Amos 4:10
I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up to your nostrils: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD.
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(10) With the captivity of your horses.—This, the marginal reading, is more exact. Egypt is the birthplace of the plague or black death, and the circumstances augmenting its horror are here terribly portrayed. G. Baur thinks, that since the drought is mentioned after the famine as its true cause, so here the prophet explains the cause of the pestilence, or the way in which it would be brought about, viz., by the hosts of slaughtered warriors scattered over the camp.

Amos 4:10-11. I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt — I have sent such pestilence among you as I formerly sent upon Egypt: Or, such as has frequently taken place in Egypt. “The unwholesome effluvia, on the subsiding of the Nile, caused some peculiarly malignant diseases in this country.” — Newcome. Maillet also tells us, (Lett. 1. page 14,) that “the air is bad in those parts, where, when the inundations of the Nile have been very great, this river, in retiring to its channel, leaves marshy places, which infect the country round about. The dew is also very dangerous in Egypt.” Your young men have I slain, &c. — I have caused your young men to fall in battle with your enemies. And have taken away your horses — Have enabled your enemies to take them from you. Horses being very scarce in the land of Israel, the loss of them was a great affliction. I have made the stink of your camps, &c. — I have sent diseases into your camps; so that they have been rendered quite noisome by the smell of the dead carcasses, or so great has been the slaughter in your camps, that there were not a sufficient number left alive to bury the slain. The Syrians made frequent incursions on the Israelites, which obliged the latter to be often encamped. I have overthrown some of you, &c. — Some of your cities I have caused to be burned with fire and utterly consumed, as Sodom and Gomorrah were. And ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning — Those that remained very narrowly escaped. A proverbial expression, used both by sacred and profane authors, to signify a narrow escape out of imminent danger.4:6-13 See the folly of carnal hearts; they wander from one creature to another, seeking for something to satisfy, and labour for that which satisfies not; yet, after all, they will not incline their ear to Him in whom they might find all they can want. Preaching the gospel is as rain, and every thing withers where this rain is wanting. It were well if people were as wise for their souls as they are for their bodies; and, when they have not this rain near, would go and seek it where it is to be had. As the Israelites persisted in rebellion and idolatry, the Lord was coming against them as an adversary. Ere long, we must meet our God in judgment; but we shall not be able to stand before him, if he tries us according to our doings. If we would prepare to meet our God with comfort, at the awful period of his coming, we must now meet him in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father, who came to save lost sinners. We must seek him while he is to be found.I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt - that is, after the way in which God had dealt with Egypt . God had twice promised, when the memory of the plagues which He sent on Egypt was still fresh "if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God - I will put none of the diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians" Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 7:15. Contrariwise, God had forewarned them in that same prophecy of Moses, that, if they disobeyed Him, "He will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt which thou was afraid of, and they shall cleave unto thee" (Deuteronomy 28:60, add Deuteronomy 28:27). Egypt was, at times, subject to great visitations of the plague ; it is said to be its birthplace . Palestine was by nature healthy. Hence, and on account of the terribleness of the scourge, God so often speaks of it, as of His own special sending. He had threatened in the law; "I will sold a pestilence upon you" Leviticus 26:25; "the Lord thy God will make the pestilence cleave unto you" Deuteronomy 28:21. Jeremiah says to the false prophet Hananiah; "The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries and against great kingdoms, of war and of evil and of pestilence" Jeremiah 28:8. Amos bears witness that those visitations came. Jeremiah Jer 14:12; Jeremiah 29:17-18; Jeremiah 34:17 and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 6:11, etc.) prophesied them anew, together with the sword and with famine. Israel, having sinned like Egypt, was to be punished like Egypt.

And have taken away your horses - Literally, as English margin. "with the captivity of your horses." After famine, drought, locust, pestilence, followed that worst scourge of all, that through man. The possessions of the plain of Jezreel, so well suited for cavalry, probably induced israel to break in this respect the law of Moses. Hazael "left to Jehoahaz but 50 horsemen and 10 chariots and 10,000 footmen, for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing." Their armies, instead of being a defense, lay unburied on the ground, a fresh source of pestilence.

10. pestilence after the manner of Egypt—such as I formerly sent on the Egyptians (Ex 9:3, 8, &c.; Ex 12:29; De 28:27, 60). Compare the same phrase, Isa 10:24.

have taken away your horses—literally, "accompanied with the captivity of your horses"; I have given up your young men to be slain, and their horses to be taken by the foe (compare 2Ki 13:7).

stink of your camps—that is, of your slain men (compare Isa 34:3; Joe 2:20).

to come up unto your nostrils—The Hebrew is more emphatic, "to come up, and that unto your nostrils."

I have sent; you have died of plague, but I commissioned the disease, I sent it, and it swept you away in such manner that any observant eye might have seen the hand of God against you in it, and might have read the commission.

The pestilence; arrow of God, that walketh in the dark, that wasteth at noon-day.

After the manner of Egypt; in which there was somewhat extraordinary, it swept away both men and beasts, say some; probably it was this disease which by the stroke of the angel seized the first-born in Egypt. Others interpret this with particular respect to the death of them in going down to seek aid of Egypt, or in their return from Egypt, as if the prophet minded them of many that died on the way to or from Egypt; but the phrase in the way is better rendered by our translators after the manner.

Your young men have I slain; God was their enemy, and slew their young men, the choice of their strength and hope.

With the sword; in war, and by their neighbouring enemies in Jehoahaz’s time, and Syrians since that too, 2 Kings 13:3, and 2 Kings 15 2Ki 16, and 2 Kings 17 compared.

Have taken away your horses; not by murrain, but by what was worse to you, by the hand of those who did ride them; and these being slain the horses were taken by the enemy, and added to their strength, and your danger.

