Amos 7:13
But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.
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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.It is the king's chapel - Better, as in the English margin, "sanctuary." It is the name for "the sanctuary" of God. "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them" Exodus 25:8. "Ye shall reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord" Leviticus 19:30; Leviticus 26:2. It is most often spoken of as, "The sanctuary" ; elsewhere, but always with emphasis, of reverence, sanctity, devotion, protection, it is called "His sanctuary; My sanctuary; Thy sanctuary; the sanctuary of the Lord of God, of his God ; whence God Himself is called "a sanctuary" Isaiah 8:14; Ezekiel 11:16, as a place of refuge. In three places only, is it called the sanctuary of Israel; "her sanctuary." God, in His threat to cast them off, says, "I will bring your sanctuaries to desolation" Leviticus 26:31; Jeremiah laments, "the pagan have entered into her sanctuary" Lamentations 1:10; he says, "the place of our sanctuary is a glorious high throne from the beginning" Jeremiah 17:12, inasmuch as God was enthroned there.

In this case too it is "the sanctuary for" Israel, not a mere property of Israel. "The sanctuary of God" could not he called the sanctuary of any man. One man could not so appropriate "the sanctuary." God had ordained it for Himself. His presence had sanctified it. Heresy, in unconsciousness, lets out more truth than it means. A high priest at Jerusalem could not have said this. He knew that "the temple" was the "sanctuary" of God, and could not have called it the "king's sanctuary." The sanctuary at Bethel had no other sanction, than what it had from the king. Jeroboam I consecrated it and its priests 1 Kings 12:31-33; and from him it and they had their authority. Amaziah wished to use a popular plea to rid himself of Amos. Bethel was "the king's sanctuary and the house," not of God, but "of the kingdom," that is, "the house," which had the whole royal sanction, which with its Worship was the creature of royal authority, bound up in one with the kingdom, and belonging to it.

Or it may be, "a royal house," (not a palace, or court, for the king's palace was at Samaria, but) "a royal temple," the state-Church. So the Arians betrayed their worldliness by dating one of their Creeds from the Roman Consuls of the year, its month and day" , thereby to show all thinking people, that their faith dates, not of old but now." Their faith was of yesterday. "They are accustomed to say," says Jerome, "the Emperor communicates with us, and, if anyone resists them, immediately they calumniate. 'Actest thou against the Emperor? Despisest thou the Emperor's mandate?' And yet we may think, that many Christian kings who have persecuted the Church of God, and essayed to establish the Arian impiety in the whole world, surpass in guilt Jeroboam king of Israel. He despised the message of a false priest, nor would he make any answer to his suggestions. But these, with their many Amaziahpriests, have slain Amos the prophet and the priest of the Lord by hunger and penury, dungeons and exile."

13. prophesy not again—(Am 2:12).

at Beth-el—Amaziah wants to be let alone at least in his own residence.

the king's chapel—Beth-el was preferred by the king to Dan, the other seat of the calf-worship, as being nearer Samaria, the capital, and as hallowed by Jacob of old (Ge 28:16, 19; 35:6, 7). He argues by implication against Amos' presumption, as a private man, in speaking against the worship sanctioned by the king, and that in the very place consecrated to it for the king's own devotions.

king's court—that is, residence: the seat of empire, where the king holds his court, and which thou oughtest to have reverenced. Samaria was the usual king's residence: but for the convenience of attending the calf-worship, a royal palace was at Beth-el also.

Prophesy not again any more at Beth-el; as a friend I advise thou do not, and as having authority from the king, I do declare thou shalt not, prophesy in Beth-el.

For it is the king’s chapel, where I am by the king’s authority empowered to give license, or impose silence, and to see that none but fit persons preach before the king, who doth there pay his devotions.

And it is the king’s court, where all his nobles attend him, and where no ordinary, obscure, and uncourtly doctor may appear: besides, such preaching so near to the king’s court will be speedily punished; therefore, as thou lovest thyself, Amos, follow my advice, and let the king’s court and this country hear no more of thee. But prophesy not again any more at Bethel,.... He might prophesy any where, if he did not there, for what the priest cared, that so his honour and interest were not hurt. The reasons he gave were,

for it is the king's chapel; or "sanctuary" (i); where a temple was built for the idol calf, and where the king worshipped it, and attended all other religious service:

and it is the king's court; or "the house of the kingdom" (k); the seat of it, where the king had a royal palace, and sometimes resided here, and kept his court, as well as at Samaria; often coming hither to worship, it being nearer to him than Dan, where the other calf was placed; intimating hereby that the king would never suffer such a troublesome man as he to be so near him; and by prophesying to interrupt him, either in his religious or civil affairs; and therefore advises him by all means to depart, if he had any regard to his life or peace.

(i) "sanctuarium", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius. Piscator, Drusius, Cocceius. (k) "et domus regni est", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius; "domus regia", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.
13. for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a national temple] Lit. the temple of the kingdom. Beth-el was the principal sanctuary of the northern kingdom, under the special patronage and support of the king.Verse 13. - The king's chapel; i.e. "a sanctuary" (Exodus 25:8; Leviticus 19:30) founded by the king (1 Kings 12:28), not by God. So in truth it had only an earthly sanction, and the prophet of the Lord was out of place there. The king's court; literally, house of the kingdom. "National temple" (Kuenen); "a royal temple, the state church" (Pusey). Not the political, but the religious, capital, the chief seat of the religion appertaining to the nation. Amaziah speaks as a thorough Erastian; as if the human authority were everything, and the Lord, of himself, had no claims on the land. 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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