Amos 7:3
The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, said the LORD.
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(3) The Lord repented.—The judgment is withheld. On the anthropomorphism of Jehovah repenting, comp. Genesis 6:5 and other passages.

7:1-9 God bears long, but he will not bear always with a provoking people. The remembrance of the mercies we formerly received, like the produce of the earth of the former growth, should make us submissive to the will of God, when we meet with disappointments in the latter growth. The Lord has many ways of humbling a sinful nation. Whatever trouble we are under, we should be most earnest with God for the forgiveness of sin. Sin will soon make a great people small. What will become of Israel, if the hand that should raise him be stretched out against him? See the power of prayer. See what a blessing praying people are to a land. See how ready, how swift God is to show mercy; how he waits to be gracious. Israel was a wall, a strong wall, which God himself reared as a defence to his sanctuary. The Lord now seems to stand upon this wall. He measures it; it appears to be a bowing, bulging wall. Thus God would bring the people of Israel to the trial, would discover their wickedness; and the time will come, when those who have been spared often, shall be spared no longer. But the Lord still calls Israel his people. The repeated prayer and success of the prophet should lead us to seek the Saviour.The Lord repented for this - God is said to "repent, to have strong compassion upon" or "over" evil, which He has either inflicted Deuteronomy 32:36; 1 Chronicles 21:15, or has said that He would inflict Exodus 32:12; Joel 2:13; Jonah 3:10; Jeremiah 18:8, and which, upon repentance or prayer, He suspends or checks. Here, Amos does not intercede until after the judgment had been, in part, inflicted. He prayed, when in vision the locust "had made an end of eating the grass of the land," and when "the fire had eaten up a part." Nor, until Israel had suffered what these visions foretold, was he "small," either in his own or in human sight, or in relation to his general condition. The "this" then, "of which God repented" and said, "it shall not be," is that further undefined evil, which His first infliction threatened. Evil and decay do not die out, but destroy. Oppression does not weary itself out, but increases. Visitations of God are tokens of His displeasure, and, in the order of His justice, rest on the sinner. Pul and Tiglath-pileser, when they came with their armies on Israel, were instruments of God's chastening. According to the ways of God's justice, or of man's ambition, the evil now begun, would have continued, but that God, at the prayer of the prophet, said, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further" Job 38:11. 3. repented for this—that is, of this. The change was not in the mind of God (Nu 2:19; Jas 1:17), but in the effect outwardly. God unchangeably does what is just; it is just that He should hear intercessory prayer (Jas 5:16-18), as it would have been just for Him to have let judgment take its course at once on the guilty nation, but for the prayer of one or two righteous men in it (compare Ge 18:23-33; 1Sa 15:11; Jer 42:10). The repentance of the sinner, and God's regard to His own attributes of mercy and covenanted love, also cause God outwardly to deal with him as if he repented (Jon 3:10), whereas the change in outward dealing is in strictest harmony with God's own unchangeableness.

It shall not be—Israel's utter overthrow now. Pul was influenced by God to accept money and withdraw from Israel.

The Lord repented; this, spoke after the manner of man, is to be understood as becomes the immutability and omniscience of God; what a man when he repenteth doth, desisting front the thing, so God, desisting or suspending his own act, doth tell us he repenteth.

It shall not be: this explains the former; that sore famine like to be caused by these locusts came not, Amos prevailed by prayer, and the judgment was diverted. The Lord repented for this,.... He heard the prayer of the prophet, and at his intercession averted, the threatened judgment; thus the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, James 5:16; this is spoken after the manner of men; as men, when they repent of a thing, desist from it, so the Lord desisted from going on with this judgment; he did not change his mind, but changed the dispensations of his providence according to his mind and will:

it shall not be, saith the Lord; these grasshoppers or locusts, the Assyrian army, shall not at this time destroy the land of Israel: Pul king of Assyria took a sum of money of the king of Israel, and so turned back, and stayed not in the land, 2 Kings 15:19.

The LORD {c} repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.

(c) That is, stopped this plague at my prayer.

