Page images


Verse 3. Ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at derson has, “ Ye shall be even thrown out of the palace, that which is before her.'-In the last clause of eight which is equivalent to a restoration of the text as it stood words, five are in the Auth. Version in italic, or supplied ; in our bibles before the recension under king James, “Ye a very unusual thing, and shewing that some greatdifficulty shall cast yourselves out of the palace, saith the Lord.' was here encountered. The idea of the cow is derived 6. • Cleanness of teeth.'--A proverbial expression to ex. from the apparently necessary connection of the kine men- press famine, derived from the general rather than a partioned before, as supposed to be indicated by the use of ticular observation, that things remain clean when unused. the feminine pronoun--before her.'. A more simple view The famine, if any one in particular be alluded to, may of the text, which, however, is substantially but the old be that mentioned in 2 Kings viii. one revived, disposes of all this surplusage, and trans- 7. When there were yet three months to the harvest.' lates thus : ‘Ye shall go out by the breaches (of a wall In general the barley harvest commences in Palestine after the city has been taken), and out by the gates, about the end of April or beginning of May, ten days or every one right before her,' that is, going into captivity, a fortnight before the wheat harvest, and by the beginning and not allowed by the conquerors to turn aside. The of June all the corn is usually got in. Three months be. Septuagint is equivalent to Ye shall be carried away fore the harvest may be therefore reckoned as correspondnaked, one beside another,' meaning probably that they ing to February, which month is generally the most rainy should be marched out in regular order side by side, as of the year. Large quantities of rain usually fall during captives.

the first fortnight of that month in particular. The text — Ye shall cast them into the palace.'— Most of the therefore expresses that there had been no rain at the time versions read the word rendered palace (Tipio?da ha- of the year when it is most usual and most abundant. harmonah) as a proper name, but are not agreed in the

11. "I have overthrown some of you, as God over

threw Sodom and Gomorrah'This must allude to some reference. The Sept. has the mountain of Remmon' (the Hebrew 777 har usually means "mountain'); Theodotion,

physical calamity, the nature of which cannot be de

termined, from the absence of historical data and distinct the mountain Mona;' but the Chaldee, Syriac, Jerome,

description. Some think it was the earthquake mentioned Symmachus, Bochart, Grotius, Michaelis, Struensee, Dathe,

in i. 1, but this cannot have been the case as the prophecy Bauer, De Wette, all pronounce for Armenia, into

was delivered two years before that event. The allusion which in fact portions at least of the ten tribes were cast.

to fire would suggest that some of the cities of Israel had If the word be really a proper name, we cannot doubt

been burned, either by lightning or by the army of the that Armenia is intended ; and it must be taken as a pro

king of Syria. per name, unless we agree with Kimchi, followed by Lee, Gesenius, Winer and Henderson, that the word jina

* As a firebrand plucked out of the burning.'- This is

a proverbial expression several times repeated in Scripharmon, here stands for jo armon,


ture, denoting a narrow escape from imminent dauger. doubtedly means a palace or citadel; but then to make The same figure, in the same signification, was also emit intelligible we must take the parties in question to have ployed by the heathen writers. beeu cast away from the palace, and not into it. So Hen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood,

and leave off righteousness in the earth, 1 A lamentation for Israel. 4 An exhortation to repentance. 21 God rejecteth their hypocritical

8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars service.

and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death

into the morning, and maketh the day dark HEAR ye this word which I take up against with night : that 'calleth for the waters of the you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. sea, and poureth them out upon the face of

2 The virgin of Israel is fallen ; she shall the earth : The Lord is his name : no more rise : she is forsaken upon her land;

9 That strengtheneth the 'spoiled against there is none to raise her up.

the strong, so that the spoiled shall come 3 For thus saith the Lord God; The city against the fortress. that went out by a thousand shall leave an 10 They hate him that rebuketh in the hundred, and that which went forth by an gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uphundred shall leave ten, to the house of rightly. Israel.

