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Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Preacher's Homiletical
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Amos 2". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ phc/ amos-2.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Amos 2". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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CRITICAL NOTES.] Bones] An act of cruelty revenged; others, an insult to the remains of a dead king, probably the king joined in alliance with Jehoshaphat and Jehoram (2 Kings 3:9).
Amos 2:2. Kir.] A principal city of Moab, the plural form indicates the acropolis and town (cf. Jeremiah 48:24; Jeremiah 48:41). Tumult] These expressions describe the city taken by storm. Trumpet] The signal for assault.
Amos 2:3. Judge] Supreme magistrate (Deuteronomy 17:9).
Amos 2:4. Judah] condemned for idolatry and despising the law, i.e. the instructions and revelations given by God to his people. Command.] Separate precepts. Lies] Their idols, which not only deceive, “but as fabrications and nonentities, having no reality in themselves, and therefore quite unable to perform what was expected of them” [Keil]. Fathers] Forefathers generally.
THE JUDGMENT ON MOAB.—Amos 2:1-3
I. The punishment of Moab. Moab was to be laid waste by the fire of war, and its palaces to be destroyed.
1. A tumultuous destruction. “Moab shall die with tumult.” The sound of the trumpet would stir up the assailants. Noise and commotion would be heard in the streets, and as they had raised tumults themselves so they would perish by tumults. “Every battle of the warrior is with confused noise.”
2. An entire destruction. God will cut off its rulers. The chief magistrate, the princes and the rulers of all ranks, shall be taken. Those who are high in rank and authority are bound to do justice to the people. Judges should learn that there is one above them, from whose judgment they cannot escape.
II. The reason of this punishment. “Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime.” The king of Moab, either when he sought to avenge himself on Edom (after the raising of the siege, 2 Kings 3:27), or at some other time, let out his fury on the very dead. The malice which vents itself on the insensible corpse is the vindictive rage of one, that would never cease to hurt if possible. “Hatred which death cannot extinguish,” says Pusey, “is the beginning of the eternal hate of hell.” To rage against the living, or to express malignant spite against the remains of the dead, is odious to God. He is Lord of the living and the dead. His dominion and providence extend beyond the grave, and he will avenge insults to heathen or Christian.
THE JUDGMENT ON JUDAH.—Amos 2:4-5
I. The charge against Judah. The guilt here is not as in other cases. Other nations were judged for injuries done to man; but Judah for insults to God. They despised the law, deceived themselves and one another with false excuses and the customs of progenitors. Disregard to God is manifested in two chief forms.
1. Contempt for the law of God. “They have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments.” The law as a rule of life and the commandments in their special bearing were treated with contempt. The wisdom of God was despised by the pride of man. They first neglected, then set aside, the law. If men have no regard for the law, and make no conscience of its authority, they will soon resist it. If we do not keep we virtually despise God’s law.
2. Worship of idols. Man will either worship God or love a lie. If he tries to explain away the claims of God and to justify his sins, he will “err” by his lies and soon lose power to discriminate between good and evil. (a) Idolatry is a lie. The idols themselves are lies. They can do nothing, but lie and deceive. “For an idol is nothing in the world” (1 Corinthians 8:4). The pretences under which men worship them are lies; snares to mislead and cause “to err.” (b) Lies lead men astray. “Their lies caused them to err.” God’s law is the truth, but when the truth is changed into a lie, there is danger of sin becoming hereditary. The word points the way to temporal and eternal safety; but if despised, men wander into darkness and idolatry. (c) Lies are sometimes defended by custom. “After the which their fathers have walked.” Men get accustomed to evils that are common. These evils acquire prominence and authority. “The popular error of one generation becomes the axiom of the next. Human opinion is as dogmatic as revelation. The second generation of error demands as implicit submission as God’s truth. The transmission of error against himself, God says, aggravates its evil, and does not excuse it.” Thus children walk in the steps and fill up the measure of the guilt of their fathers. Human opinion must not be exalted above God’s word. Scripture, and Scripture alone, is the law of truth, and the rule of life. False doctrines, delusive rites and idolatries, violate the word of God, perpetuate human tradition in the Church, and cause one generation after another to err from the truth.
