Amos 7:17
Therefore thus said the LORD; Your wife shall be an harlot in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided by line; and you shall die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
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(17) Harlot.—This doom on Amaziah’s wife is to be regarded as the hideous consequence of war. She shall be ravished. By the polluted land we are to understand Assyria, or the land of exile; for food eaten in any other land than Canaan, the land of Jehovah, was regarded as unclean (see W. R. Smith, O.T. in Jewish Church, pp. 235-8). We hear no more of Amaziah, nor do we know how or where he met his doom.

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.Thy wife shall be a harlot - These were, and still are, among the horrors of war. His own sentence comes last, when he had seen the rest, unable to hinder it. Against his and her own will, she should suffer this. Jerome: "Great is the grief, and incredible the disgrace, when the husband, in the midst of the city and in the presence of all, cannot hinder the wrong done to his wife , for the husband had rather hear that his wife had been slain, than defiled." What he adds "thy daughters" (as well as his "sons") "shall fall by the sword," is an unwonted barbarity, and not part of the Assyrian customs, who carried off women in great numbers, as wives for their soldiery .

Perhaps Amos mentions the unwonted cruelty, that the event might bring home the more to the minds of the people the prophecies which relate to themselves. When this had been fulfilled before his eyes , "Amaziah himself, who now gloried in the authority of the priesthood, was to be led into captivity, die in a land polluted by idols, yet not before be saw the people whom he had deceived, enslaved and captive." Amos closes by repeating emphatically the exact words, which Amaziah had alleged in his message to Jeroboam; "and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land." He had not said it before in these precise words. Now he says it, without reserve of their repentance, as though he would say, "Thou hast pronounced thine own sentence; thou hast hardened thyself against the word of God; thou hardenest thy people against the word of God; it remains then that it should fall on thee and thy people." Rup.: "How and when the prophecy against Amaziah was fulfilled, Scripture does not relate. He lies hid amid the mass of miseries" . Scripture hath no leisure to relate all which befalls those of the viler sort "The majesty of Holy Scripture does not lower itself to linger on baser persons, whom God had rejected.

17. Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city—that is, shall be forced by the enemy, while thou art looking on, unable to prevent her dishonor (Isa 13:16; La 5:11). The words, "saith THE Lord are in striking opposition to "Thou sayest" (Am 7:16).

divided by line—among the foe.

a polluted land—Israel regarded every foreign land as that which really her own land was now, "polluted" (Isa 24:5; Jer 2:7).

Therefore; because thou hast so directly and strenuously opposed the Lord.

Thy wife shall be a harlot, which to a man of sense is a great affliction.

A harlot; a common whore. In the city; a notorious one, that plays not the adulteress in secret at home, but so that all take notice of it, and brand her for it.

Thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword; which in all likelihood doth intimate their slaughter by Shallum when he slew Zachariah, Jeroboam’s son, with whom no doubt but his friends fell, among which this family was; or else by the sword of Menahem, who slew Shallum.

Thy land shall be divided by line; thy estate, which no doubt was large, shall be shared among the soldiers and courtiers of Menahem.

And thou shalt die; thy dishonour by a lewd wife, thy childless solitariness, and thy poverty, shall come on thee ere thou die; it is probable he fled to save his life.

In a polluted land; among the heathen, where thou mayst be sure my word was true. Israel, the ten tribes,

shall surely go into captivity forth of his land: see Amos 7:11. Therefore thus saith the Lord,.... For withstanding the prophet of the Lord, and forbidding him to speak in his name against the idolatry of Israel, as well as for his own idolatry:

thy wife shall be an harlot in the city: either of Bethel or Samaria; either through force, being ravished by the soldiers upon taking and plundering the city; so Theodoret and others: or rather of choice; either, through poverty, to get bread, or through a vicious inclination, and that in a public manner: the meaning is, that she should be a common strumpet; which must be a great affliction to him, and a just punishment for his idolatry, or spiritual adultery; this must be before the siege and taking of Samaria, since by that time the priest's wife would be too old to be used as a harlot:

and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword; either of Shallum, who smote Zachariah the son of Jeroboam with the sword, before the people, and very probably many of his friends with him, among whom this family was; or of Menahem, who slew Shallum, and destroyed many places that opened not to him, with their inhabitants, and ripped up the women with child; or in the after invasions by Pul, Tiglathpileser, and Shalmaneser, 2 Kings 15:10;

