Amos 3:10
For they know not to do right, said the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.
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(10) Know not to do right.—Not merely have lost the perception of what is and what is not right, but are indifferent to such distinctions. They know not and care not; the awful state of utter moral impotence, wherein not only the intellectual consciousness, but the impulses to action, are languid or even paralysed—a dead conscience! Nothing is more condemnatory than this brief sentence. The light within them is darkness.

3:9-15 That power which is an instrument of unrighteousness, will justly be brought down and broken. What is got and kept wrongfully, will not be kept long. Some are at ease, but there will come a day of visitation, and in that day, all they are proud of, and put confidence in, shall fail them. God will inquire into the sins of which they have been guilty in their houses, the robbery they have stored up, and the luxury in which they lived. The pomp and pleasantness of men's houses, do not fortify against God's judgments, but make sufferings the more grievous and vexatious. Yet a remnant, according to the election of grace, will be secured by our great and good Shepherd, as from the jaws of destruction, in the worst times.For - (and) they know not to do right They "have not known," they have least all sense and knowledge, how "to do right" (literally, what is "straight-forward") because they had so long ceased to do it. It is part of the miserable blindness of sin, that, while the soul acquires a quick insight into evil, it becomes, at last, not paralyzed only to "do" good, but unable to perceive it. So Jeremiah says, "they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge" Jeremiah 4:22. Whence of the Christian Paul says, "I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil" Romans 16:19. People, step by step, lose the power of understanding either good or evil, the love of the world or the love of God. Either becomes "a strange language" to ears accustomed to the "songs of Zion" or the din of the world. When our Lord and God came to His own, they said, "we know that God spake unto Moses: as for this man we know not whence He is" John 9:29. And this blindness was brought about by covetousness which "blindeth the eyes" even of "the wise" Exodus 23:8, as he adds;

Who store - (Literally, with indignation, "the storers"

With violence and robbery - They could not understand what was right, while they habitually did what was wrong. They "stored up," as they deemed, the gains and fruits; the robbery and injustice they saw not, because they turned away from seeing. But what is "stored" up, is not what wastes away, but what abides. Who doubts it? Then, what they treasured, were not the perishing things of earth, but, in truth, the sins themselves, as "a treasure of wrath against the Day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" Romans 2:5. Strange treasure, to be so diligently accumulated, guarded, multiplied! Yet it is, in fact, all which remains. "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" Luke 12:21. He adds, as an aggravation, "in their palaces." Deformed as in all oppression, yet to "oppress the poor, to increase his riches" Proverbs 22:16, has an unnatural hideousness of its own. What was wrung from the poor, laid up "in places!" Yet what else is it to cheapen luxuries at the cost of the wages of the poor?

10. know not to do—Their moral corruption blinds their power of discernment so that they cannot do right (Jer 4:22). Not simple intellectual ignorance; the defect lay in the heart and will.

store up violence and robbery—that is, treasures obtained by "violence and robbery" (Pr 10:2).

For they know not; those who oppress others do it as unlearned lawyers and judges do, they are shamefully ignorant of the law of God.

To do right; what is equal between man and man they will not consider, nor do they care whether it be done or not.

Store up; as men lay up wealth in their treasures, they fill their houses.

Violence; perverting judgment, first condemning the innocent, next seizing all as forfeited by law; so they did, no doubt, in those times of rebellion and usurpations; sequestrations and decimations, &c. were then too.

Robbery; the true name of all their proceedings, however palliated.

In their palaces: this intimates to us that the greatest among them were chief actors herein; see Zephaniah 1:9; but as they stored up violence, they also treasured up misery and desolation too, as the Hebrew elegantly imports. For they know not to do right, saith the Lord,.... What is just and fight between man and man, no, not in one single instance; they did not regard it, or advert to it; they were under no concern about it; and were so much under the power of their lusts, that they knew not how to do it; and had used themselves so long to such wicked and unjust ways, that they had lost at least the practical knowledge of doing justice; they knew what was right in the theory, but not in the practice; bribes blinded their eyes; for this seems to design judges, civil magistrates, such who had the administration of justice and the execution Of the laws in their hands. The Targum is,

"they know not to execute the law;''

see Jeremiah 4:22;

who store up violence and robbery in their palaces; treasured up riches in their palaces, gotten in a violent way, by oppression and injustice; and which was no other, nor better, than robbery. This shows that persons in power and authority, that lived in palaces, in great splendour and grandeur, are here meant.

For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery {l} in their palaces.

(l) The fruit of their cruelty and theft appears by their great riches, which they have in their houses.

