on Amos 5 :12
I know your manifold transgressions - I have marked the multitude of your smaller crimes, as well as your mighty offenses. Among their greater offenses were,
1. Their afflicting the righteous.
2. Taking bribes to blind their eyes in judgment. And,
3. Refusing to hear the poor, who had no money to give them.
on Amos 5 :12
For I know - Literally, "I have known." They thought that God did not know, because He did not avenge; as the Psalmist says, "Thy judgments are far above out of his sight" Psalm 10:5. People who do not act with the thought of God, cease to know Him, and forget that He knows them. "Your manifold transgressions;" literally, "many are your transgressions and mighty your sins." Their deeds, they knew, were mighty, strong, vigorous, decided. God says, that their "sins" were so, not many and great only, but "mighty, strong" , "issuing not out of ignorance and infirmity, but out of proud strength" , "'strong' in the oppression of the poor and in provoking God," and bringing down His wrath. So Asaph says of the prosperous; "Pride encompasseth them, as a chain; they are corrupt, they speak oppression wickedly; they speak from on high" Psalm 73:6, Psalm 73:8.
They afflict the just - Literally, "afflicters of the just," that is, such as habitually afflicted him; whose habit and quality it was to afflict him. Our version mostly renders the word "enemies." Originally, it signifies "afflicting, persecuting" enemies. Yet it is used also of the enemies of God, perhaps such as persecute Him in His people, or in His Son when in the flesh. The unjust hate the just, as is said in the book of Wisdom; "The ungodly said, Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law. He profeseth to have the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. He was made to reprove our thoughts. He is grievous unto us even to behold, for his life is not as other people's, his ways are of another fashion" (Wisdom Psalm 2:1, Psalm 2:12-15). So when the Truth and Righteousness came into the world, the Scribes and Pharisees hated Him because He reproved them, "denied" Acts 3:14 and crucified "the Holy one and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto" them, haters and "enemies of the Just," and preferring to Him the unjust.
That take a bribe - Literally, "a ransom." It may be that, contrary to the law, which forbade, in these same words Numbers 35:22, "to take any ransom for the life of a murderer," they took some ransom to set free rich murderers, and so, (as we have seen for many years to be the effect of unjust acquittals,) blood was shed with impunity, and was shed the more, because it was disregarded. The word, however, is used in one place apparently of any bribe, through which a man connives at injustice 1 Samuel 12:3.
on Amos 5 :12
5:12 In the gate - In their courts of justice.