Amos 9:8
Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.
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(8) Sinful nation.—The kingdom of the ten tribes which had so utterly revolted from the true centre and spiritual ideas of the worship of Jehovah.

Amos 9:8-10. The eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom — See Amos 9:4. Saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob — God still promises to preserve a remnant in the midst of his heaviest judgments, that he may perform the promises made to their fathers. Lo, I will sift the house of Israel among all nations — I will mingle, or scatter, the Israelites among other nations, just as good and bad grain are mingled in a sieve; but will so order it, that none of the good grain shall be lost or fall to the ground. Though the good shall be involved in the calamities which are sent to punish the wicked, yet shall they be preserved from destruction. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword — Those unbelieving and obstinately wicked men who have paid no regard to the warnings of the prophets, and have given no credit to their predictions, shall all perish by the sword, or by some judgment sent by me. Which say, The evil shall not overtake us — Who indulge themselves in their carnal security, without any dread or apprehension of the divine judgments denounced against them.

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.Behold the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom - The sinful kingdom may mean each "sinful kingdom," as Paul says, God "will render unto every man according to his deeds - unto them who do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile" Romans 2:6-9. His "Eyes" are "on the sinful kingdom," whatsoever or wheresoever it be, and so on Israel also: "and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth." In this case, the emphasis would be on the, "I will not "utterly" destroy." God would destroy sinful kingdoms, yet Israel, although sinful, He would not "utterly" destroy, but would leave a remnant, as He had so often promised. Yet perhaps, and more probably, the contrast is between "the kingdom" and "the house of Israel. The kingdom," being founded in sin, bound up inseparably with sin, God says, "I will destroy from off the face of the earth," and it ceased forever. Only, with the kingdom, He says, "I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," to whom were the promises, and to whose seed, whosoever were the true Israel, those promises should be kept. So He explains; 8. eyes … upon the sinful kingdom—that is, I am watching all its sinful course in order to punish it (compare Am 9:4; Ps 34:15, 16).

not utterly destroy the house of Jacob—Though as a "kingdom" the nation is now utterly to perish, a remnant is to be spared for "Jacob," their forefather's sake (compare Jer 30:11); to fulfil the covenant whereby "the seed of Israel" is hereafter to be "a nation for ever" (Jer 31:36).

Behold; consider things better, and argue more like men of reason.

The eyes of the Lord God; God of infinite purity and knowledge, whose nature hateth all sin, and whose office it is to punish sinners, his eyes behold all the children of men, they run to and fro, as 2 Chronicles 16:9. Are upon the sinful kingdom; every sinful kingdom, and on the kingdom of the ten tribes as notoriously the sinning kingdom, as the Hebrew.

And I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; and I will ruin any such kingdom for their sins, that it shall cease to be a kingdom on earth.

Saving that I will not utterly destroy; and so would I do with the kingdom of Israel, but that I have by covenant with their fathers engaged to be their God for ever, which promise I will keep to a remnant of their seed for ever.

The house of Jacob; the seed of Jacob, which God will not utterly extirpate, though he do extirpate other nations, Jeremiah 30:11.

Saith the Lord: this is added to confirm the gracious word concerning the remnant which shall be spared.

Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,.... God is omniscient, and his eyes are everywhere, and upon all persons, good and bad, and upon all kingdoms, especially upon a sinful nation: "the sinning kingdom" (n), or "the kingdom of sin" (o), as it may be rendered; that is addicted to sin, where it prevails and reigns; every such kingdom, particularly the kingdom of Israel, Ephraim, or the ten tribes, given to idolatry, and other sins complained of in this prophecy; and that not for good, but for evil, as in Amos 9:4; in order to cut them off from being a people:

and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth: so that it shall be no more, at least as a kingdom; as the ten tribes have never been since their captivity by Shalmaneser; though Japhet interprets this of all the kingdoms of the earth, being sinful, the eyes of God are upon them to destroy them, excepting the kingdom of Israel; so Abarbinel:

saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord; and so it is, that though they have been destroyed as a kingdom, yet not utterly as a people; there were some of the ten tribes that mixed with the Jews, and others that were scattered about in the world; and a remnant among them, according to the election of grace, that were met with in the ministry of the apostles, and in the latter day all Israel shall be saved; see Jeremiah 30:10.

(n) "hoc regnum peccans", V. L. Junius & Tremellius, Drusius, Mercerus; "peccatrix", Piscator. (o) "Regnum peccati", Pagninus, Montanus.

Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly {g} destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.

(g) Though he destroys the rebellious multitude, yet he will always reserve the remnant of his Church to call upon his name.

8–9. the house of Jacob … the house of Israel] i.e. (cf. Amos 5:1; Amos 5:4; Amos 5:6, Amos 6:14, Amos 7:10; Amos 7:16; also Amos 6:8, Amos 7:2; Amos 7:5, Amos 8:7) the northern kingdom, which alone from Amos 7:1 has been in the prophet’s mind; at most, the expressions may be meant in a general sense, including (implicitly) Judah (Ewald, Keil; cf. Amos 6:1). The limitation (Grätz, Wellh.) to Judah alone is arbitrary, and unsupported by the context.

