|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.
Verse 24. - But let judgment run down as waters; let judgment roll on; Septuagint, καὶ κυλισθήσεται ὡς ὕδωρ κρίμα, "and judgment shall roll along as water." Et revelabitur quasi aqua judicium (Vulgate). This verse has been explained in different ways. Hitzig, Keil, with many ancient commentators, find in it a threat of chastisement, "the flooding of the land with judgment and the punitive righteousness of God." Pusey, Professor Gandell, and others consider it to be a call to amendment. "He bids them let judgment, which had hitherto been perverted in its course, roll on like a mighty tide of waters, sweeping before it all hindrances," filling the whole land with righteousness. Schegg makes it to be a promise of the coming of the day of the Lord, that is, the revelation of Messiah. But such a promise in this position is very forced and unnatural. The second interpretation seems most suitable. In the midst of the denunciation of men's formal worship, the prophet announces their duty in the present crisis, attention to which could alone win God's favour. Judgment and righteousness, long neglected and forgotten, should permeate the land like refreshing streams of water - a simile of special signification to an inhabitant of an Eastern country, where the neighbourhood of a perennial stream was as delightful as it was unusual. Mighty (ethan); ἄβατος, "impassable" (Septuagint); fortis (Vulgate). The word may mean "strong," or "perennial." "Whence the seventh month, just before the early rain, was called the month Ethanim, i.e. the month of the perennial streams, when they alone flowed" (Pusey).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But let judgments run down as waters,.... Or "roll" (o); in abundance, with great rapidity, bearing down all before them, which nothing can resist; signifying the plenty of justice done in the land, the full and free exercise of it, without any stoppage or intermission:
and righteousness as a mighty stream; the same thing expressed in different words; though some think that not the execution of judgment and justice by men is here exhorted to, but the vindictive justice of God is threatened; which like a mighty torrent of water should come down, overwhelm, bear away, and destroy all before it, even all the transgressors in Israel.
(o) "volvatur", Munster, Mercerus, Liveleus, Drusius; "volvat se", Montanus, Vatablus; "revolvet se", Piscator; "provolvatur", Cocceius.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
5:24 Let judgment - Let justice be administered constantly. Righteousness - Equity. Stream - Bearing down all that opposes it.
Amos 5:24 Parallel Commentaries
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