II. The calamities upon Judah. In few words and little detail, the destruction by fire is said to extend not only to the cities of Judah, but to the palaces of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was burnt with fire by the Chaldæans (2 Kings 25:9; 2 Chronicles 36:19), and afterwards by the Romans. Two centuries elapsed before the first fire destroyed the city, but God sent it. Let us beware of treating the word with contempt, of thinking because long delayed the judgment will never come. God’s anger will consume dead members in the Church, and purify it from all idolatry and abominations. “Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”
HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES
1. A visible Church which does not keep up communion with God, nor improve her spiritual advantages, may fall into provocations nothing inferior in number and heinousness to the iniquities of nations about her.
2. And if God does not spare heathens without law and with but little knowledge of God, far less will he spare his people who are lewd as they [Hutcheson]. “Man first in act despises God’s law (and whoso does not keep it, despises it), and then he must needs be deceived by some idol of his own, which becomes his god. He first chooses wilfully his own lie, i.e. whatever he chooses out of God, and then his own lie deceives him. So, morally, liars at last believe themselves” [Pusey].
Judgments of God compared to fire.
1. Fire consumes (Psalms 18:8; Jeremiah 15:14).
2. Fire breaks out suddenly. The destruction of these cities is certain and inevitable.
3. Fire is violent. Sodom and the great fire in London.
4. Fire refines. The judgments of God are intended to try men, to purify churches and nations. “The Lord’s fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 31:9; Zechariah 13:9).
ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 2
Amos 2:1-3. Bones burned. “The wickedness appears to have consisted in a wanton violation of the sanctity of the tomb, by the disinterment and burning of the royal remains. It was indicative of an enmity which was not satisfied with inflicting every possible injury upon its victim while living, but pursued him even into the regions of the dead.” To exhume, burn, and disperse the bones of the dead, has often been adopted as a way of showing indignity. The bones of Wycliffe were disinterred and burnt, and Cromwell’s remains were most indignantly treated.
Amos 2:4-5. Evil examples. As companions are the objects of choice, admiration, and affection, the repulsiveness of vice is lost sight of amidst so much that is attractive. In short, though the vices of a companion be gross and palpable to others, yet, as Shakspeare says, “a friendly eye cannot see such faults” [Brewer].
Evil examples are like pestilential diseases—
The virtuous son is ill at ease
When the lewd father gave the dire disease. [Pope.]
Amos 2:6. Israel] The ten tribes the main object of the prophecy. First, prevalent crimes of injustice and oppression, shameless immorality, and daring contempt of God.
Amos 2:6-8. Sold] Perverted their cause, and gave an unjust sentence for a small bribe (Deuteronomy 16:9). Shoes] Lit. sandals. Needless ornament was thought more valuable than man. Pant] Eagerly thirst (Ecclesiastes 1:5) for this object, i.e. they long to see the head of the poor covered with dust or earth, or to reduce them to such misery that they scatter dust upon their head (cf. Job 2:12; 2 Samuel 1:2). Turn] Bend, bring them into a trap, cast them into destruction, by impediments laid in their path. Unto] Not so much as named among the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 5:1). Clothes] pawned; upper garments or square piece of cloth, to wrap all around and serve the poor for a counterpane. If a poor man was necessitated to pledge this garment, it was returned to him before night (Exodus 22:25); and a garment so pawned was not to be slept upon (Deuteronomy 24:12-13). Godless usurers kept them to stretch themselves upon at feasts, at sacrificial meals in the temple. Wine] bought with money of those whom they unjustly fined.
Amos 2:9-12. Yet] Former benefits make ingratitude more base. Israel delivered from Egypt and from the most powerful enemy of all the Canaanites. Roots] Destroyed utterly, no fruit above, no root from which to spring beneath. Raised up] additional privileges; furnished with religious instructors and examples of self-restraint. Gave] Tempted the Nazarite to break his vow.
Amos 2:13-16.] Judgment the inevitable consequence. Press] I will depress your place, i.e. make it narrow, opposite to enlarging or relieving (Psalms 4:1; Proverbs 4:12); others, I will press you down. It is a rustic figure, a cart full of sheaves sets forth the pressure of their provocations. God was weary of them (Isaiah 43:24; Malachi 2:17), overlaid with their wickedness [Bp Hall]. Neither agility of man or horse, neither courage nor valour, would deliver them; few would escape, and those few would be fugitives in other countries, or naked captives in the hands of the enemy.
