on Amos 4 :7
When there were yet three months to the harvest - St. Jerome says, from the end of April, when the latter rain falls, until harvest, there are three months, May, June, and July, in which no rain falls in Judea. The rain, therefore, that God had withheld from them, was that which was usual in the spring months, particularly in April.
I caused it to rain upon one city - To prove to them that this rain did not come fortuitously or of necessity, God was pleased to make these most evident distinctions. One city had rain and could fill all its tanks or cisterns, while a neighboring city had none. One farm or field was well watered, and abundant in its crops, while one contiguous to it had not a shower. In these instances a particular providence was most evident. "And yet, they did not return to the Lord."
on Amos 4 :7
And I, I too have withholden the rain - Jerome, dwelling in Palestine, says, that "this rain, when "three months yet remained until harvest," was the "latter rain," of the very greatest necessity for the fields of Palestine and the thirsty ground, lest, when the blade is swelling into the crop, and gendering the wheat, it should dry up through lack of moisture. The time intended is the spring, at the end of April, whence, to the wheat-harvest, there remain three months, May, June, July." "God withheld the rain that they might endure, not only lack of bread, but burning thirst and penury of drink also. For in these places, where we now live, all the water, except small fountains, is of cisterns; and if the wrath of God should withhold the rain, there is greater peril of thirst than of hunger, such its Scripture relates to have endured for three years and six months in the days of the prophet Elijah. And lest they should think that this had befallen their cities and people, by a law of nature, or the influence of the stars, or the variety of the seasons, He says, that He rained upon one city and its fields, and from another withheld the rain."
This was a second visitation of God. First, a general famine, "in all their cities;" secondly, a discriminating visitation. "Nature" possesses no discrimination or power over her supplies. Seeming waste is one of the mysteries of God in nature, "to cause it to rain on the earth" Job 38:26 where "no man" is; on "the wilderness wherein" there, "is no man." Ordinarily too, God "maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" Matthew 5:45. But God does not enslave Himself, (as people would have it) to His own laws. Amos appeals to them, that God had dealt with them, not according to His ordinary laws; that not only God had given to one city the rain which he had withheld from another, but that He had made the same difference as to smaller "pieces" of ground, the inherited "portions" of individuals . Some such variations have been observed in Palestine now. But this would have been no indication of God's Providence, had not the consciences of people responded to the prophet's appeal, and recognized that the rain had been given or withheld according to the penitence or impenitence, the deeper or more mitigated idolatry, the greater or less sinfulness of the people. We have. then, in these few words a law of God's dealing with Israel. God, in His word, reveals to us the meaning of His daily variations in the workings of nature; yet, hardly even in such instances, as people can scarcely elude, do they think of God the Creator, rather than of nature, His creation.
on Amos 4 :7
4:7 When - At a season when your country most needed it. Upon one city - That you might see my hand in it, I gave rain to one city, and withheld it from the next; nay one part of the same field was watered and flourished: another part, dry and withered.