Amos 8:7
The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.
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(7) Excellency of Jacob.—In the previous use of this remarkable expression (Amos 6:8) Jehovah is said to abhor it, but here He swears by it. The “excellency” which He abhorred was the miserable substitute which they had made for His great Name. Here He gives it the value which, in itself, it ought to possess.

Amos 8:7. The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob — That is, by himself; Surely I will never forget any of their works — God is said to remember men’s sins when he punishes them. We may learn by this passage, and many others in Scripture, that however slightly men may think of it, God takes particular notice of, and will certainly punish, all extortions and over-reachings in trade, and more particularly when they are used in regard of the poor. They shall have judgment without mercy, who have showed no mercy. It is to be wished that persons would always consider themselves as the fathers of the poor, when they deal with them; and rather give them measure pressed down and running over, than mete to them with a scanty hand.

8:4-10 The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty of oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our time better than in communion with God? When employed in religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no regard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will not long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they deal with. They take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance or necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouring poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord, we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker; as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get them. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks the case of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed, miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation every where. It shall come upon them when they little think of it. Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments, even life itself; in the midst of life we are in death. What will be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful and sensual pleasures!By the excellency of Jacob - that is, by Himself who was its Glory, as Samuel calls Him "the Strength" 1 Samuel 15:29 or the Glory of Israel. Amos had before said, "God sware by His Holiness" and "by Himself" or "His soul." Now, in like way, He pledges that Glory wherewith He was become the Glory of His people. He reminds them, who was the sole Source of their glory; not their calves, but Himself, their Creator; and that He would not forget their deeds. "I will not forget any," literally, "all;" as David and Paul say, "all flesh," all living men, "shall not be justified," that is, none, no one, neither the whole nor any of its parts. Amos brings before the mind all their actions, and then says of all and each, the Lord will not forget them. God must cease to be God, if He did not do what He sware to do, punish the oppressors and defrauders of the poor. 7. Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob—that is, by Himself, in whom Jacob's seed glory [Maurer]. Rather, by the spiritual privileges of Israel, the adoption as His peculiar people [Calvin], the temple, and its Shekinah symbol of His presence. Compare Am 6:8, where it means Jehovah's temple (compare Am 4:2).

never forget—not pass by without punishing (Am 8:2; Ho 8:13; 9:9).

The Lord; who changeth not, whose words and purposes are immutably true and stedfast, who hath often told you, that unless you repent he will punish for your sins, now he hath sworn it, and sends you word by me, that he hath in most solemn and irrevocable manner determined, published, and expressly declared that he will visit all your sins upon you.

By the excellency of Jacob; by himself, for God cannot swear by any greater, and he is called the excellency of Jacob, Psalm 47:4.

Surely, Heb. If; if I am a God, I will remember and punish.

I will never forget, or let pass unpunished; I will never remit the punishment by an act of pardon, nor ever omit to punish by an act of forgetfulness.

Any of their works; not one of all those their abominable injustices and irreligion, not one of these cruelties.

The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob,.... Not by the ark, as R. Japhet; nor by the temple, as Kimchi; but by himself; which sense Kimchi also mentions, and Aben Ezra; the God of Jacob and his glory, the most excellent of all Jacob's enjoyments, and of whom he had reason to boast and glory; see Amos 6:8;

surely I will never forget any of their works; their wicked works, especially those now mentioned; God forgets when he forgives them, or suffers them to go unpunished; but though he had done so long, he would do so no more; on which they might depend, since he had not only said it, but swore to it.

The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.
7. Such heartless dishonesty arouses Jehovah’s indignation; and He swears by the pride of Jacob, that He will never forget any of their works, but bring them, namely, into account. The pride of Jacob may be Jehovah Himself (cf. 1 Samuel 15:29 “the splendour of Israel,” of Jehovah; and for the oath by Himself, Amos 6:8); or, as the expression is not elsewhere used of Jehovah, but denotes Israel’s vain-glorious self-confidence (Amos 6:8; cf. Hosea 5:5; Hosea 7:10), it may have that sense here: Jehovah swears—ironically—by that which, however deeply He disapproves of it, He knows to be unalterable. The oath, as Amos 4:2, Amos 6:8,—each time provoked by the spectacle of some crying moral wrong.

