Amos 7:12
Also Amaziah said to Amos, O you seer, go, flee you away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12, 13) Jeroboam treated the charge made by Amaziah with indifference, or perhaps with awe: at least, with silence. And so the priest of Bethel takes upon himself to dismiss the prophet from the kingdom. The word for “seer” is here chozeh, one who has visions, a word not used in a contemptuous sense here or in the Old Testament generally. The expression “there eat bread and prophecy” is a hendiadys for “there live on your profession as a prophet,” not here. To this Amos replies that that was not his profession (Amos 7:14). Bethel is spoken of as the “holy place,” or sanctuary, and also as the “royal residence” (E.V., “king’s court”). Men blinded by prejudice, and bewildered by the light of our Lord’s holy presence, besought him to depart from them. The awful peril of imploring God’s messenger to withdraw is frequently referred to in Scripture. (Comp. Luke 10:10-12.)

Amos 7:12-13. Amaziah said, O thou seer, go flee, &c. — Thou that sayest thou art a prophet, get thee hence, where thou signifiest that thou art so much displeased with the actions of the people, and go into the land of Judah — Where it is likely thou wilt be better entertained than thou art here. And there eat bread, &c. — There they will feed thee well, because thou pretendest to be a prophet. Prophesy not at Beth-el, for it is the king’s chapel, &c. — This is the place where the king performs his religious worship in person, and often resides here with his court, that he may the better attend upon the service performed at this place; (see 1 Kings 13:1;) and therefore thou oughtest to reverence it, and not utter thy sham prophecies here.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.Jeroboam apparently took no account of the false priest's message. Perhaps the memory of the true prophecies of Elisha as to the successes of his father, and of Jonah as to his own, fulfilled in his own person and still recent, inspired him with a reverence for God's prophets. To know his motive or motives, we must know his whole character, which we do not. Amaziah, failing of his purpose, uses his name as far as he dares. "Seer, go flee thee." He probably uses the old title for a prophet, in reference to the visions which he had just related. Perhaps, he used it in irony also . "Thou who seest, as thou deemest, what others see not, "visionary! visionist!" flee thee," that is, for thy good; (he acts the patron and the counselor;) "to the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and there prophesy." Worldly people always think that those whose profession is religious make "a gain of godliness." "He is paid for it," they say. "Whose bread I eat, his song I sing." Interested people cannot conceive of one disinterested; nor the worldly, of one unworldly; nor the insincere, of one sincere. Amaziah thought then that Amos, coming out of Judah, must he speaking in the interests of Judah; perhaps, that he was in the pay of her king. Anyhow, prophecies, such as his against Israel, would be acceptable there and be well paid. The words are courteous, like so much patronizing language now, as to God or His revelation, His prophets or His Apostles, or His divine word. The words are measured: the meaning blasphemy. Perhaps, like the Scribes and Pharisees afterward, "he feared the people" Matthew 21:26; Acts 5:26. : "Seeing that there were many among the people who beard him gladly, he dared not do him any open wrong, lest he should offend them." 12. Also—Besides informing the king against Amos, lest that course should fail, as it did, Amaziah urges the troublesome prophet himself to go back to his own land Judah, pretending to advise him in friendliness.

seer—said contemptuously in reference to Amos' visions which precede.

there eat bread—You can earn a livelihood there, whereas remaining here you will be ruined. He judges of Amos by his own selfishness, as if regard to one's own safety and livelihood are the paramount considerations. So the false prophets (Eze 13:19) were ready to say whatever pleased their hearers, however false, for "handfuls of barley and pieces of bread."

Also Amaziah said unto Amos: it is probable enough that this arch-priest of Beth-el did send this advice, or gave it to the prophet so soon as he had accused the prophet to Jeroboam; and perhaps he thus intended to insinuate a great good-will towards the prophet, presuming the prophet knew nothing that Amaziah had accused him.

O thou seer: whether this be spoken in scorn, or giving him the respect due to a prophet, I determine not.

Flee thee away into the land of Judah; be advised, stay not here, but with all speed flee out of the kingdom, get thee into Judah whence thou camest, there thou mayst be safe.

There eat bread: thou wilt never get thy bread here by this kind of preaching; in Judah it is likely thou mayst get thy livelihood by thy prophetic art; thither go,

and prophesy there; there thou mayst freely declaim against our vices, and predict our fall, which we do as little as thou dost much believe. Also Amaziah said unto Amos,.... Either at the same time; or, it may be, after he had waited for the king's answer, and received none; or what did not come up to his expectations and wishes. We have no account of any answer the king returned; who either gave no heed to the representations of the priest, or had a better opinion of, he prophet, and did not credit the things imputed to him; which the priest observing, took another way to get rid of the prophet, and that by flattery:

O thou seer; that seest visions, and foretells things to come. This title, which of right belonged to him, and is given to the true prophets of God sometimes, is here given to Amos, either seriously or ironically:

go, flee thee away into the land of Judah; to which he belonged, and where the temple stood, and the true worship of God was performed; and where the king, princes, and people, were on his side of the question; and where his prophecies would be received, and he caressed for them, being against the ten tribes, with whom they were at variance, and where also he would be safe; for he suggests, that, in giving this advice, he consulted his good and safety; for, if he stayed here long, King Jeroboam would certainly take away his life; and therefore he advised him to flee with all haste to his own country:

and there eat bread, and prophesy there: he took him for a mercenary man like himself, and that he prophesied for bread; which he intimates he would never be able to get in the land of Israel, but in all probability might in the land of Judea.

