Amos 1:6
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom:
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(6-8) The marginal reading is more literal, and points to the special bitterness of the proceedings of Philistia, here represented by Gaza as the principal city (comp. 2Chronicles 21:16-17, which implies a veritable sack of Jerusalem). The extreme barbarity from which Judah suffered was that her children were delivered up to the implacable enemy Edom. (Comp. the language of Joel 3:4-6.) This may have occurred in the border warfare, in which defenceless Judæan villages were overpowered, and the inhabitants sold to the Oriental tribes through the medium of the Edomites. The utter fall of Philistian independence is depicted (comp. Amos 6:2). The cities here mentioned are often referred to in the books of Joshua, Judges, and Samuel, and by the prophet Zephaniah.

Amos 1:6-8. For three transgressions of Gaza, &c. — From Syria he passes to Palestine, upon the coast of which Gaza was situated. It is one of the places threatened by Joel 3:6. Because they carried away the whole captivity — Or, a peaceable captivity, as Mr. Locke renders גלות שׁלמה; that is, a captivity not taken in war, but by deceit: or, a perfect captivity, that is, not to be recovered. It appears, from 2 Chronicles 21:16; 2 Chronicles 28:18, that the Philistines (for the town of Gaza belonged to them) made frequent incursions upon the Jews and Israelites. And it is probable from this passage that they were guilty of some injustice and cruelty, beyond the usual practice of war, in making captives, perhaps taking the peaceable inhabitants and all without distinction, the old and infirm as well as the young and healthy: or, making these incursions when Judah and Israel were at peace with them. Or, perhaps, their cruelty consisted in selling those they made captives to the Edomites, whom they knew to be mortal enemies of the Jews, and consequently, they might reasonably suppose, would treat them with great severity and tyranny. But I will send a fire, &c. — What is here foretold respecting the destruction of the cities of the Philistines, was fulfilled by Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:8. The same was predicted by Isaiah, chap. Isaiah 14:29. And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish — These were cut off by the Assyrians: see Isaiah 20.

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.Gaza - Was the southernmost city of the Philistines, as it was indeed of Canaan Genesis 10:19 of old, the last inhabited place at the beginning of the desert, on the way from Phoenicia to Egypt . Its situation was wonderfully chosen, so that, often as a Gaza has been destroyed, a new city has, if even after long intervals, risen up again in the same immediate neighborhood . The fragments of the earlier city became materials for the later. It was first Canaanite Genesis 10:19; then Philistine; then, at least after Alexander, Edomite ; after Alexander Janneus, Greek ; conquered by Abubekr the first Khalif, it became Arabian; it was desolated in their civil wars, until the Crusaders rebuilt its fort ; then again, Muslim. In the earliest times, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gaza was the south angle of the border of the Canaanites, from where it turned to the south of the Dead Sea. Even then it was known by its name of strength, 'Azzah "the strong," like our "Fort."

For a time, it stood as an island-fort, while the gigantic race of the Avvim wandered, wilder probably than the modern Bedaween, up to its very gates. For since it is said, "the Avvim dwelt in open villages as far as Gaza" Deuteronomy 2:23; plainly they did not dwell in Gaza itself, a fortified town. The description assigns the bound of their habitations, up to the furthest town on the southeast, Gaza. They prowled around it, infested it doubtless, but did not conquer it, and were themselves expelled by the Caphtorim. The fortress of the prince of Gaza is mentioned in the great expedition of Tothmosis III , as the conquest of Ashkelon was counted worthy of mention in the monuments of Raamses II . It was strengthened doubtless by giving refuge to the Anakim, who, after Joshua had expelled them "from Hebron" and neighboring cities, "and the mountains of Judah and Israel, remained in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod" Joshua 11:21-23.

Its situation, as the first station for land-commerce to and from Egypt, whether toward Tyre and Sidon, or Damascus and the upper Euphrates, or toward Petra, probably aggrandized it early. Even when the tide of commerce has been diverted into other channels, its situation has been a source of great profit. A fertile spot, touching upon a track through a desert, it became a mart for caravans, even those which passed, on the pilgrim-route to Mekka, uniting traffic with their religion. Where the five cities are named together as unconquered, Gaza is mentioned first, then Ashdod Joshua 13:3. Samson, after he had betrayed his strength, was "brought down to Gaza" Judges 16:21, probably as being their strongest fortress, although the furthest from "the valley of Sorek ," where he was ensnared.

