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James Comper Gray.

The Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 10) online

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away no longer. threshed, etc.,* see 2 Ki. x. 32, 33. (i)
fire, c used here as a symbol of destructive calamities, coming in
various forms. (5) bar, wh. fastens the city-gate, and so lay
the city at the command of its enemy, plain of Aven, Ccele
Syria, the country between Libanus and Anti-Libanus. rf Kir,
Is. xxii. 6.'

Damascus (v. 5). — Rather more than a century ago, Mr.
Maundrell visited the mountains of Lebanon. Having pro-
ceeded about half an hour through the olive yards of Sidon, he
and his party came to the foot of Mount Libanus. They had an
easy ascent for two hours, after which it grew more steep and
difficult ; in about an hour and a half more, they came to a
fountain of water, where they encamped for the night. Next
day, after ascending for three hours, they reached the highest
ridge of the mountain, where the snow lay by the side of the
road. They began immediately to descend on the other side, and
in two hours came to a small village, where a fine brook, gush-
ing at once from the side of the mountain, rushes dowm into the
valley below, and after flowing about two leagues, loses itself
in the river Letane. The valley is called Bocat. and seems to be
the same with the Bicah-Aven of the Prophet : " I will break
also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the
plain (rather the vale) of Aven, and him that holdeth the
sceptre from the house of Eden." The neighbourhood of Damas-
cus, and particularly a place near it. which, in the time of
Maundrell, still bore the name of Eden, renders his conjecture
extremely probable. It might also have the name of Aven.
which signifies vanity, from the idolatrous worship of Baal
practised at Balbec or Heliopolis, which is situated in this valley/



a " The word is
from an Arab
root, to mart with

pricks, or, assume
say, a sp
sheep and goats
Ul-shapen and
short-footed, but
distinguished by
their wool. " —
Fausset.

b Joaephtu relates
it as a tradition
among the Jews
that this earth-
quake -was sent
as a punishment
for Uzziah'a pre-
sumption in in-
vading the
pr est's office.
2 Chr. xxvi. 18,
19."— Loiclh.
c Light boothlike
structures, put
up where the
sheep are fed for
a time.
d Dr. Thomas,
a It is a com-
mon way of
speaking, to use
a certain number
for an uncertain,
e.g. Job v. 19;
Pr. xxx. 15, 18,
21, 29.

b "The thresher
was a sort of
wain, that moves
on iron wheels

set with teeth, -o
that it threshes
out the corn, and
breaks the straw
in pieces.*'— S.
Jerome.

c Xu. xxi. 28;
De. xxxii. 22.

d " Eden is prob.
Hi- it -el-ja n n e
(House of Para-
dise) situated B|
hours from I >a-
niascus on the
w ay from
Bauiaa." -Porter.

e 2 Ki. xvi. 9.

fPaxton.



138



AMOS.



[Cap. i. 6-12,



a " Ashdod stood
about 3 miles
from the Medi-
terranean, mid-
way between
Joppa and Gaza,
on the great high
road from Egypt
into Palestine.
It was hence a
place of impor-
tance, and was
frequently be-
sieged." — Ayre.
b " The Hebrew
name given to
these rulers of
the five combined
Phil, cities, is
Semi, or Axle."
— Spk. Com.
" Nature bids me
love myself and
hate all that hurt
me; reason bids
me love my
friends and hate
those that envy
me : religion bids
me love all and
hate none. Na-
ture showeth
care, reason wit,
religion love." —
Warwick,
e Dr. Moberly.

a Is. xxiii. l,etc;
Je. xlvii. 4 ; Eze.
xxvi.2— 21,xxvii.
2—36, xxviii. 1—
26.

t> Percy Artec.



a For the enmity
of Edom to Israel
comp. 2 Chr.
xxviii. 17; Je.
xlix. 7 ; Eze. xxv.
12, xxxv. 2 ; Joel
iiL 19 ; Ob. v. 1—
11.

b t; Edom was a
kingdom 500 yrs.
before there
reigned any king
in Israel. Now
it is a field of
waste desola-
tiona The sand



