denn, daß sie sich bestimmt?4Brüllt auf im Wald der Leu, und hat nicht Raub? Schlägt an das Großgetier von seinem Lager, wenn's nicht fängt?5Wie? Fällt das Vöglein auf das Netz am Grund, wär's ihm nicht Falle? Und klappt vom Boden auf die Falle, und sie sollt nicht fangen?6Bläst man das Horn im Ort, und schrickt das Volk nicht? Kommt Übel in den Ort, und hätt's der Ewge nicht gewirkt?7Denn nichts tut Gott, der Herr daß sein Geheimnis er nicht offenbarte den Knechten sein, den Gottbegeisteten.8Der Löwe brüllt, wer sollt nicht fürchten? Und Gott, der Herr, er redet wer nicht begeistet sein?9Laßt schallen bei den Burgen Aschdods und bei den Burgen in Mizraims Land und sprecht: ,Tut euch zusammen auf die Berge Schomerons!' Und seht: Viel Wirrungen in ihr Bedrückungen in ihrer Mitte10und sie verstehn nicht recht zu handeln spricht der Ewige die schatzen Raub und Plünderung in ihren Burgen.11Drum spricht so Gott, der Herr: Bedrängend und das Land umschließend wird deine Macht man von dir stürzen und plündern deine Paläste. 12So spricht der Ewige: So wie der Hirt mag retten aus des Löwen Rachen zwei Beine oder eines Ohres Lappen so retten sich die Kinder Jisraël die Schomeron bewohnen: Mit des Bettes Zipfel und Demesek: (mit dem) des Pfühls. 13Hört an, bezeuget wider Jaakobs Haus spricht Gott, der Herr, der Gott der Scharen.14Denn an dem Tag da ich die Missetaten Jisraëls abrechne an ihm da rechn ich ab an den Altären Bet-Els; und abgehauen werden des Altares Hörner und fallen hin zur Erde.15Und ich zerschlage Winterhaus samt Sommerhaus die Elfenbeingemächer schwinden zuende sind die stolzen Häuser ist des Ewigen Spruch.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Bible Commentary 1
GOD'S EXTRAORDINARY LOVE, BEING REPAID BY ISRAEL WITH INGRATITUDE, OF NECESSITY CALLS FOR JUDGMENTS, WHICH THE PROPHETS ANNOUNCE, NOT AT RANDOM, BUT BY GOD'S COMMISSION, WHICH THEY CANNOT BUT FULFIL. THE OPPRESSION PREVALENT IN ISRAEL WILL BRING DOWN RUIN ON ALL SAVE A SMALL REMNANT. (Amos 3:1
children of Israel--not merely the ten tribes, but "the whole family brought up from Egypt"; all the descendants of Jacob, including Judah and Benjamin. Compare Jer 8:3
, and Mic 2:3
, on "family" for the nation However, as the prophecy following refers to the ten tribes, they must be chiefly, if not solely, meant: they were the majority of the nation; and so Amos concedes what they so often boasted, that they were the elect people of God [CALVIN], but implies that this only heightens their sins. 2
You only have I known--that is, acknowledged as My people, and treated with peculiar favor (Exod 19:5
; Deut 4:20
). Compare the use of "know," Ps 1:6
; Ps 144:3
; John 10:14
; 2Tim 2:19
therefore I will punish--the greater the privileges, the heavier the punishment for the abuse of them; for to the other offenses there is added, in this case, ingratitude. When God's people do not glorify Him, He glorifies Himself by punishing them. 3
Here follow several questions of a parable-like kind, to awaken conviction in the people.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?--Can God's prophets be so unanimous in prophesying against you, if God's Spirit were not joined with them, or if their prophecies were false? The Israelites were "at ease," not believing that God was with the prophets in their denunciations of coming ruin to the nation (Amos 6:1
, Amos 6:3
; compare 1Kgs 22:18
, 1Kgs 22:24
, 1Kgs 22:27
; Jer 43:2
). This accords with Amos 3:7
. So "I will be with thy mouth" (Exod 4:12
; Jer 1:8
; Matt 10:20
). If the prophets and God were not agreed, the former could not predict the future as they do. In Amos 2:12
He had said, the Israelites forbade the prophets prophesying; therefore, in Amos 3:3
, Amos 3:8
, He asserts the agreement between the prophets and God who spake by them against Israel [ROSENMULLER]. Rather, "I once walked with you" (Lev 26:12
) as a Father and Husband (Isa 54:5
; Jer 3:14
); but now your way and Mine are utterly diverse; there can therefore be no fellowship between us such as there was (Amos 3:2
); I will walk with you only to "punish you"; as a "lion" walks with his "prey" (Amos 3:4
), as a bird-catcher with a bird [TARNOVIUS]. The prophets, and all servants of God, can have no fellowship with the ungodly (Ps 119:63
; 2Cor 6:16
-17; Eph 5:11
; Jas 4:4
The same idea as in Matt 24:28
. Where a corrupt nation is, there God's instruments of punishment are sure also to be. The lion roars loudly only when he has prey in sight.