I have made the stink of our camps to come up unto your nostrils; so great slaughter hath been made in your camp, that there were not sufficient to bury the slain before they stunk and offended you. I have sent among you the pestilence, after the manner of Egypt,.... Like that which was sent among the firstborn of Egypt, and cut them off in one night; or when in the way of Egypt, as the Targum; either as in the wilderness, when they came out of Egypt, so Jarchi interprets it; see Numbers 16:46; or the Lord sent the pestilence as they went in the way to Egypt for help and assistence, or for shelter, for food in time of famine; for they went thither, as Kimchi says, because of the famine, to fetch food, from thence; and this was displeasing to the Lord, and he sent the plague among them, which cut them off in the way:

your young men have I slain with the sword; of the enemy in battle; or as they were in the way to Egypt, being sent there to fetch food, but were intercepted by the enemy:

and have taken away your horses; on which they rode to Egypt on the above errand; or rather which they brought up from thence, contrary to the command of God:

and have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils; such numbers of their armies being slain, and these lying unburied, the smell of them was very noisome:

yet have ye not returned unto me saith the Lord; still they continued obstinate and impenitent; See Gill on Amos 4:6.

I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of {l} Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

(l) As I plagued the Egyptians; Ex 9:10.

10. Pestilence and the sword. By the pestilence (déber) is meant what we should term an epidemic accompanied by great mortality, such as under the insalubrious sanitary conditions of Eastern life, are of frequent occurrence: it is often mentioned in the Old Testament, and frequently threatened as a judgement, especially as the concomitant of a siege; e.g. Leviticus 26:25; Deuteronomy 28:21; 1 Kings 8:37; 2 Samuel 24:15; Psalm 91:3; Psalm 91:6 (“the pestilence that walketh in darkness”); and often in Jeremiah (“the sword, the famine, and the pestilence”), as Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 24:10; Jeremiah 29:17-18 &c., cf. Jeremiah 28:8; so in Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 6:11-12; Ezekiel 7:15 (“the sword without, the pestilence and the famine within”), Ezekiel 14:21 (one of Jehovah’s ‘four sore judgements’).

in the manner of Egypt] i.e. in the manner in which it is wont to visit Egypt (Isaiah 10:26 b), with the same severity and malignity. The climate of Egypt was proverbially insalubrious (Deuteronomy 7:15; Deuteronomy 28:60, cf. Deuteronomy 28:27, “the boil of Egypt,” probably some malignant pestilential boil); and “throughout antiquity the north-east corner of the Delta was regarded with reason as the home of the Plague,” whence often, it is probable, it was brought into Israel by Philistine traders (see G. A. Smith, Geogr., pp. 157–160). Even in modern times, according to Sir G. Wilkinson (quoted by Dr Pusey), “a violent plague used formerly to occur about once in ten or twelve years. It was always less frequent at Cairo than at Alexandria.”

your young men have I slain &c.] alluding, doubtless, to the many defeats which, until Jeroboam’s accession brought a change of fortune, Israel had sustained during the Syrian wars: comp. 2 Kings 10:32-33; 2 Kings 13:3; 2 Kings 13:7; 2 Kings 13:22; 2 Kings 14:26.

and have taken away your horses] together with the captivity of your horses (= your captive horses); i.e. your captured horses were slaughtered, as well as your young men (cf. 2 Kings 13:7). Wellh. interprets as is done by A.V., though allowing that the construction is more Arabic than Hebrew.

I have made the stink of your camps to come up &c.] cf. Isaiah 34:3. The corpses of the slain soldiers were so numerous that they lay unburied on the ground, defiling the air with pestilential vapours.Verse 10. - The fourth visitation is pestilence and the sword (Leviticus 26:25; Deuteronomy 28:60). After the manner of Egypt. In the manner in which Egypt is stricken (comp. Isaiah 10:24, 26; Ezekiel 20:30). There is here no reference to the plague of Exodus 9:3, etc., or Exodus 12:29. The allusion is to the plague which was reckoned to be epidemic in Egypt, and to other loathsome diseases for which that country was notorious (see Deuteronomy 7:15; Deuteronomy 28:27, 60) Sir G. Wilkinson notes that the plague used to occur about every ten years ('Handbook,' p. 7). Your young men have I slain with the sword. Pestilence and wax are allied scourges in Leviticus 26:25. A reference may here be made to the wars with the Syrians, wherein the Israelites suffered heavy losses (2 Kings 6:25; 2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 13:3, 7, 22). And have taken away your horses; rather, together with your captive horses, still under the regimen of "I have slain." The destruction of men and horses is mentioned in 2 Kings 13:7. The stink of your camps. These unburied caresses caused pestilence in the district. Septuagint, Καὶ ἀνήγαγον ἐν πυρὶ τὰς παρεμβολὰς ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ ὑμῶν, or, according to the Alexandrian manuscript, παρεμβολὰς ὑμῶν ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ μου, "In my wrath against you I set fire to your camps." "And yet I am Jehovah thy God from the land of Egypt hither; and thou knowest no God beside me, and there is no helper beside me. Hosea 13:5. I knew thee in the desert, in the land of burning heats." As in Hosea 12:10, a contrast is drawn here again between the idolatry of the people and the uninterrupted self-attestation of Jehovah to the faithless nation. From Egypt hither Israel has known no other God than Jehovah, i.e., has found no other God to be a helper and Saviour. Even in the desert He knew Israel, i.e., adopted it in love. ידע, to know, when applied to God, is an attestation of His love and care (compare Amos 3:2; Isaiah 58:3, etc.). The ἁπ. λεγ. תּלאוּבת, from לאב, Arab. lâb, med. Vav, to thirst, signifies burning heat, in which men famish with thirst (for the fact, compare Deuteronomy 8:15).
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