Amos 3:15
And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, said the LORD.
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(15) Houses.—It is uncertain whether by “winter and summer houses” are meant two classes of royal abodes, or different chambers of the same house (Judges 3:20; Jeremiah 36:22, are compatible with either). “Ivory houses” mean mansions adorned with ivory. For “great houses” should be read many houses.

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.And I will smite the winter house with the summer house - Upon idolatry, there follow luxury and pride. "So wealthy were they," says Jerome, "as to possess two sorts of houses, "the winter house" being turned to the south, the "summer house" to the north, so that, according to the variety of the seasons, they might temper to them the heat and cold." Yet of these luxuries, (so much more natural in the East where summer-heat is so intense, and there is so little provision against cold) the only instance expressly recorded, besides this place, is "the winter house" of Jehoiakim. In Greece and Rome , the end was attained, as with us, by north and south rooms in the same house. These, which Amos rebukes, were like our town and country houses, separate residences, since they were to be destroyed, one on the other. "Ivory houses" were houses, paneled, or inlaid, with ivory. Such a palace Ahab built 1 Kings 22:39. Even Solomon "in all his glory" had but an ivory throne 1 Kings 10:18. Else "ivory palaces" Psalm 45:8 are only mentioned, as part of the symbolic glory of the King of glory, the Christ. He adds, "and the great (or many) houses shall have an end, saith the Lord." So prosperous were they in outward show, when Amos foretold their destruction. The desolation should be wide as well as mighty. All besides should pass away, and the Lord alone abide in that Day. : "What then shall we, if we would be right-minded, learn hence? How utterly nothing will all earthly brightness avail, all wealth, glory, or ought besides of luxury, if the love of God is lacking, and righteousness be not prized by us! For "treasures of wickedness profit nothing; but righteousness delivereth from death" Proverbs 10:2. 15. winter … summer house—(Jud 3:20; Jer 36:22). Winter houses of the great were in sheltered positions facing the south to get all possible sunshine, summer houses in forests and on hills, facing the east and north.

houses of ivory—having their walls, doors, and ceilings inlaid with ivory. So Ahab's house (1Ki 22:39; Ps 45:8).

I will smite; by the greatness of the desolation it shall appear that God did smite, though by the Assyrian; or perhaps it may refer to the earthquake foretold two years before it came, Amos 1:1.

The winter house; which probably was in the chief city, where the rich and great men retired in the winter time, as more for their delight than the country, horrid and cold, and stripped of its glory.

The summer house; the houses of pleasure, where the nobles and rich men of Israel spent the summer time.

The houses of ivory; not built with, but beautified with ivory, or the elephant’s tooth, called here and elsewhere, by way of eminency, the tooth.

Shall perish; by the violence of the enemies, these stately houses shall be ransacked first, and pulled down next, and left in rubbish.

The great houses; or many, for the word includes both. The magnificent palaces of princes and the nobles of Israel

shall have an end; shall cease for ever, either be utterly wasted, or cease to be theirs whose once they were.

Saith the Lord; all this shall infallibly come to pass and be fulfilled in due time. And I will smite the winter house with the summer house,.... Both the one and, the other shall fall to the ground, being beat down by the enemy, or shook and made to fall by the earthquake predicted, Amos 1:1; as Kimchi thinks: kings and great personages had houses in the city in the winter season, in which they lived for warmth; and others in the country in the summertime, to which they retired for the benefit of the air; or they had, in one and the same house, a summer and a winter parlour; see Judges 3:20; it signifies that the destruction should reach city and country, and deprive them of what was for their comfort and pleasure:

and the houses of ivory shall perish; or "of the tooth" (l); the elephant's tooth, of which ivory is made. Ahab made a house of ivory; and perhaps more were made by others afterwards, following his example, 1 Kings 22:39; not that these houses were made wholly of ivory, only "covered" with it, as the Targum here paraphrases it; or they were cieled or wainscotted with it, or were inlaid and covered with it, and were reckoned very curious work; but should be demolished, and perish in the general ruin:

and the great houses shall have an end, saith the Lord; the houses of princes, nobles, and other persons of figure and distinction; houses great in building, or many in number, as Kimchi observes, and as the word (m) will bear to be rendered; these, which the builders and owners of them thought would have continued many ages, and have perpetuated their names to posterity, should now be thrown down, and be no more; of which they might assure themselves, since the Lord had said it.

(l) "domus dentis", Montanus, Mercerus, Vatablus. (m) "aedes multi", V. L. "domus multae", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Burkius.

And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.
15. the winter house] See Jeremiah 36:22.

with the summer house] Eglon (Jdg 3:20) had a “cool upper story,” i.e. an additional apartment, built on the flat roof of the house, with latticed windows, allowing free circulation for the air (cf. Moore, Judges, pp. 96, 97 f.); but here separate buildings, such as the wealthy might be able to indulge in, appear to be intended. Both terms are to be understood collectively, and not confined to the royal palaces alone. An interesting illustration of the passage has been supplied recently by an almost contemporary inscription from Zinjirli, near Aleppo, in which Bar-rekûb, king of Sham’al, vassal (lit. servant, 2 Kings 16:7) of Tiglath-pileser (תגלתפליסר), says he has beautified his father’s house in honour of his ancestors, the kings of Sham’al (i.e. as a mausoleum), “and it is for them a summer-house and a winter-house[149]” (i.e. for perpetual use).