Also {g} Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:

(g) When this instrument of Satan was not able to accomplish his purpose by the king, he tried by another practice, that was, to scare the Prophet, that he might depart, and not reprove their idolatry there openly, and so hinder his profit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12–13. Jeroboam apparently took no account of the priest’s message. Accordingly Amaziah himself endeavours to induce Amos to leave the country.

O thou seer] or gazer (ḥôzeh, not rô’eh, ‘seer,’ 1 Samuel 9:9, though a synonym of it; see Isaiah 30:10, quoted on Amos 1:1). Rô’eh is used in 1 Samuel 9:9; 1 Samuel 9:11; 1 Samuel 9:18-19 of Samuel, and we are told in Amos 7:9 that it was the oldest designation of the prophet; but it occurs elsewhere only in 1 Chronicles 9:22; 1 Chronicles 26:28; 1 Chronicles 29:29 (each time as an epithet of Samuel); 2 Chronicles 16:7; 2 Chronicles 16:10 (of Hanani); and in the plural, Isaiah 30:10. Ḥôzeh is used of Gad, 2 Samuel 24:11 = 1 Chronicles 21:9 (‘David’s ḥôzeh’); 2 Chronicles 29:25 (‘the king’s ḥôzeh’); Heman, 1 Chronicles 25:5 (‘the king’s ḥôzeh’); Iddo, 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15; Jehu, son of Hanani, 2 Chronicles 19:2; Asaph, 2 Chronicles 29:30; Jeduthun, 2 Chronicles 30:15; and in the plural, Isaiah 29:10 ("" prophets), 2 Chronicles 30:10 ("" rô’îm); Micah 3:7 ("" diviners); 2 Chronicles 33:18, and (prob.) 19. Both words are thus rare in the pre-exilic literature, rô’eh being applied as a title only to Samuel, and ḥôzeh only to Gad: their revival in the late Chronicles is remarkable. Here ḥôzeh is used probably on account of the visions, which Amos had just related, perhaps also with a touch of irony, as though implying that he was (as we might say) a “visionary,” and anticipated evils which were in reality imaginary.

into the land of Judah] Amos may be at liberty to say what he pleases in his own country: predictions of Israel’s fall might not be unacceptable there; let him not utter them in Jeroboam’s capital.

