Amos 2:3
And I will cut off the judge from the middle thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, said the LORD.
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2:1-8 The evil passions of the heart break out in various forms; but the Lord looks to our motives, as well as our conduct. Those that deal cruelly, shall be cruelly dealt with. Other nations were reckoned with for injuries done to men; Judah is reckoned with for dishonour done to God. Judah despised the law of the Lord; and he justly gave them up to strong delusion; nor was it any excuse for their sin, that they were the lies, the idols, after which their fathers walked. The worst abominations and most grievous oppressions have been committed by some of the professed worshippers of the Lord. Such conduct leads many to unbelief and vile idolatry.And I will cut off the judge - The title "judge" (shophet) is nowhere used absolutely of a king. Holy Scripture speaks in several places of "all the judges of the earth" Job 9:24; Psalm 2:10; Psalm 148:11; Proverbs 8:16; Isaiah 40:23. Hosea Hos 13:10, under "judges," includes "kings and princes," as judging the people. The word "judge" is always used as one invested with the highest, but not regal authority, as of all the judges from the death of Joshua to Samuel. In like way it (Sufetes) was the title of the chief magistrates of Carthage , with much the same authority as the Roman Consuls . The Phoenician histories, although they would not own that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Tyre, still own that, after his 13 years' siege , Baal reigned 10 years, and after him judges were set up, one for two months, a second for ten, a third, a high priest, for three, two more for six, and between these one reigned for a year. After his death, they sent for Merbaal from Babylon, who reigned for four years, and on his death, they sent for Hiram his brother who reigned for twenty. The judges then exercised the supreme authority, the king's sons having been carried away captive. Probably, then, when Jeroboam II recovered the old territory of Israel, Moab lost its kings. It agrees with this, that Amos says, "the princes thereof," literally, "her princes," the princes of Moab, not as of Ammon, "his princes," that is, the princes of the king. 3. the judge—the chief magistrate, the supreme source of justice. "King" not being used, it seems likely a change of government had before this time substituted for kings, supreme judges. I will cut off, by the sword of the enemy, the judge; the governor, i. e. every one of them; the singular being put for the plural, to intimate the destruction of all of them.

From the midst thereof; either of Kirioth the metropolis, or of every city in which were judges appointed to govern and minister justice to the people; and these should be cut off in these cities, and in the midst of their government.

The princes; either by birth, or by office, or by excellent endowments, the chief among the Moabitish people.

With him; with the supreme governor, before threatened.

Saith the Lord; noting to us the certainty of the thing, the irrevocable sentence passed upon Moab, its king, princes, and judges, who being cut off, the people must needs perish, and come to nothing. And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof,.... Either from the midst of Moab, the country in general; or from Kerioth in particular, so Kimchi; meaning their principal governor, their king, as Aben Ezra; for kings sometimes have acted as judges, took the bench, and sat and administered justice to their subjects:

and I will stay all the princes thereof with him, saith the Lord; the king, and the princes of the blood, and his nobles; so that there should be none to succeed him, or to protect and defend the people; the destruction should be an entire one, and inevitable, for the mouth of the Lord had spoken it. This was fulfilled at the same time as the prophecy against the children of Ammon by Nebuchadnezzar, five years after the destruction of Jerusalem (o), which is next threatened.

(o) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7. Vid. Judith i. 12.

And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.
3. the judge] Why is the judge mentioned rather than, as would naturally be expected, the king? One answer is that Moab was at this time subject to Jeroboam II., and hence there was no ‘king’ of Moab, but only an Israelitish deputy or governor. The terms of 2 Kings 14:25 (which describes how Jeroboam II. recovered the old territory of Israel, as far as the Dead Sea) do not, however, prove that Moab was included in Jeroboam’s conquests: and Mesha, at the time when Moab was dependent upon Israel, is still spoken of as ‘king’ (2 Kings 3:4). More probably judge, as in Micah 5:1, is a designation of the king,—derived from the fact that the administration of justice among his subjects was one of the primary duties of an Oriental monarch (2 Samuel 8:15; 2 Samuel 15:2; 1 Kings 7:7; Jeremiah 21:12, &c.).

