|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 27. - Therefore. The consequence of their continued alienation from God should be deportation to a foreign land, beyond Damascus, far away from the confines of the country once their own possession (2 Samuel 8:6), thus dimly denoting As. syria, at that time not hostile, but known in the time of Tiglath-Pileser I. (see the accomplishment, 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Kings 17:6). St. Stephen says (Acts 7:43), "beyond Babylon;" "Magis enim," observes Jerome, "intelligentiam quam verbum posuit;" and he is probably blending other prophecies with that of Amos, e.g. Jeremiah 20:4.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus,.... The chief city of Syria; and which, as Aben Ezra says, lay to the east of the land of Israel, and was a very strong and fortified place: and Syria being in alliance with Israel, the Israelites might think of fleeing thither for refuge, in the time of their distress; but they are here told that they should be taken captive, and be carried to places far more remote than that: Stephen says, "beyond Babylon"; as they were, for they were carried into Media, to Halah and Habor by the river of Gozan, to the cities of the Medes; their way to which lay through Syria and Babylon; See Gill on Acts 7:43;
saith the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts; and therefore is able to do what he threatens; and it might be depended upon it would be certainly done, as it is clear, beyond all contradiction, it has been done; see 2 Kings 17:6.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. beyond Damascus—In Ac 7:43 it is "beyond Babylon," which includes beyond Damascus. In Amos' time, Damascus was the object of Israel's fear because of the Syrian wars. Babylon was not yet named as the place of their captivity. Stephen supplies this name. Their place of exile was in fact, as he states, "beyond Babylon," in Halah and Habor by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes (2Ki 17:6; compare here Am 1:5; 4:3; 6:14). The road to Assyria lay through "Damascus." It is therefore specified, that not merely shall they be carried captives to Damascus, as they had been by Syrian kings (2Ki 10:32, 33; 13:7), but, beyond that, to a region whence a return was not so possible as from Damascus. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go captive among idolaters. Compare 2Ki 15:29; 16:9; Isa 8:4, whence it appears Tiglath-pileser attacked Israel and Damascus at the same time at Ahaz' request (Am 3:11).
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