Amos 2:13
Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.
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(13) I am pressed.—Baur, Pusey, and Speaker’s Commentary support this rendering of the Heb. mē‘îq, the corresponding form in the next clause also being taken in the intransitive (i.e., passive sense). But it is unlikely that God, in this passage, should declare Himself “crushed” under the weight of Israel’s sin, for in the context it is Israel, and not God, who is described as the victim, Moreover, grammatical usage is against the rendering of mē‘îq as passive; nor does it favour Ewald’s, as well as Keil’s, interpretation “press you down” Translate (see margin) Behold, I am pressing down beneath you (literally, your place), just as the waggon, filled up with sheaves, presses down. Jehovah, in the awful judgment which He inflicts, is symbolised by the heavily-laden waggon. The expression “beneath you” suggests that the evil is not confined to the present. Israel, the nation weighted with the doom of past iniquities, bequeathes a yet more crushing load to future generations. If the text is sound, this appears the only satisfactory rendering of a difficult passage.

Amos 2:13-16. Behold I am pressed under you — Your sins have quite tired out my patience, and I am weary with bearing them: compare Isaiah 43:24; Malachi 2:17. In this sense the clause is understood by the LXX. and Vulgate. The marginal reading, however, is preferred by many commentators. Archbishop Newcome renders the verse, Behold, I will press your place as a loaded corn-wain presseth its sheaves; and Secker observes, The next verse being joined to this by the connective particle (and) makes it more natural that this should begin to express their punishment. Therefore flight shall perish from the swift — Even flight shall not secure the swift, for their enemies shall be swifter than they. The strong shall not strengthen his force — Their natural strength of body shall not deliver them. And he that is courageous shall flee away naked — Having cast away his armour, or upper garments, for greater expedition. 2:9-16 We need often to be reminded of the mercies we have received; which add much to the evil of the sins we have committed. They had helps for their souls, which taught them how to make good use of their earthly enjoyments, and were therefore more valuable. Faithful ministers are great blessings to any people; but it is God that raises them up to be so. Sinners' own consciences will witness that he has not been wanting to them in the means of grace. They did what they could to lead believers aside. Satan and his agents are busy to corrupt the minds of young people who look heavenward; they overcome many by drawing them to the love of mirth and pleasure, and into drinking company. Multitudes of young men who bade fair as professors of religion, have erred through strong drink, and have been undone for ever. The Lord complains of sin, especially the sins of his professing people, as a burden to him. And though his long-suffering be tired, his power is not, and so the sinner will find to his cost. When men reject God's word, adding obstinacy to sin, and this becomes the general character of a people, they will be given up to misery, notwithstanding all their boasted power and resources. May we then humble ourselves before the Lord, for all our ingratitude and unfaithfulness.Behold, I am pressed under you - God bore His people, as the wain bears the sheaves. "Ye yourselves have seen," He said to them by Moses, "how I bare you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto Myself" Exodus 19:4. "Thou hast seen how the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place" Deuteronomy 1:31. And by Isaiah, "He bare them and carried them all the days of old" Isaiah 63:9; and, "which are born" by Me "from the belly, which are carried from the womb" Isaiah 46:3. Now, He speaks of Himself as wearied by them, as by Isaiah, "thou hast wearied Me with thine iniquities" Isaiah 43:24; and by Malachi, "ye have wearied the Lord: yet ye say, where with have we wearied Him?" Malachi 2:17. His long-suffering was, as it were, worn out by them. He was straitened under them, as the wain groans under the sheaves with which it is over-full. The words are literally, "Behold I, I" (emphatic I, your God, of whom it would seem impossible) "straiten myself" (that is, of My own Will allow Myself to be straitened"under you" ,

"As the wain full for itself," that is, as full as ever it can contain, is "straitened, groans," as we say. God says, (the word in Hebrew is half active) that He allows Himself to be straitened, as in Isaiah, He says, "I am weary to bear," literally, "I let Myself be wearied." We are simply passive under weariness or oppressiveness: God endures us, out of His own free condescension in enduring us. But it follows, that when He shall cease to endure our many and grievous sins, He will cast them and the sinner forth from Him.

13. I am pressed under you—so Calvin (Compare Isa 1:14). The Margin translates actively, "I will depress your place," that is, "I will make it narrow," a metaphor for afflicting a people; the opposite of enlarging, that is, relieving (Ps 4:1; Pr 4:12). Maurer translates, "I will press you down" (not as Margin, "your place"; so the Hebrew, Job 40:12; or Am 2:7 in Hebrew text). Amos, as a shepherd, appropriately draws his similes from rustic scenes. Hitherto the Lord by the prophet had declared the sins of the kingdom of the ten tribes, now he is about to pronounce judgment against them; he calls for their attention, and diligent weighing what he is about to speak.

