Amos 1:11
Thus said the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever:
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(11) Edom.—Comp. the prophecy of Obadiah and Isaiah 34:5. See also Dict. of the Bible, art. “Edom.” All through their history Edom sided with the enemies of Israel. (Comp. 1Samuel 14:47; 2Samuel 8:14; Psalm 60:9; and 2Chronicles 21:8-10.)

Cast Off.—It would be better to render stifled. In the following clause read “And his indignation rended continually, and his wrath lurked ever on the watch.” But another punctuation of the Hebrew original yields a different sense. “As for his wrath, he hath kept it for ever” (almost as E.V.). This corresponds closely with Jeremiah 3:5.

Amos 1:11-12. For three transgressions of Edom, &c. — The Edomites, or Idumeans, are often threatened for their enmity against the Israelites, because they took all occasions to oppress and insult over them in their distress. Because he did pursue his brother with the sword — The Edomites retained the same hatred and animosity against their brethren, the Israelites, which their father Esau had expressed against his brother Jacob. But I will send a fire upon Teman, &c. — Teman and Bozrah were two principal cities of Idumea. The destruction here denounced against them was afterward brought upon them, in some degree, by Sennacherib, but more especially by Nebuchadnezzar: see notes on Jeremiah 49:7-22, and Ezekiel 25:15.1:18-21 There shall be abundant Divine influences, and the gospel will spread speedily into the remotest corners of the earth. These events are predicted under significant emblems; there is a day coming, when every thing amiss shall be amended. The fountain of this plenty is in the house of God, whence the streams take rise. Christ is this Fountain; his sufferings, merit, and grace, cleanse, refresh, and make fruitful. Gospel grace, flowing from Christ, shall reach to the Gentile world, to the most remote regions, and make them abound in fruits of righteousness; and from the house of the Lord above, from his heavenly temple, flows all the good we daily taste, and hope to enjoy eternally.Edom - God had impressed on Israel its relation of brotherhood to Edom. Moses expressed it to Edom himself , and, after the suspicious refusal of Edom to allow Israel to march on the highway through his territory, he speaks as kindly of him, as before; "And when we passed by from our brethren, the children of Esau" Deuteronomy 2:8. It was the unkindness of worldly politics, and was forgiven. The religious love of the Egyptian and the Edomite was, on distinct grounds, made part of the law. "Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land" Deuteronomy 23:7. The grandchild of an Egyptian or of an Edomite was religiously to become as an Israelite Deuteronomy 23:8. Not a foot of Edomite territory was Israel to appropriate, however provoked. It was God's gift to Edom, as much as Canaan to Israel. "They shall be afraid of you, and ye shall take exceeding heed to yourselves. Quarrel not with them, for I will give you, of their land, no, not so much as the treading of the sole of the foot, for I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession" Deuteronomy 2:4-5.

From this time until that of Saul, there is no mention of Edom; only that the Maonites and the Amalekites, who oppressed Israel Judges 6:3; Judges 10:12, were kindred tribes with Edom. The increasing strength of Israel in the early days of Saul seems to have occasioned a conspiracy against him, such as Asaph afterward complains of; "They have said, come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent, they are confederate against Thee; the tabernacles of Edom and the Ishmaelites; of Moab and the Hagarenes; Gebal and Ammon and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them; they have been an arm to the children of Lot" Psalm 83:4-8. Such a combination began probably in the time of Saul. "He fought against all his enemies on every side; against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against the king of Edom, and against the Philistines" 1 Samuel 14:47.

They were "his enemies," and that, round about, encircling Israel, as hunters did their prey. "Edom," on the south and southeast; "Moab" and "Ammon" on the east; the Syrians of "Zobah" on the north; the Philistines on the west enclosed him as in a net, and he repulsed them one by one. "Whichever why he turned, he worsted" them. It follows "he delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them" 1 Samuel 14:48. The aggression was from Edom, and that in combination with old oppressors of Israel, not from Saul . The wars of Saul and of David were defensive wars. Israel was recovering from a state of depression, not oppressing. "The valley of salt" 2 Samuel 8:13, where David defeated the Edomites, was also doubtless within the borders of Judah, since "the city of salt" was Joshua 15:62; and the valley of salt was probably near the remarkable "mountain of salt," 5 56 miles long, near the end of the Dead Sea , which, as being Canaanite, belonged to Israel. It was also far north of Kadesh, which was "the utmost boundary" of Edom Numbers 20:16.

