|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:9-16 We need often to be reminded of the mercies we have received; which add much to the evil of the sins we have committed. They had helps for their souls, which taught them how to make good use of their earthly enjoyments, and were therefore more valuable. Faithful ministers are great blessings to any people; but it is God that raises them up to be so. Sinners' own consciences will witness that he has not been wanting to them in the means of grace. They did what they could to lead believers aside. Satan and his agents are busy to corrupt the minds of young people who look heavenward; they overcome many by drawing them to the love of mirth and pleasure, and into drinking company. Multitudes of young men who bade fair as professors of religion, have erred through strong drink, and have been undone for ever. The Lord complains of sin, especially the sins of his professing people, as a burden to him. And though his long-suffering be tired, his power is not, and so the sinner will find to his cost. When men reject God's word, adding obstinacy to sin, and this becomes the general character of a people, they will be given up to misery, notwithstanding all their boasted power and resources. May we then humble ourselves before the Lord, for all our ingratitude and unfaithfulness.
Verse 11. - Having mentioned two temporal benefits conferred on Israel, the prophet now names two spiritual favours - the presence of holy speakers and holy doers. I raised up. The prophet and the Nazarite were alike miracles of grace. The former gave heavenly teaching, the latter exhibited holiness of life. It was the Lord who gave the prophet power and authority to proclaim his will; it was the Lord who inspired the vow of the Nazarite and enabled him to carry it out in practice. Prophets. To Israel belonged Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1), Ahijah of Shiloh (1 Kings 14:2, 4), Jehu, son of Hanani (1 Kings 16:7), Elijah and Elisha, Hosea and Jonah. Young men. In the height of their passions, lusty and strong. Nazarites. The law concerning the Nazarites is given in Numbers 6. The special restrictions by which they bound themselves (viz. abstention from strong drink, from the use of the razor, and from all ritual defilement) were the outward signs of inward purity and devotion to God. Their very name implied separation from the world and devotion to God. They were, in fact, the religious of the old Law, analogous to the monks of Christian times. The vow was either temporary or lifelong. Of perpetual Nazarites we have as instances Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. Is it not even thus? Is not the existence of prophets and Nazarites among you a proof that you are signally favoured by God, separate from other nations, and bound to be a holy people? Taking the general import of the passage and the signification of the word "Nazarite," the LXX. renders, εἰς ἀγιασμόν, "I took... and of your young men for consecration."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I raised up of your sons for prophets,.... Such as Moses, Joshua, and the seventy elders, and others; not only to foretell things to come, but to teach and instruct the people in the doctrines and duties of religion, and to warn them of their sins, and the danger of them:
and of your young men for Nazarites: as Samson, Samuel, and others; whose vow not only obliged them from shaving their hair, but to abstain from drinking wine, and eating grapes, which the youthful age is inclined unto; but such grace was given them, as enabled them to deny themselves sensual gratifications, and to be examples of piety and constant attendance on the service of God, and instructing the people. The Targum is,
"of your young men for teachers;''
these were the spiritual mercies, as the former were the temporal ones, the Lord bestowed on these people, for the truth of which he appeals to them:
is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord? can ye deny it? the thing was too notorious to be contradicted.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
2:11 Nazarites - Persons who bound themselves to a very sober and holy life; either for some certain time, or for their whole life.
Amos 2:11 Parallel Commentaries
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