and thy land shall be divided by line; either the whole land of Israel be lived in, or the land that was in the possession of this priest, and was his own property; this should be measured with a line, and be parted among foreigners, that should invade the land, and subdue it; a just punishment of the sins he had been guilty of, in getting large possessions in an ill manner:

and thou shall die in a polluted land; not in his own land, reckoned holy, but in a Heathen land, which was accounted defiled, because the inhabitants of it were uncircumcised and idolaters, and he was no better; perhaps the land of Assyria, whither he might with others be carried captive; or some other land he was forced to flee into:

and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land; as he had before prophesied, and here confirms it; and which was fulfilled in the times of Hoshea king of Israel, by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, 2 Kings 17:6.

Therefore thus saith the LORD; {i} Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.

(i) In this way God used to approve the authority of his Prophets, by his plagues and judgments against those who were malicious enemies as in Jer 28:12-17 29:21-26, as this day he does against those that persecute the ministers of his Gospel.

17. Thy wife shall be a harlot &c.] As before (Amos 6:8), the vision of a captured city rises before him: Amaziah’s wife will be treated as a harlot by the victorious conquerors (cf. Isaiah 13:16; Zechariah 14:2); his children, daughters as well as sons, will perish by the sword; his lands will be distributed to new occupants; he himself will die in a foreign land; finally, Israel itself will go into exile. “In the city heightens the disgrace for the principal lady in the place” (Wellh.).

divided by (measuring-)line] Cf. Micah 2:4 (end); Jeremiah 6:12; and see 2 Kings 17:24.

in an unclean land] A foreign land is regarded as ‘unclean,’ because Jehovah could not be properly worshipped in it (cf. 1 Samuel 26:19 end): no presence of Jehovah sanctified it; there were no sanctuaries in it dedicated to Him; consequently, even food eaten in it was ‘unclean’ likewise, for it was not hallowed by part of it being brought into His house, and offered to Him. See Hosea 9:3-4 (R.V. marg.); Ezekiel 4:13, with Cheyne’s and Davidson’s notes respectively; also O.T.J.C[187][188], pp. 249 f.

[187] .T.J.C. … W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

[188] … W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

and Israel shall surely go into exile away from his land] Amos repeats exactly the words placed in his mouth by Amaziah in Amos 7:11.Verse 17. - With this denunciation compare that of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:3, etc.) against Pashur. As husband, as father, as citizen, Amamah shall suffer grievously. Shall be an harlot in the city. Not play the harlot willingly, but suffer open violence when the city is taken (comp. Isaiah 13:16; Lamentations 5:11). And thy daughters. This would be abnormal cruelty, as the Assyrians usually spared the women of conquered towns. Shall be divided by line. Amaziah's own land was to be portioned out to strangers by the measuring line (Zechariah 2:2). A polluted land; an unclean land; i.e. a Gentile country. Amaziah himself was to share his countrymen's captivity. The sins and idolatry of the people are often said to defile the land; e.g. Leviticus 18:25; Numbers 35:33; Jeremiah 2:7. Shall surely go into captivity; or, be led away captive. Amos repeats the very words which formed part of his accusation (ver. 11), in order to show that God's purpose is unchanged, and that he, the prophet, must utter the same denunciation (see the accomplishment, 2 Kings 17:6).