6 — 8. (6) Gaza, Ge. x. 19 ; Jos. xiii. 3. carried, etc.. comp.
2 Chr. xxi. 16, 17 ; Joel iii. 6. (7) fire, figure of speech as in
v. 4. (8) Ashdod," Jos. xv. 46, 47. Celebrated for its worship
of Dagon. holdeth the sceptre, i.e. the prince, or lord, ol
the place. 6 Ashkelon, Ju. i. 18. In later times famous for
the worship of Derceto. the Syrian Yenus. Ekron, Jos. xiii. 3=
In the plain country, on the N.W. border of Judah. remnant,
comp. Eze. xxv. 16 ; Je. xlvii. 4.

Slavery : moral and physical. — What slavery is like the slavery
of sin ? In every other case there is hope : there are lulls, at
least, and intervals of anguish ; there are alleviations, though
perhaps they may be few and rare ; there is patience, there is
prayer ; there may be the comfort of the cherished Spirit of God
in the inner heart ; there is death, in which the consummation
of earthly tyranny works its own cure, and the slave is free for
ever : but in the slavery of sin, there is no hope, no lull, no
check, no flight, no patience, no prayer, no inward peace of a
religious spirit counterbalancing the outward misery of the
fettered limbs ; and death, the limit of the one slavery, is but
the terrible "beginning of the end" of t<he other ; when sin,
which has been allowed to rule in the heart and members during
life, declares itself visibly and unmistakably to be the very-
tyrant of souls himself, the Prince of Darkness, to whose sway
his slave is consigned to all eternity. 6

9, 10. (9) Tyrns, Jos. xix. 29.* brotherly covenant, see
1 Ki. v. 1, 12, ix. 13. (10) fire, etc.. fulfilled when it was taken
by Nebuc. after a thirteen years' siege.

The Marquess of Hastings. — Although the Marquess of Has-
tings was always fond of the public service, it was never for the
sake of private gain ; on the contrary, his sacrifices to the public
interest often injured his fortune. When in the early period of
the French revolution he had a nominal command of English
troops and French emigrants at Southampton his private ex-
penditure exceeded £30,000 : yet such was his delicacy and dis-
interestedness that he would not accept either pay, emolument,
or even patronage. In the government of India, to which the
Marquess of Hastings has since been appointed, the same zeal for
the public service, and the same disregard of all personal advan-
tages, has distinguished his government : as a proof of this it is
only necessary to state that he relinquished, for the public good,
the sum of about £100,000, to which he was entitled as prize
money during one of his successful military campaigns in India.*

11, 12. (11) Edom, Ge. xxv. 30. his brother, see Nu. *x.
14. a cast . . pity, Ileb. " corrupted his compassions." (12)
Teman . . Bozrah, two principal cities of Edom. 6 See Ge.
xxxvi. 11, 33.

Advantage of pity. — When the Grecians had won Troy, before
they fell to plunder it, they gave every man leave to bear his
burden out of what he would. And. first of all, iEneas marched
out. carrying his household gods ; which when they saw, and
that he did them no great damage thereby, they bade him take
another burthen ; which he did, and returned with his old father,
Anchises. on his back, and his young son Ascanius in hand.
Which the Grecians seeing, passed by his house, as Joshua did
by the house of Rahab, saying, that no man should hurt him



Cap. 11. 1-3.]



AMOS.



139



that was so religious. And thus that man that hath his mind
set on his God shall receive no hurt by his enemy ; for, when a
man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at
peace with him. Nay, be shall be " in league with the stones of
the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with him.''
And, which is yet more, God will break the bow and the sword,
and snap the spear asunder : he will make all those terrible in-
struments of war so unserviceable, that they shall lie down
quietly by him, not offering the least hurt that may be. c
Radiancy of pity. —

No radiant pearl which crested fortune wears,
No gem that, twinkling, hangs from beauty's ears,
Not the bright stars which night's blue arch adorn,
Nor rising suns that gild the vernal morn,
Shine with such lustre as the tear that treaks
For others' woe down virtue's manly cheeks.*
13—15. (13) Ammon, Ge. xix. 38. Dwelling in the moun-
tainous country round the sources of the Anion and the Jabbok,
Nu. xxi. 24 ; De. ii. 20. because, etc., "As the Ammonites had
been in league with the Syrians in David's time," it is not im-
probable that they may have joined Hazael in his atrocious
cruelty towards the Gileadites." b (14) Kabbah, De. iii. 11.
tempest, etc., figs, of an irresistible destructions (15) king,
Je. xlix. 3. Perhaps Molech, or Malchom, the Ammonite god, is
here meant.

