Amos 7:10
Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos has conspired against you in the middle of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) There follows a brief historical interlude of much interest. It shows that the effect of the preaching of the Judæan prophet had been felt in the sanctuary at Bethel and the palaces at Samaria. The chief priest of the Temple, with the characteristic exaggeration of fear and anger, accuses Amos of treason against the house of Jeroboam.

Amos 7:10-11. Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam — This was a priest not of the tribe of Levi, but such a one as those were whom Jeroboam I. had consecrated to perform the idolatrous services at Beth-el: see 1 Kings 12:31. Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst, &c. — That is, in an open and barefaced manner. He represents the prophet as exciting sedition, because he denounced destruction against the kingdom, and threatened the house of Jeroboam. The same crime was objected to Jeremiah 26:9-10; to Christ, Luke 23:2; and to St. Paul, Acts 24:5. The land is not able to bear all his words — The friends of the government cannot patiently hear his words, and the enemies of it will take advantage from them to make some disturbance. If he proceed to speak in this manner, the inhabitants will be moved to take up arms against each other. For Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword — This was a perverting of the prophet’s words; for he did not prophesy against the king himself, but against his family, or posterity.7:10-17 It is no new thing for the accusers of the brethren, to misrepresent them as enemies to the king and kingdom, as traitors to their prince, and troublers of the land, when they are the best friends to both. Those who make gain their godliness, and are governed by the hopes of wealth and preferment, are ready to think these the most powerful motives with others also. But those who have a warrant from God, like Amos, ought not to fear the face of man. If God, that sent him, had not strengthened him, he could not thus have set his face as a flint. The Lord often chooses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise and mighty. But no fervent prayers, or self-denying labours, can bring proud sinners to bear faithful reproofs and warnings. And all who oppose or despise the Divine word, must expect fatal effects to their souls, unless they repent.Amaziah, the priest of Bethel - Was probably the high priest, in imitation of the high priest of the order of Aaron and of God's appointment. For the many high places around Bethel required many idol-priests; and a splendid counterfeit of the ritual at Jerusalem, which should rival it in the eyes of Israel, was part of the policy of the first Jeroboam. Amaziah was at the head of this imposture, in a position probably of wealth and dignity among his people. Like "Demetriers the silversmith" Acts 19, he thought that the craft whereby he had his wealth was endangered. To Jeroboam, however, he says nothing of these fears. To the king he makes it an affair of state. He takes the king by what he expected to be his weak side, fear for his own power or life. "Amos hath conspired against thee." So to Jeremiah "the captain of the ward" said, "Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans" Jeremiah 37:13.

And the princes; "Let this man be put to death, for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt" Jeremiah 38:4. And of our Lord they said to Pilate, "If thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar's friend. Whosoever maketh himself a king, is an enemy to Caesar" John 19:12. And of the Apostles; "these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans" Acts 16:20-21; and, "these that have turned the world upside down are come hither also - and these all do contrary to the decrees of Cesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus" Acts 17:6-7. And so the pagan, who were ever conspiring against the Roman Emperors, went on accusing the early Christians as disloyal to the Emperors, factious, impious, because they did not offer sacrifices for them to false gods, but prayed for them to the True God . Some doubtless, moved by the words of Amos, had forsaken the state-idolatry, reformed their lives, worshiped God with the prophet; perhaps they were called in contempt by his name, "Amosites" or "Judaizers," and were counted as "his" adherents, not as the worshipers of the one true God, "the God of their fathers." Whence Amaziah gained the plea of a "conspiracy," of which Amos was the head. For a "conspiracy" cannot be of one man. The word, by its force, signifies "banded;" the idiom, that he "banded" others "together against" 1 Samuel 22:8, 1 Samuel 22:13; 1 Kings 15:27; 1 Kings 16:9, 1 Kings 16:16; 2 Kings 10:9; 2 Kings 14:19; 2 Kings 15:10, 2 Kings 15:15, 2 Kings 15:25; 2 Kings 21:23 the king. To us Amaziah attests the power of God's word by His prophet; "the land," that is, the whole people, "is not able to bear his words," being shaken through and through.

10. priest of Beth-el—chief priest of the royal sanctuary to the calves at Beth-el. These being a device of state policy to keep Israel separate from Judah. Amaziah construes Amos words against them as treason. So in the case of Elijah and Jeremiah (1Ki 18:17; Jer 37:13, 14). So the antitype Jesus was charged (Joh 19:12); political expediency being made in all ages the pretext for dishonoring God and persecuting His servants (Joh 11:48-50). So in the case of Paul (Ac 17:6, 7; 24:5).

in the midst of … Israel—probably alluding to Amos' own words, "in the midst of … Israel" (Am 7:8), foretelling the state's overthrow to the very center. Not secretly, or in a corner, but openly, in the very center of the state, so as to upset the whole utterly.

land is not able to bear all his words—They are so many and so intolerable. A sedition will be the result. The mention of his being "priest of Beth-el" implies that it was for his own priestly gain, not for the king or state, he was so keen.