From that Psalm too of mingled thanksgiving and prayer which David composed after the victory, "in the valley of salt" (Psalm 60:1-12 title), it appears that, even after that victory, David's army had not yet entered Edom. "Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?" Psalm 60:9. That same Psalm speaks of grievous suffering before, "in" which God had "cast" them "off" and "scattered" them; "made the earth tremble and cleft it;" so that "it reeled" Psalm 60:1-3, Psalm 60:10. Joab too had "returned" from the war in the north against the Syrians of Mesopotamia, to meet the Edomites. Whether in alliance with the Syrians, or taking advantage of the absence of the main army there, the Edomites had inflicted some heavy blow on Israel; a battle in which Abishai killed 18,000 men 1 Chronicles 18:12 had been indecisive. The Edomites were relpalsed by the rapid counter-march of Joab. The victory, according to the Psalm, was still incomplete 1 Chronicles 18:1, 1 Chronicles 18:5, 1 Chronicles 18:9-12. David put "garrisons in Edom" 2 Samuel 8:14, to restrain them from further outbreaks. Joab avenged the wrong of the Edomites, conformably to his character 1 Kings 11:16; but the fact that "the captain of the host" had "to go up to bury the slain" (1 Kings 11:15. It should be rendered, not, after he had slain, but, and he killed, etc.), shows the extent of the deadly blow, which he so fearfully avenged.

The store set by the king of Egypt on Hadad, the Edomite prince who fled to him 1 Kings 11:14-20, shows how gladly Egypt employed Edom as an enemy to Israel. It has been said that he rebelled and failed . Else it remained under a dependent king appointed by Judah, for 1 12 century (1 Kings 22:47; 2 Kings 3:9 ff). One attempt against Judah is recorded 2 Chronicles 20:10, when those of Mount Seir combined with Moab and Ammon against Jehoshaphat after his defeat at Ramoth-gilead. They had penetrated beyond Engedi 2 Chronicles 20:2, 2 Chronicles 20:16, 2 Chronicles 20:20, on the road which Arab marauders take now , toward the wilderness of Tekoa, when God set them against one another, and they fell by each other's hands 2 Chronicles 20:22-24. But Jehoshaphat's prayer at this time evinces that Israel's had been a defensive warfare. Otherwise, he could not have appealed to God, "the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom Thou wouldest not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not, behold, they reward us, to come to cast us out of Thy possession, which Thou hast given us to inherit" 2 Chronicles 20:10-11.

Judah held Edom by aid of garrisons, as a wild beast is held in a cage, that they might not injure them, but had taken no land from them, nor expelled them. Edom sought to cast Israel out of God's land. Revolts cannot be without bloodshed; and so it is perhaps the more probable, that the words of Joel, "for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land" Joel 3:19, relate to a massacre of the Jews, when Esau revolted from Jehoram 2 Kings 8:20-22. We have seen, in the Indian Massacres, how every living being of the ruling power may, on such occasions, be sought out for destruction. Edom gained its independence, and Jehoram, who sought to recover his authority, escaped with his life by cutting through the Edomite army by night 2 Kings 8:21. Yet in Amaziha's time they were still on the offensive, since the battle wherein he defeated them, was again "in the valley of salt" 2 Kings 14:7; 2 Chronicles 25:11, 2 Chronicles 25:14.

Azariah, in whose reign Amos prophesied, regained Elath from them, the port for the Indian trade 2 Chronicles 26:2. Of the origin of that war, we know nothing; only the brief words as to the Edomite invasion against Ahaz, "and yet again had the Edomites come, and smitten in Judah, and carried captive a captivity" 2 Chronicles 28:17, attest previous and, it may be, habitual invasions. For no one such invasion had been named. It may probably mean, "they did yet again, what they had been in the habit of doing." But in matter of history, the prophets, in declaring the grounds of God's judgments, supply much which it was not the object of the historical books to relate. "They" are histories of God's dealings with His people, His chastisements of them or of His sinful instruments in chastising them. Rarely, except when His supremacy was directly challenged, do they record the ground of the chastisements of pagan nations. Hence, to those who look on the surface only, the wars of the neighboring nations against Israel look but like the alternations of peace and war, victory and defeat, in modern times. The prophets draw up the veil, and show us the secret grounds of man's misdeeds and God's judgments.

