Amos 9:7
Are you not as children of the Ethiopians to me, O children of Israel? said the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Ethiopians.—Israel had presumed on the special favour of Jehovah. The prophet asks them whether, after all, they are better or safer than the Ethiopians, whom they despised. He who led Israel from Egypt also brought the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir. Caphtor is mentioned in the table of races, Genesis 10:14 (where the clause referring to the Philistines should probably be placed at the end of the verse). The LXX. followed by the Targums and Peshito interpret Caphtor as Cappadocia, probably from resemblance in form. R. S. Poole, art. “Caphtor,” in the Dictionary of the Bible, compares the Egyptian Kebtu or Koptos, and places the Caphtorim in Upper Egypt, while Ebers holds that they had their settlements in the Nile delta. But the identification of Caphtor with Crete is most probable. So Rosenmüller, Ewald, Dillmann, &c. On Kir, probably E. of the Euphrates, see Note on Amos 1:5.

Amos 9:7. Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians, &c. — The prophet, to take away from the Israelites their false confidence, that the Lord was too much interested in their preservation to permit their total ruin, says, that in consequence of their idolatry and other sins, they were no more esteemed by him than the Ethiopians, a barbarous and cruel race of people: as if he had said, You have rendered yourselves unworthy the name of my people; you have renounced, by your idolatry, the privileges of my covenant; you have given up me, and I give you up in my turn. You may think my former kindness in delivering you out of the Egyptian bondage, and giving you the land of Canaan, obliges me still to continue to be your protector. But I have showed the like favour to other nations, particularly to the Philistines, who had their original from Caphtor, and afterward dispossessed the old inhabitants of Palestine, and dwelt in their stead; and to the Syrians, whom I brought from Kir; and yet against these very nations have I denounced my judgments for their sins.9:1-10 The prophet, in vision, saw the Lord standing upon the idolatrous altar at Bethel. Wherever sinners flee from God's justice, it will overtake them. Those whom God brings to heaven by his grace, shall never be cast down; but those who seek to climb thither by vain confidence in themselves, will be cast down and filled with shame. That which makes escape impossible and ruin sure, is, that God will set his eyes upon them for evil, not for good. Wretched must those be on whom the Lord looks for evil, and not for good. The Lord would scatter the Jews, and visit them with calamities, as the corn is shaken in a sieve; but he would save some from among them. The astonishing preservation of the Jews as a distinct people, seems here foretold. If professors make themselves like the world, God will level them with the world. The sinners who thus flatter themselves, shall find that their profession will not protect them.Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto Me, O children of Israel! - Their boast and confidence was that they were children of the patriarch, to whom God made the promises. But they, not following the faith nor doing the deeds of Israel, who was a "prince with God," or of Abraham, the father of the faithful, had, for "Bene Israel," children of Israel, become as "Bene Cushiim, children of the Ethiopians," descendants of Ham, furthest off from the knowledge and grace of God, the unchangeableness of whose color was an emblem of unchangeableness in evil. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" Jeremiah 13:23.

Have I not brought up - (Did I not bring up) Israel out of the land of Egypt? Amos blends in one their plea and God's answer. God by bringing them up out of Egypt, pledged His truth to them to be their to protect and preserve them. True! so long as they. retained God as their God, and kept His laws. God chose them, that they might choose Him. By casting Him off, as their Lord and God, they cast themselves off and out of God's protection. By estranging themselves from God, they became as strangers in His sight. His act in bringing them up from Egypt had lost its meaning for them. It became no more than any Other event in His Providence, by which He brought up "the Philistines from Caphtor," who yet were aliens from Him, and "the Syrians from Kir," who, He had foretold, should be carried back there.

