Amos 6:3
You that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;
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(3) Far away.—They choose to think that the day of reckoning is far off, and cling yet closer to their habits of defrauding the poor at the seat of judgment. (Comp. Ezekiel 12:21-28.)

Amos 6:3-6. Ye that put far away the evil day — Ye who persuade yourselves that God’s judgments will not overtake you so soon as the predictions of the prophet import. And cause the seat of violence to come near — Who take every opportunity of perverting justice by pronouncing unrighteous decrees, and of turning the seat of justice into the seat of oppression. Or, this latter clause may be interpreted of the Israelites’ bringing the Assyrians, who were to be their destroyers, upon them, by continuing in their sins, and thereby provoking God’s wrath more and more; or by their imprudence, such as that of Menahem, who, having got possession of the throne by slaying Shallum, gave Pul, the king of Assyria, a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand, 2 Kings 15:19. That lie upon beds of ivory — This and the two following verses are an elegant description of the bad use men too often make of a plentiful fortune; so that it shuts out all serious consideration, and makes them void of compassion toward persons in want and misery, and to regard nothing but their present gratification; eat the lambs out of the flock — The choicest and best of them. That chant to the sound of the viol, &c. — Who, though but private persons, make use of all manner of musical instruments, the same as David did, when he was a king; and employ as great a variety of music for their own diversion as he did in the service of God. That drink wine in bowls — Not in small, but in large vessels; that is, who drink to excess, and in all respects live very luxuriously. But they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph — Do not humble themselves under God’s afflicting hand, nor lay to heart the calamities which the divine judgments have brought, and are still bringing more and more upon the kingdom of Israel, called by the name of Joseph. The words allude to the afflicted state of Joseph, when he was sold by his brethren into Egypt.6:1-7 Those are looked upon as doing well for themselves, who do well for their bodies; but we are here told what their ease is, and what their woe is. Here is a description of the pride, security, and sensuality, for which God would reckon. Careless sinners are every where in danger; but those at ease in Zion, who are stupid, vainly confident, and abusing their privileges, are in the greatest danger. Yet many fancy themselves the people of God, who are living in sin, and in conformity to the world. But the examples of others' ruin forbid us to be secure. Those who are set upon their pleasures are commonly careless of the troubles of others, but this is great offence to God. Those who placed their happiness in the pleasures of sense, and set their hearts upon them, shall be deprived of those pleasures. Those who try to put the evil day far from them, find it nearest to them.Ye that put far away - Probably "with aversion." They bade that day as it were, be gone. The Hebrew idiom expresses, how they would put it off, if they could; as far as in them lay, they "assigned a distance to it, , although they could not remove the day itself. The "evil day" is that same "day of the Lord," which the scoffers or misbelievers professed to long for Amos 5:18. The thought that the Lord has a Day, in which to judge man, frets or frightens the irreligious, and they use different ways to get rid of it. The strong harden themselves against it, distort the belief in it, or disbelieve it. The weak and voluptuous shut their eyes to it, like the bird in the fable, as if what they dread would cease to be there, because they cease to see it.

And cause the seat - (literally, the session, sitting) of violence to come near They dismissed the thought of the Day of account, in order that they might sin with less fear. They put from them the judgment of God, that they might exercise violence over His creatures. People do not put away the thought of God, except to invite His Enemy into their souls. But therewith, they "brought near" another "seat of violence," not their own, but upon them. They brought near what they wished to put away, the day, in which, through the violence of the Assyrians, God would avenge their own.

Rib.: "Let them consider this, who put no bound to their sins. For the more they obey their own will, the more they hasten to destruction; and while they think they draw near to pleasures, they draw near to everlasting woes."

3. Ye persuade yourselves that "the evil day" foretold by the prophets is "far off," though they declare it near (Eze 12:22, 27). Ye in your imagination put it far off, and therefore bring near violent oppression, suffering it to sit enthroned, as it were, among you (Ps 94:20). The notion of judgment being far off has always been an incentive to the sinner's recklessness of living (Ec 8:12, 13; Mt 24:48). Yet that very recklessness brings near the evil day which he puts far off. "Ye bring on fever by your intemperance, and yet would put it far off" [Calvin]. Woe to you that flatter yourselves that the day of darkness and misery foretold is far off! See Poole "Ezekiel 12:27". These were great ones too, that the prophet here threateneth, who thus postponed the day of Israel’s and Judah’s calamities.

The evil day; not as if it should be a short calamity, as a day; but it speaks the determinate, fixed time, and the haste wherewith the execution shall be made.

The seat; the throne, or judgment-seat, which should relieve the oppressed, condemn the wicked, and acquit the innocent, this is made a seat of violence, where unjust judges condemn the just and take bribes.