Verse 7. - Such crimes as these, which sap the very foundations of social life, shall meet with vengeance. The Excellency of Jacob. This is a title of God himself, as in Hosea 5:5; Hosea 7:10, where it is rendered "pride." Thus the Lord is said to swear by his holiness (Amos 4:2), by his soul (Amos 6:8; comp. 1 Samuel 15:29). So here he swears by himself, who is the Glory and Pride of Israel; as truly as he is this, he will punish. The Vulgate treats the sentence differently, Juravit in superbium Jacob, i.e. "The Lord hath sworn against the pride of Jacob," against the arrogancy with which they treat the poor, and trust in their riches, and deem themselves scours. So the Septuagint, Ὀμνύει Κύριος κατὰ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας Ἰακώβ I will never forget, so as to leave unpunished. Literally, if I forget, equivalent to a most decided denial, as Hebrews 4:8, 5, etc. "Nec mirum est, si Deus jurare dicatur; quum dormientibus dormiat et vigilantibus vigilet; hisque qui sibi thesaurizaverunt iram in die irae dicatur irasci " (St. Jerome). Amos 8:7Such wickedness as this would be severely punished by the Lord. Amos 8:7. "Jehovah hath sworn by the pride of Jacob, Verily I will not forget all their deeds for ever. Amos 8:8. Shall the earth not tremble for this, and every inhabitants upon it mourn? and all of it rises like the Nile, and heaves and sinks like the Nile of Egypt." The pride of Jacob is Jehovah, as in Hosea 5:5 and Hosea 7:10. Jehovah swears by the pride of Jacob, as He does by His holiness in Amos 4:2, or by His soul in Amos 6:8, i.e., as He who is the pride and glory of Israel: i.e., as truly as He is so, will He and must He punish such acts as these. By overlooking such sins, or leaving them unpunished, He would deny His glory in Israel. שׁכח, to forget a sin, i.e., to leave it unpunished. In Amos 8:8 the negative question is an expression denoting strong assurance. "For this" is generally supposed to refer to the sins; but this is a mistake, as the previous verse alludes not to the sins themselves, but to the punishment of them; and the solemn oath of Jehovah does not contain so subordinate and casual a thought, that we can pass over Amos 8:7, and take על זאת as referring back to Amos 8:4-6. It rather refers to the substance of the oath, i.e., to the punishment of the sins which the Lord announces with a solemn oath. This will be so terrible that the earth will quake, and be resolved, as it were, into its primeval condition of chaos. Râgaz, to tremble, or, when applied to the earth, to quake, does not mean to shudder, or to be shocked, as Rosenmller explains it after Jeremiah 2:12. Still less can the idea of the earth rearing and rising up in a stormy manner to cast them off, which Hitzig supports, be proved to be a biblical idea from Isaiah 24:20. The thought is rather that, under the weight of the judgment, the earth will quake, and all its inhabitants will be thrown into mourning, as we may clearly see from the parallel passage in Amos 9:5. In Amos 8:8 this figure is carried out still further, and the whole earth is represented as being turned into a sea, heaving and falling in a tempestuous manner, just as in the case of the flood. כּלּהּ, the totality of the earth, the entire globe, will rise, and swell and fall like waters lashed into a storm. This rising and falling of the earth is compared to the rising and sinking of the Nile. According to the Parallel passage in Amos 9:5, כּאר is a defective form for כּיאר, just as בּוּל is for יבוּל in Job 40:20, and it is still further defined by the expression כּיאור מצרים, which follows. All the ancient versions have taken it as יאור, and many of the Hebrew codd. (in Kennicott and De Rossi) have this reading. Nigrash, to be excited, a term applied to the stormy sea (Isaiah 57:20). נשׁקה is a softened form for נשׁקעה, as is shown by שׁקעה in Amos 9:5.
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