Note on v. 13. — Margin, for " ripped," " divided the mountains."
It was common in the ancient w r ars thus to treat women, but in
general the Orientals are very kind to their wives in the state
alluded to. Nay, even to animals in that condition, they are
very tender : a man to beat his cow when with calf, would be i
called a great sinner ; and to kill a goat or a sheep when with
young, is altogether out of the question. The Hindoo hunters
will not destroy wild animals when in that state. The term in
the margin is applied to that condition. "In the tenth moon
the child fell from the mountain." -



CHAPTER THE SECOND.

1—3. (1) Moab, Ge. xix. 37. burned . . lime, 2 Ki. iii. 27. a

(2) Kiric-th, lit. the cities. Je. xlviii. 24, 41. tumult, comp.
Nu. xxiv. 17, where the word Slieth should be translated tumult.

(3) judge, comp. the office of judge in Israel : chief magistrate.
Divine cognizance of Jn/man sins (vi\ 1 — 8). — This fact — I.

Should lead men to great circumspection of life. 1. They should
Bedulously avoid evil ; 2. They should devoutly pursue good. II.
It should impress men with the wonderful patience of God. 1.
Which implies the greatest power ; 2. Implies the greatest com-
passion. III. It should impress men with the certainty of
retribution.*

Divine hnon-ledye ofsi?i. —

The book is opened and the seal removed, —
The adamantine book, where every thought,
Though dawning on the heart, then sunk again
In the corrupted mass, each act obscure,



1 from the Red
Sea lias absorbed
nearly all its
springs and
streams, and
made it one sheet
of desert, from
Mount Sinai to
Moab. The sand
is so deep that it
is utterly out of
the power of man
ever again to

cultivate the

land" , Mai. i. 4).

—Gitdsby.

vv. 11. 12. Dr. T.

Taylor, ii. 29.

c Spena r.

d Daricin.

a 2 Sa. x. 6.
6 Spk. Com.

2 Ki. viii. 12, x.
32.

c Is. v. 26 ; Je.
xxxv. 32 ; Da. xi.
40 ; Zee. ix. 14.

d Roberts.

" Nature may in-
duce me, reason
persuade me, but
religion shall
rule me. I will
hearken to na-
ture in much, to
reason in more,
to religion in all."
— Warwick



a" The historical
connection of
this expression is
doubtful. Some
think ref. is to
the revenue wo.
prob. the king of
Moab took on the
king of Edom,
when the forces
of Israel and
Judah had re-
tired after their
successful cam-
paign against
leaving
Edom without
allies. The Ileb.
tradition i~. that
Moab in revenge
tore from their



140



AMOS.



[Cap.ii.4-a



gTave and burn-
ed the bones of
the king of
Edom, tlie ally
of .Teh oram and
Jeh os hap hat,
who was already
buried. "-Fausset.
b Dr Thomas.
C Bailey.

a 2 Ki. xxv. 9 ;
Je. xvii. 27.

b Dr. Thomas.



a Wordsworth,
b Spit. Gbm.

c "They sell the
precious soids of
the poor for the
meanest thing,
with which they j
trample on the j
dust, or in the j
mire."-& Jerome, j
The sandals are i
the most worth-
less part of the
dress. So the ex-
pression is equal I
to sold them for
nothing.

d " Extortion, |
self - indulgence, j
and hard -heart- |
edness were com-
bined under a j
show of reli- |
gion."— Spk. Com. j
e Whitccross.

