Amos 9:13
Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
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(13) Shall overtake the reaper.—So rapidly will the harvest follow the ploughing. These closing verses foreshadow the glories of the restored kingdom of David (comp. Hosea 3:5), wherein we see the germ of the great Messianic prophecies of Isaiah.

Amos 9:13. Behold the days come — Here we have another promise, literally to be understood of the abundant plenty which God would bestow on the returned captives, and mystically of the abundant grace given and blessings conferred in gospel days. That the ploughman shall overtake the reaper — He who breaks up the ground, and prepares it for the seed, shall be ready to tread on the heels of the reaper; who shall have a harvest so large, that before he can gather it all in, it shall be time to plough the ground again. And the treader of grapes him that soweth seed — This is to be understood in the same sense as the foregoing clause: so great shall their vintage be, that before the treaders of grapes can have finished their work, the seedsman shall be sowing his seed against the next season. And the mountains shall drop sweet wine — The vineyards shall be so fruitful, and shall produce such abundance of grapes, that wine shall appear to be as plentiful as if it ran down from the mountains. And all the hills shall melt — Hebrew, shall flow. The meaning is, that they should afford such plenty of rich feeding to the cattle, that they should in consequence thereof give a large quantity of milk. The parallel expression to this, in the prophecy of Joel, is, The hills shall flow with milk. As these predictions were not fulfilled in their literal sense between the time of the return of the Jews from Babylon and the coming of Christ, it is evident they are either to be figuratively understood of gospel blessings, or, if taken in their literal sense, they respect the happy state of things during the millennium, which may be supposed to begin after the future restoration of the Jews to their own country. See notes on Joel 3:18. The prophets, it may be observed, frequently describe the days of the Messiah in terms similar to those which the poets used in describing the golden age.9:11-15 Christ died to gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad, here said to be those who were called by his name. The Lord saith this, who doeth this, who can do it, who has determined to do it, the power of whose grace is engaged for doing it. Verses 13-15 may refer to the early times of Christianity, but will receive a more glorious fulfilment in the events which all the prophets more or less foretold, and may be understood of the happy state when the fulness both of the Jews and the Gentiles come into the church. Let us continue earnest in prayer for the fulfilment of these prophecies, in the peace, purity, and the beauty of the church. God marvellously preserves his elect amidst the most fearful confusions and miseries. When all seems desperate, he wonderfully revives his church, and blesses her with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. And great shall be the glory of that period, in which not one good thing promised shall remain unfulfilled.Behold the days are coming - The Day of the Lord is ever coming on: every act, good or bad, is drawing it on: everything which fills up the measure of iniquity or which "hastens the accomplishment of the number of the elect;" all time hastens it by. "The plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed." The image is taken from God's promise in the law; "Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time" Leviticus 26:5; which is the order of agriculture. The harvest should be so copious that it should not be threshed out until the vintage: the vintage so large, that, instead of ending, as usual, in the middle of the 7th month, it should continue on to the seed-time in November. Amos appears purposely to have altered this. He describes what is wholly beyond nature, in order that it might the more appear that he was speaking of no mere gifts of nature, but, under natural emblems, of the abundance of gifts of grace. "The plowman," who breaks up the fallow ground, "shall overtake," or "throng, the reaper. The "plowman" might "throng," or "join on to the reaper," either following upon him, or being followed by him; either preparing the soil for the harvest which the reaper gathers in, or breaking it up anew for fresh harvest after the in-gathering.

But the vintage falls between the harvest and the seed-time. If then by the "plowmen thronging on the reaper," we understand that the harvest should, for its abundance, not be over before the fresh seed-time, then, since the vintage is much nearer to the seed-time than the harvest had been, the words, "he that treadeth out the grapes, him that soweth the seed," would only say the same less forcibly. In the other way, it is one continuous whole. So vast would be the soil to be cultivated, so beyond all the powers of the cultivator, and yet so rapid and unceasing the growth, that seed-time and harvest would be but one. So our Lord says, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest" John 4:35. "Four months" ordinarily intervened between seed-time and harvest. Among these Samaritans, seed-time and harvest were one.

