on Amos 3 :5
Can a bird fall in a snare - Can ye, as a sinful people, fall into calamities which I have not appointed?
Shall one take up a snare - and have taken nothing - Will the snare be removed before it has caught the expected prey? - shall I remove my judgments till they are fully accomplished? This is a curious passage, and deserves farther consideration. The original, literally translated, is nearly as follows: "Shall the trap arise from the ground; and catching, shall it not catch?" Here is a plain allusion to such traps as we employ to catch rats, foxes, etc. The jaws of the trap opening backward, press strongly upon a spring so as to keep it down; and a key passing over one jaw, and hooking on a table in the center, the trap continues with expanded jaws, till any thing touch the table, when the key, by the motion of the table, being loosened, the spring recovers all its elastic power, and throws up the jaws of the trap, and their serrated edges either close in each other, or on the prey that has moved the table of the trap. Will then the jaws of such a trap suddenly spring up from the ground, on which before they were lying flat, and catch nothing? Shall they let the prey that was within them escape? Certainly not. So my trap is laid for these offenders; and when it springs up, (and they themselves will soon by their transgressions free the key), shall not the whole family of Israel be inclosed in it? Most certainly they shall. This is a singular and very remarkable passage, and, when properly understood, is beautifully expressive.
on Amos 3 :5
Can a bird fall in a snare - Again, the bird taken in the snare is the image of those drawn down from heaven, where 'our conversation is Philippians 3:20 and the soul may rise free toward its God , "drawn up by the Spirit to high and heavenly things." Such souls being allured by the things of earth, are entangled and taken by Satan; as, on the other hand, "the soul, escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler Psalm 124:7, is a soul, set free by Christ and restored to heaven.
In the last likeness, the prophet comes nearer to the people themselves, and the trumpet is, at once, the well-known token of alarm among people, and of the loud voice of God, wakening them to repentance Isaiah 58:1; Joel 2:15 and still oftener, warning them of the approach of judgment Isaiah 18:3; Jeremiah 4:5; Jeremiah 6:1; Ezekiel 33:2-6; Hosea 5:8; Hosea 8:1; Revelation 8:1-13, or summoning man before Him 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Rup.: "God's Voice will not always be 'a still small voice,' or whispered only among the Angels, or heard as from the ground. It will be heard terribly in the whole world." Jerome: "Whatever is said in Holy Scripture is a trumpet threatening, and with loud voice sinking into the hearts of believers. If we are righteous, we are called by the trumpet of Christ to bliss. If we are sinners, we know that we are to suffer torment."
on Amos 3 :5
3:5 Can a bird fall - So here for your sins, God will cast the net over you. Shall one take up a snare - The fowler will not take up the snare, before the prey be taken in it.