This immigration of the Philistines from Caphtor must have taken place before the return of Israel from Egypt. For Moses says, "The Caphtorim, who came forth from Caphtor" had at this time "destroyed the Avvim who dwelt in villages unto Gazah, and dwelt in their stead" Deuteronomy 2:23 An entire change in their affairs had also taken place in the four centuries and a half since the days of Isaac. In the time of Abraham and Isaac, Philistia was a kingdom; its capital, Gerar. Its king had a standing army, Phichol being "the captain of the host" Genesis 21:22; Genesis 26:26 : he had also a privy councillor, Ahuzzath Genesis 26:26. From the time after the Exodus, Philistia had ceased to be a kingdom, Gerar disappears from history; the power of Philistia is concentrated in five new towns, Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, Ekron, with five heads, who consult and act as one (see above, the note at Amos 1:6-8).

The Caphtorim are in some sense also distinct from the old Philistines. They occupy a district not co-extensive with either the old or the new land of the Philistines. In the time of Saul, another Philistine clan is mentioned, the Cherethite. The Amalekites made a marauding inroad into the south country of the Cherethites; 1 Samuel 30:14; which immediately afterward is called "the land of the Philistines" 1 Samuel 30:16. Probably then, there were different immigrations of the same tribe into Palestine, as there were different immigrations of Danes or Saxons into England, or as there have been and are from the old world into the new, America and Australia. They, were then all merged in one common name, as English, Scotch, Irish, are in the United States. The first immigration may have been that from the Casluhim, "out of whom came Philistim" Genesis 10:14; a second, from the Caphtorim, a kindred people, since they are named next to the Casluhim Genesis 10:14, as descendants of Mizraim. Yet a third were doubtless the Cherethim. But all were united under the one name of Philistines, as Britons, Danes, Saxons, Normans, are united under the one name of English. Of these immigrations, that from Caphtor, even if (as seems probable) second in time, was the chief; which agrees with the great accession of strength, which the Philistines had received at the time of the Exodus; from where the Mediterranean had come to be called by their name, "the sea of the Philistines" Exodus 23:31 : and, in Moses' song of thanksgiving, "the inhabitants of Philistia" are named on a level with "all the inhabitants of Canaan" Exodus 15:14-15; and God led His people by the way of Mount Sinai, in order not to expose them at once to so powerful an enemy Exodus 13:17.

A third immigration of Cherethim, in the latter part of the period of the Judges, would account for the sudden increase of strength, which they seem then to have received. For whereas heretofore those whom God employed to chasten Israel in their idolatries, were Kings of Mesopotamia, Moab, Hazor, Midian, Amalek, and the children of the East Judges 3-10:5, and Philistia had, at the beginning of the period, lost Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron Judges 1:18, to Israel, and was repulsed by Shamgar, thenceforth, to the time of David, they became the great scourge of Israel on the west of Jordan, as Ammon was on the east.

The Jewish traditions in the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and three Targums, agree that Caphtor was Cappadocia, which, in that it extended to the Black Sea, might be callad "I, seacoast," literally, "habitable land, as contrasted with the sea which washed it, whether it surrounded it or no. The Cherethites may have come from Crete, as an intermediate resting place in their migrations.

7. unto me—however great ye seem to yourselves. Do not rely on past privileges, and on My having delivered you from Egypt, as if therefore I never would remove you from Canaan. I make no more account of you than of "the Ethiopian" (compare Jer 13:23). "Have not I (who) brought you out of Egypt," done as much for other peoples? For instance, did I not bring "the Philistines (see on [1141]Isa 14:29, &c.) from Caphtor (compare De 2:23; see on [1142]Jer 47:4), where they had been bond-servants, and the Syrians from Kir?" It is appropriate, that as the Syrians migrated into Syria from Kir (compare Note, see on [1143]Isa 22:6), so they should be carried back captive into the same land (see on [1144]Am 1:15; 2Ki 16:9), just as elsewhere Israel is threatened with a return to Egypt whence they had been delivered. The "Ethiopians," Hebrew, "Cushites," were originally akin to the race that founded Babylon: the cuneiform inscriptions in this confirming independently the Scripture statement (Ge 10:6, 8, 10). Are ye not, who glory in your descent from Abraham, and are in truth the natural descendants of Israel, and think very highly of yourselves on this account, slighting all other nations, and presuming that God neither will nor can, because of his covenant, destroy you, whatever prophets say,

as children of the Ethiopians? not that remote nation beyond Egypt, but those of Arabia Petrea, a wild, thievish, and servile nation, such as now inhabit those parts; base, bloody, and thievish Arabs, hated and despised of all their neighbours, and so by the Israelites their neighbours accounted at that day.