They had not, like the Jews, had teachers from God; yet, as soon as our Lord taught them, they believed. But, as seed time and harvest should be one, so should the vintage be continuous with the following seed-time. "The treader of grapes," the last crowning act of the year of cultivation, should join on to "him that soweth" (literally, "draweth" forth, soweth broadcast, scattereth far and wide the) "seed." All this is beyond nature, and so, the more in harmony with what went before, the establishment of a kingdom of grace, in which "the pagan" should have "the Name of God called upon" them. He had foretold to them, how God would "send famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord" Amos 8:11. Now, under the same image, he declares the repeal of that sentence. He foretells, not the fullness only of God's gifts, but their unbroken continuance.

Jerome: "All shall succeed one another, so that no day should be void of grain, wine, and gladness." And they shall not follow only on one another, but shall all go on together in one perpetual round of toil and fruitfulness. There shall be one unceasing inpouring of riches; no break in the heavenly husbandry; labor shall at once yield fruit; the harvest shall but encourage fresh labor. The end shall come swiftly on the beginning; the end shall not close the past only, but issue forth anew. Such is the character of the toils of the Gospel. All the works of grace go on in harmony together; each helps on the other; in one, the fallow-ground of the heart is broken up; in another, seed is sown, the beginning of a holy conversation; in another, is the full richness of the ripened fruit, in advanced holiness or the blood of martyrs. And so, also, of the ministers of Christ, some are adapted especially to one office, some to another; yet all together carry on His one work. All, too, patriarchs, prophets, Apostles, shall meet together in one; they who, before Christ's coming , "sowed the seed, the promises of the Blessed Seed to come," and they who "entered into their labors," not to displace, but to complete them; all shall rejoice together in that Seed which is Christ.

And the mountains shall drop sweet wine and all the hills shall melt - Amos takes the words of Joel, in order to identify their prophecies, yet strengthens the image. For instead of saying, "the hills shall flow with milk," he says, "they shall melt, dissolve themselves. Such shall be the abundance and super-abundance of blessing, that it shall be as though the hills dissolved themselves in the rich streams which they poured down. The mountains and hills may be symbols, in regard either to their height, or their natural barrenness or their difficulty of cultivation. In past times they were scenes of idolatry. In the time of the Gospel, all should be changed; all should be above nature. All should be obedient to God: all, full of the graces and gifts of God. What was exalted, like the Apostles should be exalted not for itself, but in order to pour out the streams of life-giving doctrine and truth, which would refresh and gladden the faithful. And the lesser heights, "the hills," should, in their degree, pour out the same streams. Everything, heretofore barren and unfruitful, should overflow with spiritual blessing. The mountains and hills of Judaea, with their terraced sides clad with the vine were a natural symbol fruitfulness to the Jews, but they themselves could not think that natural fruitfulness was meant under this imagery. It would have been a hyperbole as to things of nature; but what, in naturl things, is a hyperbole, is but a faint shadow of the joys and rich delights and glad fruitfulness of grace.

13. the days come—at the future restoration of the Jews to their own land.

ploughman shall overtake … reaper … treader of grapes him that soweth—fulfilling Le 26:5. Such shall be the abundance that the harvest and vintage can hardly be gathered before the time for preparing for the next crop shall come. Instead of the greater part of the year being spent in war, the whole shall be spent in sowing and reaping the fruits of earth. Compare Isa 65:21-23, as to the same period.

soweth seed—literally, "draweth it forth," namely, from the sack in order to sow it.

mountains … drop sweet wine—an appropriate image, as the vines in Palestine were trained on terraces at the sides of the hills.

Here is another promise made literally for assurance of abundant plenty to the returned captives, and mystically, of abundant grace poured forth in gospel days. But of the letter and history.

Behold, mark well, ye poor captived Jews,

the days come; the time will certainly come, nay, it hasteth, and whoso lives to return shall see this word performed.

The ploughman, who breaks up the ground, and prepares it for sowing,

shall overtake the reaper; shall be ready to tread on the heels of the reaper, who shall have a harvest so large, that before he can gather it all in it shall be time to plough the ground and prepare it for the seed for next year’s crop. So God will take away the reproach of famine (in Ezekiel’s phrase) from the mountains of Israel.

And the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; so great shall their vintage be, that ere the treaders of grapes can have finished their work, the seedsman shall be sowing his seed against next harvest season.

The mountains: the Jews did plant the mountains and hills of Canaan with vines, Isaiah 5:1, there were their vineyards.

