Amos 7
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

-1Amos 7:1 to Amos 9:10. A series of visions, interrupted in Amos 7:10-17 by an historical episode, and followed in each case by longer or shorter explanatory comments, intended to reinforce, under an effective symbolism, the lesson, which Amos found so hard to impress, that the judgement, viz., which he had announced as impending upon Israel could now no longer be averted, and that though Jehovah once and again (Amos 7:3; Amos 7:6) had “repented” of His purpose, He could do so no more: the time for mercy had now passed by.

-2Amos 9:11-15. An epilogue, containing the promise of a brighter future which is to begin for Israel, when the present troubles are passed away.

The vision, as remarked in the note on ch. Amos 1:1, was a frequent mode of prophetic intuition (comp. Hosea 12:10). The vision is a projection or creation of the mind, analogous to the dream: the subject falls into a state of trance, or ecstasy[181], in which the channels connecting the brain with external objects are closed; the conscious operation of the senses is consequently in abeyance; the power of the will to guide thought is relaxed[182]: on the other hand the imagination, or faculty of combining images and ideas, which have been previously apprehended, into new forms, is abnormally active; and the pictures created by it stand out the more vividly, not being contrasted with the sharper impressions produced in a waking state by the senses. In other words, the vision may be described as a combination into new forms, under the influence of a determining impulse, of the images and impressions with which the mind, through its waking experience, is stored. In a prophetic vision, the determining impulse will have been due to the operation of the revealing Spirit; in the case of Amos, as we may suppose, the thought of an impending judgement, which, borne in upon him at the time when Jehovah’s ‘hand’ seized him, determined the direction taken by his imagination, and took shape accordingly in the concrete forms presented in these visions. It is in agreement with the character of the vision, as thus explained, that its imagery is generally supplied by the surroundings, amid which the prophet who experiences it lived himself; the basis of Isaiah’s vision (ch. 6) is thus the Temple of Jerusalem (though what he sees is not of course an exact copy of it); the forms described by Ezekiel (ch. 1) are modelled upon the sculptured figures of Babylonia; and the material imagery in Amos’ visions is suggested similarly by objects, or scenes, with which the prophet would himself be familiar. The vision is thus the forcible symbolic presentation of a prophetic truth. Comp. W. R. Smith, Prophets, p. 219 ff.

[181] The prophets, feeling themselves, when they fell into this state, to be under the influence of an uncontrollable power, speak of “Jehovah’s hand coming (or being strong) upon” them, Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:14; Ezekiel 3:22; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:1 (notice how each time the phrase is followed by the description of a vision); cf. 2 Kings 3:15.

[182] But, in the case of the prophets, the reason was not, as in the Greek μάντις, uncreated; see Oehler, Theol. of the O. T., §§ 207, 209.

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.
1. Thus did the Lord Jehovah shew me] The same formula, Amos 7:4; Amos 7:7, Amos 8:1. Cf. “shewed me” (also in the description of a vision), Jeremiah 24:1; Zechariah 3:1. Lit. caused me to see, the correlative of saw (râ’âh), viz. in a vision, 1 Kings 22:17; 1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:1; Ezekiel 1:4; Ezekiel 8:2; Zechariah 1:18; Zechariah 2:1, &c.

was forming] Properly forming as a potter, a metaphor often applied to the creative operations of God: see on Amos 4:13. The participle (the force of which is lost in the English version) represents the action as in progress, at the time when Amos saw it in vision.

locusts] Hebrew has many different terms for locust, which cannot now in all cases be exactly distinguished: the word used here (gôbay) perhaps denoted in particular locusts in the ‘larva’-stage, when they were first hatched (comp. the Excursus above, p. 86, No. 5). The derivation of the word is uncertain[183].