THE JUDGMENT UPON ISRAEL.—Amos 2:6-16
The storm which has been gathering all around, and threatening nation after nation, now falls upon the ten tribes of Israel. Their sins are minutely specified, and the terrific consequences follow.
I. The guilt of Israel. Several atrocious crimes are charged upon them, some of which are sanctioned and upheld by persons of rank and authority.
1. They perverted justice. The smallest bribe would induce the judges to give up a poor man to the will of his oppressor. The debtor and the insolvent received no mercy from his creditor. The righteousness of a man’s character or cause was no plea for justice. Magistrates neither feared God nor regarded man. Man made in God’s image was sold for some worthless price or some trivial ornament. All nations more or less have honoured the sentiment of justice. In the administration of law it is the glory of a people, and in commercial life the bonds of society. In a moral sense it gains respect from man and approval from God. But injustice in whatever form or degree, bribery for any cause, drags the ermine in the dust, and damages the interests of a nation. The national character of Rome in the degenerate period when the judges received bribes had lost its purity and honour. When the Jews sold the righteous Son of God for thirty pieces of silver, they perverted judgment, disgraced humanity, and filled up the measure of their iniquity. “And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise and perverteth the words of the righteous.”
2. They oppressed the poor. “That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor.” They brought the poor into such misery that they strewed dust on their heads in sorrow, or they sank into the dust and perished through oppression. The least property of the poor excited their cupidity, and some think that they “grudged him even the dust which as a mourner he strewed on his head, since it too was earth.” They turned “aside the way of the meek,” injured their character, invaded their rights, and put hindrances in their path. It is sad when men take pleasure in trampling upon the poor, and grudge servants the smallest luxury and advantage. Those who rob others to increase their own store, who act unjustly and over-reach the simple and meek, “will receive the greater condemnation.” God will reckon with them. “Riches profit not in the day of wrath.” “What shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth what shall I answer him?”
3. They practised incest. “A man and his father will go in unto the same maid.” Prostitution was a part of the filthy worship of idols, and the damsel spoken of is probably one of the prostitutes belonging to the temple. This sin was most abominable and worthy of death. Cf. Leviticus 18:7; Leviticus 18:15; Leviticus 20:11. Or if prostitution is not intended, we have a daring contempt of the commands of God (Leviticus 22:32). Modesty will have little influence upon those who disregard justice. The name of God will be profaned by those who honour not the nature of man. Father and son forget their filial duties and disgrace themselves by the same crime. “I am the Lord, and ye shall not defile my holy name! For I will be sanctified among the children of Israel.”
4. They desecrated the sanctuary.
(1) By unlawfully keeping the pledges of the poor. “They lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge.” If a poor man pawned his upper dress which was his only bed, it was to be returned to him before night (Exodus 22:25; and a garment so pledged was not to be slept on (Deuteronomy 24:12-13). But creditors kept the garments, treated them as their own property, and stretched themselves in luxuriant ease “by every altar.” In shameless publicity and hard-heartedness they lay on the garments of the poor and despoiled. They avowed their sins and insulted the true God by the altars of false gods.
(2) By drunken feasts in idolatrous temples. “They drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their God.” They fined the poor, and were paid in liquor or expended the money in wine. What they got by injustice they spent in sensuality. They added revelry to oppression and the wine which they poured out in libations or drank at idolatrous feasts was the price of innocent blood. Idols may not refuse such abominable sacrifices, but God will not accept them. “For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt-offering.”
Not such the service the benignant Father
Requireth at his earthly children’s hands:
Not the poor offering of vain rites, but rather
The simple duty man from man demands [Whittier].
II. The aggravation of Israel’s guilt. God’s benefits should strengthen our gratitude. He requires much from those to whom much is given. Israel’s guilt is measured by Israel’s privileges. They despised the blessings and neglected the warnings they received from God (Amos 2:9-11).
1. Israel was indebted to God for its national existence. He created them for his own peculiar people, preserved them from danger, and kept them in continued existence.
(1) He redeemed them from bondage. “I brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Mercies to our ancestors are blessings to us, for we could not exist without them. Past deliverances should never be forgotten. They should keep alive our gratitude and bind us to duty. God dates our benefits that we may remember them. If we despise his kindness, we aggravate our guilt. England has a wonderful past, and the present generation should not forget God’s benefits. “He hath not dealt so with any nation.”