Because he did pursue his brother - The characteristic sin of Edom, and its punishment are one main subject of the prophecy of Obadiah, inveterate malice contrary to the law of kindred. Eleven hundred years had passed since the birth of their forefathers, Jacob and Esan. But, with God, eleven hundred years had not worn out kindred. He who willed to knit together all creation, human beings and angels, in one in Christ Ephesians 1:10, and, as a means of union, "made of one blood all nations of people for to dwell on all the face of the earth" Acts 17:26, used all sorts of ways to impress this idea of brotherhood. "We" forget relationship mostly in the third generation, often sooner; and we think it strange when a nation long retains the memories of those relationships . God, in His law, stamped on His people's minds those wider meanings. To slay a man was to slay a "brother" Genesis 9:5.

Even the outcast Canaan was a brother Genesis 9:25 to Shem and Ham. Lot speaks to the men of Sodom amidst their iniquities, "my brethren" Genesis 19:7; Jacob so salutes those unknown to him Genesis 29:4. The descendants of Ishmael and Isaac were to be brethren; so were those of Esau and Jacob Genesis 16:12; Genesis 25:18. The brotherhood of blood was not to wear out, and there was to be a brotherhood of love also Genesis 27:29, Genesis 27:37. Every Israelite was a brother ; each tribe was a brother to every other Deuteronomy 10:9; Deuteronomy 18:2; Judges 20:23, Judges 20:28; the force of the appeal was remembered, even when passion ran high 2 Samuel 2:26. It enters habitually into the divine legislation. "Thou shall open thy hand wide unto thy brother Deuteronomy 15:11; if thy brother, a" Hebrew, sell himself to thee Deuteronomy 15:12; thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray and hide thyself from them Deuteronomy 22:1-4; if thy brother be waxen poor, then shalt thou relieve him, though a stranger and a sojourner, that he may live with thee" (Leviticus 25:35-39; add Leviticus 19:17; Deuteronomy 24:7, Deuteronomy 24:10, Deuteronomy 24:14).

In that same law, Edom's relationship as a brother was acknowledged. It was an abiding law that Israel was not to take land, nor to refuse to admit him into the congregation of the Lord. Edom too remembered the relation, but to hate him. The nations around Israel seem to have been little at war with one another, bound together by common hatred against God's people. Of their wars indeed we should not hear, for they had no religious interest. They would be but the natural results of the passions of unregenerate nature. Feuds there doubtless were and forays, but no attempts at permanent conquest or subdual. Their towns remain in their own possession . Tyre does not invade Philistia; nor Philistia, Tyre or Edom. But all combine against Israel. The words, "did pursue his brother with the sword," express more than is mentioned in the historical books.

To "pursue" is more than to fight. They followed after, in order to destroy a remnant, "and cast off all pity:" literally, and more strongly, "corrupted his compassions, tendernesses." Edom did violence to his natural feelings, as Ezekiel, using the same word, says of Tyre, "corrupting Ezekiel 28:17 his wisdom," that is, perverting it from the end for which God gave it, and so destroying it. Edom "steeled himself," as we say, against his better feelings," his better nature," "deadened" them. But so they do not live again. Man is not master of the life and death of his feelings, anymore than of his natural existence. He can destroy; he cannot re-create. And he does, so far, "corrupt," decay, do to death, his own feelings, whenever, in any signal instance, he acts against them. Edom was not simply unfeeling. He destroyed all "his tender yearnings" over suffering, such as God has put into every human heart, until it destroys them. Ordinary anger is satisfied and slaked by its indulgence; malice is fomented and fed and invigorated by it. Edom ever, as occasion gratified his anger; "his anger did tear continually;" yet, though raging as some wild ravening animal, without control, "he kept his wrath for ever," not within bounds, but to let it loose anew. He retained it when he ought to have parted with it, and let it loose when he ought to have restrained it.

"What is best, when spoiled, becomes the worst," is proverbial truth. : "As no love wellnigh is more faithful than that of brothers, so no hatred, when it hath once begun, is more unjust, no odium fiercer. Equality stirs up and inflames the mind; the shame of giving way and the love of preeminence is the more inflamed, in that the memory of infancy and whatever else would seem to gender good will, when once they are turned aside from the right path, produce hatred and contempt." They were proverbial sayings of paganism, "fierce are the wars of brethren" , and "they who have loved exceedingly, they too hate exceedingly." : "The Antiochi, the Seleuci, the Gryphi, the Cyziceni, when they learned not to be all but brothers, but craved the purple and diadems, overwhelmed themselves and Asia too with many calamities."

