Amos 6:14
But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.
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(14) From . . . unto.—The entire limits of the kingdom of Israel after the victories of Jeroboam II. were, according to 2Kings 14:25, identical with the region which is here threatened with invasion, i.e., extending from the mouth of the Orontes valley (comp. Numbers 34:8; Joshua 13:5) to the Wady el Ahsa, the southern boundary of Moab. (Comp. Isaiah 15:7, where the Hebrew name appears under a slightly different form, implying “torrent of the poplars.”)

6:8-14 How dreadful, how miserable, is the case of those whose eternal ruin the Lord himself has sworn; for he can execute his purpose, and none can alter it! Those hearts are wretchedly hardened that will not be brought to mention God's name, and to worship him, when the hand of God is gone out against them, when sickness and death are in their families. Those that will not be tilled as fields, shall be abandoned as rocks. When our services of God are soured with sin, his providences will justly be made bitter to us. Men should take warning not to harden their hearts, for those who walk in pride, God will destroy.But - (For,) - it was a non-thing, a nonexistent thing, a phantom, whereat they rejoiced; "for behold I raise up a nation." God is said to "raise up," when, by His Providence or His grace, He calls forth those who had not been called before, for the office for which He designs them. Thus, He raised up judges Jdg 2:16-18, delivers Judges 3:9-15, prophets , Nazarites Amos 2:11, priests 1 Samuel 2:35, kings 2 Samuel 7:8, calling each separately to perform what He gave them in charge. So He is said to "raise up" even the evil ministers of His good Will, whom, in the course of His Providence, He allows to raise themselves up aloft to that eminence, so often as, in fulfilling their own bad will, they bring about, or are examples of, His righteous judgment. Thus God "raised up Hadad" as "an adversary" 1 Kings 11:14 to Solomon, and again Rezon 1 Kings 11:23; and the Chaldees Habakkuk 1:6.

So again God says to Pharaoh, "For this have I raised thee up Exodus 9:16, to show in thee My power." So here He says, "I will raise up against you a nation, and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hamath." Israel, under Jeroboam II, had recovered a wider extent of territory, than had, in her northern portion, belonged to her since the better days of Solomon. Jeroboam "recovered Damascus and Hamath" 2 Kings 14:28, 2 Kings 14:25, which belonged to "Judah, unto Israel. He restored," as God promised him by Jonah, "the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain. The entering of Hamath" expresses the utmost northern boundary promised to Israel Numbers 34:8. But this does not in itself express whether Hamath itself was included. Hamath however, and even Damascus itself, were incorporated in the bounds of Israel. The then great scourge of Israel had become part of its strength. Southward, Ammon and even Moab, had been taken into its borders. All the country on the other side of Jordan was theirs from Hamath and Damascus to the south of the Dead Sea, a space including four degrees of Latitude, as much as from Portsmouth to Durham. Amos describes the extension of the kingdom of Israel in the self-same terms as the Book of Kings; only he names as the southern extremity, "the river of the wilderness," instead of "the sea of the wilderness." The sea of the wilderness, that is, the Dead Sea, might in itself be either its northern or its southern extremity. The word used by Amos, defines it to be the southern. For his use of the name, "river of the wilderness," implies:

(1) That it was a well-known boundary, a boundary as well-known to Israel on the south , "as the entering in of Hamath" was on the north.

(2) As a boundary-river, it must have been a river on the east of the Jordan, since Benjamin formed their boundary on the west of Jordan, and mountain passes, not rivers, separated them from it.

(3) From its name, 'river of the wilderness, or the Arabah," it must, in some important part of its course, have flowed in the 'Arabah.

The 'Arabah, (it is now well known,) is no other than that deep and remarkable depression, now called the Ghor, which extends from the lake of Gennesareth to the Red Sea . The Dead Sea itself is called by Moses too "the sea of the Arabah" Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49, lying, as it does, in the middle of that depression, and dividing it into two, the valley of the Jordan above the Dead Sea, and the southern portion which extends uninterrupted from the Dead to the Red Sea; and which also (although Scripture has less occasion to speak of it) Moses calls the 'Arabah . A river, which fell from Moab into the Dead Sea without passing through the Arabah, would not be called "a river of the Arabah," but, at the most "a river of the sea of the Arabah." Now, besides the improbability that the name, "the river of the Arabah," should have been substituted for the familiar names, the Arnon or the Jabbok, the Arnon does not flow into the Arabah at all, the Jabbok is no way connected with the Dead Sea, the corresponding boundary in the Book of Kings. These were both boundary-rivers, the Jabbok having keen the northern limit of what Moab and Ammon lost to the Amorite; the Arnon being the northern border of Moab. But there is a third boundary-river which answers all the conditions.

