Amos 4:9
I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD.
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(9) Blasting and mildew.—Burning up the corn before it is ready to ear, and producing a tawny yellow, instead of golden red, was another judgment. Nothing escapes the Divine visitation. “Your gardens, vineyards, fig-trees, and olive-trees”—which in a well-watered enclosure might escape the general drought—the locust devours in vast numbers (so the Heb. should be rendered); comp. Joel 1:4.

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 smitten you with blasting - Literally, "an exceeding scorching," such as the hot east wind produced, and "an exceeding mildew," a blight, in which the ears turn untimely a pale yellow, and have no grain. Both words are doubly intensive. They stand together in the prophecy of Moses Deuteronomy 28:22, among the other scourges of disobedience; and the mention of these would awaken, in those who would hear, the memory of a long train of other warnings and other judgments.

When your gardens ... increased - Better, as English margin. "the multitude of your gardens." The garden of the east united the orchard Job 8:16; Sol 4:13-14; Sol 6:11, herb Deuteronomy 11:10; Sol 4:14; Sol 6:2, and flower garden. It comprised what was necessary for use as well as what was fragrant. It furnished part of their support Amos 9:14; Jeremiah 29:5, Jeremiah 29:28. Its trees Ecclesiastes 2:6, as well as the garden (Sol 4:15; Ecclus. 24:30) generally, being mostly watered artificially, it was beyond the reach of ordinary drought. The tree, "planted by the channels of waters" (Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; add Isaiah 58:11; Jeremiah 31:12, contrariwise Isaiah 1:30), was an image of abiding freshness and fertility, Yet neither would these escape God's sentence. On these He sent the locusts, which, in a few hours - all leaves - flower, herb or tree, are as dead (see the note at Joel 1:7).

9. blasting—the blighting influence of the east wind on the corn (Ge 41:6).

when … gardens … increased—In vain ye multiplied your gardens, &c., for I destroyed their produce. Bochart supports Margin, "the multitude of your gardens."

palmer worm—A species of locust is here meant, hurtful to fruits of trees, not to herbage or corn. The same east wind which brought the drought, blasting, and mildew, brought also the locusts into Judea [Bochart], (Ex 10:13).

To other judgments inflicted on you I have added this also, my hand hath been heavy upon you,

I have smitten you with blasting; the excessive heat and drought have turned your corn into black and parched smut or ashes;

and mildew; a bane to corn through too much wet; the seasons were extremely unkind, and all spoiled with it.

When your gardens, about your houses for convenience and pleasure.

Vineyards; planted for your support and to enrich you, to cheer your heart.

Fig trees; which were excellent, of very great use and profit in those countries.

Olive trees; a principal commodity arose from their oliveyards: all that was for delight, profit, and necessary use.

Increased, when they were seemingly most fruitful.

The palmer-worm: see Joel 1:3,10-12.

Devoured; eat up all, as is the manner of that worm. I have smitten you with blasting and mildew,.... "Blasting" is what we commonly call "blights", generally occasioned by an east wind; and so Kimchi interprets the word here used; and the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "a burning wind"; which causes the buds and leaves of trees to shrivel up as if they were burnt with fire. "Mildew" is a kind of clammy dew, which falling upon corn, &c. corrupts and destroys by its moisture; and is a kind of jaundice to the fruits of the earth; and has its name as that, from yellowness, in the Hebrew language: when the Lord is said to smite them with these the sense is, that he sent these upon the fruits of their gardens, fields and vineyards, which consumed them:

when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmer worm devoured them; just when they were budding and blossoming, and bringing forth fruit; and so what the blasting and mildew did not consume, that the palmer worm, a kind of locust, did; which has its name from its biting and cutting off the leaves and branches of trees, as of those mentioned vines, olives and fig trees, with which the land of Canaan abounded, the cutting off which was a great calamity. The Targum is,

"the multitude of your gardens, &c. the palmer worm hath eaten:''

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord; this dispensation of Providence was also without its desired fruit and effect; See Gill on Amos 4:6.