This promise is carried out still further in what follows; and Joel summons the earth (Joel 2:21), the beasts of the field (Joel 2:22), and the sons of Zion (Joel 2:23) to joy and exultation at this mighty act of the Lord, by which they have been delivered from the threatening destruction. Joel 2:21. "Fear not, O earth! exult and rejoice: for Jehovah doeth great things! Joel 2:22. Fear ye not, O beasts of the field! for the pastures of the desert become green, for the tree bears its fruit; fig-tree and vine yield their strength. Joel 2:23. And ye sons of Zion, exult and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He giveth you the teacher for righteousness, and causes to come down to you a rain-fall, early rain and latter rain, first of all." The soil had suffered from the drought connected with the swarms of locusts (Joel 1:9); the beasts of the field had groaned on account of the destruction of all the plants and vegetation of every kind (Joel 1:18); the men had sighed over the unparalleled calamity that had befallen both land and people. The prophet here calls to all of them not to fear, but to exult and rejoice, and gives in every case an appropriate reason for the call. In that of the earth, he introduces the thought that Jehovah had done great things - had destroyed the foe that did great things; in that of the beasts, he points to the fresh verdure of the pastures, and the growth of the fruit upon the trees; in that of men, he lays stress upon a double fact, viz., the gift of a teacher for righteousness, and the pouring out of a plentiful rain. In this description we have to notice the rhetorical individualizing, which forms its peculiar characteristic, and serves to explain not only the distinction between the earth, the beasts of the field, and the sons of Zion, but the distribution of the divine blessings among the different members of the creation that are mentioned here. For, so far as the fact itself is concerned, the threefold blessing from God benefits all three classes of the earthly creation: the rain does good not only to the sons of Zion, or to men, but also to animals and to the soil; and so again do the green of the pastures and the fruits of the trees; and lastly, even the הגדּיל יי לעשׂות not only blesses the earth, but also the beasts and men upon it. It is only through overlooking this rhetorico-poetical distribution, that any one could infer from Joel 2:22, that because the fruits are mentioned here as the ordinary food of animals, in direct contrast to Genesis 1:28-29, where the fruit of the trees is assigned to men for food, the beasts of the field signify the heathen. The perfects in the explanatory clauses of these three verses are all to be taken alike, and not to be rendered in the preterite in Joel 2:21, and in the present in Joel 2:22 and Joel 2:23. The perfect is not only applied to actions, which the speaker looks upon from his own standpoint as actually completed, as having taken place, or as things belonging to the past, but to actions which the will or the lively fancy of the speaker regards as being as good as completed, in other words, assumes as altogether unconditional and certain, and to which in modern languages we should apply the present (Ewald, 135, a, etc.). The latter is the sense in which it is used here, since the prophet sets forth the divine promise as a fact, which is unquestionably certain and complete, even though its historical realization has only just begun, and extends into the nearer or more remote future. The divine act over which the prophet calls upon them to rejoice, is not to be restricted to the destruction of those swarms of locusts that had at that time invaded Judah, and the revivification of drying nature, but is an act of God that is being constantly repeated whenever the same circumstances occur, or whose influence continues as long as this earth lasts; since it is a tangible pledge, that to all eternity, as is stated in Joel 2:26, Joel 2:27, the people of the Lord will not be put to shame. The "sons of Zion" are not merely the inhabitants of Zion itself, but the dwellers in the capital are simply mentioned as the representatives of the kingdom of Judah. As the plague of locusts fell not upon Jerusalem only, but upon the whole land, the call to rejoicing must refer to all the inhabitants of the land (Joel 1:2, Joel 1:14). They are to rejoice in Jehovah, who has proved Himself to be their God by the removal of the judgment and the bestowal of a fresh blessing.

