Amos 5:21
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
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(21, 22) These verses closely resemble the condemnation which Isaiah pronounces (Amos 1:10-15) upon mere ritual, however punctilious, mere profession of orthodoxy, however exacting, which was not accompanied by righteousness and mercy, and was not the expression of inward penitence and purity.

Will not smell in your . . .—A strong expression for “I take no delight in them.” That Baal worship, as well as the worship of the true God, was characterised by similar offerings and sacrificial terms is indicated by a Phœnician tablet inscribed with a code of sacrificial dues, discovered at Marseilles. The word rendered peace offering should be translated as in the margin. The word for “meat offering” is better interpreted “meal offerings,” since it consisted of vegetable products used in food, meal, oil, cakes, &c.

Amos 5:21-24. I hate and despise your feast-days — This and the three following verses are the same in sense with Isaiah 1:11-16, and the other texts referred to in the margin, on which the reader is desired to consult the notes. They all show of how little signification the external rites of religion are, unless they be accompanied with living faith in, and sincere love to God, and a universal obedience to his will; or without holiness of heart and life. Take away from me the noise of thy songs — The psalms and hymns sung with vocal and instrumental music, the usual accompaniments of sacrifices among the Jews and heathen. As the worshippers at Beth-el imitated the temple worship in other particulars,

(see Amos 4:4,) so it is likely they did in this part of the public worship: see Amos 8:3. The prophet calls their songs a noise, like that of an untuneful voice, because their melody, not proceeding from a true principle of religion, was not grateful to God. There are great authority and majesty in this passage, Amos 5:21-24; and the grandeur of the image in the following words, with which it closes, must strike every reader. But let judgment run down as waters — Rather, let justice have its free course, so that the meanest persons may feel the benefit of it; and let your benignity be great and universal to your fellow-creatures.

5:18-27 Woe unto those that desire the day of the Lord's judgments, that wish for times of war and confusion; as some who long for changes, hoping to rise upon the ruins of their country! but this should be so great a desolation, that nobody could gain by it. The day of the Lord will be a dark, dismal, gloomy day to all impenitent sinners. When God makes a day dark, all the world cannot make it light. Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God, will be pursued by them; if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them. A pretence of piety is double iniquity, and so it will be found. The people of Israel copied the crimes of their forefathers. The law of worshipping the Lord our God, is, Him only we must serve. Professors thrive so little, because they have little or no communion with God in their duties. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go into captivity among idolaters.Is the multitude - There was no deficiency in the amount of offerings. It was admitted that they complied in this respect with the requirements of the law; and that they offered an abundance of sacrifices, so numerous as to be called a multitude - רב rôb, a vast number. Hypocrites abound in outward religious observances just in proportion to their neglect of the spiritual requirements of God's word; compare Matthew 23:23.

Your sacrifices - זבחיכב zibechēykeb, from זבח zâbach, to slay; especially to slay for sacrifice. The word used here denotes any sacrifice which was made by blood; but is distinguished from the burnt-offering from the fat, that this was not entirely consumed. It is applied to the sin-offering, trespass-offering, thank-offering. The word also stands opposed to the offerings which were made without blood מנחה minchāh. Any offering that consisted in an animal that was slain came under this general denomination of sacrifice, Exodus 10:25; Leviticus 17:8; Numbers 15:5.

burnt-offerings - עלות 'olôth, from עלה ‛âlâh, to go up, ascend. It is applied to a sacrifice that was wholly consumed, or made to ascend on an altar. It corresponds to the Greek ὁλόκαυστον holokauston, that which is entirely consumed. Such offerings abounded among the Hebrews. The burnt-offering was wholly consumed on the altar, excepting the skin and the blood. The blood was sprinkled round the altar, and the other parts of the animal which was slain, were laid upon the altar and entirely burned; see Leviticus 1. This was commonly a voluntary offering; and this shows their zeal to comply with the external forms of religion.

I am full - שׂבעתי s'âba‛etı̂y, I am satiated. The word is usually applied to food and drink, denoting satisfaction, or satiety. It is used here with great force, denoting that their offerings had been so numerous and so incessant, that God was satiated with them. It means that he was weary, tired, disgusted with them. Thus, in Job 7:4 : 'I am full - שׂבעתי s'âba‛etı̂y - of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.' Proverbs 25:17 :

Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor's house,

Lest he be weary (Hebrew full) of thee, and hate thee.

Fat ... - They were required to offer, not the lame, or the diseased Deuteronomy 15:21; Deuteronomy 17:1; Leviticus 23:12; Malachi 1:7-8; and God admits here that they had externally complied with this requirement. The fat was burned on the altar.

I delight not - That is; I delight; not in them when offered without the heart; or I delight not in them in comparison with works of righteousness; see Amos 5:21-24; Psalm 4:9-13; Psalm 51:16-19.

