Amos 8:2
And he said, Amos, what see you? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD to me, The end is come on my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
8:1-3 Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to be eaten; which signified, that the people were ripe for destruction, that the year of God's patience was drawing towards a conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, but must be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw from them any acknowledgement, either of God's righteousness or their own unrighteousness. Sinners put off repentance from day to day, because they think the Lord thus delays his judgments.Thus hath the Lord God showed me - The sentence of Amaziah pronounced, Amos resumes just where he left off, before Amaziah broke in upon him. His vehement interruption is like a stone cast into the deep waters. They close over it, and it leaves no trace. Amos had authenticated the third vision; "Thus hath the Lord God shewed me." He resumes in the self-same calm words. The last vision declared that the end was certain; this, that it was at hand.

A basket of summer fruit - The fruit was the latest harvest in Palestine. When it was gathered, the circle of husbandry was come to its close. The sight gives an idea of completeness. The symbol, and the word expressing it, coincide. The fruit-gathering קיץ qayits, like our "crop," was called from "cutting." So was the word, "end," "cutting off," in (קץ qêts). At harvest-time there is no more to be done for that crop. Good or bad, it has reached its end, and is cut down. So the harvest of Israel was come. The whole course of God's providences, mercies, chastenings, visitations, instructions, warnings, in spirations, were completed. "What could have been done more to My vineyard, God asks Isaiah 5:4, that I have not done in it?" "To the works of sin, as of holiness, there is a beginning, progress, completion;" a "sowing of wild oats," as people speak, and a ripening in wickedness; a maturity of people's plans, as they deem; a maturity for destruction, in the sight of God. There was no more to be done. heavenly influences can but injure the ripened sinner, as dew, rain, sun, but injure the ripened fruit Israel was ripe, but for destruction.

2. end—(Eze 7:2, 6). Amos, what seest thou? the like question you have Amos 7:8, which see.

A basket of summer fruit: see Amos 8:1. Then said the Lord unto me: the meaning of this hieroglyphic not being very plain in itself, the Lord doth here explain it in the following words.

The end of God’s patience towards Israel, of their peace, growth, and glory; the end of their ripening, they are now as fruit fully ripe, in the end of the year, fit to be gathered.

My people Israel; so they were once, so they boast themselves, so the nations about them account Israel to be the people of God.

I will not again pass by them any more: see Amos 7:8. God had with admirable patience spared and tried, but now he will with just severity punish, neither pardon nor spare. And he said, Amos, what seest thou?.... To quicken his attention, who might disregard it as a common thing; and in order to lead him into the design of it, and show him what it was an emblem of:

and I said, a basket of summer fruit; some render it "a hook" (w), such as they pull down branches with to gather the fruit; and the word so signifies in the Arabic language (x); but the other is the more received sense of the word:

then said the Lord unto me; by way of explanation of the vision: the end is come upon my people Israel: the end of the kingdom of Israel; of their commonwealth and church state; of all their outward happiness and glory; their "summer was ended", and they "not saved", Jeremiah 8:20; all their prosperity was over; and, as the Targum, their

"final punishment was come,''

the last destruction threatened them (y):

I will not again pass by them any more; pass by their offences, and forgive their sins; or pass by their persons, without taking notice of them, so as to afflict and punish them for their iniquities: or, "pass through them and more" (z) now making an utter end of them; See Gill on Amos 7:8.

(w) "unicuus", V. L. (x) "ferramentum incurvum, seu uncus ex quo de sella commeatum suspendit viator", Giggeius apud Golium, col. 2055. (y) There is an elegant play on words in the words "summer", and "the end". (z) So Mercerus, Grotius.

And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of {a} summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.

(a) Which signified the ripeness of their sins, and the readiness of God's judgments.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. The question is asked for the same purpose as in Amos 7:8.

The end] Amos answers, “A basket of ḳaitz”: Jehovah replies, “Ḳêtz—an ‘end’—is come upon my people Israel.” The last vision had declared that the approaching judgement was certain; this, that it was final, and also close at hand.

I will not again pardon it any more] The same words as Amos 7:8.Verse 2. - The end (kets). This is very like the word for "fruit" (kaits). Pass by (see note on Amos 7:8). Ver. 3 - The songs of the temple; Septuagint, τὰ φατνώματα τοῦ ναοῦ, "the pannels of the temple;" Vulgate, cardines templi. These versions point to a different reading. It is better rendered, "the songs of the palace," referring to the songs of the revellers mentioned already (Amos 6:5). These shall be changed into howlings of lamentation for the dead which lie around (comp. ver. 10). There shall be many dead bodies. The Hebrew is more forcible: "Many the corpses: in every place he hath cast them forth. Hush!" The Lord is represented as casting dead bodies to the ground, so that death is everywhere; and the interjection "hush!" (comp. Amos 6:10) is an admonition to bend beneath the hand of an avenging God (comp. Zephaniah 1:7). Orelli takes it as an expression of the apathy that accompanies severe and irremediable suffering - suffering too deep for words. The Greek and Latin versions take this onomatopoetic word has! "hush!" as a substantive. Thus the Septuagint, ἐπιῥῤίψω σιωπήν, "I will cast upon them silence;" Vulgate, projicietur silentium - an expressive rendering, but one not supported by grammatical considerations. 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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