|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-5 Woe to the people that devise evil during the night, and rise early to carry it into execution! It is bad to do mischief on a sudden thought, much worse to do it with design and forethought. It is of great moment to improve and employ hours of retirement and solitude in a proper manner. If covetousness reigns in the heart, compassion is banished; and when the heart is thus engaged, violence and fraud commonly occupy the hands. The most haughty and secure in prosperity, are commonly most ready to despair in adversity. Woe to those from whom God turns away! Those are the sorest calamities which cut us off from the congregation of the Lord, or cut us short in the enjoyment of its privileges.
Verse 3. - The sin shall be followed by its appropriate punishment. As they devised evil, God will devise a penalty. This family. The whole people (Amos 3:1). An evil. A chastisement, a judgment (Amos 3:6). Ye. The prophet suddenly addresses them, the "family." Your necks. He speaks of the calamity as a heavy, galling yoke, from which they should be unable to free themselves (comp. Hosea 10:11). This yoke is their conquest and exile at the hands of foreigners (comp. Jeremiah 27:12). Haughtily. With head erect. Septuagint, ὀρθοί. Their pride shall be brought low. This time is evil; full of calamity, which is announced in the following verses. The words occur in Amos 5:13, but the evil there spoken of is moral (comp. Ephesians 5:16).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore thus saith the Lord, behold, against this family do I devise an evil,.... Because of those evils of covetousness, oppression, and injustice, secretly devised, and deliberately committed, the Lord, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, declares, and would have it observed, that he had devised an evil of punishment against the whole nation of Israel, the ten tribes particularly, among whom these sins greatly prevailed; even an invasion of their land by the Assyrians, and the carrying of them captive from it into foreign parts:
from which ye shall not remove your necks; that is, they should not be able to deliver themselves from it; they would not be able to stop the enemy in his progress, having entered their land; nor oblige him to break up the siege of their city, before which he would sit, and there continue till he had taken it; and being carried captive by him, they would never be able to free themselves from the yoke of bondage put upon them, and under which they remain unto this day. The allusion is to beasts slipping their necks out of the collar or yoke put upon them: these sons of Belial had broke off the yoke of God's commandments, and now he will, put another yoke upon them, they shall never be able to cast off until the time of the restitution of all things, when all Israel shall be saved:
neither shall ye go haughtily; as they now did, in an erect posture, with necks stretched out, and heads lifted up high, and looking upon others with scorn and contempt; but hereafter it should be otherwise, their heads would hang down, their countenances be dejected, and their backs bowed with the burdens upon them:
for this time is evil; very calamitous, afflictive, and distressing; and so not a time for pride and haughtiness, but for dejection and humiliation; see Ephesians 5:16.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. against this family—against the nation, and especially against those reprobated in Mic 2:1, 2.
I devise an evil—a happy antithesis between God's dealings and the Jews' dealings (Mic 2:1). Ye "devise evil" against your fellow countrymen; I devise evil against you. Ye devise it wrongfully, I by righteous retribution in kind.
from which ye shall not remove your necks—as ye have done from the law. The yoke I shall impose shall be one which ye cannot shake off. They who will not bend to God's "easy yoke" (Mt 11:29, 30), shall feel His iron yoke.
go haughtily—(Compare Note, see on Jer 6:28). Ye shall not walk as now with neck haughtily uplifted, for the yoke shall press down your "neck."
this time is evil—rather, "for that time shall be an evil time," namely, the time of the carrying away into captivity (compare Am 5:13; Eph 5:16).
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