Amos 4:13
For, see, he that forms the mountains, and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, that makes the morning darkness, and treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.
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(13) God of hosts.—The Lord whom they have to meet is no mere national deity, but the supreme Creator.

Createth the wind.—Not “spirit” (as margin). But the two ideas “wind” and “spirit” were closely associated in Heb. (as in Greek), being designated by the same word ruach (in Greek πνεῦμα, comp. John 3:8). Hence the transition in thought to the next clause is natural. This is curiously rendered in LXX. “and declareth to man his Christ” through a misunderstanding of the original.

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.For lo, He that formeth the mountains - Their God whom they worshiped was but nature. Amos tells them, who "their God" is, whom they were to prepare to meet. He describes Him as the Creator of that, which to man seems most solid, to go furthest back in times past. Before the everlasting mountains were, God is, for He made them. Yet God is not a Creator in the past alone. He is a continual Worker. "And formeth the wind," that finest subtlest creature, alone invisible in this visible world; the most immaterial of things material, the breath of our life, the image of man's created immaterial spirit, or even of God's uncreated presence, the mildest and the most terrific of the agents around us. But the thought of God, as a Creator or Preserver without, affects man but little. To man, a sinner, far more impressive than all majesty of Creative power, is the thought that God knows his inmost soul. So he adds; "and declareth unto man what is his thought," that is, his meditation, before he puts it into words. God knows our thoughts more truly than we ourselves. We disguise them to ourselves, know not our own hearts, wish not to know them. God reveals us to ourselves. As He says, "The heart is deceitful above all things; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings" Jeremiah 17:9-10. Man's own conscience tells him that God's knowledge of His inmost self is no idle knowledge. "If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things" 1 John 3:20.

That maketh the morning darkness - If the light become darkness, how great that darkness! From the knowledge of man's heart, the prophet goes on to retribution. Morning is the symbol of all which is beautiful, cheering, radiant, joyous to man; darkness effaces all these. Their God, he tells them, can do all this. He can quench in gloom all the magnificent beauty of His own creation and make all which gladdened the eyes of man, "one universal blot." "And treadeth upon the high places of the earth." He "treadeth" them, to tread them under. He humbleth all which exalteth itself. "God walketh, when He worketh. He is without all, within all, containeth all, worketh all in all. Hence, it is said, "He walketh on the wings of the wind Psalm 104:3; He walketh on the heights of the sea Job 9:8; He walketh on the circuit of heaven" Job 22:14.

Such was He, who made Himself "their God," The Author of all, the Upholder of all, the Subduer of all which exalted itself, who stood in a special relation to man's thoughts, and who punished. At His command stand all the hosts of heaven. Would they have Him for them, or against them? Would they be at peace with Him, before they met Him, face to face?

13. The God whom Israel is to "prepare to meet" (Am 4:12) is here described in sublime terms.

wind—not as the Margin, "spirit." The God with whom thou hast to do is the Omnipotent Maker of things seen, such as the stupendous mountains, and of things too subtle to be seen, though of powerful agency, as the "wind."

declareth unto man … his thought—(Ps 139:2). Ye think that your secret thoughts escape My cognizance, but I am the searcher of hearts.

maketh … morning darkness—(Am 5:8; 8:9). Both literally turning the sunshine into darkness, and figuratively turning the prosperity of the ungodly into sudden adversity (Ps 73:12, 18, 19; compare Jer 13:16).

treadeth upon … high places—God treadeth down the proud of the earth. He subjects to Him all things however high they be (Mic 1:3). Compare De 32:13; 33:29, where the same phrase is used of God's people, elevated by God above every other human height.

To move them to act for their safety, the prophet tells them how great and dreadful God is, the most dreadful and terrible enemy, but the most desirable friend.

He that formeth the mountains; when there was not a mountain or hill, or the least dust of either, thy God, O Israel, formed them; and it is wisdom to return to him, for he can remove difficulties and pressures were they as heavy as mountains, and so he can mend all with you quickly; and if your confidences in sinful ways were as strong as mountains, he can overthrow them: return therefore and repent.

Createth; giveth being by an almighty will.

The wind; which for its instability seems of contrary nature to mountains, which doth shake them and overturn foundations; that wind which we feel and hear, though we see it not, that makes hideous noises, and works dreadful effects. The storms you are threatened with, O Israel, are like the wind, dreadful, irresistible; but, as the wind, raised and ruled by God, who can soon with one word lay them all asleep: return therefore to him.

And declareth unto man what is his thought: think not by any counsels to prevent what God determines against an impenitent and sinful nation, as his power is infinite in creating, his wisdom is infinite too and unsearchable, and he can and will take sinners in their incorrigible wickednesses and punish them: be wise, therefore, and return to him by repentance.

That maketh the morning darkness; can as easily turn outward prosperity into extreme adversity as he can turn a glorious morning into a dark, dismal, and overclouded day, and so will do against you if you repent not; and can turn a cloudy morning into brightness, and misery into happiness, if you repent.

