on Amos 2 :1
For three transgressions of Moab and for four - See an explanation of this form Amos 1:2. The land of the Moabites lay to the east of the Dead Sea. For the origin of this people, see Genesis 19:37.
He burned the bones on the king of Edom into lime - Possibly referring to some brutality; such as opening the grave of one of the Idumean kings, and calcining his bones. It is supposed by some to refer to the fact mentioned 2 Kings 3:26, when the kings of Judah, Israel, and Idumea, joined together to destroy Moab. The king of it, despairing to save his city, took seven hundred men, and made a desperate sortie on the quarter where the king of Edom was; and, though not successful, took prisoner the son of the king of Edom; and, on their return into the city, offered him as a burnt-offering upon the wall, so as to terrify the besieging armies, and cause them to raise the siege. Others understand the son that was sacrificed to be the king of Moab's own son.
on Amos 2 :1
Moab - The relation of Moab to Israel is only accidentally different from that of Ammon. One spirit actuated both, venting itself in one and the same way, as occasion served, and mostly together (see the note at Amos 1:13). Beside those more formal invasions, the history of Elisha mentions one probably of many in-roads of "bands of the Moabites." It seems as though, when "the year entered in," and with it the harvest, "the bands of the Moabites entered in" too, like "the Midianites and Amalekites and the children of the east" Judges 6:3-4, Judges 6:11 in the time of Gideon, or their successors the Bedouins, now. This their continual hostility is related in the few words of a parenthesis. There was no occasion to relate at length an uniform hostility, which was as regular as the seasons of the year, and the year's produce, and the temptation to the cupidity of Moab, when Israel was weakened by Hazael.
Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom - The deed here condemned, is unknown. Doubtless it was connected with that same hatred of Edom, which the king of Moab showed, when besieged by Israel. People are often more enraged against a friend or ally who has made terms with one whom they hate or fear, than with the enemy himself. Certainly, "when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him" 2 Kings 3:26-27, his fury was directed personally against the king of Edom. He "took with him" 700 chosen men "to cut through to the king of Edom, and they could not." Escape was not their object. They sought not "to cut through" the Edomite contingent into the desert, but "to the king of Edom." Then "he took his oldest son," that is, probably the oldest son of the king of Edom whom he captured, "and offered him up as a burnt offering on the wall."
Such is the simplest structure of the words; He "strove to cut through to the king of Edom, and they could not, and he took his oldest son, etc., and there was great indignation against Israel." That "indignation" too on the part of Edom (for there was no other to be indignant "against Israel") is best accounted for, if this expedition, undertaken because Moab had rebelled against Israel, had occasioned the sacrifice of the son of the king of Edom, who took part in it only as a tributary of Judah. Edom would have had no special occasion to be indignant with Israel, if on occasion of an ordinary siege, the king of Moab had, in a shocking way, performed the national idolatry of child-sacrifice. That hatred the king of Moab carried beyond the grave, hatred which the pagan too held to be unnatural in its implacableness and unsatiableness. The soul being, after death, beyond man's reach, the hatred, vented upon his remains, is a sort of impotent grasping at eternal vengeance.
It wreaks on what it knows to be insensible, the hatred with which it would pursue, if it could, the living being who is beyond it. Its impotence evinces its fierceness, since, having no power to wreak any real revenge, it has no object but to show its hatred. Hatred, which death cannot extinguish, is the beginning of the eternal hate in hell. With this hatred Moab hated the king of Edom, seemingly because he had been, though probably against this will, on the side of the people of God. It was then sin against the love of God, and directed against God Himself. The single instance, which we know, of any feud between Moab and Edom was, when Edom was engaged in a constrained service of God. At least there are no indications of any conquest of each other. The Bozrah of Moab, being in the Mishor, "the plain" Jeremiah 48:21, Jeremiah 48:24, is certainly distinct from the Bozrah of Edom, which Jeremiah speaks of at the same time, as belonging to Edom Jeremiah 49:13. Each kingdom, Edom and Moab, had its own strong city, Bozrah, at one and the same time. And if "the rock," which Isaiah speaks of as the strong hold of Moab Isaiah 16:1, was indeed the Petra of Edom, (and the mere name, in that country of rock-fortresses is not strong, yet is the only, proof,) they won it from Judah who had taken it from Edom, and in whose hands it remained in the time of Amos (2 Kings 14:7; see above the note at Amos 1:12), not from Edom itself. Or, again, the tribute "may" have been only sent through Petra, as the great center of commerce. Edom's half-service gained it no good, but evil; Moab's malice was its destruction.
The proverb, "speak good only of the dead," shows what reverence human nature dictates, not to condemn those who have been before their Judge, unless He have already openly condemned them. "Death," says Athanasius in relating the death of Arius on his perjury, "is the common end of all people, and we ought not to insult the dead, though he be an enemy, for it is uncertain whether the same event may not happen to ourselves before evening."
on Amos 2 :1
2:1 The bones - Or ashes, reduced them by fire into fine dust, and used these ashes instead of lime to plaister the walls and roofs of his palace, and this in hatred and contempt of the king of Edom.