Amos 3:8
The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
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(8) Roared.—Comp. the imagery of Amos 1:2, and that of Amos 3:4. The voice of the Lord is so audible, so clearly portending the coming judgment, that universal terror inevitably follows. (Comp. “If these should hold their peace, the stones would cry out.”

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!The Lion hath roared: who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken: who can but prophesy? - that is, there is cause for you to fear, when the Lord "roareth from Zion;" but if ye fear not, God's prophets dare not but fear. So Paul saith, "necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation" of the Gospel "is committed unto me" 1 Corinthians 9:16-17; and Peter and John, "whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye! For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" Acts 4:19-20; Moses was not excused, though slow of speech; nor Isaiah, though of polluted lips; nor Jeremiah, because he was a child; but God said, "Say not, I am child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak" Jeremiah 1:7. And Ezekiel was bidden, "be not rebellious, like that rebellious house" Ezekiel 2:8. And when Jeremiah would keep silence, he saith, "His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire, shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay" Jeremiah 20:9. 8. As when "the lion roars" (compare Am 1:2; Am 3:4), none can help but "fear," so when Jehovah communicates His awful message, the prophet cannot but prophesy. Find not fault with me for prophesying; I must obey God. In a wider sense true of all believers (Ac 4:20; 5:29). The lion hath roared; God hath threatened; and, as a lion roareth when near his prey, so God hath terribly threatened what is near to be done. Amos lived and prophesied in Jeroboam’s time, about A.M. 3150, and these threatened judgments began to come upon Israel when the conspiracies and usurpations of Shallum, Menahem, &c. filled all with blood and confusions, about A.M. 3177.

Who will not fear? what wise man, who that is solicitous for his own good and safety, or that hath any affections for the good of others, will do less than reverence and fear, and prevent by a speedy repentance?

The Lord God hath spoken: this is plainly what was before figuratively set forth, God had spoken to his prophets but dreadful things against Israel. Who can but prophesy? they dare not conceal them, Amos cannot but speak what he had heard, Jeremiah 1:17 Acts 4:19 5:25.

The lion hath roared, who will not fear?.... Amos said this from his own experience, who, having been a herdsman in the wilderness of Tekoa, had often heard a lion roar, which had put him into a panic, both for himself, and the cattle he kept; the figure is explained in the next clause:

the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? whether it be to foretell future events, which the Lord has made known shall come to pass; or to preach the word, which is to prophesy to edification, to exhortation, and comfort, 1 Corinthians 14:3; or to perform the more private exercises of religion, as singing of psalms, praying, &c. 1 Chronicles 25:1; these things who can forbear doing, to whom the Lord has spoken either in a dream or vision, or in his word, and by his Spirit; and to whom he has given a call and commissions, and gifts and graces, qualifying them for such service? who that has the fear of God in his heart, and his glory in view, and the good of others, that can refrain from it? nay, it is of dangerous consequence to refuse it; for if the roaring of a lion is so terrible, and if the wrath of an earthly king is as the roaring of a lion, much more the wrath and displeasure of the King of kings. Jonah declined prophesying when the Lord spoke to him, but what was the consequence of it? the prophet by this seems to justify himself in prophesying, and that he ought not to be blamed for it, seeing the Lord had given him the word, and therefore he ought to publish it. This may be particularly applied to the ministers of the word, who have a call, a charge and gifts from Christ, and on whom there is a necessity laid to preach the Gospel; and who should not shut, to declare it on any account; nor can they, who have it in their hearts, and as fire in their bones; who have seen and heard, and handled of the word of life, let what will be the consequence of it; see Psalm 68:11.

The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but {i} prophesy?

(i) Because the people always murmured against the Prophets, he shows that God's Spirit moved them to speak as they did.

