AMOS CHAPTER 2.
Further Announcements of God's Judgments.
AGAINST MOAB AND JUDAH. — V. 1. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Moab, the nation occupying the country east of the Dead Sea, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, being fully determined upon His way of punishing the Moabites, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime, taking vengeance upon the dead by burning his body to powder, a crime showing an almost unbelievable vindictiveness; v. 2. but I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth, the capital in the valley of the Arnon; and Moab shall die, be overthrown in battle, with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet, in a victorious attack on the part of the enemies; v. 3. and I will cut off the judge, all the magistrates, from the midst thereof and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the Lord, so that Moab would cease to exist as a nation. This came to pass at the time of the Babylonian and Chaldean conquests. V. 4. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, the southern kingdom being named here in order to have a full list of the countries adjoining Israel, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, refusing also here to change His decision, because they have despised the Law of the Lord and have not kept His commandments, the complaint which is voiced by practically all prophets, and their lies caused them to err, their idols leading them into every kind of foolishness and sin, after the which their fathers have walked, for idolatry had been practiced in the country almost continually, secretly, if not openly; v. 5. but I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. Here it was true, as the maxim has it, that a person is rightly judged by the company he keeps and may be obliged to share the lot of his friends.
AGAINST ISRAEL. — V. 6. Thus saith the Lord, now turning at last to the people of the northern kingdom among whom Amos was laboring, For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, literally, "not will I reverse it," because they sold the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of shoes, namely, by the unjust condemnation of innocent people when they were brought into court, the judges being guilty of shameless bribery to the detriment of justice; v. 7. that pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, by oppressing the poor so severely that the latter, in their misery, show their grief by placing dust on their heads. Job 2, 12, and turn aside the way of the meek, by placing obstacles in their way, thereby causing them to stumble and fall; and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, in an excess of shameless lechery, which was regarded as being on a level with incest, to profane My holy name, for such sins brought disgrace upon the name of the God who had chosen Israel as His people; v. 8. and they lay themselves down upon clothes, the upper garment of the poor, laid to pledge by every altar, although the Law required that such pledges be returned in the evening, because the garments also served as covers by night, cp. Ex. 22, 25; Deut. 24, 12. 13, and they drink the wine of the condemned, such as was purchased with money gotten from the poor by oppression, in the house of their god, being brazen enough to do this in the very Sanctuary, in places which, after all, were originally intended as altars consecrated to Jehovah. V. 9. Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, when Joshua overthrew them in battle. Num. 21, 24; Deut. 2, 31, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks, a powerful people; yet I destroyed his fruit from above and his roots from beneath, the picture of a mighty tree being retained to make the fact of his annihilation more vivid. V. 10. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, by the deliverance to which the prophets point time and again, Ex. 12, 51, and led you forty years through the wilderness to possess the land of the Amorite, for so the entire land of Canaan might fitly be called, as having been in the possession of this nation before the Hittite invasion. V. 11. And I raised up of your sons for prophets, a distinction which they had evidently not appreciated, and of your young men for Nazarites, this also being a special favor which the Israelites had despised. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. They themselves, thus challenged, would have to admit the truth of the Lord's accusations. V. 12. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink, contrary to the command of the Lord, cp. Num. 6, 2-12, and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not; they refused to hear the words which the Lord told them through His servants. V. 13. Behold, I am pressed under you, rather, "Behold, I will press you down," as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves, as a cart loaded with sheaves presses down the ground beneath. V. 14. Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, literally, "is lost to the swift," he will not have time to escape, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself, all his strength and skill would avail him nothing; v. 15. neither shall he stand that handleth the bow, and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself, all his fleetness would not avail to carry him to safety; neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself, even so he would not escape. V. 16. And he that is courageous among the mighty, among the champions of the army, shall flee away naked in that day, leaving behind the very garment by which the enemy seizes him, saith the Lord. This threat, which implies the destruction of the kingdom, is further elaborated in the next chapter.