Amos 7:9
And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
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(9) High places of Isaac.—The name Isaac is here spelt somewhat differently in the Hebrew from the form we have in Genesis. The LXX. misunderstand the word, and render “altars of laughter,” in accordance with the etymological sense of the proper name. The residents in the neighbourhood of Beersheba may have boasted of the favour or honour belonging to them, as occupying the home of Isaac and the birthplace of Jacob.

Will rise against.—This dreadful doom fell on the house of Jeroboam, and was the prelude of the final destruction of the nations by Shalmaneser IV., in 721 (2Kings 15:10).

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 high places of Isaac - He probably calls the ten tribes by the name of Isaac, as well as of Israel, in order to contrast their deeds with the blameless, gentle piety of Isaac, as well as the much-tried faithfulness of Israel. It has been thought too that he alludes to the first meaning of the name of Isaac. His name was given from the joyous laughter at the unheard-of promise of God, to give children to those past age; their high places should be a laughter, but the laughter of mockery . The "sanctuaries" were perhaps the two great idol-temples at Bethel and Dan, over against the one "sanctuary" of God at Jerusalem; the "high places" were the shrines of idolatry, especially where God had shown mercy to the patriarchs and Israel, but also all over the land. All were to be wasted, because all were idolatrous.

I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword - God speaks after the manner of people, who, having been still, arise against the object of their enmity. He makes Himself so far one with the instruments of His sentence, that, what they do, He ascribes to Himself. Jeroboam II must, from his military success, have been popular among his people. Successful valor is doubly prized, and he had both valor and success. God had "saved Israel by" His "hand" 2 Kings 14:27. A weak successor is often borne with for the merits of his father. There were no wars from without which called for strong military energy or talent, and which might furnish an excuse for superseding a faineant king. Ephraim had no ambition of foreign glory, to gratify. Zechariah, Jeroboam's son, was a sensualist ; but many sensualists have, at all times, reigned undisturbed. Shallum who murdered Zechariah was simply a "conspirator" 2 Kings 15:10; he represented no popular impulse, and was slain himself a month 2 Kings 15:13-14 after. Yet Amos foretells absolutely that the house of Jeroboam should perish by the sword, and in the next generation his name was clean put out.

9. high places—dedicated to idols.

of Isaac—They boasted of their following the example of their forefather Isaac, in erecting high places at Beer-sheba (Am 5:5; compare Ge 26:23, 24; 46:1); but he and Abraham erected them before the temple was appointed at Jerusalem—and to God; whereas they did so, after the temple had been fixed as the only place for sacrifices—and to idols. In the Hebrew here "Isaac" is written with s, instead of the usual ts; both forms mean "laughter"; the change of spelling perhaps expresses that their "high places of Isaac" may be well so called, but not as they meant by the name; for they are only fit to be laughed at in scorn. Probably, however, the mention of "Isaac" and "Israel" simply expresses that these names, which their degenerate posterity boasted in as if ensuring their safety, will not save them and their idolatrous "sanctuaries" on which they depended from ruin (compare Am 8:14).

house of Jeroboam with … sword—fulfilled in the extinction of Zachariah, son of Jeroboam II, the last of the descendants of Jeroboam I, who had originated the idolatry of the calves (2Ki 15:8-10).

Am. 7:10-17. Amaziah's Charge against Amos: His Doom Foretold.

The high places; the temples on high mountains built to idols, or for the worship of God, though he forbade them. Of Isaac: the father is here named, but his children are intended, all the seed of Isaac. I cannot, though some do, think the prophet alludes to Isaac’s being offered upon a high mountain.

Shall be desolate; shall be rased to the foundation, or left to moulder and fall with length of time, and assaults of storms and weather.

The sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste: this explains the former, and, speaking after the custom of those times, the prophet calls the idol temples sanctuaries, whether in Dan and Beth-el or elsewhere.

I will rise; God will, but not immediately, rise up: he will stir up some or other to do what he threatens.

Against the house of Jeroboam; in the days of Zachariah, (son of Jeroboam,) murdered by Shallum. With the sword, first of a conspirator, Shallum, next of civil war.

And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate,.... Such as the ten tribes of Israel, who descended from Isaac, built at Beersheba, in imitation of Isaac, and pleading his example; who worshipped there, though not idols, as they, but the true God; and in commemoration of his being bound upon an altar on Mount Moriah: but these, as the Septuagint version renders it, were "high places of laughter", ridiculous in the eyes of the Lord, despised by him, and so should be made desolate:

and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; the temples built for the calves at Dan and Bethel, and other places:

and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword; or, as the Targum,

"I will raise up against the house of Jeroboam those that slay with the sword;''

this was fulfilled by Shallum, who conspired against Zachariah the son of Jeroboam, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, which put an end to the family of Jeroboam, 2 Kings 15:10.

