As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A cage.—The large wicker basket (Amos 8:1-2) in which the fowler kept the birds he had caught, or, possibly, used for decoy-birds.
rich—(Ps 73:12, 18-20).As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit, i.e. they fill up their houses with the goods and wealth of those that they deceive and overreach; ill-gotten goods; a metonymy of the efficient; as the fowler carries his cage along with him, wherein he puts the birds which he catcheth, to keep safe that they get not away, when once they are caught, as also by their appearance and singing to entice others.
Therefore they are become great, and waxen rich; showing how and in what manner they got their riches, therefore, or by this means; such as are gotten by a lying tongue, Proverbs 21:6, called the treasures of wickedness, Micah 6:10. Amos 8:1 and may here design one in which birds taken in snares, or by hawking, were put. The Septuagint version, and those that follow it, render it, "a snare": which agrees with what goes before. It seems to intend a decoy, in which many birds are put to allure others; and, what with them, and those that are drawn in by them, it becomes very full; and this sense of the comparison is favoured by the rendition or application, which follows:
so are their houses full of deceit; of mammon, gathered by deceit, as Kimchi interprets it; ungodly mammon; riches got in a fraudulent way, by cozening and cheating, tricking and overreaching:
therefore they are become great; in worldly things, and in the esteem of men, and in their own opinion, though of no account with God:
and waxen rich; not with the true riches, the riches of grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ, his durable riches and righteousness; nor indeed with the riches of the world, honestly and lawfully gotten; but with unrighteous mammon.As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. cage] The Hebrew word occurs elsewhere only in Amos (Jeremiah 8:1), “a basket of summer fruit.” Here, however, Cheyne (Pulpit Comm., ad loc.), quoting Hitzig, thinks that “the cage was at the same time a trap.” He quotes Sir 11:30 (see note in C.B.), “As a decoy partridge in a cage,” where the Greek word used is that with which LXX render “baskets” in Jeremiah 6:9.
deceit] riches won by craft, as birds by the fowler.Verse 27. - A cage. The Hebrew word klub is used in Amos 8:1 for a basket such as was used for fruit; it seems to be the parent of the Greek word κλωβός, used in the 'Anthology' for a bird-cage. The root means to plait or braid; hence some sort of basket-work seems to be meant. Connecting this with the preceding verse, Hitzig seems right in inferring that the "cage" was at the same time a trap (comp. Ecclus. 11:30, "Like as a partridge taken in a cage ἐν καρτάλλῳ, a peculiar kind of basket], so is the heart of the proud"). Canon Tristram suggests that there is an allusion to decoy-birds, which are still much employed in Syria, and are carefully trained for their office ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 163), But this seems to go beyond the text. Deceit; i.e. the goods obtained by deceit. Jeremiah 5:20 and Jeremiah 5:21, refers to the chiding statement from Jeremiah 5:23 onwards, that the people fears not God. The form of address, people foolish and without understanding (cf. Jeremiah 4:22; Hosea 7:11), is made cutting, in order, if possible, to bring the people yet to their senses. The following clauses, "they have eyes," etc., depict spiritual blindness and deafness, as in Ezekiel 12:22; cf. Deuteronomy 29:3. Blindness is shown in that they see not the government of God's almighty power in nature; deafness, in that they hear not the voice of God in His word. They have no fear even of the God whose power has in the sand set an impassable barrier for the mighty waves of the sea. "Me" is put first for emphasis. The waves beat against their appointed barrier, but are not able, sc. to pass it.
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