eat bread] i.e. make thy living. Amaziah implies that prophecy was a trade or profession. Already in early times we know that those who consulted a rô’eh paid a fee for his advice (1 Samuel 9:7-8); and in the middle period of the monarchy there are allusions to the fact that the prophets who echoed the sentiments of the people gained popularity, and were rewarded accordingly: see Isaiah 30:10 (Isaiah’s political teaching was obnoxious to the people, and they would not listen to him: they wished for ‘seers’ who would “see” for them “smooth things,” i.e. visions of material prosperity, the success of their own plans, &c.); Micah 3:5 (the prophets who “bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and whoso putteth not into their mouths, they prepare war against him”; i.e. who prophesy in accordance with the fee that they receive), 11 (“the prophets thereof divine for money”); Ezekiel 13:19. Comp. also 1 Kings 22:13; Jeremiah 23:16-17; Jeremiah 28:1-4; Jeremiah 29:8 f. The genuine prophets were, of course, superior to all such considerations; they rebuked the people, when they deserved it, for their sins, and they uttered predictions which they felt to be true, heedless of the temper in which they might be received by those who heard them. But Amaziah insinuates that Amos is one of those prophets who lived upon popularity: he bids him, therefore, ironically, betake himself to Judah, where his words spoken against Ephraim will be listened to with satisfaction, and will not remain unrewarded. Baur quotes the German proverb, “Wess Brod ich ess’, dess Lied ich sing.”Verse 12. - Also Amaziah said. Jeroboam appears to have taken no steps in consequence of this accusation, either deeming that the words of a visionary were unworthy of serious consideration, or, like Herod (Matthew 14:5), fearing the people, who had been impressed by the prophet's words and bold bearing. Therefore Amaziah endeavours by his own authority to make Amos leave the country, or else does not wait for the command of the king, who was probably at Samaria. O thou seer! Amaaiah calls Amos chozeh ὁ ὁρῶν (1 Chronicles 21:9; 1 Chronicles 25:5), either with reference to the visions just given, or in derision of his claims - as we might say, "visionary." Flee thee away; fly for thine own good to escape punishment, patronizing and counselling him. Go to the land of Judah; where doubtless your announcement of the ruin of the rival kingdom will be acceptable. Eat bread. Amaziah speaks, as if Amos was paid for his prophecies, made a gain of godliness. Prophesy there. "Vaticinare in terra Jude, ubi libenter audiuntur insani" (St. Jerome). The idoloatrous priest has no conception of the inspiration under which the prophet speaks. He judges others by himself, attributing to Amos the sordid motives by which he himself was influenced. To make this admonition still more emphatic, the prophet concludes by repeating the appeal for the appointment of a meeting in the temple for prayer, and even gives the litany in which the priests are to offer their supplication. Joel 2:15. "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, proclaim a meeting. Joel 2:16. Gather the people together, sanctify an assembly, bring together the old men, gather together the children and sucklings at the breasts. Let the bridegroom go out of his chamber, and the bride out of her room. Joel 2:17. Between the porch and the altar are the priests, the servants of Jehovah, to weep and say, Spare, O Jehovah, Thy people, and give not up Thine inheritance to shame, so that the heathen scoff at them. Wherefore should men say among the nations, Where is their God?" Joel 2:15 is a literal repetition from Joel 2:1 and Joel 1:14; Joel 1:16 a more detailed expansion of Joel 1:14, in which, first of all, the people generally (עם) are mentioned, and then the objection of the summons explained in the words קדּשׁוּ קהל, "Call a holy meeting of the congregation." But in order that none may think themselves exempt, the people are more precisely defined as old men, children, and sucklings. Even the bride and bridegroom are to give up the delight of their hearts, and take part in the penitential and mournful worship. No age, no rank, is to stay away, because no one, not even the suckling, is free from sin; but all, without exception, are exposed to the judgment. "A stronger proof of the deep and universal guilt of the whole nation could not be found, than that on the great day of penitence and prayer, even new-born infants were to be carried in their arms" (Umbreit). The penitential supplication of the whole nation is to be brought before the Lord by the priests as the mediators of the nation. יבכּוּ in Joel 1:17 is jussive, like יצא in Joel 1:16, though Hitzig disputes this, but on insufficient grounds. The allusion to the priests in the former could only be unsuitable, if they were merely commanded to go to the temple like the rest of the people. But it is not to this that Joel 1:17 refers, but to the performance of their official duty, when the people had assembled for the penitential festival. They were to stand between the porch of the temple and the altar of burnt-offering, i.e., immediately in front of the door of the holy place, and there with tears entreat the Lord, who was enthroned in the sanctuary, not to give up the people of His possession (nachălâh as in 1 Kings 8:51; cf. Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 32:9) to the reproach of being scoffed at by the heathen. למשׁל־בּם גּוים is rendered by Luther and others, "that heathen rule over them," after the ancient versions; and Psalm 106:41; Deuteronomy 15:6, and Lamentations 5:8, might be appealed to in support of this rendering. But although grammatically allowable, it is not required by the parallelism, as Hengstenberg maintains. For even if the reproach of Israel could consist in the fact that they, the inheritance of the Lord, were subjected to the government of heathen, this thought is very remote from the idea of the passage before us, where there is no reference at all in the threatening of punishment to subjection to the heathen, but simply to the devastation of the land. משׁל with ב also signifies to utter a proverb ( equals to scoff) at any one, for which Ezekiel indeed makes use of משׁל משׁל (Ezekiel 17:2; Ezekiel 18:2, and in Ezekiel 12:23 and Ezekiel 18:3 construed with ב); but it is evident that mâshal was sometimes used alone in this sense, from the occurrence of mōshelı̄m in Numbers 21:27 as a term applied to the inventors of proverbs, and also of meshōl as a proverb or byword in Job 17:6, whether we take the word as an infinitive or a substantive. This meaning, as Marck observes, is rendered probable both by the connection with חרפּה, and also by the parallel clause which follows, viz., "Wherefore should men among the heathen say," etc., more especially if we reflect that Joel had in his mind not Deuteronomy 15:6, which has nothing in common with the passage before us except the verb mâshal, but rather Deuteronomy 28:37, where Moses not only threatens the people with transportation to another land for their apostasy from the Lord, and that they shall become "an astonishment, a proverb (mâshâl), and a byword" among all nations, but (Deuteronomy 28:38, Deuteronomy 28:40-42) also threatens them with the devastation of their seed-crops, their vineyards, and their olive-grounds by locusts. Compare also 1 Kings 9:7-8, where not only the casting out of Israel among the heathen, but even the destruction of the temple, is mentioned as the object of ridicule on the part of the heathen; also the combination of לחרפּה and למשׁל in Jeremiah 24:9. But Joel 2:19 is decisive in favour of this view of למשׁל בם ג. The Lord there promises that He will send His people corn, new wine, and oil, to their complete satisfaction, and no longer make them a reproach among the nations; so that, according to this, it was not subjugation or transportation by heathen foes that gave occasion to the scoffing of the nations at Israel, but the destruction of the harvest by the locusts. The saying among the nations, "Where is their God?" is unquestionably a sneer at the covenant relation of Jehovah to Israel; and to this Jehovah could offer no inducement, since the reproach would fall back upon Himself. Compare for the fact itself, Exodus 32:12; Micah 7:10, and Psalm 115:2. Thus the prayer closes with the strongest reason why God should avert the judgment, and one that could not die away without effect.
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