|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 25. - Ye have always been idolaters, corrupters of pure worship. Your service in the wilderness, when you were little exposed to external influence, was no more true and faithful than that which you offer now; that was as unacceptable as this. Have ye offered unto me? Did ye offer unto me? The answer expected is "No;" i.e. you did not so really, because your worship was mixed with falsehood, and was not offered simply and genuinely to me. It is certain, too, that during the sojourn in the wilderness sacrificial worship fell greatly into desuetude, as we know that the rite of circumcision was suspended (Joshua 5:5-7), the Passover was not duly celebrated, and Joshua urged the people to put away the strange gods from among them (Joshua 24:23). Moses, too, doubtless with a view to existing practices, warns them against worshipping the heavenly bodies (Deuteronomy 4:19), and offering sacrifice unto devils (seirim), "after whom they had gone a-whoring" (Leviticus 17:7). The prophets, too, allude to the idolatry practised in the desert (see Ezekiel 20:7-26; Hosea 9:10). But to argue (as some neologians do) from this passage of Amos that the Israelites during those forty years knew nothing of Jehovah, or that Amos himself denies that they offered him any worship, is absurd, seeing that the prophet presupposes the fact, and blames them for corrupting the Divine service and mingling the prescribed and enacted ritual with idolatrous accretions. Sacrifices; slain, bloody sacrifices. Offerings; bloodless sacrifices, meal offerings.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings,.... No; they were not offered to God, but to devils, to the golden calf, and to the host of heaven: so their fathers did
in the wilderness forty years; where sacrifices were omitted during that time, a round number for a broken one, it being about thirty eight years; and these their children were imitators of them, and offered sacrifice to idols too, and therefore deserved punishment as they: even ye,
O house of Israel? the ten tribes, who are here particularly charged and threatened; See Gill on Acts 7:42.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25, 26. Have ye offered? &c.—Yes: ye have. "But (all the time with strange inconsistency) ye have borne (aloft in solemn pomp) the tabernacle (that is, the portable shrine, or model tabernacle: small enough not to be detected by Moses; compare Ac 19:24) of your Molech" (that idol is "your" god; I am not, though ye go through the form of presenting offerings to Me). The question, "Have ye," is not a denial (for they did offer in the wilderness to Jehovah sacrifices of the cattle which they took with them in their nomad life there, Ex 24:4; Nu 7:1-89; 9:1, &c.), but a strong affirmation (compare 1Sa 2:27, 28; Jer 31:20; Eze 20:4). The sin of Israel in Amos' time is the very sin of their forefathers, mocking God with worship, while at the same time worshipping idols (compare Eze 20:39). It was clandestine in Moses' time, else he would have put it down; he was aware generally of their unfaithfulness, though not knowing the particulars (De 31:21, 27).
Molech … Chiun—"Molech" means "king" answering to Mars [Bengel]; the Sun [Jablonski]; Saturn, the same as "Chiun" [Maurer]. The Septuagint translates "Chiun" into Remphan, as Stephen quotes it (Ac 7:42, 43). The same god often had different names. Molech is the Ammonite name; Chiun, the Arabic and Persian name, written also Chevan. In an Arabic lexicon Chiun means "austere"; so astrologers represented Saturn as a planet baleful in his influence. Hence the Phonicians offered human sacrifices to him, children especially; so idolatrous Israel also. Rimmon was the Syrian name (2Ki 5:18); pronounced as Remvan, or "Remphan," just as Chiun was also Chevan. Molech had the form of a king; Chevan, or Chiun, of a star [Grotius]. Remphan was the Egyptian name for Saturn: hence the Septuagint translator of Amos gave the Egyptian name for the Hebrew, being an Egyptian. [Hodius II, De Bibliorum Textibus Originalibus. 4.115]. The same as the Nile, of which the Egyptians made the star Saturn the representative [Harenberg]. Bengel considers Remphan or Rephan akin to Teraphim and Remphis, the name of a king of Egypt. The Hebrews became infected with Sabeanism, the oldest form of idolatry, the worship of the Saba or starry hosts, in their stay in the Arabian desert, where Job notices its prevalence (Job 31:26); in opposition, in Am 5:27, Jehovah declares Himself "the God of hosts."
the star of your god—R. Isaac Caro says all the astrologers represented Saturn as the star of Israel. Probably there was a figure of a star on the head of the image of the idol, to represent the planet Saturn; hence "images" correspond to "star" in the parallel clause. A star in hieroglyphics represents God (Nu 24:17). "Images" are either a Hebraism for "image," or refer to the many images made to represent Chiun.
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