|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:18-27 Woe unto those that desire the day of the Lord's judgments, that wish for times of war and confusion; as some who long for changes, hoping to rise upon the ruins of their country! but this should be so great a desolation, that nobody could gain by it. The day of the Lord will be a dark, dismal, gloomy day to all impenitent sinners. When God makes a day dark, all the world cannot make it light. Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God, will be pursued by them; if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them. A pretence of piety is double iniquity, and so it will be found. The people of Israel copied the crimes of their forefathers. The law of worshipping the Lord our God, is, Him only we must serve. Professors thrive so little, because they have little or no communion with God in their duties. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go into captivity among idolaters.
Verses 18-27. - The prophet enforces the threat by denouncing woe on those that trust to their covenant relation to God, expecting the day when he would punish the heathen for their sakes, and thinking that external, heartless worship was acceptable to him. Verse 18. - The day of the Lord. Anycrisis in the nation's history is so called, when God interposes to punish and correct. To our minds it looks forward to the final judgment. It is often mentioned by the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 2:12; Isaiah 13:6, 9; Joel 2:1, 11; Joel 3:18; Zephaniah 1:7, 14) as a time when the heathen should be judged, all the enemies of Israel defeated, and when Israel herself was exalted to the highest pitch of prosperity and dominion. Without any regard to the moral condition affixed to the realization of these expectations (see Joel 2:32), the people "desired" the appearance of this day, thus foolishly confirming themselves in their sinful life and false security. Some think scoffers are intended, but the context shows that the persons signified are sincere but mistaken believers in the safety of Israel's covenant position. To what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness; Why would ye have the day of the Lord? It is darkness. Why do ye, such as ye are, want this day to come? Ye know not what ye ask. It will be the very contrary to your expectations; it will be darkness, and not light, tribulation and misery, not joy and triumph for you (comp. Micah 7:8).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord,.... Either the day of Christ's coming in the flesh, as Cocceius interprets it; and which was desired by the people of Israel, not on account of spiritual and eternal salvation, but that they might be delivered by him from outward troubles and enemies, and enjoy temporal felicity; they had a notion of him as a temporal Saviour and Redeemer, in whose days they should possess much outward happiness, and therefore desired his coming; see Malachi 3:1; or else the day of the Lord's judgments upon them, spoken of by the prophet, and which they were threatened with, but did not believe it would ever come; and therefore in a scoffing jeering manner, expressed their desire of it, to show their disbelief of it, and that they were in no pain or fear about it, like those in Isaiah 5:19;
to what end is it for you? why do you desire it? what benefit do you expect to get by it?
the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light; it will bring on affliction, calamities, miseries, and distress, which are often in Scripture expressed by "darkness", and not prosperity and happiness, which are sometimes signified by "light"; see Isaiah 5:30; and even the day of the coming of Christ were to the unbelieving Jews darkness, and not light; they were blinded in it, and given up to judicial blindness and darkness; they hating and rejecting the light of Christ, and his Gospel, and which issued in great calamities, in the utter ruin and destruction of that people, John 3:19.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Woe unto you who do not scruple to say in irony, "We desire that the day of the Lord would come," that is, "Woe to you who treat it as if it were a mere dream of the prophets" (Isa 5:19; Jer 17:15; Eze 12:22).
to what end is it for you!—Amos taking their ironical words in earnest: for God often takes the blasphemer at his own word, in righteous retribution making the scoffer's jest a terrible reality against himself. Ye have but little reason to desire the day of the Lord; for it will be to you calamity, and not joy.
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