10. know not to do right] Wrong-doing has become their second nature. Right (a rare word) is properly what is straight in front, fig. clear, true, straightforward (Isaiah 26:10; Isaiah 59:14; 2 Samuel 15:3).

store up violence and robbery in their palaces] The nobles and great men, in Samaria as in Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 3:14, &c.) the irresponsible oppressors of the poor, are referred to: they accumulate treasures, but as these are amassed by violence and robbery, they in reality treasure up violence and robbery in their palaces (cf. Isaiah 3:14, end).

robbery] A strong word, implying violent treatment, and often more adequately represented by wasting or devastation (cf. Amos 5:9; cp. on Joel, p. 81). Coupled with violence, as here, Jeremiah 6:7; Jeremiah 20:8, Ezekiel 45:9, Habakkuk 1:3 (A. V. spoil or spoiling).Verse 10. - They know not how to do right. The Samaritans have lost all sense of justice, the foundation of social life (Jeremiah 4:22). LXX., Οὐκ ἔγνις α} ἔσται ἐναντίον αὐτῆς, "She knew not what things shall be before her." Store up violence; i.e. the fruits of violence and robbery (ταλαιπωρίαν, "misery," Septuagint), what they had wrung from the poor by oppression and rapine. "He held his brother's heel in the womb, and in his man's strength he fought with God. Hosea 12:4. He fought against the angel, and overcame; wept, and prayed to Him: at Bethel he found Him, and there He talked with us. Hosea 12:5. And Jehovah, God of hosts, Jehovah is His remembrance." The name Jacob, which refers to the patriarch himself in Hosea 12:3, forms the link between Hosea 12:2 and Hosea 12:3. The Israelites, as descendants of Jacob, were to strive to imitate the example of their forefather. His striving hard for the birthright, and his wrestling with God, in which he conquered by prayer and supplication, are types and pledges of salvation to the tribes of Israel which bear his name.

(Note: "He shows what good Jacob received, and the son is named in the father: he calls to remembrance the ancient history, that they may see both the mercy of God towards Jacob, and his resolute firmness towards the Lord." - Jerome.)

עקב, a denom. from עקב, "to hold the heel" equals אחז בּעקב in Genesis 25:26, which the prophet has in his mind, not "to overreach," as in Genesis 27:36 and Jeremiah 9:3. For the wrestling with God, mentioned in the second clause of the verse, proves most indisputably that Jacob's conduct is not held up before the people for a warning, as marked by cunning or deceit, as Umbreit and Hitzig suppose, but is set before them for their imitation, as an eager attempt to secure the birthright and the blessing connected with it. This shows at the same time, that the holding of the heel in the mother's womb is not quoted as a proof of the divine election of grace, and, in fact, that there is no reference at all to the circumstance, that "even when Jacob was still in his mother's womb, he did this not by his own strength, but by the mercy of God, who knows and loves those whom He has predestinated" (Jerome). בּאונו, is his manly strength (cf. Genesis 49:3) he wrestled with God (Genesis 32:25-29). This conflict (for the significance of which in relation to Jacob's spiritual life, see the discussion at Genesis l.c.) is more fully described in Hosea 12:4, for the Israelites to imitate. מלאך is the angel of Jehovah, the revealer of the invisible God (see the Commentary on the Pentateuch, pp. 118ff. transl.). ויּכל is from Genesis 32:29. The explanatory clause, "he wept, and made supplication to Him" (after Genesis 32:27), gives the nature of the conflict. It was a contest with the weapons of prayer; and with these he conquered. These weapons are also at the command of the Israelites, if they will only use them. The fruit of the victory was, that he (Jacob) found Him (God) at Bethel. This does not refer to the appearance of God to Jacob on his flight to Mesopotamia (Genesis 28:11), but to that recorded in Genesis 35:9., when God confirmed his name of Israel, and renewed the promises of His blessing. And there, continues the prophet, He (God) spake with us; i.e., not there He speaks with us still, condemning by His prophets the idolatry at Bethel (Amos 5:4-5), as Kimchi supposes; but, as the imperfect ידבּר corresponds to ימצאנּוּ, "there did He speak to us through Jacob," i.e., what He there said to Jacob applies to us.

(Note: "Let it be carefully observed, that God is said to have talked at Bethel not with Jacob only, but with all his posterity. That is to say, the things which are here said to have been done by Jacob, and to have happened to him, had not regard to himself only, but to all the race that sprang from him, and were signs of the good fortune which they either would, or certainly might enjoy" (Lackemacher in Rosenmller's Scholia).)

The explanation of this is given in Hosea 12:5, where the name is recalled in which God revealed Himself to Moses, when He first called him (Exodus 3:15), i.e., in which He made known to him His true nature. Yehōvâh zikhrō is taken literally from זה זכרי לדר דּר; but there the name Jehovah is still further defined by "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," here by "the God of hosts." This difference needs consideration. The Israelites in the time of Moses could only put full confidence in the divine call of Moses to be their deliverer out of the bondage of Egypt, on the ground that He who called him was the God who had manifested Himself to the patriarchs as the God of salvation; but for the Israelites of Hosea's time, the strength of their confidence in Jehovah arose from the fact that Jehovah was the God of hosts, i.e., the God who, because He commands the forces of heaven, both visible and invisible, rules with unrestricted omnipotence on earth as well as in heaven (see at 1 Samuel 1:3).

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