Will a young lion cry out . . . if he--the "lion," not the "young lion."
have taken nothing?--The young lion just weaned lies silent, until the old lion brings the prey near; then the scent rouses him. So, the prophet would not speak against Israel, if God did not reveal to him Israel's sins as requiring punishment. 5
When a bird trying to fly upwards is made to fall upon the earth snare, it is a plain proof that the snare is there; so, Israel, now that thou art falling, infer thence, that it is in the snare of the divine judgment that thou art entangled [LUDOVICUS DE DIEU].
shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing--The bird-catcher does not remove his snare off the ground till he has caught some prey; so God will not withdraw the Assyrians, &c., the instruments of punishment, until they have had the success against you which God gives them. The foe corresponds to the "snare," suddenly springing from the ground and enclosing the bird on the latter touching it; the Hebrew is literally, "Shall the snare spring from the earth?" Israel entangled in judgments answers to the bird "taken." 6
When the sound of alarm is trumpeted by the watchman in the city, the people are sure to run to and fro in alarm (Hebrew, literally). Yet Israel is not alarmed, though God threatens judgments.
shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?--This is the explanation of the preceding similes: God is the Author of all the calamities which come upon you, and which are foretold by His prophets. The evil of sin is from ourselves; the evil of trouble is from God, whoever be the instruments. 7
his secret--namely, His purpose hidden from all, until it is revealed to His prophets (compare Gen 18:17
). In a wider sense, God's will is revealed to all who love God, which it is not to the world (Ps 25:14
; John 15:15
; John 17:25
unto his servants--who being servants cannot but obey their Lord in setting forth His purpose (namely, that of judgment against Israel) (Jer 20:9
; Ezek 9:11
). Therefore the fault which the ungodly find with them is groundless (1Kgs 18:17
). It aggravates Israel's sin, that God is not about to inflict judgment, without having fully warned the people, if haply they might repent. 8
As when "the lion roars" (compare Amos 1:2
; Amos 3:4
), none can help but "fear," so when Jehovah communicates His awful message, the prophet cannot but prophesy. Find not fault with me for prophesying; I must obey God. In a wider sense true of all believers (Acts 4:20
; Acts 5:29
Publish in . . . palaces--as being places of greatest resort (compare Matt 10:27
); and also as it is the sin of princes that he arraigns, he calls on princes (the occupants of the "palaces") to be the witnesses.
Ashdod--put for all Philistia. Convene the Philistine and the Egyptian magnates, from whom I have on various occasions rescued Israel. (The opposite formula to "Tell it not in Gath," namely, lest the heathen should glory over Israel). Even these idolaters, in looking on your enormities, will condemn you; how much more will the holy God?
upon the mountains of Samaria--on the hills surrounding and commanding the view of Samaria, the metropolis of the ten tribes, which was on a lower hill (Amos 4:1
; 1Kgs 16:24
). The mountains are to be the tribunal on which the Philistines and Egyptians are to sit aloft to have a view of your crimes, so as to testify to the justice of your punishment (Amos 3:13
tumults--caused by the violence of the princes of Israel in "oppressions" of the poor (Job 35:9
; Eccl 4:1
know not to do--Their moral corruption blinds their power of discernment so that they cannot do right (Jer 4:22
). Not simple intellectual ignorance; the defect lay in the heart and will.