8–10. Jehovah’s eyes are against (Job 7:8) the sinful kingdom, whatsoever or wheresoever it be, and He will destroy it from off the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 6:15), save only, if the kingdom be that of the chosen people, it will not be destroyed by Him utterly: only the sinners in it will perish. Though the nation, as a whole, might be corrupt, and deserve to perish, it might well include many individuals who were the humble and faithful servants of Jehovah (cf. Isaiah 29:19); these, in the picture drawn by Amos, escape the judgement, and perpetuate the national existence of the people of God. There is implicit in these verses (cf. Amos 5:15) the thought of a faithful and worthy “remnant,” which should survive a catastrophe, and form the nucleus of a purer community in the future, which was adopted afterwards by Isaiah, and became one of the most characteristic elements of his teaching (Isaiah 1:26-28; Isaiah 4:3 f., Amos 6:13 b &c.). The words are really a limitation of the unqualified judgement expressed in Amos 9:1-4, a limitation demanded partly by the justice of God, partly by His faithfulness to His covenant-promise (cf. Jeremiah 4:27; Jeremiah 5:10; Jeremiah 5:18; Jeremiah 30:11).

Verse 8. - The sinful kingdom. The kingdom of all Israel and Judah, the same as the house of Jacob just below, though a different fate awaits this, regarded as the covenant nation, whose are the promises. Destroy it, etc., as was threatened (Deuteronomy 6:15). Saving that. In spite of the destruction of the wicked people, God's promises hold good, and there is still a remnant who shall be saved (Jeremiah 30:11). Amos 9:8Election, therefore, will not save sinful Israel from destruction. After Amos has thus cut off all hope of deliverance from the ungodly, he repeats, in his own words in Amos 9:8., the threat already exhibited symbolically in Amos 9:1. Amos 9:8. "Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are against the sinful kingdom, and I destroy it from off the face of the earth; except that I shall not utterly destroy the house of Jacob: is the saying of Jehovah. Amos 9:9. For, behold, I command, and shake the house of Israel among all nations, as (corn) is shaken in a sieve, and not even a little grain falls to the ground. Amos 9:10. All the sinners of my people will die by the sword, who say, The evil will not overtake or come to us." The sinful kingdom is Israel; not merely the kingdom of the ten tribes however, but all Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes along with Judah, the house of Jacob or Israel, which is identical with the sons of Israel, who had become like the Cushites, although Amos had chiefly the people and kingdom of the ten tribes in his mind. Bammamlâkhâh, not upon the kingdom, but against the kingdom. The directing of the eye upon an object is expressed by על (Amos 9:4) or אל (cf. Psalm 34:16); whereas ב is used in relation to the object upon which anger rests (Psalm 34:17). Because the Lord had turned His eye towards the sinful kingdom, He must exterminate it, - a fate with which Moses had already threatened the nation in Deuteronomy 6:15. Nevertheless (אפס כּי, "only that," introducing the limitation, as in Numbers 13:28; Deuteronomy 15:4) the house of Jacob, the covenant nation, shall not be utterly destroyed. The "house of Jacob" is opposed to the "sinful nation;" not, however, so that the antithesis simply lies in the kingdom and people (regnum delebo, non populum), or that the "house of Jacob" signifies the kingdom of Judah as distinguished from the kingdom of the ten tribes, for the "house of Jacob" is perfectly equivalent to the "house of Israel" (Amos 9:9). The house of Jacob is not to be utterly destroyed, but simply to be shaken, as it were, in a sieve. The antithesis lies in the predicate החטּא, the sinful kingdom. So far as Israel, as a kingdom and people, is sinful, it is to be destroyed from off the face of the earth. But there is always a divine kernel in the nation, by virtue of its divine election, a holy seed out of which the Lord will form a new and holy people and kingdom of God. Consequently the destruction will not be a total one, a השׁמיד אשׁמיד. The reason for this is introduced by kı̄ (for) in Amos 9:9. The Lord will shake Israel among the nations, as corn is shaken in a sieve; so that the chaff flies away, and the dust and dirt fall to the ground, and only the good grains are left in the sieve. Such a sieve are the nations of the world, through which Israel is purified from its chaff, i.e., from its ungodly members. Tserōr, generally a bundle; here, according to its etymology, that which is compact or firm, i.e., solid grain as distinguished from loose chaff. In 2 Samuel 17:13 it is used in a similar sense to denote a hard piece of clay or a stone in a building. Not a single grain fill fall to the ground, that is to say, not a good man will be lost (cf. 1 Samuel 26:20). The self-secure sinners, however, who rely upon their outward connection with the nation of God (compare Amos 9:7 and Amos 3:2), or upon their zeal in the outward forms of worship (Amos 5:21.), and fancy that the judgment cannot touch them (הקדּים בּעד, to come to meet a person round about him, i.e., to come upon him from every side), will all perish by the sword. This threat is repeated at the close, without any formal link of connection with Amos 9:9, not only to prevent any abuse of the foregoing modification of the judgment, but also to remove this apparent discrepancy, that whereas in Amos 9:1-4 it is stated that not one will escape the judgment, according to Amos 9:8, the nation of Israel is not to be utterly destroyed. In order to anticipate the frivolity of the ungodly, who always flatter themselves with the hope of escaping when there is a threatening of any general calamity, the prophet first of all cuts off all possibilities whatever in Amos 9:1-4, without mentioning the exceptions; and it is not till afterwards that the promise is introduced that the house of Israel shall not be utterly annihilated, whereby the general threat is limited to sinners, and the prospect of deliverance and preservation through the mercy of God is opened to the righteous. The historical realization or fulfilment of this threat took place, so far as Israel of the ten tribes was concerned, when their kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians, and in the case of Judah, at the overthrow of the kingdom and temple by the Chaldeans; and the shaking of Israel in the sieve is still being fulfilled upon the Jews who are dispersed among all nations.
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