on Amos 3 :9
Publish in the palaces - The housetops or flat roofs were the places from which public declarations were made. See on Isaiah 21:1 (note), and on Matthew 10:27 (note). See whether in those places there be not tumults, oppressions, and rapine sufficient to excite my wrath against them.
on Amos 3 :9
Publish - "ye," they are the words of God, commissioning His prophets
In (on) the palaces of Ashdod - , that is, on the flat roofs of their high buidings, from where all can hear
And in (on) the palaces in the land of Egypt - Theodoret: "Since ye disbelieve, I will manifest to Ashdodites and Egyptians the transgressions of which ye are guilty." Amos had already pronounced God's sentence on "the palaces of Ashdod" and all Philistia, for their sins against Himself in His people (see the notes at Amos 1:6-8). Israel now, or a little later, courted Egypt Hosea 7:11; Hosea 12:1. To friend then and to foe, to those whom they dreaded and those whom they courted, God would lay open their sins. Contempt and contumely from an enemy aggravate suffering: man does not help whom he despiseth. "They were all ashamed of a people who could not profit them," saith Isaiah Isa 30:5 subsequently, of Egypt in regard to Judah. From those palaces, already doomed to destruction for their sins, the summons was to go, to visit Samaria, and see her sins, amid grace which those people had not. As our Lord says, "It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment, than for that city" Matthew 10:15. Shame toward man survives shame toward God. What people are not ashamed to do, they are, apart from any consequences, ashamed to confess that they have done. Nay, to avoid a little passing shame, they rush upon "everlasting shame." So God employs all inferior motives, shame, fear, hope of things present, if by any means He can win people, not to offend Him.
Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria - that is, those surrounding it. Samaria was chosen with much human wisdom for the strong capital of a small people. Imbedded in mountains, and out of any of the usual routes , it lay, a mountain-fastness in a rich valley. Armies might surge to and fro in the valley of Jezreel, and be unconscious of its existence. The way from that great valley to Samaria lay, every way, through deep and often narrowing valleys , down which the armies of Samaria might readily pour, but which, like Thermopylae, might be held by a handful of men against a large host.
The broad vale near the hill of Dothan , along which the blinded Syrian army followed Elisha to Samaria, contracts into "a narrow valley" , before it reaches Samaria. The author of the book of Judith, who knew well the country, speaks of "the passages of the hill-country" near Dothaim, "by" which "there was an entrance into Judaea, and it was easy to stop them that would come up, because the passage was strait for two men at the most" . : "A series of long winding ravines open from the mountains to the plain; these were the passes so often defended by the 'horns of Joseph, the ten thousands of Ephraim, and the thousands of Manasseh' against the invaders from the north."
Within these lay "the wide rocky rampart" which fenced in Samaria from the north . "The fine round swelling hill of Samaria, now cultivated to the top, (about 1,100 feet above the sea , and 300 from its own valley ,) stands alone in the midst of a great basin of some two hours (or 5 miles) in diameter surrounded by higher mountains on every side." : "The view from its summit presents a splendid panorama of the fertile basin and the mountains around, teeming with large villages, and includes not less than 25 degrees of the Mediterranean." Such a place, out of reach, in those days, from the neighboring heights, was well-near impregnable, except by famine. But its inhabitants must have had handed down to them the memory, how those heights had once been populated, while their valleys were thronged with "all the hosts" 2 Kings 6:24 of Benhadad, his chariots and his horsemen; and the mountains, in which they had trusted to shut out the enemy, were the prison-walls of their famished people.
From those heights , "the Syrians could plainly distinguish the famishing inhabitants of the city. The adjacent circle of hills were so densely occupied, that not a man could push through to bring provisions to the beleaguered city." The city, being built on the summit and terraced sides of the hill, unfenced and unconcealed by walls which, except at its base, were unneeded, lay open, unsheltered in every part from the gaze of the besiegers. The surrounding hills were one large amphitheater, from where to behold the tragedy of Israel , and enemies were invited to be the spectators. They could see its faminestricken inhabitants totter along those open terraces. Sin had brought this chastisement upon them. God had forgiven them then. When God who had, by His prophet, foretold their relief then 2 Kings 7:1-2, now by His prophet called anew those enemies of Samaria to those same heights to behold her sins, what could this mean but that He summoned them to avenge what He summoned them to behold?
It was no figure of speech. God avenges, as He comforts, not in word, but in deed. The triumph of those enemies David had especially deprecated, "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumised triumph" 2 Samuel 1:20. To these Israel was to be a gazingstock. They were like "the woman set in the midst John 8:3, amid one encircling sea of accusing insulting faces, with none to pity, none to intercede, none to show mercy to them who "had shewed no mercy." Faint image of the shame of that Day, when not people's deeds only, but "the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed" Romans 2:16, and "they shall begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, Cover us" Luke 23:30; and of that "shame" there will be no end, for it is "everlasting" Daniel 12:2.
And behold the great tumults - I. e, the alarms, restlessness, disorders and confusion of a people intent on gain; turning all law upside down, the tumultuous noise of the oppressors and oppressed. It is the word which Solomon uses , "Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and tumult therewith," the tumults and restlessness of continual gaining. "And the oppressed," or better (as in the English margin) the oppressions , the manifold ever-repeated acts by which people were crushed and trampled on.
In the midst thereof - Admitted within her, domiciled, reigning there in her very center, and never departing out of her, as the Psalmist says, "Wickedness is in the midst thereof; deciet and guile depart not from her streets" Psalm 55:11. Aforetime, God spared His people, that "His Name Ezekiel 20:9 should not be polluted before the pagan, among whom they were, in whose sight I made Myself known unto them in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt." Now He summons those same pagan as witnesses that Israel was justly condemned. These sins, being sins against the moral law, the pagan would condemn. People condemn in others, what they do themselves. But so they would see that God hated sin, for which He spared not His own people, and could the less triumph over God, when they saw the people whom God had established and protected, given up to the king of Assyria.
on Amos 3 :9
3:9 Publish - Ye prophets invite strangers to come and observe what cause I have to do what I threaten. Tumults - The seditious counsels, and rebellious conspiracies among them. The oppressed - Multitudes of oppressed ones, as the usurpers took it to be their interest to crush all they feared or suspected. In the midst - Yea, throughout the whole kingdom of Samaria.