There too was the vast temple of Dagon, which became the burying-place of so many of his worshipers. In Solomon's reign it was subject to Israel 1 Kings 4:21. After the Philistine inroad in the time of Ahaz 2 Chronicles 28:18, and their capture of towns of Judah in the south and the low country, Shephelah, Hezekiah drove them back as far as Gaza 2 Kings 18:8, without apparently taking it. Its prince was defeated by Sargon , whose victory over Philistia Isaiah foretold Isaiah 14:29. Sennacherib gave to its king, together with those of Ascalon and Ekron , "fortified and other towns which" he "had spoiled," avowedly to weaken Judah; "so as to make his (Hezekiah's) country small;" probably also as a reward for hostility to Judah. Greek authors spcak of it, as "a very large city of Syria" , "a great city" . Like other cities of old, it was, for fear of pirates, built at some distance from the sea (Arrian says "2 12 miles"), but had a port called, like that of Asealea , Maiuma , which itself too in Christian times became a place of importance .

Because they carried away the whole captivity - Literally, "a complete captivity;" complete, but for evil; a captivity in which none were spared, none left behind; old or young, woman or child; but a whole population (whatever its extent) was swept away. Such an inroad of the Philistines is related in the time of Jehoram 2 Chronicles 21:16.

To deliver them up to Edom - Literally, "to shut them up to Edom," in the power of Edom, their bitter enemy, so that they should not be able to escape, nor be restored. The hands, even if not the land, of Edom were already dyed in the blood of Jacob "their brother" Joel 3:19. "Any whither but there," probably would cry the crowd of helpless captives. It was like driving the shrinking flock of sheep to the butcher's shambles, reeking with the gore of their companions. Yet therefore were they driven there to the slaughter. Open markets there were for Jewish slaves in abundance. "Sell us, only not to slaughter." "Spare the greyheaded;" "spare my child," would go up in the ears of those, who, though enemies, understood their speech. But no! Such was the compact of Tyre and Philistia and Edom against the people of God. Not one was to be spared; it was to be "a complete captivity;" and that, to Edom. The bond was fulfilled. "Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he too shall cry and shall not be heard" Proverbs 21:13. Joel mentions the like sin of the Philistines and Phoenicians, and foretold its punishment Joel 3:4-6. That in the reign of Jehoram is the last which Scripture mentions, but was not therefore, of necessity or probably, the last. Holy Scripture probably relates only the more notable of those border-raids. Unrepented sin is commonly renewed. Those strong Philistine fortresses must have given frequent, abundant opportunity for such inroads; as now too it is said in Arabia, "the harvest is to the stronger;" and while small protected patches of soil in Lebanon, Hauran, etc. are cultivated, the open fertile country often lies uncultivated , since it would be cultivated only for the marauder. Amos renews the sentence of Joel, forewarning them that, though it seemed to tarry, it would come.

6. Gaza—the southernmost of the five capitals of the five divisions of Philistia, and the key to Palestine on the south: hence put for the whole Philistine nation. Uzziah commenced the fulfilment of this prophecy (see 2Ch 26:6).

because they carried away … the whole captivity—that is, they left none. Compare with the phrase here, Jer 13:19, "Judah … carried captive all of it … wholly carried away." Under Jehoram already the Philistines had carried away all the substance of the king of Judah, and his wives and his sons, "so that there was never a son left to him, save Jehoahaz"; and after Amos' time (if the reference includes the future, which to the prophet's eye is as if already done), under Ahaz (2Ch 28:18), they seized on all the cities and villages of the low country and south of Judah.

to deliver them up to Edom—Judah's bitterest foe; as slaves (Am 1:9; compare Joe 3:1, 3, 6). Grotius refers it to the fact (Isa 16:4) that on Sennacherib's invasion of Judah, many fled for refuge to neighboring countries; the Philistines, instead of hospitably sheltering the refugees, sold them, as if captives in war, to their enemies, the Idumeans.

Three transgressions: see Amos 1:3.

Gaza; the principal city of the Philistines; all the rest are to be understood; and here the city is named, but the inhabitants are meant also with the city; ancient and strong, the seat of the Anakims, conquered by Judah, yet lost soon after to the old inhabitants.

I will not turn away the punishment thereof: see Amos 1:3. They carried away captive: this refers to the inroad by the Philistines and Arabians made upon Judah in the days of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, the violence and cruelty of which is set forth 2 Chronicles 21:16,17, about A.M. 3116; and this is that which is here threatened, as a sin that should be punished.