"When I was in
the galleries of
Oxford, I saw
many of the de-
signs of Raphael j
and Michael An-
gelo. I looked i
upon them with \
reverence, and
took up such of
them as I was
permitted to
touch as one
would take up a
love token. It
seemed to me
these sketches
brought me
nearer the great
mas ers than
their finished
pictures could
have done, be-
cause therein I
Haw the mind's
processes as they
were first born.



In characters indelible remain.
How vain the boast, vile caitiff, to have 'scaped
An earthly forum ; now, thy crimson stains
Glare on a congregated world ; thy judge
Omniscience, and omnipotence thy scourge !
Thy mask, hypocrisy, how useless here,
"When, by a beam shot from the fount of light,
The varnished saint starts up a ghastly fiend. c

4, 5. (4) Judah, the nation having higher privileges, and
consequently higher responsibilities, despised the law, by
taking their own way, and not following it. lies, idols. Ho. vii.
3. (5) fire, in this case the prophecy w r as literally fulfilled.

The enormity of the sin of persecution (v. 4). — I. Persecution is
a most arrogant crime. II. Persecution is a most absurd crime.
III. Persecution is a most cruel crime. 6

6 — 8. (6) sold, etc., ch. viii. 6. Prob. referring to the custom
of taking bribes in judgment, and betraying the innocent."
Others think the violence of creditors is referred to. b poor . .
shoes, or sandals. For only so much as would buy a pair of
shoes/ (7) pant . . poor, or " tread down the heads of the
poor into the dust of the earth." Utterly and shamefully oppress
the poor, profane, etc., this indicates that the reference is to
the immorality connected with idolatrous rites. (8) laid to
pledge, explained by De. xxiv. 12, 13. condemned, or those
wickedly fined or mulcted. d

Profanity. — A person who lived in the parish of Sedgley, near
Wolverhampton, having lost a considerable sum by a match at
cock-fighting, to which practice he was notoriously addicted,
swore, in the most horrid manner, that he would never fight
another cock as long as he lived ; frequently calling upon God to
damn his soul to all eternity if he did, and with dreadful iinpre-
cations, wishing the devil might fetch him if he ever made
another bet. It is not to be wondered at, if resolutions so
impiously formed, should be broken ; for a while, however, they
were observed ; but he continued to indulge himself in every
other abomination to which his depraved heart inclined him.
But. about two years afterwards, Satan, whose willing servant
he was. inspired him with a violent desire to attend a cocking at
Wolverhampton : and he complied with the temptation. When
he came to the place, he stood up. as in defiance of heaven, and
cried, " I hold four to three on such a cock." " Four what ? " said
one of his companions in iniquity. " Four shillings," replied he.
" I'll lay," said the other. Upon which they confirmed the
wager, and, as his custom was, he threw down his hat. and put
his hand into his pocket for the money ; when, awful to relate,
he instantly fell a ghastly corpse to the ground. Terrified at his
sudden death, some who were present for ever after desisted from
this infamous sport ; but others, hardened in iniquity, proceeded
in this barbarous diversion, as soon as the dead body was removed
from the spot.* — Note on re. 6. 7, 8. — The shoes, or rather sandals,
have the least honour of anything which is worn by man. because
they belong to the feet, and are comparatively of little value.
Nothing is more disgraceful than to be beaten with the sandals :
thus when one man intends to exasperate another, he begins to
take off a sandal, as if going to strike him. To spit in the face



Cap. ii. 6— 8.J



AM9S.



