Amos 3:7
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets.
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Amos 3:7-8. The Lord will do nothing, but he revealeth, &c. — As if he had said, You cannot complain of your not being forewarned of these calamities coming upon you, for God hath not done, nor will do any thing, without revealing it to his prophets, and by them to you; so that you have now warning of all that he intends to do, unless you prevent it by an alteration in your behaviour. It may be observed further on this verse, that there was no great revolution in the affairs, either of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, or in those of the neighbouring nations, which the prophets of God did not foretel; in order that the Jews might constantly be reminded of their God, either as a rewarder or punisher. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? — As when a lion roars, no one who hears can avoid fearing, so now, God having threatened, all who are made acquainted with the threatening ought to be alarmed and to stand in awe. The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? — When God himself speaks, or commands, who will dare to do otherwise than obey? or, what prophet will have courage to refuse or forbear uttering what God reveals to him, and orders him to utter; for if the anger of a lion is to be feared, how much more the anger of God? 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!Surely the Lord God will do - For the Lord God "doeth"

Nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets - So our Lord saith, "And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe" (John 14:29; compare John 13:19). While it is yet a "secret" counsel within Himself, He admitteth to it His servants the prophets. The same word signifies "secret" and "secret counsel with a friend." So , "God revealed to Noah that tie would bring the deluge, and to Abraham and Lot, that He would destroy the cities of the plain, and to Joseph the 7 years' famine in Egypt, and to Moses its plagues, and to Moses and Joshua all the chastisements of His people, and to Jonah the destruction of Nineveh, that they who heard of the coming punishment, might eithcr avoid it by repentance, or, if they should despise it, might be more justly punished. And so now the Lord is about to reveal through Amos, His servant and prophet, what He willeth to do to the 10 tribes, that forsaking their idols and turning to Him, they might be freed from the impending peril; which is of the great mercy of God. He foretelleth evil to come, that He may not be compelled to inflict it. For He who forewarneth, willeth not to punish sinners."

Lap.: "So He inflicted not on Egypt any plagues by the hand of Moses, but He first forewarned Pharaoh and the Egyptians by him; nor the sufferings by the Ammonites, Midianites and Philistines, related in the Book of Judges, but He foremonished Israel by Joshua Jos 23:12-16; Joshua 24:19-20; nor did He inflict on the Jews that destruction by Titus and the Romans, but He foremonished them by Christ Luke 19:42-44 and the Apostles. So neither will He bring that last destruction on the world, without having first sent the prophets and Angels, who, sounding with the seven trumpets, shall proclaim it throughout the world" Revelation 8:2.

7. his secret—namely, His purpose hidden from all, until it is revealed to His prophets (compare Ge 18:17). In a wider sense, God's will is revealed to all who love God, which it is not to the world (Ps 25:14; Joh 15:15; 17:25, 26).

unto his servants—who being servants cannot but obey their Lord in setting forth His purpose (namely, that of judgment against Israel) (Jer 20:9; Eze 9:11). Therefore the fault which the ungodly find with them is groundless (1Ki 18:17). It aggravates Israel's sin, that God is not about to inflict judgment, without having fully warned the people, if haply they might repent.

Surely, since that, or, forasmuch as, the Lord God will do nothing; usually the Lord doth no great tiring for or against his people, neither brings great judgments upon them for sin, nor bestows great good upon them for their encouragement to duty,

but he revealeth, but he foretelleth the one and the other by his prophets to his people, that they may by repentance prevent the evil threatened, and by constancy in obedience attain the good promised.

His secret; his purpose and determinate counsel, which would never be known aforehand if he did not reveal it.

Unto his servants; who fear the Lord, and do his will in the midst of worst of times; they are holy men of God to whom the Lord revealeth his will.

The prophets; by office called of God to this, and by gifts fitted for this, and by extraordinary assistance carried through this work. Surely the Lord God will do nothing,.... In the world, in a nation or city; no remarkable event has happened, or shall happen, to the sons of men:

but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets; what he willed and determined to do, which was a secret in his own breast, till revealed; and this generally, and for the most part, he makes known to those that fear and serve him; and especially to whom he employs in public service, as his prophets and ministers, previous to his accomplishment of it: thus he revealed to Noah the drowning of the old world by the flood; to Abraham the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah; and to the same servant and friend of his the affliction of his posterity four hundred years in a strange land, and then to be brought out with great substance; to Abijah the Shilonite the rending of ten tribes from the house of David; to Jeremiah the seventy years' captivity of the Jews in Babylon; to Isaiah their deliverance from thence, through Cyrus by name; to Daniel the four monarchies, the nature, rise, and fall of them; and to John, the disciple of Christ, all the material things that should come to pass, relating to the church and world, from the first times of the Gospel to the second coming of Christ; which that book is a revelation of that bears that name; see Genesis 18:17; and so that grand affair, which God has brought about in the world, the salvation of his people by his Son, which was a secret hid in his heart before the world began, this he revealed to his servants before it was effected; not only the scheme of it, but the author of it, whom he very early gave notice of; and who was spoken of by the mouth of all the prophets, from the beginning of the world; declaring who and what he was, the Son of God; that he should be incarnate, and born of a virgin; when he should appear, and where, and in what part of the world; also in what way and manner he should obtain salvation, by his obedience and sufferings; and all the circumstances relating thereunto are most minutely and exactly declared by him. Yea, God reveals unto his saints in common the secret of his purposes, respecting their election, redemption, and regeneration, which is made known in the effectual calling; and of the blessings of his grace in the covenant, and also of his providences; and of his love, grace, and mercy; and of his Gospel, and the mysteries of it; thus he deals with them as his friends, rather than as his servants; see Psalm 25:14.

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he {h} revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

(h) God does not deal with the Israelites as he does with other people: for he always warns them before of his plagues by his Prophets.

7. Surely] For,—the reason, however, following not in Amos 3:7 but in Amos 3:8 (to which Amos 3:7 is subordinate): ‘I give all these examples of events and occurrences in nature being due regularly to their proper cause, for Jehovah does nothing without communicating His purpose to His prophets, and when He does so the call to declare it is an irresistible one (Amos 3:8)’: hence when the prophet speaks, and especially when he comes forward with a message such as that contained in Amos 3:2, it may be inferred that it is because he has heard Jehovah’s voice commanding him to do so.

doeth nothing, except he have revealed &c.] An exaggeration, of course, of the actual fact; but Amos means naturally nothing of importance, so far as Israel was concerned. Prophets, whose mission it was to guide and advise Israel, appeared at all important crises in the national history.

secret] Heb. sôd, properly friendly or confidential conversation (ὁμιλία, which the corresponding word in Syriac is often used to express), Psalm 55:14 : then, on the one hand, friendliness, friendship (Job 29:4; Psalm 25:14; Proverbs 3:32,—see R.V. marg. in these passages), and in a more concrete sense, a secret (Proverbs 25:9); on the other hand, a body holding confidential intercourse together, a council, or conclave, of familiar friends (Job 19:19, R.V. marg.; Jeremiah 15:17). In the latter sense sôd occurs in two passages illustrating the present one, Jeremiah 23:18; Jeremiah 23:22, where Jeremiah implies that the true prophets have access to the “council” of Jehovah, and preach the principles which are there approved (cf. Job 15:8, R.V. marg.; also Psalm 89:7).

his servants the prophets] An expression otherwise used chiefly by writers of the age of Jeremiah (2 Kings 17:13; 2 Kings 17:23; 2 Kings 21:10; 2 Kings 24:2; Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4; Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 29:19; Jeremiah 35:15; Ezekiel 38:17; also Zechariah 1:6; Daniel 9:10).Verse 7. - This and the following verse apply the foregoing, parables All the evils announced come from the Lord; but he brings none of them on the people without first warning by his prophets (comp. John 13:19; John 14:29). His secret (sod); unrevealed till then. Septuagint, παιδείαν, "instruction;" so the Arabic. (Heb. Bib. Hosea 12:1). "Ephraim has surrounded me with lying, and the house of Israel with deceit: and Judah is moreover unbridled against God, and against the faithful Holy One. Hosea 12:1 (Heb. Bib. 2). Ephraim grazeth wind, and hunteth after the east: all the day it multiplies lying and desolation, and they make a covenant with Asshur, and oil is carried to Egypt. Hosea 12:2. And Jehovah has a controversy with Judah, and to perform a visitation upon Jacob, according to his ways: according to his works will He repay him." In the name of Jehovah, the prophet raises a charge against Israel once more. Lying and deceit are the terms which he applies, not so much to the idolatry which they preferred to the worship of Jehovah (ψευδῆ καὶ λατρείαν, Theod.), as to the hypocrisy with which Israel, in spite of its idolatry, claimed to be still the people of Jehovah, pretended to worship Jehovah under the image of a calf, and turned right into wrong.