Unto me; I did make them as you, they are my creatures as you; wherein soever you excel them you owe it to me, who made you both as creatures, and have distinguished you by my free mercy and rich grace, giving most to you, of which you boast, and giving less to them, for which you despise them.

Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and whereas you boast my kindness to you, bringing you out of Egypt, and thereupon conclude God cannot leave you whom he hath so redeemed; you argue amiss, for these things aggravate your sin, and render you less capable of hoping or obtaining mercy since you abuse such grace. Remember Amos 3:2. You think I cannot, must not now root you out of your land, because I brought you out of Egypt, as if you were the only people that ever were brought out of bondage; but Moses tells you the Philistines were captivated by the Caphtorims, who dwelt in their land; yet the Philistines were restored, and you found them in the land when you came to possess it. Their expulsion you read Deu 2:23, though I remember no particular mention of their deliverance in any history, yet this hint is enough to assure us of the matter of fact. And the Assyrians, an ancient people, inhabiting a large country, and known by several distinct names,

from Kir; conquered by some potent enemies, probably the ancient Assyrians, and sent away to Kir, a city or country of Media, yet delivered at last. Should these nations, as you do, argue themselves to be out of danger of Divine justice and severe punishments, because I had done this for them? Certainly you would not allow such argument in them, nor will I allow it in you. Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the Lord,.... And therefore had no reason to think they should be delivered because they were the children of Israel, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; since they were no more to God than the children of the Ethiopians, having behaved like them; and were become as black as they through sin, and were idolaters like them; and so accustomed to sin, and hardened in it, that they could no more change their course and custom of sinning than the Ethiopian could change his skin, Jeremiah 13:23; The Ethiopians are represented by Diodorus Siculus (b) as very religious, that is, very idolatrous; and as the first that worshipped the gods, and offered sacrifice to them; hence they were very pleasing to them, and in high esteem with them; wherefore Homer (c) speaks of Jupiter, and the other gods, going to Ethiopia to an anniversary feast, and calls them the blameless Ethiopians; and so Lucian (d) speaks of the gods as gone abroad, perhaps to the other side of the ocean, to visit the honest Ethiopians; for they are often used to visit them, and, as he wittily observes, even sometimes without being invited. Jarchi suggests the sense to be, that they were as creatures upon the same foot, and of the same descent, with other nations; and paraphrases it thus,

"from the sons of Noah ye came as the rest of the nations.''

Kimchi takes the meaning to be this,

"as the children of the Ethiopians are servants so should ye be unto me.''

The Targum is very foreign from the sense,

"are ye not reckoned as beloved children before me, O house of Israel?''

the first sense is best:

have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and therefore it was ungrateful in them to behave as they have done; nor can they have any dependence on this, or argue from hence that they shall be indulged with other favours, or be continued in their land, since the like has been done for other nations, as follows:

and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? that is, have I not brought up the one from the one place, and the other from the other? the Philistines and Caphtorim are mentioned together as brethren, Genesis 10:14; and the Avim which dwelt in the land of Palestine in Hazerim unto Azzah were destroyed by the Caphtorim, who dwelt in their stead, Deuteronomy 2:23; from whom, it seems by this, the Philistines were delivered, who are called the remnant of the country of Caphtor, Jeremiah 47:4. Aben Ezra understands it as if the Israelites were not only brought out of Egypt, but also from the Philistines, and from Caphtor: others take these two places, Caphtor and Kir, to be the original of the Philistines and Syrians, and not where they had been captives, but now delivered: so Japhet,

"ye are the children of one father, God, who brought you out of Egypt, and not as the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir, who were mixed together;''

and R. Joseph Kimchi thus,

"from Caphtor came destroyers to the Philistines, who destroyed them; and from Kir came Tiglathpileser, the destroyer, to the Syrians, who carried them captive there.''