This blessing is twofold in its nature. He gives them את־המּורה לצדקה. From time immemorial there has been a diversity of opinion as to the meaning of these words. Most of the Rabbins and earlier commentators have followed the Chaldee and Vulgate, and taken mōreh in the sense of "teacher;" but others, in no small number, have taken it in the sense of "early rain," e.g., Ab. Ezra, Kimchi, Tanch., Calvin, and most of the Calvinistic and modern commentators. But although mōreh is unquestionably used in the last clause of this verse in the sense of early rain; in every other instance this is called yōreh (Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 5:24); for Psalm 84:7 cannot be brought into the account since the meaning is disputed. Consequently the conjecture is a very natural one, that in the last clause of the verse Joel selected the form mōreh, instead of yōreh, to signify early rain, simply on account of the previous occurrence of hammōreh in the sense of "teacher," and for the sake of the unison. This rendering of hammōreh is not only favoured by thee article placed before it, since neither mōreh equals yōreh (early rain), nor the corresponding and tolerably frequent malqōsh (latter rain), ever has the article, and no reason can be discovered why mōreh should be defined by the article here if it signified early rain; but it is decisively confirmed by the following word לצדקה, which is quite inapplicable to early rain, since it cannot mean either "in just measure," or "at the proper time," or "in becoming manner," as tsedâqâh is only used in the ethical sense of righteousness, and is never met with sensu physico, neither in 2 Samuel 19:29; Nehemiah 2:20, nor in Psalm 23:3 and Leviticus 19:36, where moreover צדק occurs. For מעגּלי צדק (in the Psalm) are not straight or right ways, but ways of righteousness (spiritual ways); and although מאזני צדק, אבני צדק, are no doubt really correct scales and weight-stones, this is simply because they correspond to what is ethically right, so that we cannot deduce from this the idea of correct measure in the case of the rain. Ewald and Umbreit, who both of them recognise the impossibility of proving that tsedâqâh is used in the physical sense of correctness or correct measure, have therefore adopted the rendering "rain for justification," or "for righteousness;" Ewald regarding the rain as a sign that they are adopted again into the righteousness of God, whilst Umbreit takes it as a manifestation of eternal righteousness in the flowing stream of fertilizing grace. But apart from the question, whether these thoughts are in accordance with the doctrine of Scripture, they are by no means applicable here, where the people have neither doubted the revelation of the righteousness of God, nor prayed to God for justification, but have rather appealed to the compassion and grace of God in the consciousness of their sin and guilt, and prayed to be spared and rescued from destruction (Joel 2:13, Joel 2:17). By the "teacher for righteousness," we are to understand neither the prophet Joel only (v. Hofmann), nor the Messiah directly (Abarbanel), nor the idea teacher or collective body of messengers from God (Hengstenberg), although there is some truth at the foundation of all these suppositions. The direct or exclusive reference to the Messiah is at variance wit the context, since all the explanatory clauses in vv. 21-23 treat of blessings or gifts of God, which were bestowed at any rate partially at that particular time. Moreover, in v. 23, the sending of the rain-fall is represented by ויּורד (imperf. c. Vav cons.), if not as the consequence of the sending of the teacher for righteousness, at any rate as a contemporaneous event. These circumstances apparently favour the application of the expression to the prophet Joel. Nevertheless, it is by no means probable that Joel describes himself directly as the teacher for righteousness, or speaks of his being sent to the people as the object of exultation. No doubt he had induced the people to turn to the Lord, and to offer penitential supplication for His mercy through his call to repentance, and thereby effected the consequent return of rain and fruitful seasons; but his address and summons would not have had this result, if the people had not been already instructed by Moses, by the priests, and by other prophets before himself, concerning the ways of the Lord. All of these were teachers for righteousness, and are included under hammōreh. Still we must not stop at them. As the blessings of grace, at the reception of which the people were to rejoice, did not merely consist, as we have just observed, in the blessings which came to it at that time, or in Joel's days, but also embraced those which were continually bestowed upon it by the Lord; we must not exclude the reference to the Messiah, to whom Moses had already pointed as the prophet whom the Lord would raise up unto them, and to whom they were to hearken (Deuteronomy 18:18-19), but must rather regard the sending of the Messiah as the final fulfilment of this promise. This view answers to the context, if we simply notice that Joel mentions here both the spiritual and material blessings which the Lord is conveying to His people, and then in what follows expounds the material blessings still further in Joel 2:23-27, and the spiritual blessings in Joel 2:28-32 and ch. 3. They are both of them consequences of the gift of the teacher for righteousness.

Hence the expansion of the earthly saving gifts is attached by ויּורד with Vav cons. Joel mentions first of all geshem, a rain-fall, or plentiful rain for the fertilizing of the soil and then defines it more exactly as early rain, which fell in the autumn at the sowing time and promoted the germination and growth of the seed, and latter rain, which occurred in the spring shortly before the time of harvest and brought the crops to maturity (see at Leviticus 26:3). בּראשׁון, in the beginning, i.e., first ( equals ראשׂנה in Genesis 33:2, just as כּראשׁון is used in Leviticus 9:15 for בּראשׂנה in Numbers 10:13), not in the first month (Chald., etc.), or in the place of כּבראשׂנה, as before (lxx, Vulg., and others). For בּראשׁון corresponds to אחרי־כן in Joel 2:28 (Hebrews 3:1), as Ewald, Meier, and Hengstenberg admit. First of all the pouring out of a plentiful rain (an individualizing expression for all kinds of earthly blessings, chosen here with reference to the opposite of blessing occasioned by the drought); and after that, the pouring out of the spiritual blessing (Joel 2:28-3:21).

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