And treadeth upon the high places of the earth; can tread under foot the idols that are worshipped on high places of the earth, and trample on high and mighty potentates, exalted above ordinary men as highest hills are above lowest valleys.

The Lord; who alone am the Lord, the eternal and mighty God.

The God of hosts is his name; whose sovereign power and command all creatures obey, and act for or against us as he willeth. For, lo, he that formeth the mountains,.... These words are a description of the glorious Person, "thy God" and Saviour, to be met; he is the Creator of all things, that formed the mountains, and so was before them, as in Proverbs 8:25; and able to surmount and remove all mountains of difficulties that lay in his way of working out salvation for his people:

and createth the wind; or "spirit"; not the Holy Spirit, which is uncreated; but either angels, whom he makes spirits; or the spirit and soul of man he is the Creator of; or rather the natural wind is meant, which is his creature, he holds in his fists, restrains and commands, at his pleasure, Matthew 8:26;

and declareth unto man what is his thought; not what is man's thought, though he knows what is in man without any information, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and can reveal them to men, and convince them that he knows them, Matthew 9:4; but rather the thought of God, the meditation of his heart, concerning the salvation of men; his thoughts of peace, which are the deep things of God, and which Christ, lying in the bosom of his Father, was privy to, and has declared, John 1:18. The Septuagint and Arabic versions, reading the words wrong, render them, "declaring to men his Christ"; which, though true of God, is not the sense of this clause. The Targum is,

"what are his works (x)?''

his works of creation, providence, redemption, and grace:

that maketh the morning darkness; or "darkness morning", or "the morning out of darkness" (y); being the dayspring from on high, the morning star, the sun of righteousness, that, rising, made the Gospel day, after a long night of Jewish and Gentile darkness; and who made the same dispensation a morning to one, and darkness to another, John 9:39. The Septuagint version is, "making the morning and the cloud"; the Vulgate Latin version, "making the morning cloud"; his coming was as the morning, Hosea 6:3;

and treadeth upon the high places of the earth; the land of Israel, which is Immanuel's land, is said by the Jews to be higher than other lands; Jerusalem higher than any part of Judea, and the mountain the temple was built on higher than Jerusalem: here Christ trod in the days of his flesh, and from the mount of Olives ascended to heaven, after he had trampled upon and spoiled principalities and powers, spiritual wickednesses in high places, and when he led captivity captive. Jarchi interprets it of humbling the mighty and proud, who are compared to the high places of the earth. The Targum is,

"to declared to men what are his works, to prepare light for the righteous as the morning light, who goes and prepares darkness for earth;''

the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name; he is the Jehovah, the Lord our righteousness, the God and Governor of the armies of heaven the hosts of angels, and to whom all creatures on earth are subject; all power in heaven and earth belongs unto him; this is Israel's God, his Redeemer and Saviour he is called upon to prepare to meet.

(x) So Kimchi and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 4. 5. (y) "faciens obscuritatem auroram", Drusius.

For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.
13. A verse describing the majesty and omnipotence of the Judge, and suggesting consequently a motive why His will should be obeyed, and His anger averted. He is the Maker both of the solid mountains, and of the invisible yet sometimes formidable and destructive wind: He knows the secrets of man’s heart, and can, if He pleases, declare them to him; He can darken with the storm the brightness of heaven, and march in the thunder-cloud over the high places of the earth: Yahweh of Hosts is His name!

formeth the mountains] or fashioneth, the word used (yâẓar) denoting properly the work of the potter. It is often used figuratively of the Divine operation; e.g. Genesis 2:7-8; Genesis 2:19 (animals and man); Isaiah 45:18 (the earth); Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 43:21; Isaiah 44:2; Isaiah 44:21; Isaiah 44:24 (the people of Israel); Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 1:5 (an individual man); Jeremiah 10:16 (the universe): and even of framing or planning in the Divine purpose, Isaiah 22:21; Isaiah 37:26; Isaiah 46:11; Jeremiah 18:11; Jeremiah 33:2.

createth] bârâ means properly to cut (see Joshua 17:15; Joshua 17:18), and hence to fashion by cutting, to shape; but, in the conjugation here used, it is employed exclusively of God, to denote, viz., the production, in virtue of powers possessed by God alone, of something fundamentally new. The verb does not in itself express the idea of creatio ex nihilo (though it was probably in usage often felt to denote this); but it implies the possession of a sovereign transforming, or productive, energy, altogether transcending what is at the disposal of man. It is used chiefly of the formation of the material cosmos (or of parts of it), as Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 40:28; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 45:18, and here; but it may also be applied to a nation, as Israel (Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 43:15), or to an individual man (Isaiah 54:16), and figuratively to new conditions or circumstances, &c. beyond the power of man to bring about (Exodus 34:10; Numbers 16:30; Jeremiah 31:22; Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 48:7; Isaiah 65:17). The idea expressed by the word was more frequently dwelt upon in the later stages of Israel’s religion; it is accordingly particularly frequent (in various applications) in Deutero-Isaiah. See further Schultz, O. T. Theol. ii. 180 ff. It is parallel, as here, to yâẓar, to form, in Isaiah 43:1; Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 45:18.