Amos 5:21I hate, I despise your feasts - Israel clave to its heart's sin, the worship of the true God, under the idol-form of the calf; else, it would fain be conscientious and scrupulous. It had its "feasts" of solemn "joy" and the "restraint" of its "solemn assemblies" , which all were constrained to keep, abstaining from all servile work. They offered "whole burnt offerings," the token of self-sacrifice, in which the sacrificer retained nothing to himself, but gave the whole freely to God. They offered also "peace offerings," as tokens of the willing thankfulness of souls at peace with God. What they offered, was the best of its kind, "fatted beasts." Hymns of praise, full-toned chorus, instrumental music! What was missing, Israel thought, to secure them the favor of God? Love and obedience. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." And so those things, whereby they hoped to propitiate God, were the object of His displeasure. "I hate, I despise, I will not accept" with good pleasure; "I will not regard," look toward, "I will not hear, will not smell." The words, "I will not smell," reminded them of that threat in the law" Leviticus 26:31, "I will make your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors." In so many ways does God declare that He would not accept or endure, what they all the while were building upon, as grounds of their acceptance. And yet so secure were they, that the only sacrifice which they did not offer, was the sin or trespass offering. Worshiping "nature," not a holy, Personal, God, they had no sense of unholiness, for which to plead the Atoning Sacrifice to come. Truly each Day of Judgment unveils much self-deceit. How much more the Last!

21. I hate, I despise—The two verbs joined without a conjunction express God's strong abhorrence.

your feast days—yours; not Mine; I do not acknowledge them: unlike those in Judah, yours are of human, not divine institution.

I will not smell—that is, I will take no delight in the sacrifices offered (Ge 8:21; Le 26:31).

in your solemn assemblies—literally, "days of restraint." Isa 1:10-15 is parallel. Isaiah is fuller; Amos, more condensed. Amos condemns Israel not only on the ground of their thinking to satisfy God by sacrifices without obedience (the charge brought by Isaiah against the Jews), but also because even their external ritual was a mere corruption, and unsanctioned by God.

I hate, I despise your feast days; impure and unholy they are, whatever they seem to be, and therefore the Lord hateth them, they are abomination to him, Proverbs 15:8 Isaiah 1:13,14. Worthless and contemptible they are, and as such God rejecteth them, Isaiah 1:10-12, &c. There is no goodness that I should value in them, there is all that vileness in them which attends deep hypocrisy, for which I do hate them. The apostate Israelites imitated the Jews in many things, amongst which they retained their festivals, in which they multiplied their ceremonial sacrifices; and yet God owns them not as his; but brands them with this, They are yours, therefore unwarrantable, will-worship, and displeasing to God.

I will not smell a savour of rest or delight, I will not accept and be pleased with, Genesis 8:21,

your solemn assemblies; appointed, as you think, on very weighty reasons, and by sufficient authority, and celebrated with rich sacrifices, in mighty crowds, and in excellent order; all is yours, not mine.

I hate, I despise your feast days,.... Kimchi thinks this is said, and what follows, with respect to the kingdom of the house of Judah, which kept the feast the Lord commanded; but it is not necessary so to understand it; for doubtless the ten tribes imitated the worship at Jerusalem, and kept the feasts as the Jews did there, in the observance of which they trusted; but the Lord rejects their vain confidence, and lets them know that these were no ways acceptable to him; and were so far from atoning for their sins, that they were hated, abhorred, and despised by him, being observed in such a manner and with such a view as they were;

and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies; a sweet savour of rest, as in Genesis 8:21; take no pleasure in their duties and services performed, in their solemn assemblies convened together for religious purposes, nor accept of them; but, on the contrary, dislike and abhor them; see Isaiah 1:11.

I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
21. I hate, I reject your feast days] your pilgrimages, ḥaggim denoting not feasts or festivals in general, but in particular the three great annual feasts (viz. of Unleavened Cakes, Weeks, and Booths), which were accompanied by a pilgrimage to a sanctuary, and at which, according to the old law, every male was required to appear yearly before Jehovah (Exodus 23:14; Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23; Deuteronomy 16:16 f.). Ḥag (the sing.) is the same word as the Arab. ḥaj, the name by which the great Meccan pilgrimage is known. Reject, as Jeremiah 2:37; Jeremiah 6:30 al.; cf. on Amos 2:4.

I will not smell in] fig. for take no delight in (R.V.): cf. Leviticus 26:31 and Isaiah 11:3.

solemn assemblies] ‘ăẓârâh (or ‘ăẓéreth) means a gathering or assembly (Jeremiah 9:2), especially one held for a religious purpose, πανήγυρις, as 2 Kings 10:20 (in honour of Ba‘al): it is used here in a general sense, as Isaiah 1:13 (where the thought also is parallel), Joel 1:14; Joel 2:15; but it is also used specially (a) of the gathering of pilgrims on the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Cakes (Deuteronomy 16:8); (b) of the gathering on the 8th or supernumerary day of the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 25:30; Numbers 29:35; Nehemiah 8:18; 2 Chronicles 7:9); (c) by the later Jews, of the Feast of Weeks, Jos. Ant. iii. 10, 6 (Ἀσάρθα), and in the Mishna, &c.