[149] פהא בית שתוא להם והא בית כיצא (Sachau in the Sitzungsberichte of the Berlin Academy, 22 Oct. 1896, p.1052).

houses of ivory] i.e. houses of which the walls were panelled or inlaid with ivory (cf. Psalm 45:8; also ch. Amos 6:4). Ahab (1 Kings 22:39), it seems, had found imitators.

the great houses] rather many houses (R.V. marg.): cf. Isaiah 5:9. “The desolation should be wide as well as mighty” (Pusey).Verse 15. - The winter house. The luxurious habits of kings and princes had led them to have different houses for the various seasons of the year, facing north or south as the case might be (comp. Judges 3:20; Jeremiah 36:22). Septuagint, τὸν οϊκον τὸν περίπτερον, "the turreted house," which Jerome explains, Domum pinnatam, eo quod ostiola habeat per fenestras, et quasi pinnas, ad magnitudinem frigoris depellendam. Houses of ivory; panelled or inlaid with ivory, such as Ahab had (1 Kings 22:39). Solomon's throne was thus decorated (1 Kings 10:18; comp. Psalm 45:8). (For the Assyrian practice of veneering in ivory, see Rawlinson, 'Ancient Monarchies,' 1:463; comp. also Homer, 'Od.,' 4:73; Virgil, 'AEneid,' 6:895.) The great houses; better, many houses; Septuagint, ἕτεροι οϊκοι πολλοί, "many other houses." Not only palaces, but many private houses, shall be destroyed (comp. Isaiah 5:9, where the same words are used).

"Yet am I Jehovah thy God, from the land of Egypt hither: I will still cause thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the feast. Hosea 12:10. I have spoken to the prophets; and I, I have multiplied visions, and spoken similitudes through the prophets. Hosea 12:11. If Gilead (is) worthlessness, they have only come to nothing: in Gilgal they offered bullocks: even their altars are like stone-heaps in the furrows of the field." The Lord meets the delusion of the people, that they had become great and powerful through their own exertion, by reminding them that He (ואנכי is adversative, yet I) has been Israel's God from Egypt hither, and that to Him they owe all prosperity and good in both past and present (cf. Hosea 13:4). Because they do not recognise this, and because they put their trust in unrighteousness rather than in Him, He will now cause them to dwell in tents again, as in the days of the feast of Tabernacles, i.e., will repeat the leading through the wilderness. It is evident from the context that mō‛ēd (the feast) is here the feast of Tabernacles. מועד (the days of the feast) are the seven days of this festival, during which Israel was to dwell in booths, in remembrance of the fact that when God led them out of Egypt He had caused them to dwell in booths (tabernacles, Leviticus 23:42-43). אד אושׁיבך stands in antithesis to הושׁבתּי ot si in Leviticus 23:43. "The preterite is changed into a future through the ingratitude of the nation" (Hengstenberg). The simile, "as in the days of the feast," shows that the repetition of the leading through the desert is not thought of here merely as a time of punishment, such as the prolongation of the sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years really was (Numbers 14:33). For their dwelling in tents, or rather in booths (sukkōth), on the feast of Tabernacles, was intended not so much to remind the people of the privations of their unsettled wandering life in the desert, as to call to their remembrance the shielding and sheltering care and protection of God in their wandering through the great and terrible wilderness (see at Leviticus 23:42-43). We must combine the two allusions, therefore: so that whilst the people are threatened indeed with being driven out of the good and glorious land, with its large and beautiful cities and houses full of all that is good (Deuteronomy 6:10.), into a dry and barren desert, they have also set before them the repetition of the divine guidance through the desert; so that they are not threatened with utter rejection on the part of God, but only with temporary banishment into the desert. In Hosea 12:10 and Hosea 12:11 the two thoughts of Hosea 12:9 are still further expanded. In Hosea 12:10 they are reminded how the Lord had proved Himself to be the God of Israel from Egypt onwards, by sending prophets and multiplying prophecy, to make known His will and gracious counsel to the people, and to promote their salvation. דּבּר with על, to speak to, not because the word is something imposed upon a person, but because the inspiration of God came down to the prophets from above. אדמּה, not "I destroy," for it is only the kal that occurs in this sense, and not the piel, but "to compare," i.e., speak in similes; as, for example, in Hosea 1:1-11 and Hosea 3:1-5, Isaiah 5:1., Ezekiel 16 etc.: "I have left no means of admonishing them untried" (Rosenmller). Israel, however, has not allowed itself to be admonished and warned, but has given itself up to sin and idolatry, the punishment of which cannot be delayed. Gilead and Gilgal represent the two halves of the kingdom of the ten tribes; Gilead the land to the east of the Jordan, and Gilgal the territory to the west. As Gilead is called "a city (i.e., a rendezvous) of evil-doers" (פּעלי און) in Hosea 6:8, so is it here called distinctly און, worthlessness, wickedness; and therefore it is to be utterly brought to nought. און and שׁוא are synonymous, denoting moral and physical nonentity (compare Job 15:31). Here the two notions are so distributed, that the former denotes the moral decay, the latter the physical. Worthlessness brings nothingness after it as a punishment. אך, only equals nothing, but equivalent to utterly. The perfect היוּ is used for the certain future. Gilgal, which is mentioned in Hosea 4:15; Hosea 9:15, as the seat of one form of idolatrous worship, is spoken of here as a place of sacrifice, to indicate with a play upon the name the turning of the altars into heaps of stones (Gallim). The desolation or destruction of the altars involves not only the cessation of the idolatrous worship, but the dissolution of the kingdom and the banishment of the people out of the land. שׁורים, which only occurs in the plural here, cannot of course be the dative (to sacrifice to oxen), but only the accusative. The sacrifice of oxen was reckoned as a sin on the part of the people, not on account of the animals offers, but on account of the unlawful place of sacrifice. The suffix to mizbechōthâm (their sacrifices) refers to Israel, the subject implied in zibbēchū.
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