store up violence and robbery--that is, treasures obtained by "violence and robbery" (Pro 10:2
Translate, "An adversary (the abruptness produces a startling effect)! and that too, from every side of the land." So in the fulfilment, 2Kgs 17:5
: "The king of Assyria (Shalmaneser) came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years."
bring down thy strength from thee--that is, bring thee down from thy strength (the strength on which thou didst boast thyself): all thy resources (Pro 10:15
palaces shall be spoiled--a just retribution in kind (Amos 3:10
). The palaces in which spoils of robbery were stored up, "shall be spoiled." 12
shepherd--a pastoral image, appropriately used by Amos, a shepherd himself.
piece of . . . ear--brought by the shepherd to the owner of the sheep, so as not to have to pay for the loss (Gen 31:39
; Exod 22:13
). So if aught of Israel escapes, it shall be a miracle of God's goodness. It shall be but a scanty remnant. There is a kind of goat in the East the ears of which are a foot long, and proportionally broad. Perhaps the reference is to this. Compare on the image 1Sam 17:34
-35; 2Tim 4:17
that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed--that is, that live luxuriously in Samaria (compare Amos 6:1
, Amos 6:4
). "A bed" means here the Oriental divan, a raised part of the room covered with cushions.
in Damascus in a couch--Jeroboam II had lately restored Damascus to Israel (2Kgs 14:25
, 2Kgs 14:28
). So the Israelites are represented as not merely in "the corner of a bed," as in Samaria, but "in a (whole) couch," at Damascus, living in luxurious ease. Of these, now so luxurious, soon but a remnant shall be left by the foe. The destruction of Damascus and that of Samaria shall be conjoined; as here their luxurious lives, and subsequently under Pekah and Rezin their inroads on Judah, were combined (Isa 7:1
; Isa 8:4
, Isa 8:9
; Isa 17:3
). The parallelism of "Samaria" to "Damascus," and the Septuagint favor English Version rather than GESENIUS: "on a damask couch." The Hebrew pointing, though generally expressing damask, may express the city "Damascus"; and many manuscripts point it so. Compare for Israel's overthrow, 2Kgs 17:5
-6; 2Kgs 18:9
testify in the house, &c.--that is, against the house of Jacob. God calls on the same persons as in Amos 3:9
, namely, the heathen Philistines and the Egyptians to witness with their own eyes Samaria's corruptions above described, so that none may be able to deny the justice of Samaria's punishment [MAURER].
God of hosts--having all the powers of heaven and earth at His command, and therefore One calculated to strike terror into the hearts of the guilty whom He threatens. 14
That--rather, "since," or "for." This verse is not, as English Version translates, the thing which the witnesses cited are to "testify" (Amos 3:13
), but the reason why God calls on the heathen to witness Samaria's guilt; namely, in order to justify the punishment which He declares He will inflict.
I will also visit . . . Beth-el--the golden calves which were the source of all "the transgressions of Israel" (1Kgs 12:32
; 1Kgs 13:2
; 2Kgs 23:15
-16), though Israel thought that by them their transgressions were atoned for and God's favor secured.
horns of the altar--which used to be sprinkled with the blood of victims. They were horn-like projecting points at the corners of ancient altars. The singular, "altar," refers to the great altar erected by Jeroboam to the calves. The "altars," plural, refer to the lesser ones made in imitation of the great one (2Chr 34:5
, compare with 1Kgs 13:2
; Hos 8:11
; Hos 10:1
winter . . . summer house-- (Judg 3:20
; Jer 36:22
). Winter houses of the great were in sheltered positions facing the south to get all possible sunshine, summer houses in forests and on hills, facing the east and north.
houses of ivory--having their walls, doors, and ceilings inlaid with ivory. So Ahab's house (1Kgs 22:39
; Ps 45:8