21–26. Do you think to win Jehovah’s favour by your religious services? On the contrary, He will have none of them: what He demands is not sacrifice, or even praise, but justice; in the wilderness your ancestors offered no sacrifices, without forfeiting Jehovah’s regard; your mistake is a fatal one, and its end will be exile.

Verse 21. - Outward, formal worship will not avert the threatened danger or secure the favour of God in the day of visitation. Your feast days (chaggim); your feasts; your counterfeit worship, the worship of the true God under an idol symbol (compare God's repudiation of merely formal worship in Isaiah 1:11-15). I will not smell; οὐ μὴ ἀσφρανθῶ θυσίας (Septuagint). No sweet savour ascends to God from such sacrifices; so the phrase is equivalent to "I will not accept," "I will take no delight in" (comp.. Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18; Leviticus 26:31). Solemn assemblies; πανηγύρεσιν (Septuagint); atsaroth; the convocations for the keeping of the great festivals. Amos 5:21This threatening judgment will not be averted by the Israelites, even by their feasts and sacrifices (Amos 5:21, Amos 5:22). The Lord has no pleasure in the feasts which they celebrate. Their outward, heartless worship, does not make them into the people of God, who can count upon His grace. Amos 5:21. "I hate, I despise your feasts, and do not like to smell your holy days. Amos 5:22. For if ye offer me burnt-offerings, and your meat-offerings, I have no pleasure therein; and the thank-offering of your fatted calves I do not regard. Amos 5:23. Put away from me the noise of thy songs; and I do not like to hear the playing of thy harps. Amos 5:24. And let judgment roll like water, and righteousness like an inexhaustible stream." By the rejection of the opus operatum of the feasts and sacrifices, the roots are cut away from the false reliance of the Israelites upon their connection with the people of God. The combination of the words שׂנאתי מאסתּי expresses in the strongest terms the dislike of God to the feasts of those who were at enmity with Him. Chaggı̄m are the great annual feasts; ‛ătsârōth, the meetings for worship at those feasts, inasmuch as a holy meeting took place at the ‛ătsereth of the feast of Passover and feast of Tabernacles (see at Leviticus 23:36). Rı̄ăch, to smell, is an expression of satisfaction, with an allusion to the ריח ניחוח, which ascended to God from the burning sacrifice (see Leviticus 26:31). Kı̄, in Amos 5:22, is explanatory: "for," not "yea." The observance of the feast culminated in the sacrificers. God did not like the feasts, because He had no pleasure in the sacrifices. In Amos 5:23 the two kinds of sacrifice, ‛ōlâh and minchâh, are divided between the protasis and apodosis, which gives rise to a certain incongruity. The sentences, if written fully, would read thus: When ye offer me burnt-offerings and meat-offerings, I have no pleasure in your burnt-offerings and meat-offerings. To these two kinds the shelem, the health-offering or peace-offering, is added as a third class in Amos 5:22. מריאים, fattened things, generally mentioned along with bâqâr as one particular species, for fattened calves (see Isaiah 1:11). In הסר (Amos 5:23) Israel is addressed as a whole. המון שׁריך, the noise of thy songs, answers to the strong expression הסר. The singing of their psalms is nothing more to God than a wearisome noise, which is to be brought to an end. Singing and playing upon harps formed part of the temple worship (vid., 1 Chronicles 16:40; 1 Chronicles 23:5, and 1 Chronicles 23:25). Isaiah (Isaiah 1:11.) also refuses the heartless sacrifice and worship of the people, who have fallen away from God in their hearts. It is very clear from the sentence which Amos pronounces here, that the worship at Bethel was an imitation of the temple service at Jerusalem. If, therefore, with Amos 6:1 in view, where the careless upon Mount Zion and in Samaria are addressed, we are warranted in assuming that here also the prophet has the worship in Judah in his mind as well; the words apply primarily and chiefly to the worship of the kingdom of the ten tribes, and therefore even in that case they prove that, with regard to ritual, it was based upon the model of the temple service at Jerusalem. Because the Lord has no pleasure in this hypocritical worship, the judgment shall pour like a flood over the land. The meaning of Amos 5:24 is not, "Let justice and righteousness take the place of your sacrifices." Mishpât is not the justice to be practised by men; for "although Jehovah might promise that He would create righteousness in the nation, so that it would fill the land as it were like a flood (Isaiah 11:9), He only demands righteousness generally, and not actually in floods" (Hitzig). Still less can mishpât ūtsedâqâh be understood as relating to the righteousness of the gospel which Christ has revealed. This thought is a very far-fetched one here, and is only founded upon the rendering given to ויגּל, et revelabitur (Targ., Jerome, equals ויגּל), whereas יגּל comes from גּלל, to roll, to roll along. The verse is to be explained according to Isaiah 10:22, and threatens the flooding of the land with judgment and the punitive righteousness of God (Theod. Mops., Theodoret, Cyr., Kimchi, and others).
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