Of the captivity of the Philistines, and their deliverance from the Caphtorim, we nowhere read; the captivity of the Syrians in Kir Amos prophesied of, Amos 1:5; and if he speaks here of their deliverance from it, he must live at least to the times of Ahaz; for in his times it was they were carried captive thither, 2 Kings 16:9. Caphtor some take to be Cyprus, because it seems to be an island, Jeremiah 47:4; but by it the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac and Arabic versions understand Cappadocia; and the Cappadocians used to be called by the Greeks and Persians Syrians, as Herodotus (e) and others, observe. Bochart (f) is of opinion that that part of Cappadocia is intended which is called Colchis; and the rather since he finds a city in that country called Side, which in the Greek tongue signifies a pomegranate, as Caphtor does in Hebrew; and supposes the richness of the country led the Caphtorim thither, who, having stayed awhile, returned to Palestine, and there settled; which expedition he thinks is wrapped up in the fable of the Greek poets, concerning that of Typhon out of Egypt to Colchis and from thence to Palestine; and indeed the Jewish Targumists (g) every where render Caphtorim by Cappadocians, and Caphtor by Cappadocia, or Caphutkia; but then by it they understand a place in Egypt, even Pelusium, now called Damiata; for the Jewish writers say (h) Caphutkia is Caphtor, in the Arabic language Damiata; so Benjamin of Tudela says (i), in two days I came to Damiata, this is Caphtor; and no doubt the Caphtorim were in Egypt originally since they descended from Mizraim; but Calmet (k) will have it that the island of Crete is meant by Caphtor; and observes, theft, the Philistines were at first called strangers in Palestine, their proper name being Cherethites, or Cretians, as in Ezekiel 25:16; as the Septuagint render that name of theirs; and that the language, manners, arms, religion and gods, of the Philistines and Cretians, are much the same; he finds a city in Crete called Aptera, which he thinks has a sensible relation to Caphtor; and that the city of Gaza in Palestine went by the name of Minoa, because of Minos king of Crete, who, coming into that country, called this ancient city by his own name. The Targum and Vulgate Latin version render Kir by Cyrene, by which must be meant, not Cyrene in Africa, but in Media; so Kir is mentioned along with Elam or Persia in Isaiah 22:6; whither the people of Syria were carried captive by Tiglathpileser, as predicted in Amos 1:5; and, as the above writer observes (l), not certainly into the country of Cyrene near Egypt, where that prince was possessed of nothing; but to Iberia or Albania, where the river Kir or Cyrus runs, which discharges itself into the Caspian sea; and Josephus (m) says they were transported into Upper Media; and the above author thinks that the Prophet Amos, in this passage, probably intended to comprehend, under the word "Cyr" or "Kir", the people beyond the Euphrates, and those of Mesopotamia, from whence the Aramaeans in reality came, who were descended from Aram the son of Shem; and he adds, we have no certain knowledge of their coming in particular out of this country, where the river Cyrus flows; and, upon the whole, it is difficult to determine whether this is to be understood of the origin of these people, or of their deliverance from captivity; the latter may seem probable, since it is certain that the prophet speaks of the deliverance of Israel from the captivity of Egypt; and it is as certain that the Syrians were carried captive to Kir, and, no doubt, from thence delivered; though we have no account of the Philistines being captives to Caphtor, and of their deliverance from thence; however, doubtless these were things well known to Amos, and in his times, he here speaks of. In some of our English copies it is read Assyrians instead of Syrians, very wrongly; for "Aram", and not "Ashur", is the word here used.