(2) He defended them in danger. “Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them,” &c. The Amorites were the most powerful of the Canaanites and most terrible to Israel. Joshua, rehearsing God’s kindness, places the destruction of the Amorites as one of the most prominent deeds to Israel. “I brought you into the land of the Amorites which dwelt on the other side of Jordan, and I destroyed them before you.” The greater the danger, the greater should be our gratitude for deliverance. The more God displays his love and power towards us, the more should we keep his law and praise his name.
(3) He guided them in their journeys. “Led you forty years through the wilderness.” This reminded them of innumerable blessings in the course of their existence. Manna from heaven and water from the rock; deliverance from serpents and manifold perils; provoking sins and unqualified mercy; human guides and Divine presence. God led them and gave them possession of the land, for they did not get it by their own numbers and skill. Thus were they raised up and defended; planted in their inheritance and preserved in their existence. What echoes of the past resounded in their laws! The mercies of to-day remind us of the miracles of yesterday. Past and present, memory and law, remind us of our duty. “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness.”
2. Israel was indebted to Cud for inspired teachers. “And I raised up of your sons for prophets.” From the beginning to the end of their existence they were not left without light and instruction. Men of sanctity and power, like Elijah and Elisha, were sent unto them, filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Messenger after messenger rebuked their sins and revealed the will of God. They were never left without a witness of God’s presence and a prophet to teach them. “Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt, unto this day, I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them.”
3. Israel was indebted to God for noble examples. “And of your young men for Nazarites.” Prophets instruct, examples show that these instructions may be put into practice. They are visible illustrations both of the possibility of doing what is enjoined and of the method in which it is done. Hence the proverbs, “Example is more powerful than precept;” “Precepts lead, examples draw;” “Every art is best taught by example.” The Nazarites were noble specimens of temperance and self-control, examples of men who vow and are able by God’s grace to keep the vow. We are more apt to learn through the eye than the ear, and what is seen in fact makes a deeper impression upon the mind. Israel were blessed with men, living among them day by day, to quicken attention and incite to the obedience of that law which they despised. Men who counteracted the evil and gave an impulse to the virtuous tendencies of the age. Young men who are examples of self-denial and devotedness to God are an honour to any country. They are monuments of God’s grace, living reproofs of the impiety of the day, and deserve to be imitated in their spirit and conduct. “I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done.”
4. Israel did not acknowledge her indebtedness to God for these privileges. They sought not to walk in the light, but to extinguish it. They perverted God’s gifts into occasions for greater sin. (a) They tempted the Nazarite to break his vow. “But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink.” It is a horrid sin when men will neither be holy themselves, nor let others keep the law of God. It is the height of ingratitude to abuse the temperate and seek to destroy their character. Yet such crimes are committed in England to-day. Sons of temperance are tempted to break their pledge (Numbers 6:2-3); self-denial is considered weakness, and pious men are exposed to ridicule and contempt. Young men are often surprised and allured, reproached and frightened, into sin. “And so,” says a quaint author, “many do the tempter’s work.” (b) They sought to silence the prophet in his teaching. “Commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.” The guilty conscience hates reproof. The godly teacher irritates the sinner, and God’s servants are often threatened if they hold not their tongue. Jezebel swore by her gods to destroy Elijah (1 Kings 19:2-3). Amaziah silenced the prophet: “Art thou made of the king’s counsel? forbear. Why shouldest thou be smitten?” Jeremiah had to face hatred, mockery, and imprisonment. The chief priests sought to silence the apostles, first by command, then by scourges, and lastly by persecution. If God’s ministers will not preach evil tidings, they will be unmolested; but when they proclaim the judgments of God on the sins of men, then nations rise up in authority and opposition. “Wherefore dost thou prophesy?” (Jeremiah 32:3). Those who deaden the voice of God within, and silence the word of God without them, leave no means of access to the soul or the people. Dreadful is the doom of those who harden themselves against the gospel, and refuse its last offers of mercy from its faithful ministers. Such were Israel’s guilt and Israel’s punishment. “They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof: therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.”
III. The severe punishment for Israel’s guilt (Amos 2:13-16). Base contempt for covenant mercies God will visit with severe punishment. The long-suffering of God will at length be wearied out by obstinaate sinners and ungrateful nations.