Shall drop sweet wine; the vineyards shall be so fruitful, and new wine so plentiful, as if it did, like trickling streams, run down from the mountains; and all the hills shall melt; or as if whole hills were melted into such liquors. See Joel 3:18. It is a lofty strain, and very elegantly expresseth the abundance of outward blessings promised to this people here spoken of. If any will object, It appears not that ever it was so. I answer, It is certain the sins of the returned captives did in very great degrees prevent these blessings, which are here promised under a tacit condition, which they never did fulfil. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,.... Or "are coming" (y); and which will commence upon the accomplishment of the above things, when the church of Christ is raised up and established, the Jews converted, and the Gentiles brought in:

that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper; or "meet the reaper" (z); or come up to him, or touch him, as it may be rendered; and so the Targum; that is, before the reaper has well cut down the grain, or it is scarce gathered in, the ploughman shall be ready to plough up the ground again, that it may be sown, and produce another crop:

and the treaders of grapes him that soweth seed; or "draweth seed" (a); out of his basket, and scatters it in the land; signifying that there should he such an abundance of grapes in the vintage, that they would continue pressing till seedtime; and the whole denotes a great affluence of temporal good things, as an emblem of spiritual ones; see Leviticus 26:5; where something of the like nature is promised, and expressed in much the same manner:

and the mountains shall drop sweet wine; or "new wine" (b); intimating that there shall be abundance of vines grow upon the mountains, which will produce large quantities of wine, so that they shall seem to drop or flow with it:

and all the hills shall melt; with liquors; either with wine or honey, or rather with milk, being covered with flocks and herds, which shall yield abundance of milk; by all which, plenty of spiritual things, as the word and ordinances, and rich supplies of grace, as well as of temporal things, is meant; see Joel 3:18.

(y) "dies venientes", Montanus, Burkius. (z) "et vel cum occurret arator messori", Vatablus, Drusius; "attingent arator messorem", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "accedet arator ad messorem", Cocceius. (a) "trahentem semen", Montanus, Liveleus, Drusius, Mercerus. (b) "mustum", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Mercerus; "musto", Drusius, Cocceius.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall {l} overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall {m} drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.

(l) Signifying, that there will be great abundance of all things, so that when one type of fruit is ripe, another would follow, and every one in order; Le 26:5.

(m) Read Joe 3:18.

13. A hyperbolical description of the fertility of the soil. So rapid will be the growth of the crops, that the ploughman will hardly have finished breaking up the ground for seed, when the corn will be ready for the reaper; so abundant will be the vintage, that before the grapes are all trodden out, the time will have arrived for sowing seed for the following year: mountains and hills, also, will flow with sweet wine. The time for ploughing would correspond to our October; seed was sown in November: barley and wheat would be ripe in April–May; the vintage was gathered in Aug.–Sept. There is a similar promise in Leviticus 26:5 “your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing-time”—so abundant, namely, will be the crops.

Behold, days are coming] See on Amos 4:2.

the treader of grapes] The freshly gathered grapes were thrown into the “wine-press” (gath)—usually a trough excavated in the natural rock—where they were “trodden” (דרך) by the feet of men, and the expressed juice, as it ran down, was received into the “wine-fat” (i.e. the “wine-vat”: Heb. yéḳeb), generally another trough excavated similarly in the rock at a somewhat lower level (see O.C. Whitehouse, A Primer of Hebrew Antiquities, p. 99 f.). There are many allusions in the O.T. to this process of treading the grapes (as Jdg 9:27; Isaiah 63:2-3; Nehemiah 13:15): it was an occasion of rejoicing, and the shouts or huzzahs (hêdâd), with which those engaged at it enlivened their toil, supply the prophets with suggestive imagery (Isaiah 16:9-10; Jeremiah 25:30; Jeremiah 48:33; Jeremiah 51:14).

him that soweth the seed] Lit. that draweth out, or traileth, the seed: cf. (in the Heb.) Psalm 126:6.

shall cause sweet wine to drop down] sweet wine, as Joel 1:5; Joel 3:18, Isaiah 49:26[204]; Heb. ‘âsîs, from ‘âsas, to tread or press down (Malachi 4:3). LXX., here and Joel 3:18, γλυκασμός; in Isaiah 49:26 οἶνος νέος. The reference is probably to some kind of sweet wine (γλυκὺς οἶνος or vinum dulce), such as was made by the ancients, by partially drying the grapes in the sun, and afterwards allowing the process of fermentation to continue in the juice only 5–7 days, instead of 9 (which was the usual time). See Pliny H.N. xiv. 9; and the Dict. of Classical Antiquities, s.v. Vinum.