11. Edom … did pursue his brother—(Isa 34:5). The chief aggravation to Edom's violence against Israel was that they both came from the same parents, Isaac and Rebekah (compare Ge 25:24-26; De 23:7, 8; Ob 10, 12; Mal 1:2).

cast off all pity—literally, "destroy compassions," that is, did suppress all the natural feeling of pity for a brother in distress.

his wrath for ever—As Esau kept up his grudge against Jacob, for having twice supplanted him, namely, as to the birthright and the blessing (Ge 27:41), so Esau's posterity against Israel (Nu 20:14, 21). Edom first showed his spite in not letting Israel pass through his borders when coming from the wilderness, but threatening to "come out against him with the sword"; next, when the Syrians attacked Jerusalem under Ahaz (compare 2Ch 28:17, with 2Ki 16:5); next, when Nebuchadnezzar assailed Jerusalem (Ps 137:7, 8). In each case Edom chose the day of Israel's calamity for venting his grudge. This is the point of Edom's guilt dwelt on in Ob 10-13. God punishes the children, not for the sin of their fathers, but for their own filling up the measure of their fathers' guilt, as children generally follow in the steps of, and even exceed, their fathers' guilt (compare Ex 20:5).

Three transgressions: see Amos 1:3.

Edom: see Amos 1:6.

I will not turn away the punishment thereof: see Amos 1:3. He did pursue; watch for and lay hold on every occasion to oppress Israel.

His brother; Jacob and his posterity here are meant, as is Esau and his posterity. Esau personally considered was an enemy to the person of Jacob, and vowed his ruin, forced him to flee into Padan-aram, and on his return thence frighted Jacob too by coming out with four hundred men armed; the posterity of Esau behaved themselves no whit more friendly.

With the sword; either joining with the enemies, as Psalm 83:6-8 137:7, or setting a war on foot on their own account, as 2 Chronicles 28:17, against them.

Cast off all pity; common humanity was by Edom cast off, when Jacob’s posterity needed it, as appears by their denial of passage and selling to them necessaries for their relief in travelling by their country, Numbers 20:14-21; nay, they armed against Israel, Numbers 20:20. Common pity would have forborne strangers travelling by our coasts; how much more brethren. The inhumanity of the Edomites appeared yet further in this, that they were chapmen to buy all the captive Israelites, and to sell them to the heathen for slaves, which is certainly the height of inhumanity.

His anger, which is expressed by fierceness, and with vehemency,

did tear, as a ravenous, hungry, and fierce lion tears the prey; so the word.

Perpetually; though sometimes this anger did intermit for want of opportunity, yet on every occasion it revived, and showed itself again.

Kept his wrath for ever; lest the fire of his wrath should extinguish, Edom did record, treasure up, and reserved the seeds of his displeasure, as men rake up fire in ashes to blow it up into a flame; such was Edom’s wrath, a wrath that exceeded all bounds, as the word imports, and never ceased. Thus saith the Lord for three transgressions of Edom,.... Or the Edomites, the posterity of Esau, whose name was Edom, so called from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to his brother Jacob:

and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; See Gill on Amos 1:3. Among these three or four transgressions, not only what follows is included, but their idolatry; for that the Edomites had their idols is certain, though what they were cannot be said; see 2 Chronicles 25:14;

because he did pursue his brother with the sword: not Esau his brother Jacob; for though he purposed in his heart to slay him, which obliged him to flee; and frightened him, upon his return, by meeting him with four hundred men; yet he never pursued him with the sword; but his posterity, the Edomites, not only would not suffer the Israelites their brethren to pass by their borders, but came out against them with a large army, Numbers 20:18; and in the times of Ahaz they came against Judah with the sword, and smote them, and carried away captives, 2 Chronicles 28:17; and were at the taking and destruction of Jerusalem, and assisted and encouraged in it, Psalm 137:7; though to these latter instances the prophet could have no respect, because they were after his time:

and did cast off all pity; bowels of compassion, natural affection, such as ought to be between brethren, even all humanity: or "corrupted", or "destroyed all pity" (w); showed none, but extinguished all sparks of it, as their behaviour to the Israelites showed, when upon their borders in the wilderness:

and his anger did tear perpetually; it was deeply rooted in them; it began in their first father Esau, on account of the blessing and birthright Jacob got from him; and it descended from father to son in all generations, and was vented in a most cruel manner, like the ravening of a lion, or any other beast of prey:

and kept his wrath for ever; reserved it in their breasts till they had an opportunity of showing it, as Esau their father proposed to do, Genesis 27:41.