I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
9. Blasting and mildew. The same two words in combination, Deuteronomy 28:22, 1 Kings 8:37, Haggai 2:17. Blasting (cf. Genesis 41:6; Genesis 41:23; Genesis 41:27, “blasted by the east wind”) denotes the disastrous effects produced by the scorching (Hosea 13:15; Jonah 4:8) and destructive (Job 27:21) ‘east wind,’ blowing up hotly from the desert. The ‘east wind’ of the O.T. is something very different from the ‘east wind,’ as known to us: it corresponds to the modern simoom or sirocco (Arab. sherḳîyeh, or ‘east’ wind,—applied, however, also to winds from the S.E. and S.),—hot winds which in Palestine come up suddenly with great violence, driving clouds of sand before them, and so “withering and burning the growing corn that no animal will touch a blade of it” (Van Lennep, Bible Lands, p. 238). Robinson gives a description of one which he experienced in the extreme S. of Judah (B.R[154], I. 195): “The wind had been all the morning north-east, but at 11 o’clock it suddenly changed to the south, and came upon us with violence and intense heat, until it blew a perfect tempest. The atmosphere was filled with fine particles of sand, forming a bluish haze; the sun was scarcely visible, his disk exhibiting only a dun and sickly hue; and the glow of the wind came upon our faces as from a burning oven.” See also ib. p. 207, II. 123; G. A. Smith, Geogr., pp. 67–69; and Wetzstein’s note in Delitzsch’s Commentary on Job 27:21. By mildew is meant “a blight, in which the ears turn untimely a pale yellow, and have no grain.” The Heb. word signifies (pale and unhealthy) greenness.

[154] .R. … Edw. Robinson, Biblical Researches in Palestine (ed. 2, 1856).

when your gardens … increased &c.] R.V. the multitude of your gardens … hath the palmerworm devoured. Neither rendering is grammatically possible: the Hebrew is corrupt. Read, with Wellh., החרבתי for הרבות, and an excellent sense is at once obtained: “I laid waste your gardens and your vineyards; and your fig-trees and your vines would [freq.] the shearer devour.” The shearer (gâzâm) is a name for a locust, so called from its destructiveness: see p. 85. A visitation of locusts was no uncommon occurrence in Palestine: for a vivid picture of their ravages, see Joel 1:4-12.Verse 9. - The third chastisement is occasioned by blight (Deuteronomy 28:22) and palmerworm (Deuteronomy 28:39, 42). Blasting; the scorching east wind spoken of by Isaiah (Isaiah 27:8) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 17:10). Vulgate, in vento urente; Septuagint, ἐν πυρώσει, "with parching;" Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, ἀνεμοφθρία. Mildew; a blight, under the influence of which the ears of corn turned yellow and became unfruitful. "Blasting and mildew" are mentioned together in Moses' curse (Deuteronomy 28:22) and in Solomon's dedication prayer (1 Kings 8:37; comp. Haggai 2:17). The LXX. has, ἐν ἰκτέρῳ, "with jaundice." When your gardens... increased. It is better to take this sentence as the English margin, "The multitude of your gardens... hath the palmerworm devoured." So the Vulgate, Multitudinem hortorum tuorum... comedit eruca. Gardens included orchards, herbaries, and pleasure grounds. The palmerworm; gazam; Septuagint, κάμπη: Vulgate, eruca. The word occurs in Joel 1:4; Joel 2:25, and is taken by many commentators to mean some kind of locust; but it is more probable that the Greek and Latin translators are right in regarding it as "a caterpillar" (see Smith, 'Dict. of the Bible,' 2:696, etc.; 'Bible Educator,' 4:293). Amos seems to be referring to the visitation in Joel's time, if we take gazam ("biter") to be a kind of locust. "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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