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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Amos 3:9

9. Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof.

9. Promulgate in palatiis Asdod, et in palatiis terrae Aegypti, et dicite, Congregamini super montes Samaria, et videte tumultus multos (vel, concussiones multas) in medio ejus, et oppressiones in medio ejus.

Amos begins here to set judges over the Israelites; for they would not patiently submit to God's judgment: and he constitutes and sets over them as judges the Egyptians and Idumeans. This prophecy no doubt increasingly exasperated the minds of the people, who were already very refractory and rebellious; but yet this was necessary. God, indeed, had cited them to his tribunal, as long as a hope of reconciliation remained: when they became angry on account of God's threatening, clamored against his servants, yea, and obstinately disputed, as though they were guilty of no fault, what remained, but that God should constitute judges over them, whom the Prophet names, even the Egyptians and Idumeans? |Ye cannot bear my judgment; unbelievers, who are already condemned, shall pronounce sentence upon you. I am indeed your legitimate judge; but as ye have repudiated me, I will prove to you how true my judgment is; I will be silent, the Egyptians shall speak.| And who were these Egyptians? Even those who were equally guilty with the Israelites, and labored under the same charges, or were at least not far from deserving a similar punishment; and yet God would compel the Israelites to hear the sentence that was to be pronounced on them by the Egyptians and Idumeans. We know how proudly the Israelites gloried in their primogeniture; but the Lord here exposes to scorn this arrogance, because they made such bad use of his benefits. We now then perceive the Prophet's intention.

Publish, he says, in the palaces of Ashdod, in the palaces of the land of Egypt, and say -- what? |Assemble on the mountains of Samaria.| He would have the Egyptians and the Idumeans to meet together, and the mountains of Samaria to be as it were the theater, though the idea of a tribunal is more suitable to the similitude that is used. It was then, as though the Egyptians and Idumeans were to be seated on an elevated place; and God were to set before them the oppressions, the robberies and iniquitous pillages, which prevailed in the kingdom of Israel. Assemble then on the mountains of Samaria. The Prophet alludes to the situation of the country: for though Samaria was situated on a plain, there were yet mountains around it; and they thought themselves hid there, and were as wine settled on its lees. God says now, |Let the Egyptians and Idumeans meet and view the scene; I will allot them a place, from which they can see how greatly all kinds of iniquity prevail in the kingdom of Israel. They indeed dwell in their plain, and think themselves sufficiently defended by the mountains around; but from these mountains even the very blind will be able to see how abominable and shameful is their condition.|

Let them come and see, he says, the oppressions in the midst of her. The word he uses is mhvmt, meumet, tumults; but he means oppressions, committed without any regard to reason or justice, when all things are done with glamour and violence. |Let them see then the oppressions, let them see the distresses.| He speaks of their deeds; he afterwards mentions the persons; but the Prophet means the same thing, though he uses different forms of expression, that is, that the kingdom of Israel was filled with many crimes; for plunder of every kind prevailed there and men kept within no bounds of moderation, but by tumult and clamor pillaged the poor and the miserable. It now follows --

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