(b) Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 143, 144. (c) Ibid. 1. l. 423. (d) In Jupiter Tragaedus. (e) Clio, sive l. 1. 72. Terpsichore, sive l. 5. c. 40. & Polymnia, sive l. 7. c. 72. Vid. Strabo. Geograph. l. 22. p. 374. (f) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 32. col. 291, 292. (g) Targum Onkelos, Jon. & Jerus. in Gen. x. 4. & Ben Uzziel in Jeremiah 47.4. & in loc. (h) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Cetubot, c. 13. sect. 11. (i) Itinerarium, p. 125. (k) Dictionary in tile word "Caphtor". (l) Dictionary, in the word "Cyrene". (m) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 12. sect. 3.

Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians {e} unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from {f} Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

(e) Am I more bound to you than to the Ethiopians, or other people? Yet I have bestowed upon you greater benefits.

(f) Read Jer 47:4.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7–10. An objection met. The Israelites were only too ready to argue (cf. Amos 3:2; Jeremiah 7:1-15) that Jehovah, after the many marks of favour which He had bestowed upon His people, would never cast them off, as He had now declared that He would do (Amos 9:1-6). He replies, Is Israel, merely as Israel, apart from moral qualifications, more to Me than other nations? It is true, I led Israel out of Egypt, and gave them a home in Palestine: but I directed similarly the migrations of other nations, the Philistines, for example, and the Syrians: the sinful kingdom, whether it be Israel or any other nation, will perish before Me, the only limitation being that I will not absolutely annihilate the house of Jacob.

Are ye not as the sons of the Kushites unto me?] The Kushites, or Ethiopians, are mentioned as a distant people, far removed from the grace and knowledge of God, despised on account of their dark colour (cf. Jeremiah 13:23), and perhaps also on account of slaves being often drawn from them. Degenerate Israel is no more in Jehovah’s eyes than these despised Kushites. Kush is often named in the O.T. (e.g. Genesis 10:6-7; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 18:1; Isaiah 20:3-5; Isaiah 37:9; Isaiah 43:3): it was the name (in Egyptian Inscriptions Késh) borne by the people inhabiting the region to the south of Egypt (corresponding generally to the modern Soudan, i.e. the country of the Blacks (Arab, aswad, “black”). Their capital was Napata, on the Nile.

Did I not bring up Israel out of the land of Egypt?] cf. Amos 2:10.

and the Philistines from Caphtor] guiding them therefore not less than I guided Israel. Caphtor is in all probability Crete[200]. It is named elsewhere as the original home of the Philistines; see Deuteronomy 2:23 and Jeremiah 47:4 (where the Philistines are called “the remnant of the isle [or coast-land] of Caphtor”). These passages make it probable that in the ethnographical table of Genesis 10, in Amos 9:14, “and the Casluhim, from whom the Philistines came forth, and the Caphtorim,” the clause respecting the Philistines is misplaced, and should be transposed to follow Caphtorim. A connexion with Crete is also rendered probable by the name Kerçthim, which in other passages (Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5; cf. 1 Samuel 30:14) is that of a tribe closely associated, if not (Zephaniah 2:5) identical, with the Philistines.

[200] Sayce formerly, with Ebers, identified it with the coast-land of the Delta; but he now (Academy, Apr. 14, 1894, p. 314) regards this view as untenable.

