Amos 5 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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Verse 2

[2] The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.

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

[3] For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.

By a thousand — That sent out one thousand soldiers.

An hundred — Shall lose nine parts of them.

Verse 4

[4] For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

Ye shall live — It shall be well with you.

Verse 5

[5] But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.

Seek not — Consult not, worship not the idol at Bethel, Gilgal, or Beersheba.

Verse 6

[6] Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

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

[7] Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,

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

[8] Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:

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 vapour to ascend, which he turns into rain; and then pours from the clouds to make the earth fruitful.

Verse 9

[9] That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.

The strong — The mighty, victorious and insolent.

Shall come — Shall rally and form a siege against their besiegers.

Verse 10

[10] They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.

They — The judges and people.

In the gate — Where judges sat, and where the prophets many times delivered their message.

Verse 11

[11] Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.

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

[12] For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.

In the gate — In their courts of justice.

Verse 13

[13] Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

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

[14] Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

With you — To bless and save you yet.

Verse 15

[15] Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

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

[16] Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.

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

[17] And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.

Vineyards — In these places were usually the greatest joy.

Pass through — To punish all every where.

Verse 18

[18] Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

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

[19] As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

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

[21] I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

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

[23] Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

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 musical instrument is put for all the rest.

Verse 24

[24] But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Let judgment — Let justice be administered constantly.

Righteousness — Equity.

Stream — Bearing down all that opposes it.

Verse 25

[25] Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

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

[26] But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

Ye have borne — 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

[27] Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

Therefore — For all your idolatry and other sins, in which you have obstinately continued.

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