on Amos 1 :13
The children of Ammon - The country of the Ammonites lay to the east of Jordan, in the neighborhood of Gilead. Rabbah was its capital.
Because they have ripped up - This refers to some barbarous transaction well known in the time of this prophet, but of which we have no distinct mention in the sacred historians.
on Amos 1 :13
Ammon - These who receive their existence under circumstances, in any way like those of the first forefathers of Moab and Ammon, are known to be under physical as well as intellectual and moral disadvantages. Apart from the worst horrors, on the one side reason was stupefied, on the other it was active in sin. He who imprinted His laws on nature, has annexed the penalty to the infraction of those laws. It is known also how, even under the Gospel, the main character of a nation remains unchanged. The basis of natural character, upon which grace has to act, remains, under certain limits, the same. Still more in the unchanging east. Slave-dealers know of certain hereditary good or evil qualities in non-Christian nations in whom they traffic. What marvel then that Ammon and Moab retained the stamp of their origin, in a sensual or passionate nature? Their choice of their idols grew out of this original character and aggravated it.
They chose them gods like themselves, and worsened themselves by copying these idols of their sinful nature. The chief god of the fierce Ammon was Milehem or Molech, the principle of destruction, who was appeased with sacrifices of living children, given to the fire to devour. Moab, beside its idol Chemosh, had the degrading worship of Baal Peor Numbers 25:1-3, reproductiveness the counterpart of destruction. And, so. in fierce or degrading rites, they worshiped the power which belongs to God, to create, or to destroy. Moab was the seducer of Israel at Shittim Numbers 25:1-3. Ammon, it has been noticed, showed at different times a special wanton ferocity . Such was the proposal of Nahash to the men of Jabesh-Gilead, when offering to surrender, "that I may thrust out all your right eyes and lay it for a reproach unto all Israel" 1 Samuel 11:1-3.
Such was the insult to David's messengers of peace, and the hiring of the Syrians in an aggressive war against David 2 Samuel 10:1-6. Such, again, was this war of extermination against the Gileadites. On Israel's side, the relation to Moab and Ammon had been altogether friendly. God recalled to Israel the memory of their common descent, and forbade them to war against either. He speaks of them by the name of kindness, "the children of Lot," the companion and friend of Abraham. "I will not give thee of their land for a possession, because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession" Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 2:19. Akin by descent, their history had been alike. Each had driven out a giant tribe; Moab, the Emim; Ammon, the Zamzummim Deuteronomy 2:10-11, Deuteronomy 2:20-21. They had thus possessed themselves of the tract from the Arnon, not quite half way down the Dead Sea on its east side, to the Jabbok, about half-way between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee . Both had been expelled by the Amorites, and had been driven, Moab, behind the Arnon, Ammon, behind the "strong border" Numbers 21:24 of the upper part of the Jabbok, what is now the Nahr Amman, "the river of Ammon," eastward.
The whole of what became the inheritance of the 2 12 tribes, was in the hands of the Amorites, and threatened very nearly their remaining possessions; since, at "Aroer that is before Rabbah" Joshua 13:25, the Amorites were already over against the capital of Ammon; at the Arnon they were but 2 12 hours from Ar-Moab, the remaining capital of Moab. Israel then, in destroying the Amorites, had been at once avenging and rescuing Moab and Ammon; and it is so far a token of friendliness at this time, that, after the victory at Edrei, the great "iron bedstead" of Og was placed in "Rabbah of the children of Ammon" Deuteronomy 3:11. Envy, jealousy, and fear, united them to "hire Balaam to curse Israel" Deuteronomy 23:4, although the king of Moab was the chief actor in this Numbers 22-24, as he was in the seduction of Israel to idoltary Numbers 25:1-3. Probably Moab was then, and continued to be, the more influential or the more powerful, since in their first invasion of Israel, the Ammonites came as the allies of Eglon king of Moab. "He gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek Judges 3:13. And" they "served Eglon." Yet Ammon's subsequent oppression must have been yet more grievous, since God reminds Israel of His delivering them from the Ammonites Judges 10:11, not from Moab. There we find Ammon under a king, and in league with the Philistines Judges 10:7, "crashing and crushing for 18 years all the children of Israel in Gilead." The Ammonites carried a wide invasion across the Jordan against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim Judges 10:9, until they were subdued by Jephthah. Moab is not named; but the king of Ammon claims as my land Judges 11:13, the whole which Moab and Ammon had lost to the Amorites and they to Israel, "from Arnon unto Jabbok and unto Jordan" Judges 11:13.