11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading 4 | For thus saith the LORD unto the is upon the poor, and ye take from him burhouse of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall dens of wheat: 'ye have built houses of hewn live:

stone, but ye shall not dwell in them ; ye have 5 But seek not 'Beth-el, nor enter into planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba : for Gil- drink wine of them. gal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el

12 For I know your manifold transgresshall come to nought.

sions, and your mighty sins: they afflict the 6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live ; lest just, they take ‘a bribe, and they turn aside

6 he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, the poor in the gate from their right. and devour it, and there be none to quench it 13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in Beth-el.

in that time ; for it is an evil time. 1 Chap. 4. 4. 1 2 Job 9. 9, and 38. 31. 3 Chap. 9. 6.

4 Heb. spoil.

5 Zepb. 1. 13. 6 IIeb. vineyards of desire.

7 Or, a ransom.

14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may ness, and not light ? even very dark, and no live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall brightness in it? be with you, as ye have spoken.

21 [ ''I hate, I despise your feast days, 15 *Hate the evil, and love the good, and and I will not "smell in your solemn assemestablish judgment in the gate : it may be blies. that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious

22 Though ye

offer me burnt offerings and unto the remnant of Joseph.

your meat offerings, I will not accept them : 16 Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, neither will I regard the "peace offerings of the Lord, saith thus ; Wailing shall be in all your fat beasts. streets ; and they shall say in all the high- 23 Take thou away from me the noise of ways, Alas ! alas ! and they shall call the hus- thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of bandman to mourning, and such as are skilful thy viols. of lamentation to wailing.

24 But let judgment 'Srun down as waters, 17 And in all vineyards shall be wail- and righteousness as a mighty stream. ing: for I will pass through thee, saith the 25 Have


offered unto me sacrifices and LORD.

offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house 18 'Woe unto you that desire the day of of Israel ? the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day 26 But ye have borne "the tabernacle of of the Lord is darkness, and not light. your Moloch and Chiun your images, the

19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a star of your god, which ye made to yourbear met him ; or went into the house, and selves. leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit

27 Therefore will I cause you to go into him.

captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, 20 Shall not the day of the LORD be dark- whose name is The God of hosts.

Jer. 30. 7. Joel 2. 2. Zeph. 1. 15. 11 0r, smell your holidays. 12 Or, thankofferings.

15 Or, Siccuth your kiny.


& Psal. 34. 14, and 97. 10. Rom. 12. 9.

9 Isa. 5. 19.

10 Isa. 1. 11. Jer. 6. 20.

13 Heb. roll,

14 Acts 7. 42.


in the gate.


Verse 8. • The seven stars and Orion:-Sopa npr. avoiding one evil only to fall into another. There are Chemah and Chesil ; concerning both of which see the proverbial expressions to this effect in all nations, as • Innotes on Job xxxviii.

cidit in Scyllam, qui vult vitare Charybdim,' and our 10. They hate him that rebuketh in the gate.'--Some

own less elegant 'Out of the frying-pan into the fire.' In think that this rebuker in the gate is the prophet himself;

support of the proverbial character of the phrase Bochart and we incline to agree with this, although, but for the (Hieroz. ii. 136, seq.) quotes two Arabian anecdotes, one picture which the prophet himself has given of the cor

of which begins thus :-- A man, pursued by a lion, took ruptions of justice iu his time, we should rather suppose

refuge in a tree, in the branches of which a bear had fixed that it applied to the magistrates who administered justice himself, devouring the fruit;' and the other, 'A man, flee

ing from a lion, fell into a well, into which the lion went 16. . They shall call the husbandman to mourning.'--We

down after him, aud there was a bear in the well,' etc. do not feel quite satisfied with any of the reasons we have

Leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.' seen assigned for this call of the husbandman to mourn