1. Punishment most crushing Taking the words as alluding “to the force of war, under which even the bravest and most able heroes will succumb.” God threatens to oppress them most heavily. As the cart full of sheaves presses the ground; so God would press them down, by war and the effects of war. This is a fit retribution for their own oppression, robbery, and injustice to the poor. Judgments in number and variety would fill the land, and distress would overcome its inhabitants. Bradford the martyr said, “He that will not tremble in threatening shall be crushed in pieces in feeling.” Men through their own sins often have to say, “We were pressed out of measure above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.”
2. Punishment most inevitable. The judgments are fixed and inevitable, and none can escape except by repentance, the door of which is never shut in these Divine threatenings.
(1) The swift cannot flee away. “The flight shall perish from the swift.” Men are afraid and wish to escape from the judgments of God. But it is too late, and the escape is impossible. “He that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself.” A horse will be a vain thing in that day for safety. “Neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself” from his pursuers.
(2) The strong cannot defend themselves. “The strong shall not strengthen his force” against the power of God. Military hosts are not a match for an angry God. “The mighty,” who may have protected others, shall not “deliver himself” then. “There is no king saved by the multitude of a host; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength” (Psalms 33:16). Weapons of war will be of no avail. “Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow.”
3. The courageous cannot withstand the attack. “He that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away.” The most spirited and brave, the most firm-souled and mighty, cannot deliver themselves. What a picture. Fear will disable the skilled archer. The strong will be bereft of his might. Panic will seize all ranks, and those who flee cannot escape. “A kingdom for a horse,” cried one in battle, but in the day of judgment every means of strength, resistance, and escape will fail. Those who make not God their refuge, shall find none for themselves in the day of visitation. “Many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken” (Isaiah 8:15; Amos 9:2).
HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES
Amos 2:7. God had laid down the equality of man, made in his own image, and had forbidden to favour either poor (Exodus 23:3) or rich (Ib. 6). Amos calls these by different names, which entitled them to human sympathy; poor, depressed, lowly; poor, in their absolute condition; depressed, as having been brought low; lowly, as having the special grace of their state, the wonderful meekness and lowliness of the godly poor [Pusey].
Amos 2:9. God removes difficulties out of the way. The pilgrim often magnifies them into sons of Anak. “I destroyed” (emphatic). God uproots all fears, extirpates all enemies, and leaves neither “fruit from above” nor “roots from beneath.” Not merely cut down, but plucked up, and no chance of springing into existence again. A complete and irrecoverable destruction. This—
1. Displays power.
2. Should excite confidence; and
3. Stimulate progress.
Amos 2:10. God’s fidelity towards Israel contrasted with Israel’s conduct towards God (Deuteronomy 2:7; Deuteronomy 8:2. Cf. Micah 6:4).
CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE.—Amos 2:10
Life is a pilgrimage; but all pilgrims do not consider themselves “strangers” on earth. Had God intended this world to be the home of his people, he would have made better accommodation. But they seek a country, even a heavenly one.
I. The destination. “To possess the land of the Amorite.” Canaan was promised to the Jews, and though in the possession of the enemies, yet God drove out the heathen and planted them (Psalms 44:2). A people numerous, warlike, and strongly fortified, were overturned by a feeble nation. The oaks of Bashan were torn up to plant his chosen vine. God now gives his people inheritance of faith and knowledge, puts them in possession of wealth and vantage-ground on earth, and will give them rest in heaven.
II. The starting-point. “I brought you up from the land of Egypt.” The local and political elevation of Israel set forth the deliverance and dignity of the Christian. All are found in the house of bondage, under the dominion and lash of sin. Egypt is the starting-place of Israel; the City of Destruction, for the Pilgrim. All are found in a state of degradation and alienation from God. From a lower God’s people are called to a higher condition, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
III. The way. “Through the wilderness.” After leaving Egypt, Israel were literally in the wilderness. A dreary solitary place, full of privations and perils. The world comparatively is a wilderness. It is not the rest, the home of God’s people. It is polluted by sin, and unsuited to their moral nature. We must not form attachments and secure possessions which bind us here. “Here we have no continuing city.” We must avoid the company and renounce the maxims of the world. Our happiness is not here; it is more elevated and on high.