Edom; the posterity of Esau, who were inveterate enemies to the posterity of Jacob, and as ill neighbours are, so were these, the worst enemies the Jacobites had, as appears Ezekiel 25:12 Ob 10-14 Psa 137:7. These Edomites were ever ready to Oppress, enslave, and tyrannize over the Jews, if by any means they could by force or fraud get them into their hands.

Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressions of Gaza,.... The chief city of the Philistines, and put for the whole country, and designs the inhabitants of it:

and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; See Gill on Amos 1:3;

because they carried away captive the whole captivity; which cannot be understood of the captivity of the whole nation, either of Israel or Judah, who were never carried captive by the Philistines; but of their carrying away all the substance of the house of Jehoram king of Judah, and of all his sons and his wives, and left him not one son but the youngest, 2 Chronicles 21:17;

to deliver them up to Edom: or, "to shut them up in Edom" (o); which country also revolted from Jehoram, when he and the captains of his chariots going out against them, were corn passed in by them, Amos 1:8. Some think this refers to the time when Sennacherib invaded Judea, and many of the Jews fled to Palestine for help, but instead of being sheltered were delivered up to the Edomites; but this was in the times of Hezekiah, after Amos had prophesied, and therefore cannot be referred to; and for the same reason this cannot be applied to the Edomites and Philistines invading and smiting Judah, and carrying them captive, 2 Chronicles 28:17.

(o) , Sept. "ut concluderent eam in Idumea", V. L. "ad concludeadum in Edom", Montanus.

Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they {i} carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom:

(i) They united themselves with the Edomites their enemies, who carried them away captive.

6. For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four &c.] The form of expression as in Amos 1:3, where see note. Gaza was the southernmost city of the Philistines: it lay on and about a hill, rising 100 feet out of the plain, at three miles distance from the sea, and some 50 miles S.W. of Jerusalem. “Fifteen wells of fresh water burst from the sandy soil, and render possible the broad gardens, and large population,” which is said to number now about 18,000 souls. Gaza owed its importance to its position. It was a fertile spot on the edge of a great desert; and it commanded the route between Egypt and Syria. It became in consequence not only important strategically: it was also “an emporium of trade on the border of the desert, with roads and regular caravans,” on the one hand, to Jerusalem, Damascus, Tyre, &c., on the other hand, to “Petra and Elath on the gulf of Akabah, both of them places in Edom, and depots for the traffic with Arabia” (comp. G. A. Smith, Geogr., p. 184; The Twelve Prophets, p. 126). This explains why Gaza is specially selected for blame: she was pre-eminently the centre of the slave-traffic.

because they carried into exile entire populations] i.e. the entire population of the places attacked by them: as Ewald paraphrases, whole villages (R.V. the whole people). Lit. an entire exile (=exiled company: see in the Heb. Jeremiah 24:5; Jeremiah 28:4, Obadiah 1:20). The reference appears to be not to warlike incursions (such as we read of in the times of Saul and David), but to raids made upon the villages of Judah without the excuse of war, for the purely commercial purpose of procuring slaves for the trade with Edom.

to deliver them up to Edom] viz. as slaves, whether for service among the Edomites themselves, or, more probably, to be re-sold by them—for instance, amongst the tribes inhabiting the Arabian peninsula. The same charge of selling their captives to the Edomites is brought against the Tyrians in Amos 1:9. For Edom as a trading nation, see Ezekiel 27:16 (reading with mss. Aq. Pesh., and many moderns, Edom [אדם] for Syria [ארם]). In Joel 3:4-6, also, the Philistines (and Phoenicians) are reproached with selling Judahites into slavery.

6–8. The Philistines. The second denunciation is directed against the Philistines, the old and troublesome enemies of Israel, on the S.W. Four representative cities are mentioned; the sin with which they are taxed being that of trafficking in slaves with Edom.