[204] Also Song of Solomon 8:2; but here it denotes a wine made from pomegranates (see D.B. s.v. Pomegranate).

shall melt] more lit. dissolve themselves: so abundant will be the produce of the vineyards, that it will be “as though the hills dissolved themselves in the rich streams which they poured down.” Comp. Joel 3 (4):18, “The mountains shall drop with sweet wine, and the hills shall run with milk, and all the channels of Judah shall run with water”; also, for the hyperbole, the common description of Canaan as “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

13–15. The prosperity and happiness to be enjoyed by Israel upon its own land in the future.Verse 13. - The prophet expatiates upon the rich blessings which shall follow the establishment of the kingdom. Under the figure of a supernatural fertility are represented the victories of grace (comp. Isaiah 11:6; Ezekiel 26:10, etc.; Ezekiel 34:25, etc.). The blessing is founded on the Mosaic promise (Leviticus 26:5). The ploughman shall overtake the reaper. Ploughing and harvest shall be continuous, without sensible interval. The treader of grapes him that soweth seed. The vintage should be so abundant that it should last till sowing time. The mountains shall drop sweet wine. This is from Joel 3:18. And all the hills shall melt. As Joel says, "shall flow with milk," in this promised land "flowing with milk and honey." Septuagint, πάντες οἱ βουνοὶ σύμφυτοι ἔσονται, "all the hills shall be planted" with vines and olives. For, as Corn. a Lapide quotes, "Bacchus amat colles" (Virg., 'Georg.,' 2:113). The hyperbolical expressions in the text are not to be taken literally; they depict in bright colours the blessings of the kingdom of Messiah. Material and temporal blessings are generally represented as closely connected with spiritual, and as figurative of them. Such predictions, understood literally, are common in the so called Sibylline Books; see e.g. lib. 3:743, etc., where, among other prodigies, we have -

Πηγάς τε ῤήξει γλυκερὰς λευκοῖο γάλακτος One is reminded of the golden age depicted by Virgil in his fourth eclogue. Trochon cites Claudian, 'In Rufin.,' 1:381, etc. -

"... nec vomere sulcus adunco
Findetur; subitis messor gaudebit aristis.
Rorabunt querceta favis; stagnantia passim
Vina fluent, oleique lacus."
"Sun and moon have become black, and the stars have withdrawn their shining. Joel 3:16. And Jehovah roars out of Zion, and He thunders out of Jerusalem; and heaven and earth quake: but Jehovah is a refuge to His people, and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. Joel 3:17. And ye will perceive that I Jehovah am your God, dwelling upon Zion, my holy mountain: and Jerusalem will be a sanctuary, and strangers will not pass through it any more." On the forebodings of the judgment in Joel 3:15, see at Joel 2:10. Out of Zion, the place of His throne, will Jehovah cause His thunder-voice to sound, will roar like a lion which is rushing upon its prey (Hosea 5:14; Amos 3:4), so that heaven and earth tremble in consequence. But it is only to His enemies that He is terrible; to His people, the true Israel, He is a refuge and strong tower. From the fact that He only destroys His enemies, and protects His own people, the latter will learn that He is their God, and dwells upon Zion in His sanctuary, i.e., that He there completes His kingdom, that He purifies Jerusalem of all foes, all the ungodly through the medium of the judgment, and makes it a holy place which cannot be trodden any more by strangers, by Gentiles, or by the unclean of either Gentiles or Israelites (Isaiah 35:8), but will be inhabited only by the righteous (Isaiah 60:21; Zechariah 14:21), who, as Revelation 21:27 affirms, are written in the Lamb's book of life. For Zion or Jerusalem is of course not the Jerusalem of the earthly Palestine, but the sanctified and glorified city of the living God, in which the Lord will be eternally united with His redeemed, sanctified, and glorified church. We are forbidden to think of the earthly Jerusalem or the earthly Mount Zion, not only by the circumstance that the gathering of all the heathen nations takes place in the valley of Jehoshaphat, i.e., in a portion of the valley of the Kidron, which is a pure impossibility, but also by the description which follows of the glorification of Judah.
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