Moab was bounded on the south by a river, which Isaiah calls "the brook of the willows," ערבים נחל nachal ‛ârâbı̂ym Isaiah 15:7, across which he foretells that they should transport for safety all which they had of value. A river, now called in its upper part the Wadi-el-Ahsa, and then the Wadi-es-Safieh, which now too "has more water than any south of the Yerka" (Jabbok), "divides the district of Kerek from that of Jebal, the ancient Gebalene" (that is, Moab from Idumaea). This river, after flowing from east to west and so forming a southern boundary to Moab, turns to the north in the Ghor or Arabah, and flows into the south extremity of the Dead Sea . This river then, answering to all the conditions, is doubtless that of which Amos spoke, and the boundary, which Jeroboam restored, included Moab also, (as in the most prosperous times of Israel,) since Moab's southern border was now his border.

Israel, then, had no enemy, west of the Euphrates. Their strength had also, of late, been increasing steadily. Jehoash had, at the promise of Elisha, thrice defeated the Syrians, and recovered cities which had been lost, probably on the west also of Jordan, in the heart of the kingdom of Israel. What Jehoash had begun, Jeroboam II, during a reign of 41 years, continued. prophets had foretold and defined the successes of both kings, and so had marked them out the more to be the gift of God. Israel ascribed it to himself; and now that the enemies, whom Israel had feared, were subdued, God says, "I will raise up an enemy, and they shall afflict thee from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness." The whole scene of their triumphs should be one scene of affliction and woe. This was fulfilled after some 45 years, at the invasion of Tiglath-pileser.

14. from the entering in of Hamath—the point of entrance for an invading army (as Assyria) into Israel from the north; specified here, as Hamath had been just before subjugated by Jeroboam II (Am 6:2). Do not glory in your recently acquired city, for it shall be the starting-point for the foe to afflict you. How sad the contrast to the feast of Solomon attended by a congregation from this same Hamath, the most northern boundary of Israel, to the Nile, the river of Egypt, the most southern boundary!

unto the river of the wilderness—that is, to Kedron, which empties itself into the north bay of the Dead Sea below Jericho (2Ch 28:15), the southern boundary of the ten tribes (2Ki 14:25, "from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain") [Maurer]. To the river Nile, which skirts the Arabian wilderness and separates Egypt from Canaan [Grotius]. If this verse includes Judah, as well as Israel (compare Am 6:1, "Zion" and "Samaria"), Grotius' view is correct; and it agrees with 1Ki 8:65.

But; notwithstanding all your boasts and carnal confidences.

Behold; observe and weigh well what is said. ir will raise up; awaken, call together, strengthen, succeed, and prosper in the attempt against you.

A nation; Pul hath, and Tiglath-pileser hath, or now doth, afflict and break you, but Shalmaneser shall utterly destroy you; if his strength were not enough of itself, mine arm should strengthen him to bring all your hopes to nought.

O house of Israel; kingdom of the ten tribes.

Saith the Lord the God of hosts; who doth what he saith, who commands and it is done, whom none can resist.

They, the Assyrians and their confederates, shall afflict you; distress you and press you hard on all sides, it shall be a great and a universal oppression of you.

From the entering in of Hemath, a city of Syria bordering on the land of Israel north-east, and was an inlet into Syria from the north of Canaan,

unto the river of the wilderness, which is Sichor, in the most south-west parts of Canaan towards Egypt. So all your country, Judah and all, shall be oppressed by that nation which I will raise and strengthen against you.