141



is not a greater indignity than this. When a person wishes to
insult another in reference to the price of any article, he says, " I
will give you my sandals for it." •' That fellow is not worth the
value of my sandals.*' " "Who are you, sir ? you are not worthy
to carry my sandals ; " which alludes to the custom of a rich
man always having a servant with him to carry his sandals ; i.e.
when he chooses to walk barefoot. " Over Edom will I cast out
my shoo : " so contemptible and so easy was it to be conquered/—
Who were those that thus oppressed the poor, who sold them for
a pair of shoes, and panted - after the dust of the earth ? " They
were the judges and the princes of the people. The Tamul
translation has it, " To the injury of the poor they eagerly took
the dust of the earth :" literally, they gnawed the earth as a dog
does a bone. " Dust of the earth.'' What does this mean? I
believe it alludes to the lands of the poor, of which they had
been deprived by the judges and princes. Nothing is more
common in Eastern language than for a man to call his fields
and gardens his man, i.e. his dust, his earth. " That man has
gnawed away my dust or sand." '• Ah ! the fellow ! by degrees
he has taken away all that poor man's earth." "The cruel
wretch ! he is ever trying to take away the dust of the poor."
In consequence of there not being fences in the East, landowners
often encroach on each other's possessions. On the latter part
of the verse and the next to it, I dare not write. The heathenism,
the devilism, described by Amos, is still the same. Who did
these things .' the princes, the judges, and the people of Judah.f —
It was found advantageous, both for ease and health, to have a
carpet or some soft and thick cloth spread on the ground for
those to sit upon who dwelt in tents : subsequently, those who
lived in houses used them too. When they held their idolatrous
feasts in the temples dedicated to the gods, they sat upon the
ground, but not on the bare earth, or the marble pavement of
these temples, but upon something soft and dry spread under
them, brought for the purpose. The clothes mentioned by the
Prophet may mean the coverings of the body for the night, as
well as for the day. M When it was dark, three coverlets, richly
embroidered, were taken from a press in the room which we
occupied, and delivered, one to each of us ; the carpet or sofa,
and a cushion, serving, with this addition, instead of a bed"
(Chandler's Travels in Asia Minor). Such carpets or embroidered
coverlets would neither be an improper pledge for money (Exod.
xxii. 26. 27 j, nor disgrace the pomp of a heathen temple. It
may not be amiss to consider why the circumstance of clothes
being taken to pledge is mentioned here. Attending an idolatrous
feast must have been undoubtedly wrong in these Israelites : but
of what consequence was it to remark that some of them seated
themselves on carpets that had been put into their hands by way
of pledge ? It may be answered, that it might be galling to
those that had been obliged to pledge these valuable pieces of
furniture secretly, to have them thus publicly exposed ; that it
may insinuate that these idolatrous zealots detained them, when
they ought to have been restored (Ezek. xviii. 7, 12, 16, xxx. 15),
and that they subjected them to be injured, in the tumult of an
extravagant and riotous banquet in a heathen temple ; to which
may be added, that they might belong to some of their country-
men who abhorred those idols, and might consider them as dis-



They were the
first salient
points of the in-
spiration. Could
I have brought
them home with
me, how rich I
should have
been : how envied
for their
Bion I Now, there
are open and Iree
to us, evury day
of our lives, the
designs of a
greater than Ra-
phael or Michael
Angelo. God, of
whom thenoblest
master is but a
feeble imitator, is
sketching and
painting every
hour the most
wondrous pic-
tures ; not hoard-
ed in any gallery,
but spread in
light and shadow
round the whole
earth and glow-
ing for us in
the overhanging
skies." — i.eecher.
f Roberts,
g Ibid.

" Nature herself
— the whole ef-
fect of God.
Mind, matter,
motion, heat,
time, love, and
life, and death,
and immortality,
those chief and
first-birn giants,
all are there- all
parts, all limbs of
her their mother:
she is all. Chun.
And what does
she? Festus.
Produce : it is
her life. The
three I named
last— life, death,
deathlessn*

glide in elliptic
path round all
things made— for
none save God
can fill the per-
fect whole, and
are but to eter-
nity as is the
horizon to the
world. At certain
points each seema
the other ; now,
the three are
one ; now. all in-
visible ; and now,



142



AMOS.



[Cap. ii. 9-16.



as first, moving
in measured
round." — Bailey.
"■ Discover what
will destroy life,
and you are a
great man ! what
will prolong it,
and you are an
impostor ! Dis-
cover some in-
vention in ma-
chinery that will
make the rich
more rich, and
the poor more
poor, and they
will build you a
statue! Discover
some mystery in
art that will
equalise physical
disparities, and
they will pull
down their own
houses to stone
you."— E. B. Lyt-
ton.

h Burder.
a " The most
powerful of all
the Canaanite
nations, and
therefore part
for them."—
Fausset.

b " For Amos's
references to the
drinking habits
of his day, see ch.
ii. 8, iv. 1, vi. 6.

