10. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
10. Gladio morientur omnes scelerati populi mei, qui dicunt, Non accedet et non antevertet proper nos malum.
Amos goes on with the same subject, -- that God without any measure of cruelty would execute extreme vengeance on a reprobate people: Die, he says, by the sword all the wicked of my people. In naming the wicked of the people, he meant no doubt to include the whole people; though if any one thinks that the elect are by implication excepted, who were mixed with the ungodly, I do not object: this is probable; but yet the Prophet speaks here of the people generally. He says that the wicked of the people would perish by the sword: for it was not the sin of a few that Amos here refers to, but the sin which prevailed among the whole nation. Then all the wicked of my people shall die by the sword. He points out what sort of people they were, or at least he mentions the chief mark by which their impiety might be discovered, -- they obstinately despised all the judgments of God, They say, It will not draw near; nor lay hold on our account, the evil.
Security then, which of itself ever generates a contempt of God, is here mentioned as the principal mark of impiety. And doubtless the vices of men reach a point that is past hope, when they are touched neither by fear nor shame, but expect God's judgments without any concern or anxiety. Since then they thus drove far away from themselves all threatening, while at the same time they were ill at ease with themselves, and as it were burying themselves in deep caverns, and seeking false peace to their consciences, they were in a torpor, or rather stupor, incapable of any remedy. It is, therefore, no wonder that the Prophet lays down here this mark of security, when he is showing that there was no remnant of a sound mind in this people. Die then shall all the wicked by the sword, even those who say, It will not draw near; nor anticipate us, on our account, the evil: for we can not explain the word hqdym, ekodim, in any other way than by referring it to the threatening. For the Prophets, we know, commonly declared that the day of the Lord was at hand, that his hand was already armed, that it had already seized the sword. As then the Prophets, in order to smite despisers with fear, were wont to threaten a near punishment; so the Prophet does here; wishing to expose the impious stupor of the people, he says, |You think that there will not be such haste as is foretold to you by the Prophets; but this sheer perverseness will be the cause of your ruin.|
As to the expression, It will not come on our account, from a regard to us, it deserves to be noticed. Though hypocrites confess in general, that they cannot escape the hand of God, yet they still separate themselves from the common class, as if they are secured by some peculiar privilege. They therefore set up something in opposition to God, that they may not be blended with others. This folly the Prophet indirectly condemns by saying, that hypocrites are in a quiet and tranquil state, because they think that there will be to them no evil in common with the rest, as also they say in Isaiah 28:15, The scourge, if it passes, will not yet reach us.' We now then see what the Prophet has hitherto taught, and the meaning of these four verses which we have just explained. Now follows the promise --