But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord, the God of hosts,.... The Assyrian nation, under its king, Shalmaneser; who invaded Israel, came up to Samaria, and after a three years' siege took it, and carried Israel captive into foreign lands, 2 Kings 17:5;

and they shall afflict you; by battles, sieges, forages, plunders, and burning of cities and towns, and putting the inhabitants to the sword:

from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness; from Hamath the less, said by Josephus (q) and Jerom (r) to be called Epiphania, in their times, from Antiochus Epiphanes; it was at the entrance on the land of Israel, and at the northern border of it; so that "the river of the wilderness", whatever is meant by it, lay to the south; by which it appears that this affliction and distress would be very general, from one end of it to the other. Some, by this river, understand the river of Egypt, at the entrance of Egypt in the wilderness of Ethan; Sihor or Nile; which, Jarchi says, lay southwest of Israel, as Hamath lay northwest of it. And a late traveller (s) observes, that the south and southwest border of the tribe of Judah, containing within it the whole or the greatest part of what was called the "way of the spies", Numbers 21:1; and afterwards Idumea, extended itself from the Elenitic gulf of the Red sea, along by that of Hieropolis, quite to the Nile westward; the Nile consequently, in this view and situation, either with regard to the barrenness of the Philistines, or to the position of it with respect to the land of promise, or to the river Euphrates, may, with propriety enough, be called "the river of the wilderness", Amos 6:14; as this district, which lies beyond the eastern or Asiatic banks of the Nile, from the parallel of Memphis, even to Pelusium, (the land of Goshen only excepted,) is all of it dry, barren, and inhospitable; or if the situation be more regarded, it may be called, as it is rendered by the Septuagint, the western torrent or river. Though some (t) take this to be the river Bosor or Bezor, that parts the tribes, of Judah and Simeon, and discharges itself into the Mediterranean between Gaza, or rather Majuma, and Anthedon. Though Kimchi takes this river to be the sea of the plain, the same with the Salt or Dead sea, Deuteronomy 3:17; which may seem likely, since Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, under whom Amos prophesied, had restored the coast of Israel, from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, 2 Kings 14:25; with which they were elevated, and of which they boasted; but now they should have affliction and distress in the same places, and which should extend as far.

(q) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 2.((r) Comment in Isa. x. fol. 20. G. & in Zech. ix. fol. 116. L. De locis Heb. fol. 88. E. & Quaest. in Gen. fol. 67. B. (s) Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 287, 288. Ed. 2.((t) See the Universal History, vol. 2. p. 427, 428.

But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of {q} Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.

(q) From one corner of the country to another.

14. But] For,—justifying the low estimate of their power, expressed in Amos 6:13.

raise up] not absolutely, as Amos 2:11 (for the Assyrians had long existed as a nation), but against you, i.e. as your adversaries. As in Habakkuk 1:6 (of the Chaldaeans) the term is used of the unconscious instruments of Providence: cf. 1 Kings 11:14; 1 Kings 11:23; also Isaiah 10:5. (The Hebrew words in Exodus 9:16, and in Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 41:25; Isaiah 45:13 are both different: in Ex. made thee to stand, i. e. to endure; in Is. stirred up, i.e. impelled into activity, as Isaiah 13:17.) Properly, am raising up: cf. Amos 7:8; and on Joel 2:19.

God of hosts] the title designates Jehovah appropriately, as one able to wield the powers of the world: cf. Amos 5:27, and p. 232.

afflict] or oppress,—often used of oppression by a foreign power (Exodus 3:9; Jdg 4:3; Jdg 6:9 &c.). Lit. to crush (Numbers 22:25).

from the entering in of Hamath unto the wâdy of the ‘Arâbâh] i.e. over the whole extent of territory which had been recently recovered from Israel by Jeroboam II., who (2 Kings 14:25) “restored the border of Israel from the entering in of Hamath unto the sea of the ‘Arábah.” The “entering in of Hamath,” as was observed on Amos 6:2, marks the furthest limit of Israelitish territory on the north. The ‘Arábah (comp. Deuteronomy 1:1 R.V. marg.) is the deep depression, varying from 2 to 14 miles across, through which the Jordan flows, and in which the Dead Sea lies (hence one of its Biblical names, the “sea of the ‘Arábah,” Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49, Joshua 3:16; Joshua 12:3), and which is prolonged southwards to the Gulf of ‘Aḳabah. At present, the northern part of this valley is called el-Ghôr, i.e. the Hollow, or Depression, the ancient name being limited to the part between the S. end of the Dead Sea, and the Gulf of ‘Aḳabah, the “Wâdy el-‘Arăbah.” See further the writer’s Commentary on Deut., p. 3, with the references. The “Wâdy” (see on Amos 5:24) of the ‘Arábah intended, can be identified only by conjecture; but it must, it seems, have been some fairly well-known Wâdy, and one also that might naturally be adopted as a boundary; hence it is generally supposed, with much plausibility, to have been the Wâdy el-Aḥsâ, which, flowing down from the south-east, enters the ‘Arábah about 3 miles S. of the Dead Sea, and then, turning northwards, runs straight into the lower end of the Dead Sea. The stream, which is a considerable one, divides now the district of Kerak from that of Jebal (Gebal, Psalm 83:7, the ancient Gebalene), which would correspond, respectively, to the ancient Moab, and the N. part of Edom.

