on Amos 2 :7
on Amos 2 :7
That pant after the dust of the earth - Literally, "the panters!" with indignation. Not content with having rent from him the little hereditary property which belonged to each Israelite, these creditors grudged him even the "dust," which, as a mourner, he strewed on his head Job 2:12, since it too was "earth." Covetousness, when it has nothing to feed it, craves for what is absurd or impossible. What was Naboth's vineyard to a king of Israel with his "ivory palace?" What was Mordecai's refusal to bow to one in honor like Haman? What a trivial gain to a millionaire? The sarcasm of the prophet was the more piercing, because it was so true. People covet things in proportion, not to their worth, but to their worthlessness. No one covets what he much needs. Covetousness is the sin, mostly not of those who have not, but of those who have. It grows with its gains, is the less satisfied, the more it has to satisify it, and attests its own unreasonableness, by the uselessness of the things it craves for.
And turn aside the way of the meek - So Solomon said, "A wicked" man "taketh a bribe out of the bosom, to pervert the ways of judgment." (Proverbs 17:23. God had laid down the equality of man, made in His own image, and had forbidden to favor either poor Exodus 23:3 or rich Exodus 23:6. Amos calls these by different names, which entitled them to human sympathy; "poor, depressed, lowly; poor," in their absolute condition; "depressed," as having been brought low; "lowly," as having the special grace of their state, the wonderful meekness and lowliness off the godly poor. But all these qualities are so many incentives to injury to the ungodly. They hate the godly, as a reproach to them; because "he is clean contrary to their doings, his life is not like other people's; his ways are of another fashion" (Wisdom Amos 2:12, Amos 2:15). Wolves destroy not wolves but sheep. Bad people circumvent not the bad but the good. Besides the easiness of the gain, there is a devilish fascinating pleasure to the bad, to overreach the simple and meek, because they are such.
They love also to "turn aside the way of the meek," by , "turning them from what is truly right and good; "or from the truth; or again to thwart them in all their ways and endeavors, by open injustice or by perverting justice. Every act of wrong prepares the way for the crowning act; and so "the turning aside the way of the meek" foreshadowed and prepared for the unjust judgment of Him who was "the Meek and Lowly" One Matthew 11:29, the selling the righteous for a trilling sum prepared for the selling "the Holy One and the Just" Acts 3:14 for "the thirty pieces of silver." : "Contrariwise, whoso is truly wise, cordially venerates the humble and abject, the poor and simple, and prefers them in his own heart to himself, knowing that God has 'chosen the poor, and the weak things of the world, and things despised, and things which are not' 1 Corinthians 1:27-28; and that Christ hath likened Himself to such, saying in the Psalm, 'I am poor and sorrowful' Psalm 69:29."
The same damsel - This is not expressly forbidden by the law, except in the case of marriage, the father being forbidden to marry his son's widow, and the son to take his father's widow to wife Leviticus 18:8, Leviticus 18:15. Abominations, unless they had become known to Israel in Egypt, were not expressly forbidden, but were included in the one large prohibition, which, as our Lord explains, forbade every offence, bearing upon it. Israel must have so understood the law, since Amos could upbraid them with this, which is not forbidden by the letter of the law, as a willful insult to the Majesty of God. Reverence was due from the son to the father, example from the father to the son. But now the father was an example of evil to the son; and the son sinned in a way which had no temptation except its irreverence. People, sated with ordinary sin seek incitement to sin, in its very horrors. Probably this sin was committed in connection with their idol worship (see the note at Hosea 4:14). The sin of marrying the father's widow was "fornication not so much as named among the Gentiles" 1 Corinthians 5:1; it was unknown, as seemingly legalizing what was so unnatural. Oppression of the poor, wronging the righteous, perverting the way of the meek, laid the soul open for any abomination.
To profane My Holy Name - that is, as called upon them, as the people of God. God had said, "ye shall keep My commandments and do them (Leviticus 22:31-32; add Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 21:6). "I" am "the Lord, and ye shall not defile My Holy Name. For I will be sanctified among the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you." The sins of God's people are a reproach upon Himself. They bring Him, so to say, in contact with sin. They defeat the object of His creation and revelation. He created man in His Image, to bear His likeness, to have one will with Himself. In effect, through sin, He has created rebels, deformed, unlike. So long as He bears with them, it seems as if He were indifferent to them. Those to whom He has not revealed Himself, must needs think that He takes no account of what He permits unnoticed. Israel, whom God had separated from the pagan, did, by "mingling with the pagan and learning their works" Psalm 106:35, all which in them lay, to "profane" His "Holy Name." They acted as if they had no other purpose than to defile it (see the note at Hosea 8:4).
Had such been their object, they could not have done it more effectually, they could not have done otherwise. In deliberate sin, people act, at last, in defiance of God, in set purpose to dishonor Him. The Name of God has ever since been blasphemed, on account of the sins of the Jews, as though it were impossible that God should have chosen for His own, a people so "laden with iniquities" Isaiah 1:4. Nathan's words to David, "Thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" 2 Samuel 12:14, have been fulfilled until this day. How much more, Christians, who not only are called "the people of God" but bear the name of Christ incorporated in their own. Yet have we not known Muslims flee from our Christian capital, in horror at its sins? "He lives like a Christian," is a proverb of the Polish Jews, drawn from the debased state of morals in Socinian Poland. The religion of Christ has no such enemies as Christians. Dionysius: "As the devout by honoring God, shew that He is Holy, Great, Most High, who is obeyed in holiness, fear and reverence, so the ungodly, by dishonoring God, exhibit God as far as in them lies, as if lie were not holy. For they act so as if evil were well-pleasing to Him, and induce others to dishonor Him. Wherefore the Apostle saith; "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you" Romans 2:24; and by Ezekiel the Lord saith oftentimes, "Ye have profaned My Holy Name. And I will sanctify My great Name which wets profaned among the pagan, which ye hare profaned in the midst of them" Ezekiel 36:23. The devout then are said to "magnify," sanctify, "exalt God;" the unrighteous to "profane Ezekiel 13:19, despise, God."
on Amos 2 :7
2:7 The people - That make a prey even of the poor afflicted ones, who walk with dust on their heads. Turn aside - Maliciously interpret the actions, words, and designs of the humble and meek. Will go in - These corrupt judges commit also that lewdness which the Heathens abhor.