[183] In Arabic jabâ is to collect, and jaba’a is said of a serpent or other animal coming forth suddenly from its hole, as also of locusts coming suddenly upon a country, and from each of these words is derived a name for locusts, denoting them either as collecting anything by eating it, or as coming forth suddenly—whether of their swarming forth from the ground, when the warmth of spring hatches the eggs, or of their sudden arrival in a country from elsewhere (see Lane, Arab. Lex. p. 379a top, and pp. 372e top, 373a). It is possible (but not certain) that the Hebrew words referred to above are derived from one of these roots: they would be connected most easily with the first.

in the beginning of the coming up of the latter growth] The precise meaning of léḳesh is uncertain: it may (as in Syriac) denote the after-math, or grass which springs up after the first crop has been cut; or it may denote the spring-crops in general, which are matured under the influence of the malḳôsh, or “latter rain” (see on Joel 2:23), of March and April. In either case the locusts are represented as appearing at a critical moment, and destroying for the year the crops owned by private Israelites. The ‘king’s mowings’ appear to have been “a tribute in kind levied by the kings of Israel on the spring herbage, as provender for their cavalry (cf. 1 Kings 18:5). The Roman governors of Syria levied similarly a tax on pasture-land, in the month Nisan, as food for their horses: see Bruns and Sachau, Syr.-Röm. Rechtsbuch, Text L, § 121; Wright, Notulae Syriacae (1887), p. 6” (W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites, p. 228, ed. 2, p. 246). After this tax had been paid, every one would naturally expect to be able to cut his grass for his own use. But the locusts came and devoured it.

1–3. The first vision. The devouring locusts.

And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
2. The locusts had eaten up all the herb of the land (Exodus 10:12; Exodus 10:15), when Amos intercedes on behalf of his people, urging its inability to recover itself, if the work of destruction should still continue. The term herb is not limited to grass, but denotes green herbage generally (with the exception of trees): see Genesis 1:11; Genesis 1:29[184].

[184] The Hebrew of והיה אם כלה is peculiar, and can scarcely be right. C. C. Torrey proposes a plausible emendation (Journ. of Bibl. Lit., 1894, p. 63): וַיְהִי הֻא מְכַלֶּה “and it came to pass, as they were making an end,” &c.

how (lit. as who) shall Jacob stand? for he is small] The resources of the nation are not sufficient to enable it to withstand the further progress of calamity.

The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.
3. concerning this] viz. concerning the further undefined calamity, which He had purposed, and of which Amos had rightly interpreted the locusts as being the harbinger. “God is said to repent” (lit., as Arabic seems to shew, to sigh deeply, or groan) “upon (or over) evil, which He has either inflicted (Deuteronomy 32:36), or has said that He would inflict (Exodus 32:12, Joel 2:13, Jonah 3:10, Jeremiah 18:8), and which, upon repentance or prayer, He suspends or checks” (Pusey).

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.
4–6. The second vision. The devouring fire.

called to contend by fire] Jehovah arraigns His people: and fire is the agent which he summons against them (cf. to dispute, or litigate, with fire, Isaiah 66:16). For the idea of Jehovah’s contending (in a forensic sense) with His people, comp. Isaiah 3:13; Jeremiah 2:9; Hosea 4:1; Micah 6:2 (where the corresponding substantive is rendered controversy); and for calleth, comp. on Amos 7:8.

and it devoured the great deep, and would have devoured the portion] The imagery is suggested, no doubt, by the conflagrations which, in the East, break out in field and forest during the dry season (Joel 1:19-20), and spread with alarming rapidity (comp. Psalm 83:14, Isaiah 9:18; and see Thomson, The Land and the Book, ii. 291–293). So fierce was the flame thus kindled that it even dried up the ‘great deep’ (Genesis 7:11), the subterranean waters upon which the Hebrews imagined the earth to rest (Genesis 1:7; Exodus 20:4; Psalm 24:2), and whence they supposed all its springs and fountains to have their supply; when these were exhausted, “it seemed as if the solid framework of the land, described with very apt pathos as the Portion (i.e. the portion [Micah 2:3, &c.] assigned by God to His people), would be the next to disappear” (G. A. Smith, p. 111). The judgement is thus a more severe one than that of the locusts.

Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
5, 6. Again the prophet intercedes, in the same words as before, except that he does not pray that God would forgive His people, but that He would cease, desist, from His work of judgement. And, once more, the intercession of Amos obtains a mitigation of the punishment.