To come near; thus you draw the judgments of God on yourselves, by acting violence against the poor, and contemning the threats of the prophets. Ye that put far away the evil day,.... The day of Israel's captivity, threatened by, the Lord, and prophesied of by the prophets; by this prophet, and by Hoshea and others: this they endeavoured to put out of their minds and thoughts, and supposed it to be at a great distance, yea, hoped it never would be; and like the Jews, with respect to their captivity, and the destruction of their city, said it was not near, but prolonged, yea, would never come to pass, Ezekiel 11:3; so some men put far from them the day of death; which though to a good man is better than the day of his birth, yet to a wicked man is an evil and terrible day; he do not care to hear or speak, or think of it, lest it should dampen his carnal joys and pleasures: as also the day of Christ's coming to judgment; which though a good man hastens to in his affections, desires, and prayers, wicked men set at the greatest distance, yea, scoff at it, as believing it never will be, and to show that they are in no pain or uneasiness about it; see Isaiah 56:12. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "who are separated to the evil day"; appointed to it; foreordained to this condemnation; destined to ruin and destruction for their sins; see Proverbs 16:4;

and cause the seat of violence to come near; boldly venture upon the commission of acts of injustice, rapine, and violence, on a presumption the evil day threatened will never come; or place themselves on the bench in courts of judicature, and there, without any manner of concern, commit the greatest acts of unrighteousness, as believing they shall never be called to an account for them by God or man.

Ye that put far away the {d} evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;

(d) You that continue still in your wickedness, and think that God's plagues are not at hand, but give yourselves to all idleness, lustfulness, and disorder.

3. Ye that put far away the evil day] Probably, with aversion: cf. the use of the word in Isaiah 66:5. They feel themselves secure against coming disaster (Amos 9:10), and will not hear of it, while at the same time they bring near the seat of violence, or, more literally, the sitting of violence: i.e. they prepare in their very midst a place where, instead of justice, violence may sit enthroned. “They put from them the judgement of God (Amos 2:6 f. &c.), that they may exercise violence over His creatures” (Pusey).

3–7. The luxury and indifference of the leaders of the nation.Verse 3. - Ye that put far away the evil day. They assigned a distant date to the time of punishment and calamity; they would not look it in the face or contemplate it as approaching and ready to come upon them. Septuagint, οἱ ἐρχόμενοι εἰς ἡμέραν κάκην, "Ye who are coming unto the evil day." The Alexandrian manuscript has οἱ εὐχόμενοι, "ye who pray for" (Amos 5:18), with which the Syriac seems to agree. The Vulgate (as Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion), taking the verb passively, renders, qui separati estis in diem malum. But it is beat to translate it as above, in the sense of "repelling," "putting away with aversion," as in Isaiah 66:5. And cause the seat of violence to come near. They erected the throne (shebheth, "the sitting," or "enthroning") of violence in their midst, made themselves the subjects and slaves of wickedness and oppression. The LXX., mistaking shebheth for shabbath translates, Οἱ ἐγγίζοντες καὶ ἐφαπτόμενοι σαββάτων ψευδῶν. "Ye who are drawing near and clinging to false sabbaths." The affliction is not removed by mourning and lamentation, but only through repentance and supplication to the Lord, who can turn away all evil. The prophet therefore proceeds to call upon the priests to offer to the Lord penitential supplication day and night in the temple, and to call the elders and all the people to observe a day of fasting, penitence, and prayer; and then offers supplication himself to the Lord to have compassion upon them (Joel 1:19). From the motive assigned for this appeal, we may also see that a terrible drought had been associated with the devastation by the locusts, from which both man and beast had endured the most bitter suffering, and that Joel regarded this terrible calamity as a sign of the coming of the day of the Lord. Joel 1:13. "Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests; howl, ye servants of the altar; come, pass the night in sackcloth, ye servants of my God: for the meat-offering and drink-offering are withdrawn from the house of your God. Joel 1:14. Sanctify a fast, call out an assembly, assemble the elders, all ye inhabitants of the land, at the house of Jehovah your God, and cry to Jehovah." From what follows we must supply bassaqqı̄m (with sackcloth) to chigrū (gird yourselves). Gird yourselves with mourning apparel, i.e., put it on (see Joel 1:8). In this they are to pass the night, to offer supplication day and night, or incessantly, standing between the altar and the porch (Joel 2:17). "Servants of my God," i.e., of the God whose prophet I am, and from whom I can promise you a hearing. The reason assigned for this appeal is the same as for the lamentation in Joel 1:9. But it is not the priests only who are to pray incessantly to the Lord; the elders and all the people are to do the same. קדּשׁ צום, to sanctify a fast, i.e., to appoint a holy fast, a divine service of prayer connected with fasting. To this end the priests are to call an ‛ătsârâh, i.e., a meeting of the congregation for religious worship. ‛Atsârâh, or ‛ătsereth, πανήγυρις, is synonymous with מקרא קודשׁ in Leviticus 23:36 (see the exposition of that passage). In what follows, כּל־ישׁבי ה is attached ἀσυνδέτως to זקנים; and the latter is not a vocative, but an accusative of the object. On the other hand, בּית יהוה is an accus. loci, and dependent upon אספוּ. זעק, to cry, used of loud and importunate prayer. It is only by this that destruction can still be averted.
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