and declareth unto man what is his thought] his musing, meditation. The word occurs only here: but one hardly different is found 1 Samuel 1:16 (“complaint,” lit. musing), 1 Kings 18:27, Psalm 104:34 al. The agency employed may be the prophet, declaring to man his secret purposes (cf. Acts 5:3 f., 9), or conscience, suddenly revealing to him the true gist and nature of his designs. The pron. his might in the abstract refer to God (cf. Amos 3:7); but the word rendered musing does not seem one that would be used very naturally of the Divine purpose.

that maketh the morning darkness] viz. suddenly blackening the clear sky with the dark masses of storm-cloud. In the thunderstorm, the Hebrews conceived Jehovah to be borne along within the clouds (Psalm 18:9-13; cf. on ch. Amos 1:2): the picture of Jehovah darkening the heavens with the gathering storm thus leads on naturally to the clause which follows.

and treadeth—or marchethupon the high places of the earth] viz. in the thunder-cloud, as it sweeps along the hills. For the expression, comp. (of Israel) Deuteronomy 32:13; Isaiah 58:14; (of Jehovah) Micah 1:3 : also Job 9:8 (“who marcheth upon the high places of the sea”).

Jehovah of hosts, is his name] The title is expressive of majesty and omnipotence: see on Amos 3:13. It stands in the same emphatic formula as here, Amos 5:27 (‘God of hosts’); Isaiah 47:4; Isaiah 48:2; Isaiah 51:15; Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 10:16 (= Jeremiah 51:19), Jeremiah 31:35, Jeremiah 32:18, Jeremiah 46:18, Jeremiah 48:15, Jeremiah 50:34, Jeremiah 51:57.Verse 13. - The prophet enforces his threats by declaring God's power and omniscience. He that formeth the mountain; ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ στερεῶν βροντήν, "I am he that strengtheneth thunder" (Septuagint, reading differently). The mountains are mentioned as the most solid and everlasting of his works; the wind, as the subtlest and most immaterial of created things. Declareth unto man what is his thought; i.e. man's thought; reveals man to himself shows that he knows man's thought before man puts it into words. This he does sometimes by the stings of conscience, sometimes by inspiring his prophets to declare men's secret motives and the real state of their heart (see Jeremiah 17:9, l0; and comp. 1 John 3:20). Vulgate, Annuntians homini eloquium suum, where eloquium is equivalent to cognitatio. The LXX., with some change of letters, has, ἀπαγγέλλων εἰς ἀνθρώπους τὸν Ξριστὸν αὐτοῦ, "proclaiming unto men his Christ" - a reading which supports the misinterpretation of "his thought" as meaning God's thought, Christ being regarded as the Λόγος of God. Many of the Fathers have seen here a prophesy of the Messiah. See Tirinus and Corn. a Lapide on this verse. That maketh the morning darkness. Keil, after Calvin, takes these words as asyndeton for "the morning dawn and darkness." So the Septuagint, ποιῶν ὅρθρον καὶ ὁμίχλην, "making morning and gloom." This would be simply a further instance of God's creative power. The Vulgate gives, faciens matutinam nebulam; and it seems probable (comp. Amos 5:8; Amos 8:9) that the clause means that the Lord turns the dawn into darkness. This may refer to the action of clouds or an eclipse; or it may be said metaphorically of prosperity and adversity. Treadeth upon the high places of the earth. An anthropomorphic representation of the might and majesty of God, who governs all things, and has the loftiest in perfect subjection (comp. Deuteronomy 32:13; Deuteronomy 33:29; Job 9:8; Micah 1:3). The Lord, Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, covenant God, is he who in these things manifests himself, and therefore his threats are not to be despised (Amos 5:8). In the prophet's view the laws and powers of nature have their scope in executing God's commands.

"And I became like a lion to them; as a leopard by the wayside do I lie in wait. Hosea 13:8. I fall upon them as a bear robbed of its young, and tear in pieces the enclosure of their heart, and eat them there like a lioness: the beast of the field will tear them in pieces." The figure of the pasture which made Israel full (Hosea 13:6) is founded upon the comparison of Israel to a flock (cf. Hosea 4:16). The chastisement of the people is therefore represented as the tearing in pieces and devouring of the fattened flock by wild beasts. God appears as a lion, panther, etc., which fall upon them (cf. Hosea 5:14). ואהי does not stand for the future, but is the preterite, giving the consequence of forgetting God. The punishment has already begun, and will still continue; we have therefore from אשׁוּר onwards imperfects or futures. אשׁוּר, from שׁוּר, to look round, hence to lie in wait, as in Jeremiah 5:26. It is not to be changed into 'Asshur, as it is by the lxx and Vulgate. סגור לבּם, the enclosure of their heart, i.e., their breast. Shâm (there) points back to ‛al-derekh (by the way).
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