King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Amos 5

Israel is called to seek the Lord. (1-6) Earnest exhortations to repentance. (7-17) Threatenings respecting idolatries. (18-27)

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Israel is called to seek the Lord

1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.

2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.

3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.

4 For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

5 But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.

6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

Earnest exhortations to repentance

7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,

8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:

9 That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.

10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.

11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.

12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.

13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

16 Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.

17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.

Threatenings respecting idolatries

18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?

21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.

22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.

23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.

25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Lamentation. Such canticles were usual. Is. xiv. — Israel. It no longer formed a separate kingdom. C. — When the people fear no evil, God laments for them. W.

Ver. 3. City, before (C.) or after the captivity. It required a long time to fill the cities as they had been. H. — When the Assyrians invaded the country, it was greatly reduced. C.

Ver. 5. Bethel,…Galgal,…Bersabee. The places where they worshipped their idols. Ch. — They had all been honoured by the patriarchs. Bersabee had belonged to Juda under Achab. 3 K. xix. 3. But it was originally in the tribe of Simeon, and Jeroboam II. recovered all that had been lost. 4 K. xiv. 25. C. — Unprofitable. Heb. leaven, “for vanity,” (H.) Bethaven.

Ver. 6. Joseph. His two grandchildren gave name to the principle tribes of the kingdom. — Bethel. Sept. “Israel,” which seems preferable. C. — Yet Bethel may stand, as it denotes the apostate Israelites.

Ver. 7. You. Sept. “the Lord, [God] who does judgment on high, and has placed justice on the earth; (8) who maketh and transformeth all things, and turneth,” &c. H. — Heb. agrees with the Vulg. C.

Ver. 8. Arcturus and Orion. Arcturus is a bright star in the north, Orion a beautiful constellation in the south. Ch. — Shepherds in Arabia and Spain are well acquainted with the stars. C. — We have examined the meaning of cima and cesil, Job ix. 9. and xxxviii. 31. S. Jerom’s master asserts that the latter means “efflugence.” Cima is rendered the Pleiades by Aquila and Th.; “the seven stars,” by Prot.. H. — When such allusions to the heathen mythology occur, they give no sanction to it, but serve to explain what is meant. S. Jer. — Morning, affording comfort. C. iv. 13. — Earth, by floods (C.) or rain. S. Jer.

Ver. 9. With a smile. That is, with all ease, and without making any effort. Ch. — Aquila has “grinning,” to shew displeasure. S. Jer. — Heb. “he strengthens the oppressor against the strong,” so that those whom he pleases to chastise cannot escape.

Ver. 10. They, the wicked, could not endure Amos, (C. vii. 12.) nor those who rebuked them.

Ver. 12. Grievous. Heb. also, “numerous.”

Ver. 13. Time. It is to no purpose speaking to the deaf, (Eccli. xxxii. 9.) or throwing pearls before swine. Mat. vii. 6. Amos was silent for a while, till God opened his mouth again. C. iii. 8. and vii. 12.

Ver. 14. Said. Probably Amaias took occasion, from the flourishing state of the kingdom, to assert that the Lord approved of their conduct. C.

Ver. 15. May be. God will not be wanting on his side. But this implies that man may find a difficulty in seeking good, and neglect to do it, though he may if he please, with God’s assistance. W. — Remnant. Posterity. C.

Ver. 16. Lament. Such hired mourners often seemed more grieved than those who were really affected. Hor. art. All were invited to join in the common sorrow. Jer. ix. 17. and xlviii. 31.

Ver. 18. The day. Some imprudently laughed at the prophets. Is. v. 19. Jer. xvii. 15. Others wished for the coming of the Lord, not reflecting that he would punish their guilt. C. — Thus, many through impatience, desire to die. We must rather, repent, and leave our lives at God’s disposal. S. Jer.

Ver. 19. Serpent. All his attempts would thus proved abortive. The Israelites were not ruined by Phul, or by Theglathphalassar. But the serpent, (H.) Salmanasar, came and took them in their own houses. 4 K. xvii. 7. C.

Ver. 21. Festivities. Some were still observed. C. iv. 4.

Ver. 22. Vows. Heb. “peace-offerings of your mercies;” a sort of oxen. 2 K. vi. 13. and 3 K. i. 9. Sept. “the salvation of your appearance,” or what you offer for your welfare.

Ver. 23. Harp. Praise ill becomes the sinner. Eccli. xv. 9. Ps. xlix. 17.

Ver. 24. Mighty. Heb. “Ethan.” Let your virtue appear, or the greatest miseries will shortly overwhelm you. C.

Ver. 25. Did you offer, &c. Except the sacrifices that were offered at the first, in the dedication of the tabernacle, the Israelites offered no sacrifices in the desert. Ch. — They ceased after the beginning of the second year. S. Aug. q. 47 in Ex. Lev. vii. &c. W. — God did not require sacrifices when the people came out of Egypt. Jer. vii. 22. Deut. xii. 8. They were not performed so regularly in the desert, (C.) and the people still bore a secret affection for idols, (v. 26.) which rendered all their victims useless. H.

Ver. 26. A tabernacle, &c. All this alludes to the idolatry which they committed, when they were drawn away by the daughters of Moab to the worship of their gods. Num. xxv. Ch. — They imitated the superstitions of Egypt, and bore the image of Osiris, adorned with a star and crescent, on a sort of base, under a canopy. Heb. “You carried the tents of your king and the base of your statues, the star of your gods, which you have made for yourselves.” Sept. by changing (C.) ciun in Rephan, or raiphan, (H.) have caused great confusion among commentators. If any change were requisite, (C.) cima (H.) would be preferable. v. 8. Job ix. 9. Yet the Heb. seems to be correct, and chiun denotes a pedestal rather than an idol. Some read Kevan, the Saturn of the Arabs, &c. and think that Rephan has been mistaken for it. The only difficulty is the authority of S. Stephen, who follows the Sept. Acts vii. 43. Yet he probably spoke in Syriac, and might pronounce Chevan; though S. Luke might adopt the Sept. in a matter of so little consequence. C. Diss. — This decision may not probably give satisfaction to those who reflect that both these authors were under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, and that if an error had crept into the copy of the Sept. he would have corrected it. Truth is always of sufficient consequence. See Kennicott, Diss. ii. p. 344. H. — Chiun and Rephan are “expressive of the same” god or idol, representing the machine of the heavens. The people of Peru worshipped Choun. Parkhurst, p. 137. — Remvan may be Remmon, (4 K. vi. 18.) or Saturn. Grot. — In a Coptic alphabet of the planets it is thus explained: (De Dieu. Collier. Dict. Sept. and Acts) “You have taken the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your Rempham, figures,” &c. Prot. marg. “the Siccuth, your king, and Chiun, your images, the star,” &c. H.

Ver. 27. Damacus, or Babylon, (Acts vii.) into Mesopotamia, &c. The sense is the same. C. — When the apostles quote passages, “they do not consider the words but the sense.” S. Jer. — One Greek copy, however, has Damascus in the Acts. H.