-The smaller serpents in the East delight to harbour in ing. It seems to us to signify that the slaughter or mor

the old walls of houses, and particularly of dark chamtality should be so great, that even the husbandmen bers, to which they obtain easy access, as the doors hang should be unable to pursue the labours of the field, from loosely, and the windows are often mere wooden lattices the constant calls upon them to take part in acts of

without glass. In such situations they will remain and mourning and of funeral griefs.

increase, unless extirpated ; and their extirpation from Cull...such as are skilful of lamentation to wail

such places is the principal vocation of the serpenting.'—This doubtless alludes to the mourning women, of

charmer, who in some respects answers to the rat-catcher whom we have already spoken, particularly under Jer. ix.

of Europe. It is particularly common to find serpents, The pictorial illustration which we wow introduce affords and also scorpions, in houses or rooms that have remained an interesting practical commentary on the custom. The for any time unoccupied; and the new occupants are scene is a Turkish cemetery. The women, at the grave

obliged to be careful. Under these circumstances such of one lately interred, are professional mourners, as ap

accidents as that to which the prophet refers are by no pears by their tambourines, which form the proper instruments and badges of their calling. They could not be

26. · Ye have borne the taburnacle of your Moloch and introduced so characteristically as among the graves; and

Chiun,' etc.- This is a very difficult verse, the full intheir presence there is explained by the fact, that, although

vestigation of which, or even a mere statement of the dif.

ferent views which have been taken of its contents, would the more proper sphere of their vocation is to mourn over the uninterred corpse, and while following it to the tomb,

take far more room than we can afford, or should consider yet they also often accompany the chief female mourner

to be profitably occupied. A few observations, however, in the daily visits which she pays to the grave during the

as to the nature of the act here condemned, and the time first seven days of mourning, and sometimes go alone to

in which it was committed, may not be misapplied ; and mourn over the grave when she is absolutely unable to

these happen to be the most important points, as well as attend.

the clearest, and those which involve the least discussion. 19. ' As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met With respect to the first clause, 'the tabernacle of your himn.'—The expression would seem to be proverbial, ex

Moloch,' it is to be noted that the word rendered taberpressing a succession of calamities, or rather, the doom of nacle’ is MIDD siccuth, which most interpreters follow the

means uncommon.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Septuagint (onnuh) in rendering ‘tent,' or tabernacle," letter of the word, for he renders it into 'Paidáv, Raiphan, that is, as applied to an idol, or shrine. But several others, which is quoted by Stephen in Acts vii. 43 as 'Peuper, of good authority, not being able to satisfy themselves as Remphan. The elder Jewish interpreters, as Aben Ezra to the process by which the Septuagint extracts this mean- and Kimchi, also regard it as a proper name, and recog; ing from the Hebrew word, regard it as the proper name nize the name and the idol as that which the planet still of the idol denoted. Then, again, the words rendered bore in the languages of Arabia and Persia ; and in this, 'your Moloch' may equally mean your king,' which is modern research into the languages of the East has so far the interpretation necessarily adopted by those who regard confirmed them, that the identity of Chiun with Saturn is the other word as a proper name, and is even taken by to be regarded as almost a settled thing. But it is also to some who do not. We have thus three various translations be borne in mind that Saturn was the idol better known of this clause, as 'the tabernacle (or shrine) of your Mo- as Moloch in Scripture, so that this clause and the last loch ;' or 'thé tabernacle (or shrine) of your king; or coincide in their reference to the same idol. We prefer,

