on Acts 15 :16
After this I will return, and will build again, etc. - These two verses, 16th and 17th, are quoted from Amos 9:11, Amos 9:12, nearly as they now stand in the best editions of the Septuagint, and evidently taken from that version, which differs considerably from the Hebrew text. As St. James quoted them as a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles into the Church of God, it is evident the Jews must have understood them in that sense, otherwise they would have immediately disputed his application of them to the subject in question, and have rejected his conclusion by denying the premises. But that the words were thus understood by the ancient Jews, we have their own testimony. In Sanhedr. fol. 69, we have these remarkable words: "Rabbi Nachman said to Rabbi Isaac, 'Whence art thou taught when Bar Naphli will come?' He saith unto him, 'Who is this Bar Naphli?' The other replied, 'He is the Messiah.' 'Dost thou then call the Messiah Bar Naphli?' 'Yes,' said he, 'for it is written, In that day I will build again the tabernacle of David, הנפלת Hanopheleth, which is falling down.'" This is evidently a quotation from Amos 9:11, and a proof that the Jews understood it to be a prophecy concerning the Messiah. See Lightfoot.
on Acts 15 :16
After this - This quotation is not made literally either from the Hebrew or the Septuagint, which differs also from the Hebrew. The 17th verse is quoted literally from the Septuagint, but in the 16th the general sense only of the passage is retained. The main point of the quotation, as made by James, was to show that, according to the prophets, it was contemplated that the Gentiles should be introduced to the privileges of the children of God; and on this point the passage has a direct bearing. The prophet Amos Amo 9:8-10 had described the calamities which would come upon the nation of the Jews by their being scattered and driven away. This implied that the city of Jerusalem, the temple, and the walls of the city would be destroyed. But after that (Heb: "on that day," Amos 9:11, that is, the day when he should revisit them and recover them) he would restore them to their former privileges - would rebuild their temple, their city, and their walls, Amos 9:11. And not only so, not only would the blessing descend on the Jews, but it would also be extended to others. The "remnant of Edom," "the pagan upon whom" his "name would be called" Amos 9:12, would also partake of the mercy of God, and be subject to the Jewish people, and a time of general prosperity and of permanent blessings would follow, Amos 9:13-15. James understands this as referring to the times of the Messiah, and to the introduction of the gospel to the Gentiles. And so the passage Amos 9:12 is rendered in the Septuagint. See ver. 17.
I will return - When the people of God are subjected to calamities and trials, it is often represented as if God had departed from them. His returning, therefore, is an image of their restoration to his favor and to prosperity. This is not, however, in the Hebrew, in Amos 9:11.
I will build again - In the calamities that would come upon the nation Amos 9:8, it is implied that the temple and the city would be destroyed. To build them again would be a proof of his returning favor.
The tabernacle of David - The tent of David. Here it means the house or royal residence of David and the kings of Israel. That is, he would restore them to their former glory and splendor as his people. The reference here is not to the temple, which was the work of Solomon, but to the magnificence and splendor of the dwelling-place of David; that is, to the full enjoyment of their former high privileges and blessings.
Which is fallen down - Which would be destroyed by the King of Babylon, and by the long neglect and decay resulting from their being carried to a distant land,
The ruins thereof - Heb. "close up the breaches thereof." That is, it would be restored to its former prosperity and magnificence; an emblem of the favor of God, and of the spiritual blessings that would in future times descend on the Jewish people.
on Acts 15 :16
15:16 After this - After the Jewish dispensation expires. I will build again the fallen tabernacle of David - By raising from his seed the Christ, who shall build on the ruins of his fallen tabernacle a spiritual and eternal kingdom. Amos 9:11.