and Aram from Kir] See on Amos 1:5.Verse 7. - Israel's election to be God's people should not save them, unless their conduct corresponded with God's choice.Fulfilment of the judgment upon all the heathen predicted in Joel 3:2. Compare the similar prediction of judgment in Zechariah 14:2. The call is addressed to all nations to equip themselves for battle, and march into the valley of Jehoshaphat to war against the people of God, but in reality to be judged by the Lord through His heavenly heroes, whom He sends down thither. Joel 3:9. "Proclaim ye this among the nations; sanctify a war, awaken the heroes, let all the men of war draw near and come up! Joel 3:10. Forge your coulters into swords, and your vine-sickles into spears: let the weak one say, A hero am I. Joe 3:11. Hasten and come, all ye nations round about, and assemble yourselves! Let thy heroes come down thither, O Jehovah! Joel 3:12. The nations are to rise up, and come into the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there shall I sit to judge all the heathen round about." The summons to prepare for war (Joel 3:9) is addressed, not to the worshippers of Jehovah or the Israelites scattered among the heathen (Cyr., Calv., Umbreit), but to the heathen nations, though not directly to the heroes and warriors among the heathen, but to heralds, who are to listen to the divine message, and convey it to the heathen nations. This change belongs to the poetical drapery of thought, that at a sign from the Lord the heathen nations are to assemble together for war against Israel. קדּשׁ מלחמה does not mean "to declare war" (Hitzig), but to consecrate a war, i.e., to prepare for war by sacrifices and religious rites of consecration (cf. 1 Samuel 7:8-9; Jeremiah 6:4). העירוּ: waken up or arouse (not wake up) the heroes from their peaceful rest to battle. With יגּשׁוּ the address passes over from the second person to the third, which Hitzig accounts for on the ground that the words state what the heralds are to say to the nations or heroes; but the continuance of the imperative kōttū in Joel 3:10 does not suit this. This transition is a very frequent one (cf. Isaiah 41:1; Isaiah 34:1), and may be very simply explained from the lively nature of the description. עלה is here applied to the advance of hostile armies against a land or city. The nations are to summon up all their resources and all their strength for this war, because it will be a decisive one. They are to forge the tools of peaceful agriculture into weapons of war (compare Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3, where the Messianic times of peace are depicted as the turning of weapons of war into instruments of agriculture). Even the weak one is to rouse himself up to be a hero, "as is generally the case when a whole nation is seized with warlike enthusiasm" (Hitzig). This enthusiasm is expressed still further in the appeal in Joel 3:11 to assemble together as speedily as possible. The ἁπ. λεγ. עוּשׁ is related to חוּשׁ, to hasten; whereas no support can be found in the language to the meaning "assemble," adopted by the lxx, Targ., etc. The expression כּל־הגּוים by no means necessitates our taking these words as a summons or challenge on the part of Joel to the heathen, as Hitzig does; for this can be very well interpreted as a summons, with which the nations call one another to battle, as the following ונקבּצוּ requires; and the assumption of Hitzig, Ewald, and others, that this form is the imperative for הקּבצוּ, cannot be sustained from Isaiah 43:9 and Jeremiah 50:5. It is not till Joel 3:11 that Joel steps in with a prayer addressed to the Lord, that He will send down His heavenly heroes to the place to which the heathen are flowing together. Hanchath an imper. hiph., with pathach instead of tzere, on account of the guttural, from nâchath, to come down. The heroes of Jehovah are heavenly hosts, or angels, who execute His commands as gibbōrē khōăch (Psalm 103:20, cf. Psalm 78:25). This prayer is answered thus by Jehovah in Joel 3:12 : "Let the nations rise up, and come into the valley of Jehoshaphat, for there will He hold judgment upon them." יעורוּ corresponds to העירוּ in Joel 3:9; and at the close, "all the heathen round about" is deliberately repeated. Still there is no antithesis in this to "all nations" in Joel 3:2, as though here the judgment was simply to come upon the hostile nations in the neighbourhood of Judah, and not upon all the heathen universally (Hitzig). For even in Joel 3:2 כל הגוים are simply all the heathen who have attacked the people of Jehovah - that is to say, all the nations round about Israel. Only these are not merely the neighbouring nations to Judah, but all heathen nations who have come into contact with the kingdom of God, i.e., all the nations of the earth without exception, inasmuch as before the last judgment the gospel of the kingdom is to be preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10).