Siccuth your king. To the last we feel unable to attach therefore, to retain Chiun as a proper name; and to apmuch weight, and the balance of credible interpretation prehend that by Chiun of your images' (as more exactly seems to us to lie between the first two, and of these two rendered) we are to understand that many copies or perhaps that of your king' is preferable to your Mo- smaller images were made like that larger and more loch ;' for although Moloch may be and probably is in- important one which was carried about in the shrine. As tended, it is rendered likely that the name is here used to the star of your god,' this seems merely explanaappellatively, by the consideration that the same idol is tory, informing us that the figure of the idol was that of a denoted by a proper name in the next clause. For the star, confirming the general opinion that Zabianism (or next clause, .And Chiun your image, there are also star-worship) was the form of idolatry with which the various interpretations. Some refuse to recognize Chiun Israelites became acquainted in the Arabian desert, and (1143) as a proper name, and render it by 'car'—the car against which many of the Mosaical laws are levelled. of your idols;' but the general current of recent criticism It is generally agreed that the act with which the probears out the old interpretations which the Authorized phet reproaches the Hebrews, consisted in carrying or Version here follows. The Septuagint translator seems drawing about, in solemn procession or during a march, to have used a copy which had not but 7 as the first the shrine, car, or portable temple, containing the image


[ocr errors]

of the idol, or some idolatrous symbol, or it might be the tent or tabernacle of the idol god, which was carried from place to place, and pitched for the idol's reception. The interpretation which rejects 'Chiun'as a proper name, would suggest both a car for the march of the idol, and a tent for his reception. However, it is supposed that a car, or receptacle of some kind or other, is intended ; and nothing can be more probable, as we know that in whatever nation, ancient or modern, the worship or reverence of images is found, it has been and is customary to carry about some principal idols on solemn festival occasions, under a canopy, in cars or chariots, or upon the shoulders of men. How magnificently such affairs are managed by the Hindoos is known to all; and we have introduced a representation of one of their idols' cars, or movable temples, as a suitable illustration of the general practice, but not certainly of the particular form in which that practice may have been followed by the Hebrews. We may also refer to the curious specimens of a Phænician car of this kind for the goddess Astarte, afforded by the ancient coin which we have engraved under 2 Chron. xv. We also know that not only were the images of idols thus carried about in procession on festival occasions, but that they were sometimes conveyed about in armies with much state and ceremony. That the idolatrous Hebrews had the custom of carrying their idols about is clear from other passages; and it is possible they may have taken it

from the Egyptians, among whom it existed in remote time, as attested not only by ancient writers, but from the evidence of existing paintings and sculptures. And this derivation of the practice may seem the more obvious, if we conceive that the circumstance to which the prophet refers occurred during the forty years' wanderings in the desert, when the Hebrews were deeply imbued with the idolatries of Egypt. That it did then occur seems to be very obviously intimated; and is generally allowed, though disputed by some on the ground, chiefly, that so conspicuous an act of idolatry could not have been concealed from Moses, or have been allowed by him. But it is not necessary to contend that they constantly did this during the years of their sojourning: it is enough to suppose that they did so—that they got up idolatrous processions during one or more of those occasions when, in the wilderness, the people turned aside to idols—when abandoning themselves to the worship of the golden calf, or when drawn into the idolatries of Moab and Midian. Another conjecture has been made, which would allow the act in question to have been continuous and secret. This supposes that the 'tabernacle' which was borne by the Hebrews was a small and portable idolatrous symbol, worn about the person, and analogous to the silver shrines' of Diana, the manufacture of which brought no small gain to the silversmiths of Ephesus.

[graphic][merged small]




saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the

excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: 1 The wantonness of Israel, 7 shall be plagued with desolation, 12 and their incorrigibleness.

therefore will I deliver up the city with all

that is therein. 'Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and 9 And it shall come to pass, if there trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are remain ten men in one house, that they named " chief of the nations, to whom the shall die. house of Israel came!

10 And a man's uncle shall take him up, 2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; anů and he that burneth him, to bring out the from thence go ye to Hamath the great : then bones out of the house, and shall say unto go down to Gath of the Philistines : be they him that is by the sides of the house, Is there better than these kingdoms? or their border yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. greater than your border?

Then shall he say, "Hold thy tongue : for 3 Ye that 'put far away the 'evil day, and "we may not make mention of the name of cause the seat of violence to come near ; the LORD.