3. concerning this] viz. concerning the further undefined calamity, which He had purposed, and of which Amos had rightly interpreted the locusts as being the harbinger. “God is said to repent” (lit., as Arabic seems to shew, to sigh deeply, or groan) “upon (or over) evil, which He has either inflicted (Deuteronomy 32:36), or has said that He would inflict (Exodus 32:12, Joel 2:13, Jonah 3:10, Jeremiah 18:8), and which, upon repentance or prayer, He suspends or checks” (Pusey).Verse 3. - Repented for this; or, concerning this destruction. The punishment was conditioned by man's behaviour or other considerations. Here the prophet's intercession abates the full infliction of the penalty (compare analogous expressions, Deuteronomy 32:36; 1 Samuel 15:11; 2 Samuel 24:16; Jeremiah 18:8; Jeremiah 42:10; Jonah 3:10, where see note). Amos may have had in memory the passage in Joel 2:13. The LXX. here and in ver. 6 has Μετανόησον Κύριε ἐπὶ τούτῳ καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔσται λέγει Κύριος, "Repent, O Lord, for this; and this shall not be, saith the Lord." Hence some early commentators gathered that the prophet's intercession was rejected; but the words do not necessarily bear that sense (see St. Cyril Alex. and Theodoret, in loc.). It shall not be. This respite refers to the retreat of the Assyrians under Pul, the usurping monarch who assumed the name of Tiglath-Pileser II. (2 Kings 15:17, etc.). Some commentators consider the judgment to be literally plague of locusts; but this is not probable. In Joel 2:7-10 the comparison of the army of locusts to a well-equipped army is carried out still further; and, in the first place, by a description of the irresistible force of its advance. Joel 2:7. "They run like heroes, like warriors they climb the wall; every one goes on its way, and they do not change their paths. Joel 2:8. And they do not press one another, they go every one in his path; and they fall headlong through weapons, and do not cut themselves in pieces. Joel 2:9. They run about in the city, they run upon the wall, they climb into the houses, they come through the windows like a thief." This description applies for the most part word for word to the advance of the locusts, as Jerome (in loc.) and Theodoret (on Joel 2:8) attest from their own observation.

(Note: Jerome says: "We saw (al. heard) this lately in the province (Palestine). For when the swarms of locusts come and fill the whole atmosphere between the earth and sky, they fly in such order, according to the appointment of the commanding God, that they preserve an exact shape, just like the squares drawn upon a tesselated pavement, not diverging on either side by, so to speak, so much as a finger's breadth. 'And,' as he (the prophet) interprets the metaphor, 'through the windows they will fall, and not be destroyed.' For there is no road impassable to locusts; they penetrate into fields, and crops, and trees, and cities, and houses, and even the recesses of the bed-chambers." And Theodoret observes on Joel 2:8: "For you may see the grasshopper like a hostile army ascending the walls, and advancing along the roads, and not suffering any difficulty to disperse them, but steadily moving forward, as if according to some concerted plan." And again, on Joel 2:9 : "And this we have frequently seen done, not merely by hostile armies, but also by locusts, which not only when flying, but by creeping along the walls, pass through the windows into the houses themselves.")

They run like heroes - namely, to the assault: רוּץ referring to an attack, as in Job 15:26 and Psalm 18:30, "as their nimbleness has already been noticed in Joel 2:4" (Hitzig). Their climbing the walls also points to an assault. Their irresistible march to the object of their attack is the next point described. No one comes in another's way; they do not twist (עבט) their path, i.e., do not diverge either to the right hand or to the left, so as to hinder one another. Even the force of arms cannot stop their advance. שׁלח is not a missile, telum, missile (Ges. and others), but a weapon extended or held in front (Hitzig); and the word is not only applied to a sword (2 Chronicles 23:10; Nehemiah 4:11), but to weapons of defence (2 Chronicles 32:5). בּצע, not "to wound themselves" ( equals פּצע), but "to cut in pieces," used here intransitively, to cut themselves in pieces. This does no doubt transcend the nature even of the locust; but it may be explained on the ground that they are represented as an invincible army of God.

(Note: The notion that these words refer to attempts to drive away the locusts by force of arms, in support of which Hitzig appeals to Liv. hist. xlii. 10, Plinii hist. n. xi. 29, and Hasselquist, Reise nach Pal. p. 225, is altogether inappropriate. All that Livy does is to speak of ingenti agmine hominum ad colligendas eas (locustas) coacto; and Pliny merely says, Necare et in Syria militari imperio coguntur. And although Hasselquist says, Both in Asia and Europe they sometimes take the field against the locusts with all the equipments of war," this statement is decidedly false so far as Europe is concerned. In Bessarabia (according to the accounts of eye-witnesses) they are merely in the habit of scaring away the swarms of locusts that come in clouds, by making a great noise with drums, kettles, hay-forks, and other noisy instruments, for the purpose of preventing them from settling on the ground, and so driving them further. Hass's account of a pasha of Tripoli having sent 4000 soldiers against the insects only a few years ago, is far too indefinite to prove that they were driven away by the force of arms.)

On the other hand, the words of Joel 2:9 apply, so far as the first half is concerned, both to the locusts and to an army (cf. Isaiah 33:4; Nahum 2:5); whereas the second half applies only to the former, of which Theodoret relates in the passage quoted just now, that he has frequently seen this occur (compare also Exodus 10:6).

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