1. Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.
1. Sic ostendit mihi Dominus Jehova; et ecce corbis fructus aestivi (vel, canistrum.) Et dixit, Quid tu vides, Amos?
2. And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.
2. Et dixit, Corbem (vel, canistrum) fructus aestivi: et dixit Jehova mihi, Venit finis super populum meum Israel; non adjiciam amplius transire in eo.
By these words or by this vision the Prophet confirms what we have already observed -- that paternal chastisements would no longer be exercised towards the people of Israel. God indeed, as it is well known, had so treated that people, that he ever spared them even in their greatest calamities. It was with a suspended hand that God ever struck that people, until after many trials they at length seemed so refractory, as not to be benefited by such remedies. This subject then Amos now pursues: but a vision was shown to him to confirm more fully God's judgment, or at least to produce a greater impression on the minds of the people.
God showed to him a Basket full of summer-fruit. By summer-fruit, I doubt not, he means a ripe punishment, as though he said, that the vices of the people had ripened, that vengeance could no longer be deferred: for an exposition of the vision immediately follows, when he says, that the end of the people had come, etc.; and this we have already explained in the third vision. But there is a similarity in the Hebrew words, which cannot be expressed either in Greek or Latin. qyts, kits means a summer-fruit, qts, kots, signifies an end: one letter only is inserted in the word, summer-fruit, which God showed in a basket; and then he adds that qts, kots, the end had come. But as to the main point, we see that there is nothing ambiguous. We will now return to the first thing.
Thus God showed to me. There is no need of repeating what I have already discussed. The Prophet here prefaces, that he adduced nothing without authority, but only faithfully related what had been commanded him from above. And this ought to be carefully observed; for God ever so employed his Prophets, that he yet reserved for himself entire the right of teaching, and never transferred his own office to men, that is, as to the authority. Then he says, The Lord Jehovah showed to me, and, lo, a basket of summer-fruit. We may understand cherries by summer-fruit, and those fruits which have no solid vigor to continue long; but this is too refined. I take the simple meaning, that punishment had now become ripe; for the people had not repented, though they had been so often warned; it was then as it were summer. He showed to me a basket of summer-fruit. But as to God asking his Prophet what he saw, we have already explained the reason why it was done: it behaved the Prophet to be at first filled with astonishment, that the people might be made more attentive; for when we hear of a conference between God and the Prophet, our minds are awakened; inasmuch as it must immediately occur to us, that there is something worthy of being remembered. God then rouses in this manner the minds of his people. So we see there is nothing superfluous in this repetition.
Now follows the exposition of the vision, Jehovah said to me, Come has the end on my people Israel We perceive, then, the meaning of the Prophet to be, -- that the people had hitherto been warned by moderate punishments; but that as they had become hardened, extreme vengeance was nigh at hand, when God would no longer perform the part of a father or of a physician, but would utterly destroy those whom he had long borne with. We indeed know that most grievous calamities had happened to the people of Israel, even before this time; but whenever God showed forbearance, he ever allured them to true penitence. Lest, then, they should promise such a treatment to themselves hereafter, and by self flatteries protract time, as hypocrites are wont to do, the Prophet declares here expressly, that the end had come; as though he said, |Your iniquity is ripe: now then gather the fruit; for ye cannot proceed farther, no, not even for one day. Fruit will indeed come to you of itself.| The end then is come, and I will no more add to pass by them. To pass by, as we have already explained, is to be referred to punishment. For why does God chastise his people, except that he is solicitous for their salvation? He says, then, that he would make an end, that he would not spend labor hereafter in correcting the people, for he saw that nothing availed. Hence, I will not pass by them, that is, I will execute my extreme vengeance: Il n'y faudra plus retourner, as we commonly say. It follows --