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Commentary On Joel Amos Obadiah by Jean Calvin

Amos 8:8

8. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.

8. Annon super hoc tumultuabitur terra, et lugebit quicunque habitat in ea? Et ascendet quasi flumen tota (vel, elevabitur,) et profligabitur et submergetur quasi a fluvio AEgypti.

He confirms what the last verse contains in other words: and the question is emphatical, for it is a double affirmation. A question, we know, is usually put, when there is no measure of doubt on the subject. God then asks here as of a thing certain, how they could remain in safety, who had so perverted every thing right and just, who had violated all equity, who were influenced by no feelings of humanity, -- how could such continue safe? It was impossible. We hence see why the Prophet here uses a question; it was, that he might more fully confirm what he declares.

Shall not the land, he says, make a tumult? when these disturb all order, when they mingle, as the proverb is, heaven and earth together, can the earth remain quiet under such a violent confusion? when all reason and equity is confounded, how, he says, can the land do otherwise than make a tumult? And though the Prophet ascribes not here either clamor or speech to the land; it is yet a sort of personification, when he says that the earth must necessarily make a tumult, while it sustains such inhabitants; for between them there was no agreement. Since then their way of living was extremely turbulent, the land itself must necessarily be agitated.

He afterwards adds, And mourn shall every one who dwells in it He now shows that the inhabitants of the earth shall feel that commotion of which he predicts: for the earth, ceasing to fulfill its offices, constrains its inhabitants to lament and mourn. And then there is another metaphor which sets forth the moving of the earth, that it will rise as a river to destroy men with a deluge. Many render what follows, |It shall be driven away and closed up like the river of Egypt.| But after the Prophet has spoken of inundation of the earth, he turns his discourse to the men whom this inundation would drown and swallow up. Hence, the real sense is, that their habitations would be destroyed, as by a deep gulf, in a way similar to the Nile, which, by overflowing the whole country, seems to make a sea of what had been inhabited. As the Prophet's words lead us as by the hand, I wonder how those skillful in the Hebrew language could have blended things so different, for they give this explanation, |The land shall be raised up, as a river, and then it shall be destroyed and driven away;| and they refer this to the land; and then, |it shall be sunk down:| this also they apply to the land; except that some give this rendering, |It shall discharge itself like the river of Egypt.| But I translate otherwise, |It shall heave up whole as a river, and shall be driven away, and shall be immersed as by the river of Egypt.| It shall heave up, he says, that is, the land as a river; so that there will be no habitation for men: |I have given this land to my people that they might live in it; but the land itself shall heave up as a river; there shall be an inundation of the whole land.| And then when he says, It shall be driven away and sunk, this ought not to be referred to the land itself, but to the inhabitants or to the people.

He had said before, k'r, kar, as a river; but now he says, ky'vr, kiaur, which I explain as meaning, as by the river of Egypt. The Nile, we know, overflows annually and covers the whole plain of Egypt. The Prophet therefore borrowed a similitude from the Nile; and he says, that such would be God's vengeance, that the land would be like a river, and its dwellings would be immersed and carried away, or annihilated: for when there is no surface of land, it seems to have been cleared away. So then he says now, It shall be driven away, It shall be sunk. This is the simple explanation; and , oin, is to be understood; for sq, shiko, is to sink or to cover. Here, h, he is only put, but , oin, is to be understood, and there is also a double reading pointed out. We now then perceive the Prophet's meaning. But it follows --

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