All, all on earth is shadow; all beyond
Is substance: the reverse is Folly’s creed;
How solid all, where change shall be no more!
IV. The leader. “I brought you up.” Their safety and joy sprung from God’s care. The pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day, went before them and never left them. Moses and Aaron could not guide them. Hence the request, “If thy presence go not with us,” &c. God conducts his children now by his Spirit, providence, and word. He will never leave nor forsake them till they have entered the land of promise. He “led them up through the wilderness, for his mercy endureth for ever.”
V. The time. “Forty years through the wilderness.” A considerable period, but appointed by God. What scenes and memories would it recall! What proofs of God’s power, goodness, and truth! What displays of ingratitude, impatience, and rebellion! Thus God reminds us of important crises in our life, that we may thank him for his goodness, note the progression of time, and prepare for our journey’s end. “These forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.”
Our life is a dream; our time as a shadow
Glides swiftly away;
And the fugitive moment refuses to stay.
HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES
1. The gift of prophecy and the institution of the Nazarites are considered special blessings to the nation.
2. This effort to purify society from a special evil is said to be of Divine origin. “I raised up your young men.”
3. This method of sobering the people must be as wise and necessary now as then. “We learn from these verses the importance attached by God to the Nazarite class, and also that their preeminent characteristic was abstinence from wine. Jehovah claims to have raised up a succession of prophets and Nazarites, and the attempt to subvert the fidelity of the Nazarites is coupled as a sin with the impious effort to silence the teachers of the nation, and the organs of the Almighty” [Temp. Com.].
Amos 2:13. God pressed down with man’s iniquity is the sense in which many take these words. I. The pressure of ingratitude. God daily loadeth us with benefits, but we heap up sins upon him. II. The pressure of insults. Insult to his Being, Word, and providence. In whatever light we look upon evil, it is a burden to God and his works. God faints not in the upholding and government of the world. But he grows weary with our iniquities (Isaiah 43:24); and creation groans beneath its weight (Romans 8:22). In another sense he carries our sins and will take them from us. Then if delivered from sin, we shall not be crushed by judgments.
The judgments of God. With what patience God bears with man’s sin! Three transgressions are followed by a fourth; sin is multiplied by sin, before he inflicts punishments; but impenitent sinners may be sure, that if Divine patience lingers, not willing that any should perish, yet their judgment “lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 2
Amos 2:6-8. Oppression. To rob and oppress the rich is a great sin; but to rob and oppress the poor is a greater: but to rob and oppress the poor, because he is poor and wants money to buy justice, is the top of all inhumanity and impiety. To oppress any one is a sin; but to oppress the oppressed is the height of sin. Poverty and want should be motives to pity; but oppressors make them whetstones of their cruelty and severity, and therefore the Lord will plead the cause of his poor oppressed against their oppressors without fee or fear [Brooks].
Amos 2:9-10. Wilderness. An Emperor of Persia, who designed to go on a journey into Media, durst not proceed on account of the vast quantity of scorpions that were lying round about the road. He sent a great number of stout fellows to destroy these terrible creatures, promising a superior reward to him who killed most. Till this execution was over he durst not venture his dignified person abroad [Whitecross].
Amos 2:12. A man once called upon a publican to settle an account, in a village near Elgin, and was asked to take a dram. The man was a member of a Temperance Society and declined. The publican first began to ridicule and then to tempt him, saying that he would give him a real good one, and that besides, a gin dram would not be objected to. The simple man at length yielded, and having yielded was more ready to sink before other less powerful temptations. He did so, and is no longer a temperate man nor a member of a society. The conduct of the publican was most atrocious in tempting a man, when he knew his conscientious reasons for total abstinence. If his unhappy victim die the death of the drunkard, who will say he is guiltless of the loss of that man’s soul? [Whitecross].
Amos 2:14-16. Swift. The mighty hosts of Persia were no defence at the battle of Arbela. Napoleon led more than half a million of men into Russia, but could not escape the danger by retreat. His valiant guards could neither uphold his empire nor protect his person at Waterloo, when he cried out—“It is all over; save yourselves who can.”
“Not the chief his serried lances,
Not his strength secures the brave;
All in vain the war-horse prances,
Weak his force his lord to save.” [Richard Mant.]