(w) "corrupert misericordias suas", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus; "corrumpens miserationes suas", Junius & Tremellius; "corrupit", Piscator, Cocceius.

Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath {l} for ever:

(l) He was a continual enemy to him.

11. because he did pursue his brother with the sword] Edom and Israel are frequently spoken of as ‘brethren’ (Deuteronomy 2:4; Deuteronomy 23:7; Obadiah 1:10; Obadiah 1:12; cf. Genesis 27:40-41): they were more closely related to each other than was either to any of their other neighbours: and the unbrotherly attitude assumed too often by Edom towards Israel is the head and front of his offence. Cf. Obadiah 1:10 (of the behaviour of Edom at the time when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldaeans; see Amos 1:11-14), “For the violence done to thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.”

and did cast off all pity] and corrupted (or destroyed) his compassion, i.e. suppressed, or stifled, the natural instinct of tender regard which a person would normally cherish towards a brother, and which would render it impossible for him to ‘pursue’ him ‘with the sword.’

and his anger did tear perpetually] For the figure, see Job 16:9. Edom’s anger against his brother was ever raging, tearing (Psalm 7:2) or rending its victims, like some wild animal. But the parallelism of the following clause makes it possible that we ought to read ‘and retained his anger’ (ויטר for ויטרף): see Psalm 103:9; Leviticus 19:18; Nahum 1:2 (parallel with avenge); and, as here, parallel with keep (שמר), Jeremiah 3:5 (so Pesh. Vulg. Gunning, Wellhausen and others).

and he kept his wrath for ever] i.e. nursed, cherished it: instead of letting time dissipate it, he cherished it, in a spirit of revenge, till a fresh opportunity arose for displaying it in act. This revengeful temper of Edom displayed itself especially, not in malicious words only, but also in deed, at the time when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldaeans: see Obadiah 1:10-14; Ezekiel 25:12-14; Ezekiel 35 (where it is made, as here, the ground of predictions of desolation); cf. also Isaiah 34:5-17; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Lamentations 4:21 f.; Malachi 1:4; Joel 3:19; Psalm 137:7.

11–12. Edom. The home of the Edomites was S. of the Dead Sea, immediately on the E. of the deep depression, which extends from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akabah, in ancient times the S. part of the ‘Arábah (comp. on Amos 6:14), now the valley of the ‘Arăbah. The capital of Edom was Sela (Petra), remarkably situated in a hollow, shut in by mountain-cliffs and accessible only through two narrow defiles (cf. Robinson, B.R[131] ii. 128 ff.; Sinai and Palestine, p. 87 ff.; Hull, Mount Seir, p. 85 ff.; Pusey, Minor Prophets, on Obadiah, p. 235). Though now desolate, and inhabited only by wandering Bedawin, Edom was in ancient times fertile and prosperous; and its people were quite one of the more considerable and powerful of Israel’s neighbours. Much jealousy and rivalry, breaking out at times into open hostilities, prevailed between the two nations: this is prefigured in the story of their ancestors, both at the time of their birth (Genesis 25:22 f.), and subsequently (ib. Genesis 27:41, cf. Genesis 32:7 ff.), and is often alluded to in the Old Testament, especially in its later parts. David subdued Edom, ruling it by means of Jewish ‘deputies,’ or governors (2 Samuel 8:13 f.; 1 Kings 11:15 f.; cf. 1 Kings 22:47); and this state of dependence appears to have continued until, some two centuries afterwards, under Jehoram (849–842 b.c.), it successfully revolted (2 Kings 8:20-22). Amaziah (801–792) gained a victory (2 Kings 14:7), which so weakened Edom that his successor, Uzziah (ib. 2 Kings 14:22), was able to plant Jewish colonists in Elath, on the Red Sea; but it was never again permanently subject to Judah.