Verses 6-8. - The judgment on Philistia. Verse 6. - Gaza is here used as the representative of the five cities of the Philistines. Three others are mentioned in ver. 8, Gath being omitted as having long lost its importance, if not already destroyed (comp. 2 Chronicles 26:6; Jeremiah 25:20; Zephaniah 2:4, where see note; Zechariah 9:5, 6). Gaza, modern Guzzeh, was the most southern city of Philistia in the immediate neighbourhood of the desert. (For a description of the Plain of Philistia, see Sir C. Warren, 'Survey Memoirs,' volume on Jerusalem, p. 436.) The whole captivity; Hebrew, "an entire captivity," the whole people, so that neither age nor sex was spared. A similar complaint is made in Joel 3:4, 6. What the LXX. mean by their rendering here and ver. 9, αἰχμαλωσίαν τοῦ Σαλωμὼν, it is very hard to say. Probably they punctuated the word translated "perfect" (shelemah) shelomoh, making "Solomon" stand for his people Israel. Cyril supposes that the reference is to cities which Solomon established among neighbouring nations; these had now been destroyed or seized. The event referred to may be the invasion of Judah by Philistines and Arabians in the time of Joram, mentioned in 2 Chronicles 21:16, etc., and in which it is possible that a compact was made that the captive Judaeans should be delivered to their bitterest enemies, the Edomites. One would rather have expected a reference to some evil inflicted on Israel (as in ver. 3) instead of an injury done to Judah. Amos 1:6Philistia. - Amos 1:6. "Thus saith Jehovah, For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I shall not reverse it, because they carried away captives in full number to deliver them up to Edom, Amos 1:7. I send fire into the wall of Gaza, and it will eat their palaces; Amos 1:8. And I exterminate the inhabitant from Ashdod, and the sceptre-holder from Askelon, and turn my hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines will perish, saith the Lord Jehovah." Instead of the Philistines generally, the prophet mentions Gaza in Amos 1:6. This is still a considerable town, bearing the old name Guzzeh (see the comm. on Joshua 13:3), and was the one of the five capitals of the Philistines which had taken the most active part as a great commercial town in handing over the Israelitish prisoners to the Edomites. For it is evident that Gaza is simply regarded as a representative of Philistia, from the fact that in the announcement of the punishment, the other capitals of Philistia are also mentioned. Gâlūth shelēmâh is correctly explained by Jerome thus: "a captivity so perfect and complete, that not a single captive remained who was not delivered to the Idumaeans." The reference is to captive Israelites, who were carried off by the Philistines, and disposed of by them to the Edomites, the arch-enemies of Israel. Amos no doubt had in his mind the invasion of Judah by the Philistines and tribes of Arabia Petraea in the time of Joram, which is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 21:16, and to which Joel had already alluded in Joel 3:3., where the Phoenicians and Philistines are threatened with divine retribution for having plundered the land, and sold the captive Judaeans to the Javanites (Ionians). But it by no means follows from this, that the "sons of Javan" mentioned in Joel 3:6 are not Greeks, but the inhabitants of the Arabian Javan noticed in Ezekiel 27:19. The fact was simply this: the Philistines sold one portion of the many prisoners, taken at that time, to the Edomites, and the rest to the Phoenicians, who disposed of them again to the Greeks. Joel simply mentions the latter circumstance, because, in accordance with the object of his prophecy, his design was to show the wide dispersion of the Jews, and their future gathering out of all the lands of their banishment. Amos, on the other hand, simply condemns the delivering of the captives to Edom, the arch-foe of Israel, to indicate the greatness of the sin involved in this treatment of the covenant nation, or the hatred which the Philistines had displayed thereby. As a punishment for this, the cities of Philistia would be burned by their enemies, the inhabitants would be exterminated, and the remnant perish. Here again, as in Amos 1:4, Amos 1:5, the threat is rhetorically individualized, so that in the case of one city the burning of the city itself is predicted, and in that of another the destruction of its inhabitants. (On Ashdod, Askelon, and Ekron, see the comm. on Joshua 13:3.) השׁיב יד, to return the hand, i.e., to turn or stretch it out again (see comm. on 2 Samuel 8:3). The use of this expression may be explained on the ground, that the destruction of the inhabitants of Ashdod and Askelon has already been thought of as a stretching out of the hand. The fifth of the Philistian capitals, Gath, is not mentioned, though not for the reason assigned by Kimchi, viz., that it belonged to the kings of Judah, or had been conquered by Uzziah, for Uzziah had not only conquered Gath and Jabneh, but had taken Ashdod as well, and thrown down the walls (2 Chronicles 26:6), and yet Amos mentions Ashdod; nor because Gath had been taken by the Syrians (2 Kings 12:18), for this Syrian conquest was not a lasting one, and in the prophet's time (cf. Amos 6:2), and even later (cf. Micah 1:10), it still maintained its independence, and was a very distinguished city; but for the simple reason that the individualizing description given by the prophet did not require the complete enumeration of all the capitals, and the idea of been named, but all that was still in existence, and had escaped destruction" (Amos 9:12 and Jeremiah 6:9), it nevertheless includes not merely the four states just named, but every part of Philistia that had hitherto escaped destruction, so that Gath must be included.
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