4 That lie upon beds of ivory, and "stretch 11 For, behold, the LORD commandeth, themselves upon their couches, and eat the and he will smite the great house with lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of breaches, and the little house with clefts. the midst of the stall;

12 9 Shall horses run upon the rock? will 5 That 'chant to the sound of the viol, and one plow there with oxen? for

ye have turned invent to themselves instruments of musick, judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteouslike David ;

ness into hemlock : 6 That drink ''wine in bowls, and anoint 13 Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, themselves with the chief ointments : but which

say, Have we not taken to us horns by they are not grieved for the ''affliction of our own strength ? Joseph.

14 But, behold, I will raise up against you 79 Therefore now shall they go captive a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD with the first that go captive, and the banquet the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you of them that stretched themselves shall be from the entering in of Hamath unto the removed.

17river of the wilderness. 8 "The Lord God hath sworn by himself,


1 Luke 6. 24. 2 Or, are secure.

8 Exod. 19.5. 7 Or, habitation. 8 Or, abound with super fluities. 12 Jer. 51. 14. 13 Heb. the fulness thereof.

16 Úr, droppings.

Or, first fruiis.

5 Ezek. 12. 27. 6 Chap. 5. 18.
9 01, quarer:

10 Or, in buuis of wine. 11 Heb. breack. 14 Chap. 5. 13. 15 Or, they will not, or, have not.

17 Or, talley.

Verse 4. That lie upon beds of ivory'-From the description, given in this and the following verses, of the feasts of the Hebrews, it would seem that they had arrived at a somewhat luxurious condition of life in the time of Amos. Such of the usages to which it refers, as have not already been illustrated, we shall hereafter have occasion to notice separately. At present it may suffice to sum up the inforınation it contains :—That the Hebrews reclined at their entertainments upon splendid couches or beds; the guests were anointed with rich ointments or oils; they indulged freely in wine; and were entertained with vocal and instrumental music. All these usages were common in most ancient nations; and nearly all these, and others which may be collected from different passages of Scripture, are still retained in the East. One important exception is the drinking of wine, which is forbidden by the law of Mohammed, and which gives a peculiar character of sobriety, but not dulness, to the most luxurious entertainments of Western Asia, in which the law is not transgressed.

5. Chant to the sound of the viol.'—The word here rendered 'viol' is the same as the ba; nabel, which has already been noticed under Ps. xcii. and cviii.

10. · He that burneth him.'—This remarkable passage has been incidentally illustrated under Jer. xxxv. 5, and since then, the illustration of this text has been further anticipated by some intimations which have been given in

the note on Ezek. xxxii. 22. It will be seen from these
notes that we are disposed to contend that the custom of
burning the dead was at one time in use among the He-
brews, though perhaps not commonly in use. We are !
willing to allow, however, that even at this time, when
burning appears to have been regarded as an honourable
mode of disposing of the remains even of kings, the prac
tice was more generally resorted to when deaths occurred
in great numbers, from plague, war, or other circumstances.
The prophet is here describing the effects of pestilence.
And it appears-from the admission of the Rabbins, that
fires were kept burning in the valley of Tophet to con-
sume dead carcases, for fear of pestilence-that the He-
brews were not ignorant that the mephitic vapours arising
from putrescent bodies were favourable to the rise and
spread of pestilence. On the subject of this connection
an interesting paper was read by Mr. Urquhart at the
meeting of the British Association at Liverpool in 1837,
on which occasion Colonel Briggs observed, that the
plague was unknown in India, and attributed it to the
custom of burning the dead. If the Hebrews burned their
dead, when deaths were numerous, as a measure of pre-
caution for preventing the spread of pestilence, they knew
more than is known to the present inhabitants of Syria.

13. · Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength ?' -Horns being the symbol of power and glory, the words mean, 'Have we not raised ourselves in glory and authority by our own strength ?'


« PreviousContinue »