And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
9. high places] local sanctuaries, usually situated on eminences (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10 f.), a little outside the towns to which they belonged (cf. 1 Samuel 9:12; 1 Samuel 9:14; 1 Samuel 9:19; 1 Samuel 9:25; 1 Samuel 10:5), sometimes, where no natural eminence was available, erected, it is probable, upon artificial mounds (cf. Jeremiah 7:31; 2 Kings 17:9). The custom of worshipping at such spots was borrowed, as seems evident (cf. Deuteronomy 12:2), from the Canaanites: it also prevailed in Moab (Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 16:12 : Mesha also, in his Inscription, Isaiah 50:3, tells us that he had “made a high-place” for his god Chemosh). The sanctuaries in question consisted of a “house,” or shrine (1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:32), with an altar, and were served by priests (1 Kings 12:31-33; 1 Kings 13:33; 2 Kings 23:9): they are often alluded to as popular places of sacrifice, especially during the period of the monarchy (1 Sam. ll. cc.; 1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 12:3; 2 Kings 14:4; 2 Kings 15:4, &c.). Worship at such local sanctuaries, down to the 7th cent. b.c., in so far as it was not contaminated with heathen elements, was regarded as quite regular (comp. Exodus 20:24; 1 Samuel 9:13, where Samuel presides at and blesses the sacrifice at such a bâmâh; 1 Kings 3:4; 1 Kings 18:30); but under the centralizing influence of Deuteronomy, a change came in, and it was treated as illegitimate. The compiler of the Book of Kings, in his condemnation of the worship at the high-places, reflects the Deuteronomic standpoint. Amos, in so far as he refers to the bâmôth with disparagement, does so, not on account of their conflicting with the Deuteronomic law of the single sanctuary, but on account of the unspiritual character of the worship carried on at them. Comp. Nowack, Heb. Arch. ii. 12–14.

Isaac] As in Amos 7:16, a poetic synonym of Israel (not so elsewhere).

and I will rise, &c.] For the expression, cf. Isaiah 30:2; for the thought, Hosea 1:4, where the same dissatisfaction with the dynasty of Jehu finds expression.

with the sword] Jehovah’s agent, then, will be the army of an invader, the nation, viz., whom in Amos 6:14 He says that He will “raise up” against Israel.

Verse 9. - The high places of Issac. The shrines of idolatry all over the land. The bamoth are the altars erected on high places and now dedicated to idols (1 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 23:8; Isaiah 16:12; Hosea 10:8). Isaac here and in ver. 16 is used as a synonym for Israel, perhaps with some ides of contrasting the deeds of the people with the blameless life of the patriarch and his gentle piety (Pusey). Septuagint, βωμοὶ τοῦ γέλωτος, with reference to the meaning of the name Issac, "altars of derision," whence Jerome's version, excelsa idoli. The sanctuaries of Israel. The idol temples at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:29), at Gilgal (Amos 4:4), and perhaps in other places, which had been sanctified by ancient patriarchal worship. Septuagint, αἱ τελεεταὶ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, "the rites of Israel;" Vulgate, sanctificationes Israel. With the sword. God is represented as standing like an armed warrior taking vengeance on the guilty family. Jeroboam II. had roved Israel from Syria, and was popular owing to his success in war (2 Kings 14:25-28); but his dynasty was overthrown, and this overthrow was the destruction of the Israelitish monarchy. The murder of his son Zachariah by Shallum (2 Kings 15:10) led to those disastrous commotions which culminated in the conquest of Samaria by the Assyrians and the deportattion of the people. Amos 7:9The Third Vision. - Amos 7:7. "Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made with a plumb-line, and a plumb-line in His hand. Amos 7:8. And Jehovah said to me, What seest thou, Amos? And I said, A plumb-line. And the Lord said, Behold, I put a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel: I shall pass by it no more. Amos 7:9. And the sacrificial heights of Isaac are laid waste, and the holy things of Israel destroyed; and I rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword." The word אנך, which only occurs here, denotes, according to the dialects and the Rabbins, tin or lead, here a plumb-line. Chōmath 'ănâkh is a wall built with a plumb-line, i.e., a perpendicular wall, a wall built with mechanical correctness and solidity. Upon this wall Amos sees the Lord standing. The wall built with a plumb-line is a figurative representation of the kingdom of God in Israel, as a firm and well-constructed building. He holds in His hand a plumb-line. The question addressed to the prophet, "What does he see?" is asked for the simple purpose of following up his answer with an explanation of the symbol, as in Jeremiah 1:11, Jeremiah 1:13, since the plumb-line was used for different purposes, - namely, not only for building, but partly also for pulling buildings down (compare 2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 34:11). Jehovah will lay it beqerebh ‛ammı̄, to the midst of His people, and not merely to an outward portion of it, in order to destroy this building. He will no longer spare as He has done hitherto. עבר ל, to pass by any one without taking any notice of him, without looking upon his guilt or punishing him; hence, to spare, - the opposite of עבר בּקרב in Amos 5:17. The destruction will fall upon the idolatrous sanctuaries of the land, the bâmōth (see at 1 Kings 3:2), i.e., the altars of the high places, and the temples at Bethel, at Daniel (see at 1 Kings 12:29), and at Gilgal (see Amos 4:4). Isaac (ישׂחק, a softened form for יצחק, used here and at v. 16, as in Jeremiah 33:26) is mentioned here instead of Jacob, and the name is used as a synonym for Israel of the ten tribes. Even the house of Jeroboam, the reigning royal family, is to perish with the sword (קם על as in Isaiah 31:2). Jeroboam is mentioned as the existing representative of the monarchy, and the words are not to be restricted to the overthrow of his dynasty, but announce the destruction of the Israelitish monarchy, which actually was annihilated when this dynasty was overthrown. The destruction of the sacred places and the overthrow of the monarchy involve the dissolution of the kingdom. Thus does Amos himself interpret his own words in Amos 7:11 and Amos 7:17.
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