Verse 8. - As the lion's roar forces every one to fear, so the Divine call of the prophet forces him to speak (Jeremiah 20:9; Ezekiel 2:8; 1 Corinthians 9:16, etc.). St. Gregory, moralizing, takes the lion in a spiritual sense: "After the power of his Creator has been made known to him, the strength of his adversary ought not to be concealed from him, in order that he might submit himself the more humbly to his defender, the more accurately he had learned the wickedness of his enemy, and might more ardently seek his Creator, the more terrible he found the enemy to be whom he had to avoid. For it is certain that he who less understands the danger he has escaped, loves his deliverer has; and that he who considers the strength of his adversary to be feeble, regards the solace of his defender as worthless" ('Moral.,' 32:14). Of course, this exposition does not regard the context. Amos 3:8But this truth met with contradiction in the nation itself. The proud self-secure sinners would not hear such prophesying as this (compare Amos 2:4; Amos 7:10.). Amos therefore endeavours, before making any further announcement of the judgment of God, to establish his right and duty to prophesy, by a chain-like series of similes drawn from life. V. 3. "Do two walk together without having agreed? Amos 3:4. Does the lion roar in the forest, and he has no prey? does the young lion utter his cry out of his den, without having taken anything? Amos 3:5. Does the bird fall into the trap on the ground, when there is no snare for him? does the trap rise up from the earth without making a capture? Amos 3:6. Or is the trumpet blown in the city, and the people are not alarmed? or does misfortune happen in the city, and Jehovah has not done it? Amos 3:7. For the Lord Jehovah does nothing at all, without having revealed His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:8. The lion has roared; who does not fear? the Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who must not prophesy?" The contents of these verses are not to be reduced to the general thought, that a prophet could no more speak without a divine impulse than any other effect could take place without a cause. There was certainly no need for a long series of examples, such as we have in Amos 3:3-6, to substantiate or illustrate the thought, which a reflecting hearer would hardly have disputed, that there was a connection between cause and effect. The examples are evidently selected with the view of showing that the utterances of the prophet originate with God. This is obvious enough in Amos 3:7, Amos 3:8. The first clause, "Do two men walk together, without having agreed as to their meeting?" (nō‛Ad, to betake one's self to a place, to meet together at an appointed place or an appointed time; compare Job 2:11; Joshua 11:5; Nehemiah 6:2; not merely to agree together), contains something more than the trivial truth, that two persons do not take a walk together without a previous arrangement. The two who walk together are Jehovah and the prophet (Cyril); not Jehovah and the nation, to which the judgment is predicted (Cocceius, Marck, and others). Amos went as prophet to Samaria or Bethel, because the Lord had sent him thither to preach judgment to the sinful kingdom. But God would not threaten judgment if He had not a nation ripe for judgment before Him. The lion which roars when it has the prey before it is Jehovah (cf. Amos 1:2; Hosea 11:10, etc.). טרף אין לו is not to be interpreted according to the second clause, as signifying "without having got possession of its prey" (Hitzig), for the lion is accustomed to roar when it has the prey before it and there is no possibility of its escape, and before it actually seizes it (cf. Isaiah 5:29).

(Note: The most terrible feature in the roaring of a lion is that with this clarigatio, or, if you prefer it, with this classicum, it declares war. And after the roar there immediately follows both slaughter and laceration. For, as a rule, it only roars with that sharp roar when it has the prey in sight, upon which it immediately springs (Bochart, Hieroz. ii. 25ff., ed. Ros.).)

On the contrary, the perfect lâkjad in the second clause is to be interpreted according to the first clause, not as relating to the roar of satisfaction with which the lion devours the prey in its den (Baur), but as a perfect used to describe a thing which was as certain as if it had already occurred. A lion has made a capture not merely when it has actually seized the prey and torn it in pieces, but when the prey has approached so near that it cannot possibly escape. Kephı̄r is the young lion which already goes in pursuit of prey, and is to be distinguished from the young of the lion, gūr (catulus leonis), which cannot yet go in search of prey (cf. Ezekiel 19:2-3). The two similes have the same meaning. The second strengthens the first by the assertion that God not only has before Him the nation that is ripe for judgment, but that He has it in His power.

The similes in Amos 3:5 do not affirm the same as those in Amos 3:4, but contain the new thought, that Israel has deserved the destruction which threatens it. Pach, a snare, and mōqēsh, a trap, are frequently used synonymously; but here they are distinguished, pach denoting a bird-net, and mōqēsh a springe, a snare which holds the bird fast. The earlier translators have taken mōqēsh in the sense of yōqēsh, and understand it as referring to the bird-catcher; and Baur proposes to alter the text accordingly. But there is no necessity for this; and it is evidently unsuitable, since it is not requisite for a bird-catcher to be at hand, in order that the bird should be taken in a snare. The suffix lâh refers to tsippōr, and the thought is this: in order to catch a bird in the net, a springe (gin) must be laid for it. So far as the fact itself is concerned, mōqēsh is "evidently that which is necessarily followed by falling into the net; and in this instance it is sinfulness" (Hitzig); so that the meaning of the figure would be this: "Can destruction possibly overtake you, unless your sin draws you into it?" (cf. Jeremiah 2:35). In the second clause pach is the subject, and ועלה is used for the ascent or springing up of the net. Hitzig has given the meaning of the words correctly: "As the net does not spring up without catching the bird, that has sent it up by flying upon it, can ye imagine that when the destruction passes by, ye will not be seized by it, but will escape without injury?" (cf. Isaiah 28:15). Jehovah, however, causes the evil to be foretold. As the trumpet, when blown in the city, frightens the people out of their self-security, so will the voice of the prophet, who proclaims the coming evil, excite a salutary alarm in the nation (cf. Ezekiel 33:1-5). For the calamity which is bursting upon the city comes from Jehovah, is sent by Him as a punishment. This thought is explained in Amos 3:7, Amos 3:8, and with this explanation the whole series of figurative sentences is made perfectly clear. The approaching evil, which comes from the Lord, is predicted by the prophet, because Jehovah does not carry out His purpose without having (כּי אם, for when, except when he has, as in Genesis 32:27) first of all revealed it to the prophets, that they may warn the people to repent and to reform. Sōd receives a more precise definition from the first clause of the verse, or a limitation to the purposes which God is about to fulfil upon His people. And since (this is the connection of Amos 3:8) the judgment with which the Lord is drawing near fills every one with fear, and Jehovah has spoken, i.e., has made known His counsel to the prophets, they cannot but prophesy.

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