Verse 14. - I will raise up (comp. 1 Kings 11:14, 23; Habakkuk 1:6, where see note). A nation. The Assyrians. From the entering in of Hamath. A district in the upper part of Coele-Syria, hod. El-Bukaa, the northern boundary of the kingdom of Israel (Numbers 34:8; see on ver. 2). The river of the wilderness; rather, the torrent of the Arabah, which is the curious depression in which the Jordan flows, and which continues. though now on a higher level, south of the Dead Sea, towards the Gulf of Akaba. The torrent is probably the Wady es Safieh, just south of the Dead Sea. The limits named define the territory which Jeroboam recovered (2 Kings 14:25). The LXX. gives, τοῦ χειμάῥῤου τῶν δυσμῶν, "the torrent of the west."

Amos 6:14This judgment also, they, with their perversion of all right, will be unable to avert by their foolish trust in their own power. Amos 6:12. "Do horses indeed run upon the rock, or do men plough (there) with oxen, that ye turn justice into poison, and the fruit of the righteousness into wormwood? Amos 6:13. They who rejoice over what is worthless, who say: with our strength we make ourselves horns! Amos 6:14. For, behold, I raise over you, O house of Israel, is the saying of Jehovah, the God of hosts, a nation; and they will oppress you from the territory of Hamath to the brook of the desert." To explain the threat in Amos 6:11, Amos now calls attention in Amos 6:12, under two different similes, to the perversity with which the haughty magnates of Israel, who turn right into bitter wrong, imagine that they can offer a successful resistance, or bid defiance with their own strength to the enemy, whom the Lord will raise up as the executor of His judgment. The perversion of right into its opposite can no more bring salvation than horses can run upon rocks, or any one plough upon such a soil with oxen. In the second question בּסּלע (on the rock) is to be repeated from the first, as the majority of commentators suppose. But the two questions are not to be taken in connection with the previous verse in the sense of "Ye will no more be able to avert this destruction than horses can run upon rocks," etc. (Chr. B. Mich.). They belong to what follows, and are meant to expose the moral perversity of the unrighteous conduct of the wicked. For הפכתּם וגו, see Amos 5:7; and for ראשׁ, Hosea 10:4. The impartial administration of justice is called the "fruit of righteousness," on account of the figurative use of the terms darnel and wormwood. These great men, however, rejoice thereby in לא דבר, "a nothing," or a thing which has no existence. What the prophet refers to may be seen from the parallel clause, viz., their imaginary strength (chōzeq). They rested this hope upon the might with which Jeroboam had smitten the Syrians, and restored the ancient boundaries of the kingdom. From this might they would take to themselves (lâqach, to take, not now for the first time to create, or ask of God) the horns, to thrust down all their foes. Horns are signs and symbols of power (cf. Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11); here they stand for the military resources, with which they fancied that they could conquer every foe. These delusions of God-forgetting pride the prophet casts down, by saying that Jehovah the God of hosts will raise up a nation against them, which will crush them down in the whole length and breadth of the kingdom. This nation was Assyria. Kı̄ hinnēh (for behold) is repeated from Amos 6:11; and the threat in Amos 6:14 is thereby described as the resumption and confirmation of the threat expressed in Amos 6:11, although the kı̄ is connected with the perversity condemned in Amos 6:12, Amos 6:13, of trusting in their own power. Lâchats, to oppress, to crush down. On the expression לבוא חמת, as a standing epithet for the northern boundary of the kingdom of Israel, see Numbers 34:8. As the southern boundary we have נחל הערבה instead of ים הערבה (2 Kings 14:25). This is not the willow-brook mentioned in Isaiah 15:7, the present Wady Sufsaf, or northern arm of the Wady el-Kerek (see Delitzsch on Isaiah, l.c.), nor the Rhinokorura, the present el-Arish, which formed the southern boundary of Canaan, because this is constantly called "the brook of Egypt" (see at Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4), but the present el-Ahsy (Ahsa), the southern border river which separated Moab from Edom (see at 2 Kings 14:25).
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