The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.
7. upon] or leaning over (cf. Amos 9:1), i.e. (R.V.) beside. The prophet sees Jehovah stationed (Genesis 28:13; Isaiah 3:13 a, Isaiah 21:8 b),—niẓẓâb, implying a rather more set and formal attitude than ‘ômçd, ‘standing,’—beside a plummet-wall (i.e. a wall built to the plummet), and holding a plummet in his hand: the design of the vision is thus to represent Him as a builder, whose aim is to secure that everything with which he has to do is built true. The application of the figure follows in Amos 7:8.

7–9. The third vision. The plumb-line. Here Amos does not see the calamity itself, but only the symbol that it is decreed (cf. the almond-tree, and the seething pot, in Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 1:13).

And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
8. what seest thou?] The question is addressed to Amos for the purpose of attaching the explanation of the symbol to the answer, which he is naturally expected to give correctly (exactly Song of Solomon 8:2; Jeremiah 1:11; Jeremiah 1:13; Jeremiah 24:3).

I am setting a plummet, &c.] The plummet being a test of what is perpendicular, it is a standard by which either to build up, or to pull down: Jehovah is already, He says, setting (the verb in the Hebrew is a participle) a plummet in the very midst of His people (i.e. applying to it a crucial moral test); and whatever does not conform to its standard will be destroyed: the condition of the nation is such that He will not again pass over its offences, as He has done before. For the figure, comp. Isaiah 28:17, “And I will make judgement the measuring-line, and righteousness the weight (plummet); and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,” &c.; Isaiah 34:11, “He shall stretch out upon it [Edom] the measuring-line of wasteness, and the stones (plummet) of emptiness”; 2 Kings 21:13, “And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring-line of Samaria, and the weight (plummet) of the house of Ahab,” i.e. they will be devoted to destruction.

pass by them] pardon it (the people): lit. pass over (viz. its transgressions, see Micah 7:18, Proverbs 19:11) for it: Song of Solomon 8:2. This time no opportunity is given to Amos to intercede: before he can say anything, the final doom, I will not again any more pardon it, is pronounced irrevocably.

And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
9. high places] local sanctuaries, usually situated on eminences (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10 f.), a little outside the towns to which they belonged (cf. 1 Samuel 9:12; 1 Samuel 9:14; 1 Samuel 9:19; 1 Samuel 9:25; 1 Samuel 10:5), sometimes, where no natural eminence was available, erected, it is probable, upon artificial mounds (cf. Jeremiah 7:31; 2 Kings 17:9). The custom of worshipping at such spots was borrowed, as seems evident (cf. Deuteronomy 12:2), from the Canaanites: it also prevailed in Moab (Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 16:12 : Mesha also, in his Inscription, Isaiah 50:3, tells us that he had “made a high-place” for his god Chemosh). The sanctuaries in question consisted of a “house,” or shrine (1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:32), with an altar, and were served by priests (1 Kings 12:31-33; 1 Kings 13:33; 2 Kings 23:9): they are often alluded to as popular places of sacrifice, especially during the period of the monarchy (1 Sam. ll. cc.; 1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 12:3; 2 Kings 14:4; 2 Kings 15:4, &c.). Worship at such local sanctuaries, down to the 7th cent. b.c., in so far as it was not contaminated with heathen elements, was regarded as quite regular (comp. Exodus 20:24; 1 Samuel 9:13, where Samuel presides at and blesses the sacrifice at such a bâmâh; 1 Kings 3:4; 1 Kings 18:30); but under the centralizing influence of Deuteronomy, a change came in, and it was treated as illegitimate. The compiler of the Book of Kings, in his condemnation of the worship at the high-places, reflects the Deuteronomic standpoint. Amos, in so far as he refers to the bâmôth with disparagement, does so, not on account of their conflicting with the Deuteronomic law of the single sanctuary, but on account of the unspiritual character of the worship carried on at them. Comp. Nowack, Heb. Arch. ii. 12–14.

