|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:10-17 It is no new thing for the accusers of the brethren, to misrepresent them as enemies to the king and kingdom, as traitors to their prince, and troublers of the land, when they are the best friends to both. Those who make gain their godliness, and are governed by the hopes of wealth and preferment, are ready to think these the most powerful motives with others also. But those who have a warrant from God, like Amos, ought not to fear the face of man. If God, that sent him, had not strengthened him, he could not thus have set his face as a flint. The Lord often chooses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise and mighty. But no fervent prayers, or self-denying labours, can bring proud sinners to bear faithful reproofs and warnings. And all who oppose or despise the Divine word, must expect fatal effects to their souls, unless they repent.
Verses 10-17. - § 4. This bold prophecy, no longer conceived in general terms or referring to distant times, but distinct and personal, arouses the animosity of the priestly authorities at Bethel, who accuse Amos before the king, and warn him to leave the country without more words, or to fear the worst. Verse 10. - Amaziah the priest of Bethel. Amaziah ("the Lord is strong"), the chief of the idol priests at Bethel, a crafty and determined man, hearing this prophecy against the royal house, takes it up as a political matter, and makes a formal accusation against Amos with the view of silencing him. Hath conspired against thee. Probably some of the Israelites had been convinced by the prophet's words, and had joined themselves to him; hence Amaziah speaks of "a conspiracy" (1 Samuel 22:8, 13; 1 Kings 15:27) against the king. Or very possibly the story was fabricated in order to accentuate the charge against Amos. In the midst of the house of Israel. In the very centre of the kingdom, where his treasonable speeches would have the greatest effect. The land, personified, cannot endure such language, which is calculated to disturb its peace, and is quite contrary to its ideas and hopes.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel,.... The Targum calls him the prince or president of Bethel; and the word used signifies both a prince and a priest; and very probably this man had the care of the civil as well as religious matters in Bethel. Aben Ezra styles him the priest of Baal; he was one that succeeded the priests that Jeroboam the son of Nebat placed here, to offer sacrifices to the calf he set up in this place, 1 Kings 12:32; who hearing the above three visions of Amos delivered, and fearing that he would alienate the people from the idolatrous worship he was at the head of, and frighten them from an attendance on it, which would lessen his esteem with the people, and also his worldly gain and profit; and observing that Amos did not make any intercession for the averting of the judgment threatened in the last vision, as in the other two, and which particularly concerned the king's family: he
sent to Jeroboam king of Israel; either letters or messengers, or both; who, it seems, was not at this time at Bethel, but at some other place; perhaps Samaria, which was not a great way from hence:
saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the land of Israel; he speaks of Amos as if he was well known to the king, and perhaps he might be, having long prophesied in the land of Israel, and near the court; and represents him as a seditious person, not as affecting the crown and kingdom himself, but as stirring up a spirit, of rebellion among the people; taking off their affections from their prince, and them from their allegiance to him, by representing him as a wicked person that would in a little time be cut off; and this he did not privately, and in a corner, but publicly, in the midst of the land, and before all the people of Israel; and this was no new and unusual thing to represent good man, and especially ministers of the word, as enemies to the civil government, when none are truer friends to it, or more quiet under it:
the land is not able to bear all his words; either to withstand the power of them; they will have such an influence upon the people, if timely care is not taken, as to cause them both to reject the established religion and worship at Dan and Bethel, and to rise up in arms against the civil government, and dethrone him the king; such terrible things he says to the people, as will frighten them, and put them upon taking such measures as these: or else the prophet's words were so intolerable, that his good subjects, the inhabitants of the land could not bear them; and if he did not give orders himself to take away his life, they would rise up against him, and dispatch him themselves.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. priest of Beth-el—chief priest of the royal sanctuary to the calves at Beth-el. These being a device of state policy to keep Israel separate from Judah. Amaziah construes Amos words against them as treason. So in the case of Elijah and Jeremiah (1Ki 18:17; Jer 37:13, 14). So the antitype Jesus was charged (Joh 19:12); political expediency being made in all ages the pretext for dishonoring God and persecuting His servants (Joh 11:48-50). So in the case of Paul (Ac 17:6, 7; 24:5).
in the midst of … Israel—probably alluding to Amos' own words, "in the midst of … Israel" (Am 7:8), foretelling the state's overthrow to the very center. Not secretly, or in a corner, but openly, in the very center of the state, so as to upset the whole utterly.
land is not able to bear all his words—They are so many and so intolerable. A sedition will be the result. The mention of his being "priest of Beth-el" implies that it was for his own priestly gain, not for the king or state, he was so keen.
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