It is to the last decisive judgment, in which all the single judgments find their end, that the command of Jehovah to His strong heroes refers. Joel 3:13. "Put ye in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe: come, tread, for the win-press is full, the vats overflow: for their wickedness is great." The judgment is represented under the double figure of the reaping of the fields and the treading out of the grapes in the wine-press. The angels are first of all summoned to reap the ripe corn (Isaiah 17:5; Revelation 14:16), and then commanded to tread the wine-presses that are filled with grapes. The opposite opinion expressed by Hitzig, viz., that the command to tread the wine-presses is preceded by the command to cut off the grapes, is supported partly by the erroneous assertion, that bâshal is not applied to the ripening of corn, and partly upon the arbitrary assumption that qâtsı̄r, a harvest, stands for bâtsı̄r, a vintage; and maggâl, a sickle (cf. Jeremiah 50:16), for mazmērâh, a vine-dresser's bill. But bâshal does not mean "to boil," either primarily or literally, but to be done, or to be ripe, like the Greek πέσσω, πέπτω, to ripen, to make soft, to boil (see at Exodus 12:9), and hence in the piel both to boil and roast, and in the hiphil to make ripe of ripen (Genesis 40:10), applied both to grapes and corn. It is impossible to infer from the fact that Isaiah (Isaiah 16:9) uses the word qâtsı̄r for the vintage, on account of the alliteration with qayits, that this is also the meaning of the word in Joel. But we have a decisive proof in the resumption of this passage in Revelation 14:15 and Revelation 14:18, where the two figures (of the corn-harvest and the gathering of the grapes) are kept quite distinct, and the clause כּי בשׁל קציר is paraphrased and explained thus: "The time is come for thee to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." The ripeness of the corn is a figurative representation of ripeness for judgment. Just as in the harvest - namely, at the threshing and winnowing connected with the harvest - the grains of corn are separated from the husk, the wheat being gathered into the barns, the husk blown away by the wind, and the straw burned; so will the good be separated from the wicked by the judgment, the former being gathered into the kingdom of God for the enjoyment of eternal life, - the latter, on the other hand, being given up to eternal death. The harvest field is the earth (ἡ γῆ, Revelation 14:16), i.e., the inhabitants of the earth, the human race. The ripening began at the time of the appearance of Christ upon the earth (John 4:35; Matthew 9:38). With the preaching of the gospel among all nations, the judgment of separation and decision (ἡ κρίσις, John 3:18-21) commenced; with the spread of the kingdom of Christ in the earth it passes over all nations; and it will be completed in the last judgment, on the return of Christ in glory at the end of this world. Joel does not carry out the figure of the harvest any further, but simply presents the judgment under the similar figure of the treading of the grapes that have been gathered. רדוּ, not from yârad, to descend, but from râdâh, to trample under foot, tread the press that is filled with grapes. השׁיקוּ היקבים is used in Joel 2:24 to denote the most abundant harvest; here it is figuratively employed to denote the great mass of men who are ripe for the judgment, as the explanatory clause, for "their wicked (deed) is much," or "their wickedness is great," which recals Genesis 6:5, clearly shows. The treading of the wine-press does not express the idea of wading in blood, or the execution of a great massacre; but in Isaiah 63:3, as well as in Revelation 14:20, it is a figure denoting an annihilating judgment upon the enemies of God and of His kingdom. The wine-press is "the wine-press of the wrath of God," i.e., "what the wine-press is to ordinary grapes, the wrath of God is to the grapes referred to here" (Hengstenberg on Revelation 14:19).

The execution of this divine command is not expressly mentioned, but in Joel 3:14. the judgment is simply depicted thus: first of all we have a description of the streaming of the nations into the valley of judgment, and then of the appearance of Jehovah upon Zion in the terrible glory of the Judge of the world, and as the refuge of His people. Joel 3:14. "Tumult, tumult in the valley of decision: for the day of Jehovah is near in the valley of decision." Hămōnı̄m are noisy crowds, whom the prophet sees in the Spirit pouring into the valley of Jehoshaphat. The repetition of the word is expressive of the great multitude, as in 2 Kings 3:16. עמק החרוּץ not valley of threshing; for though chârūts is used in Isaiah 28:27 and Isaiah 41:15 for the threshing-sledge, it is not used for the threshing itself, but valley of the deciding judgment, from chârats, to decide, to determine irrevocably (Isaiah 10:22; 1 Kings 20:40), so that chârūts simply defines the name Jehoshaphat with greater precision. כּי קרוב וגו (compare Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1) is used here to denote the immediate proximity of the judgment, which bursts at once, according to Joel 3:15.

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