Then; after that Amos had expressly and peremptorily foretold the ruin of idolatry and kingdom of Israel for their sins. Amaziah: it appears not what family he was of, nor is it much material we should know; it is probable he might be of some mean family, or possibly an apostate priest of the tribe of Levi.

The priest, by way of eminency; no common priest, but the chief priest.

Of Beth-el; to the calf at Beth-el; and it is like he was prefect or governor for the king in the civil affairs of that city and country.

Sent; gave information by messengers sent.

To Jeroboam; the second of that name, of Jehu’s race: the third from Jehu.

King of Israel; at that time living, and on the throne of Israel.

Saying, Amos hath conspired against thee: he accused the prophet of high treason, and conspiring to raise war against his sovereign.

In the midst of the house of Israel; openly and publicly, or hath endeavoured to raise all Israel into sedition or rebellion against their own king.

The land is not able to bear all his woods: either thus, If what he threateneth should come to pass, it will be ruin and utter desolation to all: or thus, The people are incensed so much against this prophet for his harsh predictions, that he must be made an example to quiet and content them. What he saith will come, if it doth come, will certainly ruin all, high and low, and a well-ordered government may not bear such a prophet. Thus far the general accusation. Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel,.... The Targum calls him the prince or president of Bethel; and the word used signifies both a prince and a priest; and very probably this man had the care of the civil as well as religious matters in Bethel. Aben Ezra styles him the priest of Baal; he was one that succeeded the priests that Jeroboam the son of Nebat placed here, to offer sacrifices to the calf he set up in this place, 1 Kings 12:32; who hearing the above three visions of Amos delivered, and fearing that he would alienate the people from the idolatrous worship he was at the head of, and frighten them from an attendance on it, which would lessen his esteem with the people, and also his worldly gain and profit; and observing that Amos did not make any intercession for the averting of the judgment threatened in the last vision, as in the other two, and which particularly concerned the king's family: he

sent to Jeroboam king of Israel; either letters or messengers, or both; who, it seems, was not at this time at Bethel, but at some other place; perhaps Samaria, which was not a great way from hence:

saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the land of Israel; he speaks of Amos as if he was well known to the king, and perhaps he might be, having long prophesied in the land of Israel, and near the court; and represents him as a seditious person, not as affecting the crown and kingdom himself, but as stirring up a spirit, of rebellion among the people; taking off their affections from their prince, and them from their allegiance to him, by representing him as a wicked person that would in a little time be cut off; and this he did not privately, and in a corner, but publicly, in the midst of the land, and before all the people of Israel; and this was no new and unusual thing to represent good man, and especially ministers of the word, as enemies to the civil government, when none are truer friends to it, or more quiet under it:

the land is not able to bear all his words; either to withstand the power of them; they will have such an influence upon the people, if timely care is not taken, as to cause them both to reject the established religion and worship at Dan and Bethel, and to rise up in arms against the civil government, and dethrone him the king; such terrible things he says to the people, as will frighten them, and put them upon taking such measures as these: or else the prophet's words were so intolerable, that his good subjects, the inhabitants of the land could not bear them; and if he did not give orders himself to take away his life, they would rise up against him, and dispatch him themselves.

{f} Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.

(f) That is, when Amos had prophesied that the king would be destroyed: for the wicked priest more for hatred he had for the Prophet than for love toward the king, thought this accusation sufficient to condemn him. However, only what the Prophet said could take place.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. Amos hath conspired, &c.] Amos had not, as a matter of fact, done this: he had not himself spoken treasonably against the king, or made any attempt upon his life, nor had he incited others to rebel against him. But he had foretold disaster for the house of Jeroboam, and threatened Israel generally with exile; hence disaffected spirits might readily have supposed that his words merely gave expression to his wishes, and that in acting so as to give them effect, they were but promoting the purposes of Providence. He seemed, consequently, in Amaziah’s eyes, to be guilty of constructive treason; and this formed a colourable pretext for making a representation to the king, which Amaziah hoped would be followed by an order for his immediate expulsion from the country.

in the midst of the house of Israel] where his influence would be the greatest: an aggravation of his offence.

the land is not able to bear (lit. contain) all his words] They are too numerous, and too monstrous, to be tolerated.

