Amos 3:1
Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
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(1) Children of Israel rather than “house of Israel” is a phrase not so usual in Amos. Hence in many MSS. the latter phrase is substituted. There is, however, significance in the former, as Amos addresses himself to both kingdoms in the phrase “the whole family.” Yet the kingdom of the Ten Tribes seems to be chiefly in the mind of the prophet.

Amos 3:1-2. Hear this word against the whole family, &c. — All that family of which Jacob, or Israel, was the head. The word family is equivalent to people here and in the following verse. You only have I known — Acknowledged, by revealing myself to you, protecting you, and conferring on you peculiar privileges. Therefore will I punish you — Your sins, therefore, shall be punished, and that in an exemplary manner; because you have sinned against greater light and higher obligations than other nations are or have been favoured with; and you have manifested an ungrateful, as well as a disobedient spirit. For the same reason the angel is commanded to begin his execution at the sanctuary, Ezekiel 9:6; and St. Peter observes, that judgment must begin at the house of God, 1 Peter 4:17 : see also the margin.3:1-8 The distinguishing favours of God to us, if they do not restrain from sin, shall not exempt from punishment. They could not expect communion with God, unless they first sought peace with him. Where there is not friendship, there can be no fellowship. God and man cannot walk together, except they are agreed. Unless we seek his glory, we cannot walk with him. Let us not presume on outward privileges, without special, sanctifying grace. The threatenings of the word and providence of God against the sin of man are certain, and certainly show that the judgments of God are at hand. Nor will God remove the affliction he has sent, till it has done its work. The evil of sin is from ourselves, it is our own doing; but the evil of trouble is from God, and is his doing, whoever are the instruments. This should engage us patiently to bear public troubles, and to study to answer God's meaning in them. The whole of the passage shows that natural evil, or troubles, and not moral evil, or sin, is here meant. The warning given to a careless world will increase its condemnation another day. Oh the amazing stupidity of an unbelieving world, that will not be wrought upon by the terrors of the Lord, and that despise his mercies!Amos, like Hosea, rebukes Israel directly, Judah indirectly. He had warned each nation separately. Now, ere he concentrates himself on Israel, he sums up what he had before said to Judah and in the Person of God. "Ye have been alike in My gifts to you, alike in your waste of them and your sins; alike ye shall be in your punishment." What was said to Israel was said also to Judah: what was directed first to the former people, belongs to us, the later. What Jesus said to the Apostles, He said also to the Church, and to single souls, "What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch" Mark 13:37.

Hear ye this word - With that solemn threefold call, so frequent in the Old Testament, he summons them thrice Amos 3:1; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:1, as in the Name of the Holy Trinity, to hear God's words. : "The prophet, at the outset of the chapter, rouses the hearers to anxious consideration. For the words of the most High God are to be heard, not with a superficial, unawed, wandering mind, but with reverence, fear, and love."

That the Lord hath spoken against - (and upon) you, (coming down from heaven Hebrews 12:25, both "upon" and "against" them) the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt To Abraham God had said, "in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" Genesis 12:3. So now, in withdrawing that blessing from them. He takes it away from them, family by family Zechariah 12:12. He includes them, one and all, and Judah also, since all had been "brought out of Egypt."


Am 3:1-15. God's Extraordinary Love, Being Repaid by Israel with Ingratitude, of Necessity Calls for Judgments, Which the Prophets Announce, Not at Random, but by God's Commission, Which They Cannot but Fulfil. The Oppression Prevalent in Israel Will Bring Down Ruin on All Save a Small Remnant.

1. children of Israel—not merely the ten tribes, but "the whole family brought up from Egypt"; all the descendants of Jacob, including Judah and Benjamin. Compare Jer 8:3, and Mic 2:3, on "family" for the nation. However, as the prophecy following refers to the ten tribes, they must be chiefly, if not solely, meant: they were the majority of the nation; and so Amos concedes what they so often boasted, that they were the elect people of God [Calvin], but implies that this only heightens their sins.The necessity of God’s judgment against Israel, Amos 3:1-8. The publication of it, with the causes thereof, Amos 3:9-15.

Hear, with ear and mind, consider it well, for this is to hear indeed.

This word, which is spoken, and the thing decreed too, of God.

The Lord hath spoken; the Lord, who did show you greatest kindness, and whom you have repaid with greatest ingratitude, the everlasting God, who changeth not, hath determined and declared his determinate purpose; against you; or to, or concerning; for if menaces are words against them, yet advice, exhortations, and promises are to, and concerning, those to whom they are spoken.

O children of Israel; subjects of Jeroboam the Second, now king of the ten tribes.

Against the whole family: and let the two tribes consider too how far they are concerned in the prophet’s reproving for sin, calling to repent of sin, and threatening it they do not repent.

Brought up from the land of Egypt: see Amos 2:10.

Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel,.... The prophecy against Israel begins in the preceding chapter, where notice is taken of their sins, at least some of them, and of their aggravated circumstances, and sure destruction; and here they are called upon to hearken and listen to what the Lord by his prophet had spoken, and was about to speak unto them; and to "receive" this word, as the Targum; to receive it as the word of God, and not men, and with all humility and reverence; and to take it, and apply it to themselves, to whom it justly belonged; and to make a proper use and improvement of it by humiliation and reformation. A word this was,

against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt; it was but a family that went down into Egypt, and, though it greatly increased there, it was no more when it was brought up from thence: a family under the peculiar care of Jehovah, as the bringing them out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, when greatly distressed there, abundantly shows; and which was a wonderful blessing and favour; and therefore often mentioned, and led on to many other blessings and mercies: a family which was the Lord's own, and therefore he had a right to chastise and correct them for their sins. It seems by this phrase, "the whole family", as if the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin were included: though the prophecy seems chiefly intended against the ten tribes, which went by the name of Israel, ever since the breach in Rehoboam's time, as distinct from Judah;

saying; as follows:

Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
1. the whole family] The expression used includes naturally Judah, though, as the context shews, Amos is practically thinking only of Israel. For family, used in the sense of a whole people, cf. Amos 3:2; Jeremiah 8:3; Micah 2:3.Verse 1-ch. 6:14. - Part II. THREE ADDRESSES PARTICULARIZING THE SINS OF ISRAEL AND ANNOUNCING IMMINENT JUDGMENT. Verses 1-15. - § 1. First address: the prophet begins by showing Israel's ingratitude for past mercies (vers. 1, 2), and his own commission to announce the coming judgment (vers. 3-8). They have drawn this upon themselves by iniquities which astonish even heathen nations; and they shall be punished by the overthrow of the kingdom and the destruction of their city (vers. 9-15). Verse 1. - The peculiar favour which God has shown the Israelites enhances the guilt of their ingratitude and increases their punishment. Hear this word. Each address (Amos 4:1; Amos 5:1) begins with this solemn call. O children of Israel. The summons is addressed to the twelve tribes, as the following words prove; but the succeeding denunciation is confined to Israel, Judah being only indirectly warned that she may expect a similar fate unless she turns in time. I brought up from the land of Egypt. This is mentioned as the crowning act of God's favour (Amos 2:10). By despising this love, Israel brings severe punishment upon itself. Hosea 11:5. "It will not return into the land of Egypt; but Asshur, he is its king, because they refused to return. Hosea 11:6. And the sword will sweep round in its cities, and destroy its bolts, and devour, because of their counsels. Hosea 11:7. My people is bent upon apostasy from me: and if men call it upwards, it does not raise itself at all." The apparent contradiction between the words, "It will not return into the land of Egypt," and the threat contained in Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:3, that Israel should return to Egypt, ought not to lead us to resort to alterations of the text, or to take לא in the sense of לו, and connect it with the previous verse, as is done by the lxx, Mang., and others, or to make an arbitrary paraphrase of the words, either by taking לא in the sense of הלא, and rendering it as a question, "Should it not return?" equivalent to "it will certainly return" (Maurer, Ewald, etc.); or by understanding the return to Egypt as signifying the longing of the people for help from Egypt (Rosenmller). The emphatic הוּא of the second clause is at variance with all these explanations, since they not only fail to explain it, but it points unmistakeably to an antithesis: "Israel will not return to Egypt; but Asshur, it shall be its king," i.e., it shall come under the dominion of Assyria. The supposed contradiction is removed as soon as we observe that in Hosea 8:13; Hosea 9:3, Hosea 9:6, Egypt is a type of the land of bondage; whereas here the typical interpretation is precluded partly by the contrast to Asshur, and still more by the correspondence in which the words stand to Hosea 11:1. Into the land from which Jehovah called His people, Israel shall not return, lest it should appear as though the object, for which it had been brought out of Egypt and conducted miraculously through the desert, had been frustrated by the impenitence of the people. But it is to be brought into another bondage. ואשּׁוּר is appended adversatively. Asshur shall rule over it as king, because they refuse to return, sc. to Jehovah. The Assyrians will wage war against the land, and conquer it. The sword (used as a principal weapon, to denote the destructive power of war) will circulate in the cities of Israel, make the round of the cities as it were, and destroy its bolts, i.e., the bolts of the gates of the fortifications of Ephraim. Baddı̄m, poles (Exodus 25:13.), cross-poles or cross-beams, with which the gates were fastened, hence bolts in the literal sense, as in Job 17:16, and not tropically for "princes" (Ges.), electi (Jer., Chald., etc.). "On account of their counsels:" this is more fully defined in Hosea 11:7. נעמּי, and my people ( equals since my people) are harnessed to apostasy from me (meshūbhâthı̄, with an objective suffix). תּלוּאים, lit., suspended on apostasy, i.e., not "swaying about in consequence of apostasy or in constant danger of falling away" (Chald., Syr., Hengst.), since this would express too little in the present context and would not suit the second half of the verse, but impaled or fastened upon apostasy as upon a stake, so that it cannot get loose. Hence the constructing of תּלה with ל instead of על or ב (2 Samuel 18:10), may be accounted for from the use of the verb in a figurative sense. על־על, upwards (על as in Hosea 7:16), do they (the prophets: see Hosea 11:2) call them; but it does not rise, sc. to return to God, or seek help from on high. רומם pilel, with the meaning of the kal intensified, to make a rising, i.e., to rise up. This explanation appears simpler than supplying an object, say "the soul" (Psalm 25:1), or "the eyes" (Ezekiel 33:25).
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