Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Shall I count them pure?—Rather, Can I be innocent with the deceitful balances? The enactments about weights were very stringently expressed in the Law, both affirmatively and negatively: e.g., in Leviticus 19:35-36, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have.” And, “thou shalt not have in thy house divers weights,” . . . and “divers measures, a great and small” (Deuteronomy 25:13-14).Leviticus 19:35-36; and, "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteousness are an abomination unto the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy 25:13, Deuteronomy 25:15-16, add Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10). Yet are not these things common even now?
the bag—in which weights used to be carried, as well as money (De 25:13; Pr 16:11).Shall I? it may have some reference to the prophet, as speaking of himself, appointed of God to be a reprover and impartial censurer of the sins of this people; When I am so to judge of them by their doings, shall I flatter them, and say they are better than they are? but it better refers to God himself.
Count them pure; approve, justify, or acquit them, as if they were righteous, and not worthy to be punished? Shall I let them escape who are such unjust persons? This question implieth a strong negation.
The wicked balances: this kind is put for all the rest, wherewith things bought and sold were apportioned, and by which buyers and sellers were ascertained how much they bought.
The bag; in which they both kept their weights at home, and carried them about with them.
Deceitful weights, Heb. stones of deceit; they did (as in many places with us men do) use stones for weights, and this unjust people did cheat both at home and abroad, both the balance and its weights were deceitful, and condemned, Leviticus 19:35,36 Deu 25:13-16.
and with the bag of deceitful weights? or "stones" (o); which were used in weighing goods, and which were deceitful, when a heavier was used in buying, and a lighter in selling. So the Targum,
"and with the bag, in which are weights greater and lesser;''
condemned in Deuteronomy 25:13.Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. Shall I count them pure …] This rendering is barely defensible, even if we alter the vowel-points. It was dictated by the very natural feeling that the speaker ought to be the same person as in Micah 6:10. Keil thinks that the reading of the Hebrew text may be justified, if we suppose the speaker to be the prophet speaking as the representative of the human conscience. The text-reading is, Can I be pure, &c., which, according to this commentator, means ‘Can a man be pure?’ It is simpler, however, and in accordance with what we know of the confusions of Hebrew pronunciation, to follow the Septuagint, the Peshito, and the Targum, and restore the third person instead of the first; unless, looking at Micah 6:12, we prefer to read the verb in the second person, ‘Canst thou (O Jerusalem) be pure.’ For the prophet continues, ‘The rich men thereof’ (i.e. of Jerusalem).Verse 11. - Shall I count them pure? literally, Shall I be pure? The clause is obscure. The Authorized Version regards the speaker as the same as in ver. 10, and translates with some violence to the text. It may be that the prophet speaks as the representative of the awakened transgressor, "Can I be guiltless with such deceit about me?" But the sudden change of personification and of state of feeling is very harsh. Hence some follow Jerome in regarding God as the speaker, and rendering, "Shall I justify the wicked balance?" others, the Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee, Αἰ δικαιωθήσεται ἐν ζυγῷ ἄνομος; "Shall the wicked be justified by the balance?" Cheyne is inclined to read the verb in the second person, "Canst thou (O Jerusalem) be pure?" since in the next verse the prophet proceeds, "the rich men thereof" (i.e. of Jerusalem). If we retain the present reading, "Can I be innocent?" we must consider the question as put, for effect's sake, in the mouth of one of the rich oppressors. Jerome's translation is contrary to the use of the verb, which is always intransitive in kal. 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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