Dr. Ttwmat.



a " In many por-
tions of the
country the
sheaves are piled
into a rude cart,
upon wh. they
are kept from
falling by a
wicker work
about four feet
higli. These
carts, or arabas,
are prob. similar
to those used by
the Heb., and
drawn by a pair
of oxen." — Van
Lennep.
b Loicth.
e C. Simeon, M.A.



honoured, and even dreadfully polluted, by being so employed.

With respect to the last of these circumstances but one (the being 1

injured in extravagant and riotous banqueting), I would remark
j that they are accustomed, in their common repasts, to take great
| care that their carpets are not soiled, by spreading something

over them : but in public solemnities they affect great careless-
! ness about them, as a mark of their respect and profound regard
j (Russel). Thus De la Valle, describing the reception the
I Armenians of Ispahan gave the king of Persia, in one of their
j best houses, when he had a mind to attend at the celebration of
• their Epiphany, says, after the ceremonies were over, he was
j conducted to the house of Chogra Sefer, a little before deceased,
| where his three sons and his brother had prepared everything for
| his reception : " All the floor of the house, and all the walks of
i the garden, from the gate next the street to the most remote
| apartments, were covered with carpets of brocatel, of cloth of

gold, and other precious manufactures, which were, for the most
j part, spoiled, by being trampled upon by the feet of those that
i had been abroad in the rain, and their shoes very dirty : their
! custom being, not to put them off at the entering into a house,

but only at the door of the apartments, and the places where

they would sit down." *

9—12. (9) Amorite," Nu. xxi. 24 ; De. ii. 31 ; Jos. xxiv. 8.
God recalls the mercies of His early dealings with Israel.

I height, etc.. Nu. xiii. 32. 33. (10) brought . . Egypt, Ex. xii.

| 51, xx. 2. (11) Nazarites, Nu. vi. 2—21 ; .Tu. xiii. 5 ; La. iv.
7. (12) gave . . wine,* forcing them thus to break their
vows, prophesy not, for illus. of their so doing, comp. 1
Ki. xxii. 26, 27 ; 2 Chr. xvi. 9 ; Is. xxx. 10 ; Am. vii. 10—13.

God and nations (r. 9). — I. He reminds nations of the great-
ness of His kindness to them. 1. He often sacrifices one people
in order to advance the interests of another ; 2. The mightiest
human powers cannot obstruct Him in His procedure ; 3. He
fulfils His great purposes with nations by the agency of man.
II. He reminds the nations of the abuse of the mercies He has
conferred on them. 1. A spiritual ministry ; 2. Virtuous young
men.*

13 — 16. (13) as a cart," as is a heavily-laden cart. " I feel
pressed or straitened." (1-4) flight, or place of flight: where
refuge is sought, strengthen his force, or use it to any good
purpose. (15) swift of foot, as Asahel. (2 Sa. ii. 18.) (16)
naked, in the sense of having thrown away his weapons and
looser garments in his hurried flight. " The word naked is used
of those who lay aside their upper garments, or the habit proper
to their quality or profession.''

God" a complaint against v-s (v. 13). — Let us consider — I. What
reason God has for this complaint against us. 1 . Our disregard
of His laws ; 2. Our unmindfulness of His mercies ; 3. Our con-
tempt of His blessed Gospel. II. What reason we have to be
deeply concerned about our state. 1. God is able to vindicate
the honour of His injured majesty ; 2. He is determined to
avenge Himself ; 3. The time of retribution is fast approaching.
Infer — (1) What a burden ought sin to be to us ; (2) What obliga-
tions do we owe to Jesus Christ.



Cap.iii. 1— 8.]



AMOS.



143



CHAPTER THE THIRD.

1, 2. (1) whole family, including both Israel and Judah.



Online LibraryJames Comper GrayThe Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 10) → online text (page 23 of 64)