Isaac] As in Amos 7:16, a poetic synonym of Israel (not so elsewhere).

and I will rise, &c.] For the expression, cf. Isaiah 30:2; for the thought, Hosea 1:4, where the same dissatisfaction with the dynasty of Jehu finds expression.

with the sword] Jehovah’s agent, then, will be the army of an invader, the nation, viz., whom in Amos 6:14 He says that He will “raise up” against Israel.

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
10. Amos hath conspired, &c.] Amos had not, as a matter of fact, done this: he had not himself spoken treasonably against the king, or made any attempt upon his life, nor had he incited others to rebel against him. But he had foretold disaster for the house of Jeroboam, and threatened Israel generally with exile; hence disaffected spirits might readily have supposed that his words merely gave expression to his wishes, and that in acting so as to give them effect, they were but promoting the purposes of Providence. He seemed, consequently, in Amaziah’s eyes, to be guilty of constructive treason; and this formed a colourable pretext for making a representation to the king, which Amaziah hoped would be followed by an order for his immediate expulsion from the country.

in the midst of the house of Israel] where his influence would be the greatest: an aggravation of his offence.

the land is not able to bear (lit. contain) all his words] They are too numerous, and too monstrous, to be tolerated.

10–17. A historical episode, intimately connected with the preceding visions, and arising out of them. In particular, Amos, in explaining the last of these visions, had spoken so unambiguously, even, in appearance, threatening the person of the king, that Amaziah, the priest of Beth-el, denounces him to Jeroboam II., upon a charge of conspiracy; and upon the king’s taking no notice of the accusation, takes it upon himself to bid the prophet leave Israel and return to his own country. Amos replies that he has been commissioned by Jehovah to speak as he has done, and re-affirms, with even greater emphasis, his former prediction, with reference in particular to the fate in store for Amaziah’s own family and possessions.

For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.
11. Jeroboam shall die by the sword] This had not been said by Amos,—at least, if the extant book of his prophecies contains all that he said upon the subject. It was the house of Jeroboam which Amos had threatened in Amos 7:9 : but Amaziah, it seems, gives the prophecy a more personal character, hoping thereby to produce a more powerful effect upon the king.

go into exile away from his land] See Amos 5:5; Amos 5:27, Amos 6:7.

Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
12–13. Jeroboam apparently took no account of the priest’s message. Accordingly Amaziah himself endeavours to induce Amos to leave the country.

O thou seer] or gazer (ḥôzeh, not rô’eh, ‘seer,’ 1 Samuel 9:9, though a synonym of it; see Isaiah 30:10, quoted on Amos 1:1). Rô’eh is used in 1 Samuel 9:9; 1 Samuel 9:11; 1 Samuel 9:18-19 of Samuel, and we are told in Amos 7:9 that it was the oldest designation of the prophet; but it occurs elsewhere only in 1 Chronicles 9:22; 1 Chronicles 26:28; 1 Chronicles 29:29 (each time as an epithet of Samuel); 2 Chronicles 16:7; 2 Chronicles 16:10 (of Hanani); and in the plural, Isaiah 30:10. Ḥôzeh is used of Gad, 2 Samuel 24:11 = 1 Chronicles 21:9 (‘David’s ḥôzeh’); 2 Chronicles 29:25 (‘the king’s ḥôzeh’); Heman, 1 Chronicles 25:5 (‘the king’s ḥôzeh’); Iddo, 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15; Jehu, son of Hanani, 2 Chronicles 19:2; Asaph, 2 Chronicles 29:30; Jeduthun, 2 Chronicles 30:15; and in the plural, Isaiah 29:10 ("" prophets), 2 Chronicles 30:10 ("" rô’îm); Micah 3:7 ("" diviners); 2 Chronicles 33:18, and (prob.) 19. Both words are thus rare in the pre-exilic literature, rô’eh being applied as a title only to Samuel, and ḥôzeh only to Gad: their revival in the late Chronicles is remarkable. Here ḥôzeh is used probably on account of the visions, which Amos had just related, perhaps also with a touch of irony, as though implying that he was (as we might say) a “visionary,” and anticipated evils which were in reality imaginary.