[131] .R. … Edw. Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine (ed. 2, 1856).Verses 11, 12. - The judgment on Edom. Verse 11. - His brother. The prophet proceeds to denounce the three nations cognate to Israel, of which the Edomites were the nearest and the most inimical. From the time of Esau until now they had been consistent in enmity, and it is this unbrotherly conduct rather than any specific outrages which Amos here condemns. Edom is accused of relentless persecution, inhumanity, savage fury, and persistent anger. (For the brotherhood of Edom, see Numbers 20:14; Deuteronomy 2:4, 5, 8; Deuteronomy 23:7, etc. For his hostility to Israel, see Numbers 20:18; 1 Kings 11:14; 2 Kings 8:20; 2 Chronicles 20:10; 2 Chronicles 25:11, 12; 2 Chronicles 28:17.) The prophecy of Obadiah is directed against Edom (comp. also Ezekiel 25:12; Ezekiel 35:5, 15; Joel 3:19). Did cast off all pity; literally, corrupted his compassions; i.e. did violence to his natural feelings. So Ezekiel 28:17, "Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom," perverted it from its proper end. The LXX. gives, ἐλυμήνατο μητέρα (μήτραν, Alex.) ἐπὶ γῆς, "did violence to the mother that bare them." On this Jerome remarks, "Pro misericordia Septuaginta vulvam transtulerant, ducti ambiguitate verborum, quia rehem et vulvam et misericordiam significat." Did tear, as a wild beast tears his prey. So in Job 16:9, where the same word is used, "He hath torn me in his wrath" (comp. Hosea 6:1). And he kept his wrath forever; more literally, and its fury it (Edom) keeps forever. The quarrels of relations are proverbially bitter. Arist., 'Polit.,' 7:7, Ὅθεν εἴρηται χαλεποὶ γὰρ πόλεμοι ἀδελφῶν καὶ δί τοι πέρα στέρξαντες οἱ δὲ καὶ πέρα μισοῦσιν (p. 193, Bekk.). In a fresh turn the concluding thought of the last strophe (Hosea 9:10) is resumed, and the guilt and punishment of Israel still more fully described in two sections, Hosea 10:1-8 and Hosea 10:9-15. Hosea 10:1. "Israel is a running vine; it set fruit for itself: the more of its fruit, the more altars did it prepare; the better its land, the better pillars did they make. Hosea 10:2. Smooth was their heart, ow will they atone. He will break in pieces their altars, desolate their pillars. Hosea 10:3. Yea, now will they say, No king to us! for we feared not Jehovah; and the king, what shall he do to us?" Under the figure of a vine running luxuriantly, which did indeed set some good fruit, but bore no sound ripe grapes, the prophet describes Israel as a glorious plantation of God Himself, which did not answer the expectations of its Creator. The figure is simply sketched in a few bold lines. We have an explanatory parallel in Psalm 80:9-12. The participle bōqēq does not mean "empty" or "emptying out" here; for this does not suit the next clause, according to which the fruit was set, but from the primary meaning of bâqaq, to pour out, pouring itself out, overflowing, i.e., running luxuriantly. It has the same meaning, therefore, as ג סרחת in Ezekiel 17:6, that which extends its branches far and wide, that is to say, grows most vigorously. The next sentence, "it set fruit," still belongs to the figure; but in the third sentence the figure passes over into a literal prophecy. According to the abundance of its fruit, Israel made many altars; and in proportion to the goodness of its land, it made better מצּבות, Baal's pillars (see at 1 Kings 14:23); i.e., as Israel multiplied, and under the blessing of God attained to prosperity, wealth, and power in the good land (Exodus 3:8), it forgot its God, and fell more and more into idolatry (cf. Hosea 2:10; Hosea 8:4, Hosea 8:11). The reason of all this was, that their heart was smooth, i.e., dissimulating, not sincerely devoted to the Lord, inasmuch as, under the appearance of devotedness to God, they still clung to idols (for the fact, see 2 Kings 17:9). The word châlâq, to be smooth, was mostly applied by a Hebrew to the tongue, lip, mouth, throat, and speech (Psalm 5:10; Psalm 12:3; Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 5:3), and not to the heart. But in Ezekiel 12:24 we read of smooth, i.e., deceitful prophesying; and there is all the more reason for retaining the meaning "smooth" here, that the rendering "their heart is divided," which is supported by the ancient versions, cannot be grammatically defended. For châlâq is not used in kal in an intransitive sense; and the active rendering, "He (i.e., God) has divided their heart" (Hitzig), gives an unscriptural thought. They will now atone for this, for God will destroy their altars and pillars. ערף, "to break the neck of the altars," is a bold expression, applied to the destruction of the altars by breaking off the horns (compare Amos 3:14). Then will the people see and be compelled to confess that it has no longer a king, because it has not feared the Lord, since the king who has been set up in opposition to the will of the Lord (Hosea 8:4) cannot bring either help or deliverance (Ezekiel 13:10). עשׂה, to do, i.e., to help or be of use to a person (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:2).
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