10–17. A historical episode, intimately connected with the preceding visions, and arising out of them. In particular, Amos, in explaining the last of these visions, had spoken so unambiguously, even, in appearance, threatening the person of the king, that Amaziah, the priest of Beth-el, denounces him to Jeroboam II., upon a charge of conspiracy; and upon the king’s taking no notice of the accusation, takes it upon himself to bid the prophet leave Israel and return to his own country. Amos replies that he has been commissioned by Jehovah to speak as he has done, and re-affirms, with even greater emphasis, his former prediction, with reference in particular to the fate in store for Amaziah’s own family and possessions.Verses 10-17. - § 4. This bold prophecy, no longer conceived in general terms or referring to distant times, but distinct and personal, arouses the animosity of the priestly authorities at Bethel, who accuse Amos before the king, and warn him to leave the country without more words, or to fear the worst. Verse 10. - Amaziah the priest of Bethel. Amaziah ("the Lord is strong"), the chief of the idol priests at Bethel, a crafty and determined man, hearing this prophecy against the royal house, takes it up as a political matter, and makes a formal accusation against Amos with the view of silencing him. Hath conspired against thee. Probably some of the Israelites had been convinced by the prophet's words, and had joined themselves to him; hence Amaziah speaks of "a conspiracy" (1 Samuel 22:8, 13; 1 Kings 15:27) against the king. Or very possibly the story was fabricated in order to accentuate the charge against Amos. In the midst of the house of Israel. In the very centre of the kingdom, where his treasonable speeches would have the greatest effect. The land, personified, cannot endure such language, which is calculated to disturb its peace, and is quite contrary to its ideas and hopes. But there is still time to avert the completion of the judgment by sincere repentance and mourning; for God is merciful, and ready to forgive the penitent. Joel 2:12. "Yet even now, is the saying of Jehovah, turn ye to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. Joel 2:13. And rend your heart and not your garments, and turn back to Jehovah your God; for He is gracious and merciful, long-suffering, and great in kindness, and suffers Himself to repent of the evil. Joel 2:14. Who knoweth He turns and repents, and leaves behind Him blessing, meat-offering and drink-offering for Jehovah your God?" As the plague of locusts was intended to bring the people to reflect upon their conduct towards the Lord, so was the announcement of the great day of judgment and all its terrors made with no other object than to produce repentance and conversion, and thereby promote the good of the people of God. Joel therefore appends to the threatening of judgment a summons to sincere conversion to the Lord; and this he does by first of all addressing the summons to the people as a saying of Jehovah (v. 12), and then explaining this word of God in the most emphatic manner (vv. 13, 14). The Lord God requires conversion to Himself with all the heart (cf. 1 Samuel 7:3, and Deuteronomy 6:5; and for שׂוּב עד, Hosea 14:2), associated with deep-rooted penitence on account of sin, which is to be outwardly manifested in fasting and mourning. But lest the people should content themselves with the outward signs of mourning, he proceeds in Joel 2:13 with the warning admonition, "Rend your heart, and not your garments." Rending the heart signifies contrition of heart (cf. Psalm 51:19; Ezekiel 36:26). He then assigns the motive for this demand, by pointing to the mercy and grace of God, in the words of Exodus 34:6, with which the Lord made known to Moses His inmost nature, except that in the place of ואמת, which we find in this passage, he adds, on the ground of the facts recorded in Ezekiel 32:14 and 2 Samuel 24:16, ונחם על הרעה. On the strength of these facts he hopes, even in the present instance, for forgiveness on the part of God, and the removal of the judgment. "Who knoweth?" equivalent to "perhaps;" not because "too confident a hope would have had in it something offensive to Jehovah" (Hitzig), but "lest perchance they might either despair on account of the magnitude of their crimes, or the greatness of the divine clemency might make them careless" (Jerome).

(Note: "He speaks after the manner of a terrified conscience, which is lifted up again with difficulty after a season of affliction, and begins to aspire after hope and the mercy of God. Moreover, the expression 'who knoweth' is a Hebrew phrase, which does not indicate doubt, but rather affirmation, coupled with desire, as if we were to say, 'And yet surely God will turn again.'" - Luther, Enarrat. in Joelem, Opp., Jena 1703, p. iii.)

ישׁוּב, to turn, sc. from coming to judgment. נהם as in Joel 2:13. השׁאיר אחריו, to leave behind Him, sc. when He returns to His throne in heaven (Hosea 5:15). Berâkhâh, a blessing, viz., harvest-produce for a meat-offering and drink-offering, which had been destroyed by the locusts (Joel 1:9, Joel 1:13).

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