The range also of Jephthah's victories included probably all that same country from the Arnon to the neighborhood of Rabbah of Ammon . The Ammonites, subdued then, were again on the offensive in the fierce siege of Jabesh-Gilead and against Saul (see above the note at Amos 1:11). Yet it seems that they had already taken from Israel what they had lost to the Amorites, for Jabesh-Gilead was beyond the Jabbok ; and "Mizpeh of Moab," where David went to seek the king of Moab 1 Samuel 22:3, was probably no other than the Ramoth-Mizpeh Joshua 13:26 of Gad, the Mizpeh Judges 11:29 from where Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites. With Hanan, king of Ammon, David sought to remain at peace, on account of some kindness, interested as it probably was, which his father Nahash had shown him, when persecuted by Saul 2 Samuel 10:2.
It was only after repeated attempts to bring an overwhelming force of the Syriains against David, that Rabbah was besieged and taken, and that awful punishment inflicted. The severity of the punishment inflicted on Moab and Ammon, in that two-thirds of the fighting men of Moab were put to death 2 Samuel 8:2, and fighting men of "the cities of Ammon" 2 Samuel 12:31 were destroyed by a ghastly death, so different from David's treatment of the Philistines or the various Syrians, implies some extreme hostility on their part, from which there was no safety except in their destruction. Moab and Ammon were still united against Jehoshaphat 2 Chronicles 20, and with Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiakim 2 Kings 24:2, whom they had before sought to stir up against the king of Babylon Jeremiah 27:3. Both profited for a time by the distresses of Israel, "magnifying" themselves "against her border" Zephaniah 2:8, and taking possession of her cities after the 2 12 tribes has been carried away by Tiglath-pileser. Both united in insulting Judah, and (as it appears from Ezekiel EZechariah 25:2-8), out of jealousy against its religious distinction.
When some of the scattered Jews were reunited under Gedaliah, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, it was a king of Ammon, Baalis, who instigated Johanan to murder him Jeremiah 40:11-14; Jeremiah 41:10. When Jerusalem was to be rebuilt after the return from the captivity, Ammonites and Moabites Nehemiah 2:10, Nehemiah 2:19; Nehemiah 4:1-3, "Sanballat the Horonite" (that is, out of Horonaim, which Moab had taken to itself Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:3, Jeremiah 48:5, Jeremiah 48:34.) "and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite," were chief in the opposition to it. They helped on the persecution by Antiochus (1 Macc. 5:6). Their anti-religious character, which showed itself in the hatred of Israel and the hire of Balaam, was the ground of the exclusion of both from admission "into the congregation of the Lord forever" Deuteronomy 23:3. The seduction of Solomon by his Ammonite and Moabite wives illustrates the infectiousness of their idolatry. While he made private chapels "for all his strange wives, to burn incense and sacrifice to their gods" 1 Kings 11:8, the most stately idolatry was that of Chemosh and Molech, the abomination of Moab and Ammon . For Ashtoreth alone, besides these, did Solomon build high places in sight of the temple of God, on a lower part of the Mount of Olives 2 Kings 23:13.
They have ripped up the women with child in Gilead - Since Elisha prophesied that Hazael would be guilty of this same atrocity, and since Gilead was the scene of his chief atrocities , probably Syria and Ammon were, as of old, united against Israel in a war of extermination. It was a conspiracy to displace God's people from the land which He had given them, and themselves to replace them. The plan was effective; it was, Amos says, executed. They expelled and "inherited Gad" Jeremiah 49:1. Gilead was desolated for the sins for which Hosea rebuked it; "blood had blood." It had been "tracked with blood" (see the note at Hosea 6:8); now life was sought out for destruction, even in the mother's womb. But, in the end, Israel, whose extermination Ammon devised and in part effected, survived. Ammon perished and left no memorial.
That they might enlarge their border - It was a horror, then, exercised, not incidentally here and there, or upon a few, or in sudden stress of passion, but upon system and in cold blood. We have seen lately, in the massacres near Lebanon, where male children were murdered on system, how methodically such savageness goes to work. A massacre, here and there, would not have "enlarged their border." They must haw carried on these horrors then, throughout all the lands which they wished to possess, making place for themselves by annihilating Israel, that there might be none to rise up and thrust them from their conquests, and claim their old inheritance. Such was the fruit of habitually indulged covetousness. Yet who beforehand would have thought it possible?
on Amos 1 :13
1:13 Enlarge their border - By destroying all that dwelt in it, and hereafter might claim a title to it.