on Amos 1 :15
Their king shall go into captivity - Probably מלכם malcham should be Milcom, who was a chief god of the Ammonites; and the following words, he and his princes, may refer to the body of his priesthood. See 1 Kings 11:33 (note). All these countries were subdued by Nebuchadnezzar.
on Amos 1 :15
And their king - The king was commonly, in those nations, the center of their energy. When "he and his princes" were "gone into captivity," there was no one to make head against the conqueror, and renew revolts. Hence, as a first step in the subdual, the reigning head and those who shared his counsels were removed. Ammon then, savage as it was in act, was no ill-organized horde. On the contrary, barren and waste as all that country now is, it must once have been highly cultivated by a settled and laborious people. The abundance of its ruins attests the industry and habits of the population. "The whole of the country," says Burckhardt , "must have been extremely well cultivated, to have afforded subsistence to the inhabitants of so many towns." "The low hills are, for the most part, crowned with ruins." Of the "thirty ruined or deserted places, which including Amman," have been even lately "counted east of Assalt" (the village which probably represents Ramoth-Gilead, "about 16 miles west of Philadelphia that is, Amman) several are in Ammonitis. Little as the country has been explored, ruins of large and important towns have been found south-southeast. and south of Amman .
Two hours southeast of Amman, Buckingham relates , "an elevation opened a new view before us, in the same direction. On a little lower level, was a still more extensive track of cultivated plain than that even which we had already passed - Throughout its whole extent were seen ruined towns in every direction, both before, behind, and on each side of us; generally seated on small eminences; all at a short distance from each other; and all, as far as we had yet seen, bearing evident marks of former opulency and consideration. There was not a tree in sight as far as the eye could reach; but my guide, who had been over every part of it, assured me that the whole of the plain was covered with the finest soil, and capable of being made the most productive grain-land in the world - For a space of more than thirty miles there did not appear to me a single interruption of hill, rock or wood, to impede immediate tillage.
The great plain of Esdraelon, so justly celebrated for its extent and fertility, is inferior in both to this plain of Belkah. Like Esdraelon, it appears to have been once the seat of an active and numerous population; but in the former the monuments of the dead only remain, while here the habitations of the living are equally mingled with the tombs of the departed, all thickly strewn over every part of the soil from which they drew their sustenance." Nor does the crown, of a "talent of gold weight, with precious stones" 2 Samuel 12:30, belong to an uncivilized people. Such hordes too depend on the will and guidance of their single Skeikh or head. This was a hereditary kingdom 2 Samuel 10:1. The kings of Ammon had their constitutional advisers. These were they who gave the evil and destructive counsel to insult the ambassadors of David. Evil kings have evermore evil counselors. It is ever the curse of such kings to have their own evil, reflected, anticipated, fomented, enacted by bad advisers around them. "Hand in hand the wicked shall not be unpunished" Proverbs 11:21. They link together, but to drag one another into a common destruction. Together they had counseled against God; "king and princes together," they should go into captivity.
There is also doubtless, in the word Malcham, a subordinate allusion to the god whom they worshiped under the title Molech or Malchom. Certainly Jeremiah "seems" so to have understood it. For, having said of Moab, "Chemosh shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together" Jeremiah 48:7, he says as to Ammon, in the self-same formula and almost in the words of Amos ; "Malcham shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together." Zephaniah ZEphesians 1:5 also speaks of the idol under the same name Malcham, "their king." Yet since Ammon had kings before this time, and just before their subdual by Nebuchadnezzar, and king Baalis Jeremiah 40:14 was a murderer, it is hardly likely that Jeremiah too should not have included him in the sentence of his people, of whose sins he was a mainspring. Probably, then, Amos and Jeremiah foretell, in a comprehensive way, the powerlessness of all their stays, human and idolatrous. All in which they trusted should not only fail them, but should be carried captive from them.
on Amos 1 :15