Amos 9:14
And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Amos 9:14-15. I will bring again the captivity of my people — I will restore them to their own country, and settle them in it. See the following verse, and notes on Isaiah 11:12; and Ezekiel 28:25. They shall build the waste cities, &c. — Compare the texts referred to in the margin. This and the following part of the verse contains a promise that they should enjoy the fruit of their labours, in opposition to that curse denounced against them, chap. Amos 5:11; Deuteronomy 28:30, that they should build houses and not dwell in them. I will plant them, &c., they shall no more be pulled up — This part of the prophecy will receive its completion on the future restoration of the Jews to their own land.

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.And I will bring again the captivity of My people - Where all around is spiritual, there is no reason to take this alone as earthly. An earthly restoration to Canaan had no value, except as introductory to the spiritual. The two tribes were, in a great measure, restored to their own land, when Zachariah, being "filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied," as then about to accomplished, that "God hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation to us in the house of His servant David, as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets - that we, being delivered from the hands of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him" Luke 1:68-70, Luke 1:74-75. So our Lord said; "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" John 8:32, John 8:34, John 8:36. And Paul, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" Romans 8:2.

And they shall build the waste - (Rather "shall build waste") "cities." "As they who are freed from captivity and are no longer in fear of the enemy, "build cities and plant vineyards" and gardens," so shall these unto God. "This," says one of old , "needs no exposition, since, throughout the world, amid the desert of pagandom, which was before deserted by God, Churches of Christ have arisen, which, for the firmness of faith may be called "cities," and, for the gladness of "hope which maketh not ashamed, vineyards," and for the sweetness of charity, gardens; wherein they dwell, who have builded them through the word; whence they drink the wine of gladness, who formed them by precepts; whence they eat fruits, who advanced them by counsels, because, as "he who reapeth," so he too who "buildeth" such "cities," and he who "planteth" such "vineyards," and he who "maketh" such "gardens, receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal" John 4:36.

14. build the waste cities—(Isa 61:4; Eze 36:33-36). What is contained in this verse is an express promise of a return to captive Israel, and it is an implicit stating of the time when those former promises, Amos 9:11-13, should be fulfilled.

I will bring again: Cyrus was the person who proclaimed liberty of return to captive Israel, but God stirred up his spirit to do this, and it was God’s eminent work; he was seen in it, as Psalm 126:3,4.

The captivity of my people of Israel; of those Shalmaneser carried captive and those Nebuchadnezzar carried captive, both falling under the disposal of Cyrus by his conquest over Babylon; by which means Israel, the remnant of the ten tribes, as well as the two tribes, had leave to return.

They shall build the waste cities, of Judah and of Israel too, as well as Jerusalem, many of which we meet with in the latter histories of the Jews and their wars.

Inhabit them; so they did from the time of their return till the Roman captivity, and were not by the space of six hundred years pulled out of their habitation.

Shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; be blessed in the increase of them and enjoy it, freed from that curse, Deu 28:39.

Shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them; these, planted for delight, should be blessed too; both vineyards and gardens should be fruitful, and they that planted them should dwell in their houses safely, and eat the fruit of them.

And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel,.... Which is not to be understood of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, and their return from thence, with whom some of the ten tribes of Israel were mixed; for they were not then so planted in their own land as no more to be pulled up again, as is here promised; for they afterwards were dispossessed of it by the Romans, and carried captive, and dispersed among the nations again; but the captivity both of Judah and Israel is meant, their present captivity, which will be brought back, and they will be delivered from it, and return to their own land, and possess it as long as it is a land; see Jeremiah 30:3; as well as be freed from the bondage of sit, Satan, and the law, under which they have been detained some hundreds of years; but now shall be delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God, of Christians, with which Christ has made them free:

and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; literally the cities in Judea wasted by the Turks, and others; and mystically the churches of Christ, of which saints are fellow citizens, and will be in a desolate condition before the conversion of the Jews, and the gathering in the fulness of the Gentiles; but by these means will be rebuilt, and be in a flourishing condition, and fall of inhabitants:

and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them; which, as before, will be literally true; and in a spiritual sense may signify the churches of Christ, compared to vineyards and gardens, which will be planted everywhere, and be set with pleasant and fruitful plants, and will turn to the advantage of those who have been instruments in planting them; see Sol 6:2.

{n} And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

(n) The accomplishment of this is under Christ, when they are planted in this Church, out of which they can never be pulled, after they have once been grafted into it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. To the land thus blessed by nature, Israel shall be restored: it shall rebuild its waste places, and dwell in them securely; it shall also enjoy, without interruption or interference, the varied produce of the soil.

I will turn the captivity] The precise sense of the Hebrew expression is disputed; and others—as Ewald, Kuenen, Dillmann (on Job 42:10), Cheyne and Kirkpatrick on Psalm 14:7—prefer to render “turn the fortune (lit. turn the turning) of my people,” i.e. effect a decisive and epoch-making change in its lot. In the present passage, however, even though the latter be the true meaning, the general sense remains the same: for, as Amos pictures the people as exiled (Amos 7:17 &c.), the change of fortune which, upon this view would be predicated in the expression, would of course be a return from captivity. Comp. Hosea 6:11. The promise of restoration from exile (or captivity) is naturally common in the later prophets: for similar promises in earlier prophets, see Hosea 11:10-11.

and they shall build waste cities, and inhabit them] waste cities, as Jeremiah 33:10, Isaiah 54:3; cf. Ezekiel 36:35. The similar promise in Isaiah 65:21 may also be compared (“they shall build houses, and inhabit them,”—opposed to Isaiah 65:22 “they shall not build, and another inhabit”). Contrast ch. Amos 5:11; also Deuteronomy 28:30 (“thou shalt build a house, and not inhabit it”), Zephaniah 1:13.

and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof] Cf. Isaiah 65:21 (“they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof”); also Ezekiel 28:26. Contrast ch. Amos 4:9, Amos 5:11; also Deuteronomy 28:30; Deuteronomy 28:39; Zephaniah 1:13.

and they shall make gardens, and eat the fruit of them] Contrast ch. Amos 4:9.