Both Ammon and Moab are frequently mentioned in the Inscriptions that have been already referred to as paying tribute to the Assyrians,—Sanib of Ammon, and Salman of Moab, for instance, to Tiglath-pileser; Puduil of Ammon, and Kamoshnadab of Moab, to Sennacherib; and Mussuri, king of Moab, to Esarhaddon (K.A.T[143][144], pp. 258, 291, 356). Isaiah, in a striking prophecy, foretells invasion and disaster for Moab (Isaiah 15-16): Jeremiah, a century later, does the same, in a prophecy containing many reminiscences of the oracle of his great predecessor (ch. 48): he also prophesies against Ammon (Jeremiah 49:1-6). Ezekiel uttered prophecies against both nations (Ezekiel 25:1-11; cf. Ezekiel 21:28-32), charging them in particular with malicious exultation over Judah’s fall, and predicting their ruin. See also Zephaniah 2:8-10; and Isaiah 25:10 f. (post-exilic).

[143] .A.T. … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[144] … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.Verse 3. - The judge; shophet, probably here a synonym for "king" (comp. Micah 5:1). it implies the chief magistrate, like the Carthaginian sufes, which is the same word. There is no ground for deducing, as Hitzig and Ewald do, from the use of this form that Moab had no king at this time. The country was conquered by the Chaldeans, and thenceforward sank into insignificance (Jeremiah 48; Ezekiel 25:8-11). With the carrying away of the golden calf the kingdom of Samaria also perishes, and desert plants will grow upon the places of idols. Hosea 10:7, Hosea 10:8. "Destroyed is Samaria; her king like a splinter on the surface of the water. And destroyed are the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel: thorn and thistle will rise up on their altars; and they will speak to the mountains, Cover us! and to the hills, Fall on us!" שׁמרון מלכּהּ is not an asyndeton, "Samaria and its king;" but Shōmerōn is to be taken absolutely, "as for Samaria," although, as a matter of fact, not only Samaria, the capital of the kingdom, but the kingdom itself, was destroyed. For malkâh does not refer to any particular king, but is used in a general sense for "the king that Samaria had," so that the destruction of the monarchy is here predicted (cf. Hosea 10:15). The idea that the words refer to one particular king, is not only at variance with the context, which contains no allusion to any one historical occurrence, but does not suit the simile: like a splinter upon the surface of the water, which is carried away by the current, and vanishes without leaving a trace behind. Qetseph is not "foam" (Chald., Symm., Rabb.), but a broken branch, a fagot or a splinter, as qetsâphâh in Joel 1:7 clearly shows. Bâmōth 'âven are the buildings connected with the image-worship at Bethel ('âven equals Bēth-'ēl, Hosea 10:5), the temple erected there (bēth bâmōth), together with the altar, possibly also including other illegal places of sacrifice there, which constituted the chief sin of the kingdom of Israel. These were to be so utterly destroyed, that thorns and thistles would grow upon the ruined altars (cf. Genesis 3:18). "The sign of extreme solitude, that there are not even the walls left, or any traces of the buildings" (Jerome). When the kingdom shall be thus broken up, together with the monarchy and the sacred places, the inhabitants, in their hopeless despair, will long for swift death and destruction. Saying to the mountains, "Cover us," etc., implies much more than hiding themselves in the holes and clefts of the rocks (Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21). It expresses the desire to be buried under the falling mountains and hills, that they may no longer have to bear the pains and terrors of the judgment. In this sense are the words transferred by Christ, in Luke 23:30, to the calamities attending the destruction of Jerusalem, and in Revelation 6:16 to the terrors of the last judgment.
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