(Note: Calvin explains סבבני correctly thus: "that He (i.e., God) had experienced the manifold faithlessness of the Israelites in all kinds of ways." He interprets the whole sentence as follows: "The Israelites had acted unfaithfully towards God, and resorted to deceits, and that not in one way only, or of only one kind; but just as a man might surround his enemy with a great army, so had they gathered together innumerable frauds, with which they attacked God on every side.")

Bēth Yisrâ'ēl (the house of Israel) is the nation of the ten tribes, and is synonymous with Ephraim. The statement concerning Judah has been interpreted in different ways, because the meaning of רד is open to dispute. Luther's rendering, "but Judah still holds fast to its God," is based upon the rabbinical interpretation of רוּד, in the sense of רדה, to rule, which is decidedly false. According to the Arabic râd, the meaning of rūd is to ramble about (used of cattle that have broken loose, or have not yet been fastened up, as in Jeremiah 2:31); hiphil, to cause to ramble about (Genesis 27:40; Psalm 55:3). Construed as it is here with עם, it means to ramble about in relation to God, i.e., to be unbridled or unruly towards God. עם, as in many other cases where reciprocal actions are referred to, standing towards or with a person: see Ewald, 217, h. קדושׁים נאמן, the faithful, holy God. Qedōshı̄m is used of God, as in Proverbs 9:10 (cf. Joshua 24:19), as an intensive pluralis majestatis, construed with a singular adjective (cf. Isaiah 19:4; 2 Kings 19:4). נאמן, firm, faithful, trustworthy; the opposite of râd. Judah is unbridled towards the powerful God ('El), towards the Holy One, who, as the Faithful One, also proves Himself to be holy in relation to His people, both by the sanctification of those who embrace His salvation, and also by the judgment and destruction of those who obstinately resist the leadings of His grace. In Proverbs 9:1 the lying and deceit of Israel are more fully described. רעה רוּח is not to entertain one's self on wind, i.e., to take delight in vain things; but רעה means to eat or graze spiritually; and rūăch, the wind, is equivalent to emptiness. The meaning therefore is, to strive eagerly after what is empty or vain; synonymous with râdaph, to pursue. קדים, the east wind, in Palestine a fierce tempestuous wind, which comes with burning heat from the desert of Arabia, and is very destructive to seeds and plants (compare Job 27:21, and Wetzstein's Appendix to Delitzsch's Commentary on Job). It is used, therefore, as a figurative representation, not of vain hopes and ideals, that cannot possibly be reached, but of that destruction which Israel is bringing upon itself. "All the day," i.e., continually, it multiplies lying and violence, through the sins enumerated in Hosea 4:2, by which the kingdom is being internally broken up. Added to this, there is the seeking for alliances with the powers of the world, viz., Assyria and Egypt, by which it hopes to secure their help (Hosea 5:13), but only brings about its own destruction. Oil is taken to Egypt from the land abounding in olives (Deuteronomy 8:8), not as tribute, but as a present, for the purpose of securing an ally in Egypt. This actually took place during the reign of Hoshea, who endeavoured to liberate himself from the oppression of Assyria by means of a treaty with Egypt (2 Kings 17:4).

(Note: Manger has given the meaning correctly thus: "He is looking back to the ambassadors sent by king Hoshea with splendid presents to the king of Egypt, to bring him over to his side, and induce him to send him assistance against the king of Assyria, although he had bound himself by a sacred treaty to submit to the sovereignty of the latter." Compare also Hengstenberg's Christology, vol. i. p. 164 transl., where he refutes the current opinion, that the words refer to two different parties in the nation, viz., an Assyrian and an Egyptian party, and correctly describes the circumstances thus: "The people being severely oppressed by Asshur, sometimes apply to Egypt for help against Asshur, and at other times endeavour to awaken friendly feelings in the latter.")

The Lord will repay both kingdoms for such conduct as this. But just as the attitude of Judah towards God is described more mildly than the guilt of Israel in Hosea 11:12, so the punishment of the two is differently described in Hosea 12:2. Jehovah has a trial with Judah, i.e., He has to reprove and punish its sins and transgressions (Hosea 4:1). Upon Jacob, or Israel of the ten tribes (as in Hosea 10:11), He has to perform a visitation, i.e., to punish it according to its ways and its deeds (cf. Hosea 4:9). לפקד, it is to be visited, i.e., He must visit.

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