Verse 14. - I will bring again the captivity; i.e. I will repair the misery which they have suffered. The expression is here metaphorical, and does not necessarily refer to any restoration to an earthly Canaan. Shall build the waste cities (Isaiah 54:3). All these promised blessings are in marked contrast to the punishments threatened (Deuteronomy 28:30, 33, 39; compare similar premises in Isaiah 65:21, etc.). Amos 9:14To the setting up of the kingdom and its outward extension the prophet appends its inward glorification, foretelling the richest blessing of the land (Amos 9:13) and of the nation (Amos 9:14), and lastly, the eternal duration of the kingdom (Amos 9:15). Amos 9:13. "Behold, days come, is the saying of Jehovah, that the ploughman reaches to the reaper, and the treader of grapes to the sower of seed; and the mountains drip new wine, and all the hills melt away. Amos 9:14. And I reverse the captivity of my people Israel, and they build the waste cities, and dwell, and plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; and make gardens, and eat the fruit thereof. Amos 9:15. And I plant them in their land, and they shall no more be torn up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God." In the new kingdom of God the people of the Lord will enjoy the blessing, which Moses promised to Israel when faithful to the covenant. This blessing will be poured upon the land in which the kingdom is set up. Amos 9:13 is formed after the promise in Leviticus 26:5, "Your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing-time;" but Amos transfers the action to the persons employed, and says, "The ploughman will reach to the reaper." Even while the one is engaged in ploughing the land for the sowing, the other will already be able to cut ripe corn; so quickly will the corn grow and ripen. And the treading of the grapes will last to the sowing-time, so abundant will the vintage be. The second half of the verse is taken from Joel 3:18; and according to this passage, the melting of the hills is to be understood as dissolving into streams of milk, new wine, and honey, in which the prophet had the description of the promised land as a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8, etc.) floating before his mind. In the land so blessed will Israel enjoy unbroken peace, and delight itself in the fruits of its inheritance. On שׁוּב את־שׁבוּת, see the exposition of Hosea 6:11. That this phrase is not used here to denote the return of the people from captivity, but the turning of misfortune and misery into prosperity and salvation, is evident from the context; for Israel cannot be brought back out of captivity after it has already taken possession of the Gentiles (Amos 9:12). The thought of Amos 9:14, as attached to Amos 9:13, is the following: As the land of Israel, i.e., the territory of the re-erected kingdom of David, will no more be smitten with the curse of drought and failing crops with which the rebellious are threatened, but will receive the blessing of the greatest fertility, so will the people, i.e., the citizens of this kingdom, be no more visited with calamity and judgment, but enjoy the rich beneficent fruits of their labour in blessed and unbroken peace. This thought is individualized with a retrospective glance at the punishment with which the sinners are threatened in Amos 5:11, - namely, as building waste cities, and dwelling therein, and as drinking the wine of the vineyards that have been planted; not building houses for others any more, as was threatened in Amos 5:11, after Deuteronomy 28:30, Deuteronomy 28:39; and lastly, as laying out gardens, and eating the fruit thereof, without its being consumed by strangers (Deuteronomy 28:33). This blessing will endure for ever (Amos 9:15). Their being planted in their land denotes, not the settling of the people in their land once more, but their firm and lasting establishment and fortification therein. The Lord will make Israel, i.e., His rescued people, into a plantation that will never be torn up again, but strikes firm roots, sends forth blossom, and produces fruit. The words point back to 2 Samuel 7:10, and declare that the firm planting of Israel which was begun by David will be completed with the raising up of the fallen hut of David, inasmuch as no further driving away of the nation into captivity will occur, but the people of the Lord will dwell for ever in the land which their God has given them. Compare Jeremiah 24:6. This promise is sealed by אמר יי אל.

We have not to seek for the realization of this promise in the return of Israel from its captivity to Palestine under Zerubbabel and Ezra; for this was no planting of Israel to dwell for ever in the land, nor was it a setting up of the fallen hut of David. Nor have we to transfer the fulfilment to the future, and think of a time when the Jews, who have been converted to their God and Saviour Jesus Christ, will one day be led back to Palestine. For, as we have already observed at Joel 3:18, Canaan and Israel are types of the kingdom of God and of the church of the Lord. The raising up of the fallen hut of David commenced with the coming of Christ and the founding of the Christian church by the apostles; and the possession of Edom and all the other nations upon whom the Lord reveals His name, took its rise in the reception of the Gentiles into the kingdom of heaven set up by Christ. The founding and building of this kingdom continue through all the ages of the Christian church, and will be completed when the fulness of the Gentiles shall one day enter into the kingdom of God, and the still unbelieving Israel shall have been converted to Christ. The land which will flow with streams of divine blessing is not Palestine, but the domain of the Christian church, or the earth, so far as it has received the blessings of Christianity. The people which cultivates this land is the Christian church, so far as it stands in living faith, and produces fruits of the Holy Ghost. The blessing foretold by the prophet is indeed visible at present in only a very small measure, because Christendom is not yet so pervaded by the Spirit of the Lord, as that it forms a holy people of God. In many respects it still resembles Israel, which the Lord will have to sift by means of judgments. This sifting will be first brought to an end through the judgment upon all nations, which will attend the second coming of Christ. Then will the earth become a Canaan, where the Lord will dwell in His glorified kingdom in the midst of His sanctified people.

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