into the land of Judah] Amos may be at liberty to say what he pleases in his own country: predictions of Israel’s fall might not be unacceptable there; let him not utter them in Jeroboam’s capital.

eat bread] i.e. make thy living. Amaziah implies that prophecy was a trade or profession. Already in early times we know that those who consulted a rô’eh paid a fee for his advice (1 Samuel 9:7-8); and in the middle period of the monarchy there are allusions to the fact that the prophets who echoed the sentiments of the people gained popularity, and were rewarded accordingly: see Isaiah 30:10 (Isaiah’s political teaching was obnoxious to the people, and they would not listen to him: they wished for ‘seers’ who would “see” for them “smooth things,” i.e. visions of material prosperity, the success of their own plans, &c.); Micah 3:5 (the prophets who “bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and whoso putteth not into their mouths, they prepare war against him”; i.e. who prophesy in accordance with the fee that they receive), 11 (“the prophets thereof divine for money”); Ezekiel 13:19. Comp. also 1 Kings 22:13; Jeremiah 23:16-17; Jeremiah 28:1-4; Jeremiah 29:8 f. The genuine prophets were, of course, superior to all such considerations; they rebuked the people, when they deserved it, for their sins, and they uttered predictions which they felt to be true, heedless of the temper in which they might be received by those who heard them. But Amaziah insinuates that Amos is one of those prophets who lived upon popularity: he bids him, therefore, ironically, betake himself to Judah, where his words spoken against Ephraim will be listened to with satisfaction, and will not remain unrewarded. Baur quotes the German proverb, “Wess Brod ich ess’, dess Lied ich sing.”

But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.
13. for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a national temple] Lit. the temple of the kingdom. Beth-el was the principal sanctuary of the northern kingdom, under the special patronage and support of the king.

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
14. I was no prophet, and I was no prophet’s son] i.e. not one of the “sons of the prophets,” as the companies, or guilds, of prophets, at Beth-el, Gilgal, and other places, are called in the Book of Kings (1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 2:5; 2 Kings 2:7; 2 Kings 2:15; 2 Kings 4:1; 2 Kings 4:38; 2 Kings 5:22; 2 Kings 6:1; 2 Kings 9:1). In Semitic languages ‘son’ is often used in the figurative sense of belonging to: thus in Syriac bar naggârê, ‘a son of the carpenters,’ means a member of a carpenters’ guild. Amos disclaims being a prophet by trade or profession, who might, for instance, have adopted his vocation without any special fitness, or inward call, or who might have even prosecuted it solely with a view to the material advantages accruing from it: no motives such as these had actuated him; he was a simple herdsman, and cultivator of sycomore trees; and he was following the flock, at the moment when the summons came, bidding him be a prophet to Jehovah’s people.

an herdman] Lit. a cow- (or ox-) herd; but it is very possible, especially in view of the next verse (“from following the flock”), that bôḳçr (בקר) is here an error for nôḳçd (נקד), the rare word used in Amos 1:1 to describe Amos as a keeper of the peculiar breed of sheep called naḳad.

and a dresser (R.V.) of sycomores] The sycomore (or “fig-mulberry”)—not our tree of the same name—was a common (Isaiah 9:10; 1 Kings 10:27), but useful tree, which grew abundantly in the mild climate of the Shephçlâh, or Maritime Plain (1 Ki. l.c.; 1 Chronicles 27:28), as it does still in that of the deep Jordan valley: in Egypt, where it also grew (Psalm 78:47), and where it is found still, its wood was used for doors, boxes, coffins, and articles of furniture (Wilkinson-Birch, Anc. Eg., ii. 416). It attains the size of a walnut-tree, has wide-spreading branches, and, on account of its shade, is often planted by the way-side (cf. Luke 19:4). The fruit grows, not on the branches, but on little sprigs rising directly out of the stem, and in clusters like the grape (see the representation in the Dict. of the Bible, s.v.): it is something like a small fig, in shape and size, but insipid and woody in taste. The fruit is infested with an insect (the Sycophaga crassipes), and till the ‘eye’ or top has been punctured, so that the insects may escape, it is not eatable[185]. This operation, it is probable, is what is here alluded to. Bôlçs is a verb derived from balas, which in Ethiopic means a fig, or (sometimes) a sycomore (see Dillmann’s Lex. Aeth., col. 487), and in Arabic denotes a species of fig; in Hebrew, it may be inferred that it denoted the similarly shaped fruit of the sycomore, and the derived verb will have signified to deal with, handle, or dress the fruit of the sycomore. The LXX. having no doubt in view the method of rendering the fruit edible, referred to above, render by κνίζων, pricking or nipping (hence Vulg. vellicans)[186].

[185] Cheyne, ap. W. R. Smith, Proph., ed. 2, p. 396.

[186] Theophrastus and Dioscorides, in their descriptions of the process, use a compound of the same verb, ἐπικνίζω. Theoph. iv. 2 πέττειν οὐ δύναται ἐὰν μὴ ἐπικνισθῇἀλλʼ ἔχοντες ὄνυχας σιδηρᾶς ἐπικνίζουσιν ἆ δʼ ἆν ἐπικνισθῇτεταρταῖα πεττεται: Diosc. i. 180 φέρει δὲ κάρπον μὴ πεπαινόμενον δίχα τοῦ ἐπικνισθῆναι ὄνυχι, ἢ σιδήρφ. Cf. Bochart, Hieroz. ii. 39. (p. 384; 406 Rosenm.).

Tekoa is however much too cold for sycomores to have ever grown there: the tree is not found in Syria above 1000 ft. above the sea, and Tekoa is more than twice as high as that. We must suppose the “naḳad-keepers of Tekoa” (Amos 1:1) to have owned lands in the ‘wilderness’ or pasture-ground, stretching down to the Dead Sea on the east (above, p. 126); and here, in some sufficiently sheltered situation, must have grown the sycomore-trees, which the prophet ‘dressed.’

14–17. Amos’ retort.

And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
15. It was while he was engaged in the ordinary occupations of his rustic life, that he became conscious of a call, which he could not but obey (cf. Amos 3:8), to become the prophet of Jehovah’s people, Israel.

from following the flock] Cf. (of David) 2 Samuel 7:8; Psalm 78:71.

Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
16. drop not thy word] The same expression, also used figuratively of a prophetic utterance, in Micah 2:6; Micah 2:11 and Ezekiel 20:46; Ezekiel 21:2 [Heb. 21:2, 7]. It was suggested probably by the flow of words, which were apt to stream from the prophets’ lips, when they were under the influence of the prophetic inspiration.

16–17. Amaziah had sought to silence Amos: Amos, speaking in the name of the God who had thus called him to be His prophet, so far from modifying or withdrawing his previous utterances, reaffirms them even more emphatically and distinctly than before.

Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
17. Thy wife shall be a harlot &c.] As before (Amos 6:8), the vision of a captured city rises before him: Amaziah’s wife will be treated as a harlot by the victorious conquerors (cf. Isaiah 13:16; Zechariah 14:2); his children, daughters as well as sons, will perish by the sword; his lands will be distributed to new occupants; he himself will die in a foreign land; finally, Israel itself will go into exile. “In the city heightens the disgrace for the principal lady in the place” (Wellh.).

divided by (measuring-)line] Cf. Micah 2:4 (end); Jeremiah 6:12; and see 2 Kings 17:24.

in an unclean land] A foreign land is regarded as ‘unclean,’ because Jehovah could not be properly worshipped in it (cf. 1 Samuel 26:19 end): no presence of Jehovah sanctified it; there were no sanctuaries in it dedicated to Him; consequently, even food eaten in it was ‘unclean’ likewise, for it was not hallowed by part of it being brought into His house, and offered to Him. See Hosea 9:3-4 (R.V. marg.); Ezekiel 4:13, with Cheyne’s and Davidson’s notes respectively; also O.T.J.C[187][188], pp. 249 f.

[187] .T.J.C. … W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

[188] … W. Robertson Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, ed. 2, 1892.

and Israel shall surely go into exile away from his land] Amos repeats exactly the words placed in his mouth by Amaziah in Amos 7:11.

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