I, the Lord, who have so multiplied mercies to this people,

am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves: some read this passage actively, and make this the sense, I will lead you with these judgments as a cart is loaded, and you shall cry and groan under these judgments, as a cart heavy loaded makes a noise in its motion under such pressures. Perhaps sheaves, the loading of a harvest season, are mentioned, to intimate the ripeness of their sins, and God’s reaping them or cutting them down by his judgments, and carrying them together to be thrashed by further judgments. Behold, I are pressed under you,.... With the weight of their sins, with which they had made him to serve, and had wearied him; his patience was quite wore out, he could bear them no longer:

as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves; as a cart in harvest time, in which the sheaves of corn are carried home; when one sheaf is laid upon another, till they can lay no more, and the cart is loaded and overloaded with them, and ready to break, or be pressed into the earth with them: thus. Jehovah represents himself as loaded and burdened with the sins of these people, and therefore would visit for them, and inflict deserved punishment. Some render it actively, "behold, I press" (z), or "am about to press your place, as a cart full of sheaves presseth" (a); the horse or horses which draw it, especially the last; or the ground it goes upon; or as a cart stuck with iron spikes, and loaded with stones, being drawn over a corn floor, presses the full sheaves, and beats out the grain, which was their way of pressing it: so the Lord signifies he would afflict and distress this people, bring them into strait circumstances, by a close siege, and other judgments, which should ruin and destroy them; and which was first begun by Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and finished by Shalmaneser, who carried away the ten tribes captive. So the Targum,

"behold, I bring distress upon you, and it shall straiten you in your place, as a cart is straitened which is loaded with sheaves.''

(z) "angustabo", Vatablus; "coarctans", Montanus; "arcto", Mercerus; "premo, coarctabo, angustiis afficiam", Drusius; "pressurus sum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius; "arctaturus sum", Liveleus. (a) "coarctares", Montanus; "premit", Junius & Tremellius; Piscator, Tarnovius.

Behold, I am {k} pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.

(k) You have wearied me with your sins; Isa 1:14.

13. Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed &c.] The intransitive sense of the Hifil conjugation העיק (properly, to shew pressure, or constraint), though just possible, cannot be said to be probable; and Behold (with the ptcp.) strongly supports the view that the verse introduces the description of the punishment. Better, therefore, with R.V., and many ancient and modern expositors (Targ., Ibn Ezra, Kimchi; Ges., Ew., Keil, &c.): “Behold, I will press (you) in your place, as a cart presseth that is full of sheaves” [in Hebrew beneath a person is said idiomatically for in his place, where he stands: see e.g. Jdg 7:21; Isaiah 25:10; Job 40:12]: Jehovah will press them where they stand, like a cart laden with sheaves, so that they will be held fast and unable to escape. The verb is, however, an Aramaic rather than a Hebrew one; nor does it occur elsewhere in the O.T. (only two derivatives in Psalm 55:4; Psalm 66:11): it is properly the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebr. הציק to constrain, distress (Jdg 14:17; Jeremiah 19:9; Isaiah 29:2; Isaiah 51:13); and is used for it in the Targum of the three passages last quoted. It is doubtful, therefore, whether the text is correct. A plausible emendation is that of Wellh. (adopted with slight modification from Hitzig), מֵפִיק for מֵעִיק, and תָּפוּק for תָּעִיק: “Behold, I will make it totter beneath you, as a cart tottereth that is full of sheaves”; the ground will totter or give way under their feet,—the symbol of an approaching ruin.

13–16. The retribution.Verses 13-16 threaten severe punishment for the sins mentioned above. Verse 13. - Behold, I am pressed under you; Septuagint, κυλίω ὑποκάτω ὑμῶν, "I roll under you;" Vulgate, stridebo subter vos; Syriac, as Anglican; Hitzig, "I make it totter beneath you, as a cart tottereth;" Ewald, Keil," I will press you down, as the cart presseth;" Baur, Pusey, "I straiten myself under you, as a cart is straitened;" Revised Version, "I will press you in your place, as a cart presseth." The translation of Keil, which is that of Gesenius, is most suitable, meaning, "I will press you with the full force of war, as a loaded wain presses the earth over which it passes." The sense of the English Version is that God is burdened and wearied with their sins, as Isaiah 43:24; Malachi 2:17. The verb, being hiphil, is an objection to this explanation. The comparison of the wain is very natural in the mouth of the shepherd Amos. Nevertheless the Lord continued to show love to them. Hosea 11:3, Hosea 11:4. "And I, I have taught Ephraim to walk: He took them in His arms, and they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with bands of a man, with cords of love, and became to them like a lifter up of the yoke upon their jaws, and gently towards him did I give (him) food." תּרגּלתּי, a hiphil, formed after the Aramaean fashion (cf. Ges. 55, 5), by hardening the ה into ת, and construed with ל, as the hiphil frequently is (e.g., Hosea 10:1; Amos 8:9), a denom. of רגל, to teach to walk, to guide in leading-strings, like a child that is being trained to walk. It is a figurative representation of paternal care foz a child's prosperity. קחם, per aphaeresin, for לקחם, like קח for לקח in Ezekiel 17:5. The sudden change from the first person to the third seems very strange to our ears; but it is not uncommon in Hebrew, and is to be accounted for here from the fact, that the prophet could very easily pass from speaking in the name of God to speaking of God Himself. קח cannot be either an infinitive or a participle, on account of the following word זרועתיו, his arms. The two clauses refer chiefly to the care and help afforded by the Lord to His people in the Arabian desert; and the prophet had Deuteronomy 1:31 floating before his mind: "in the wilderness the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son." The last clause also refers to this, רפאתים pointing back to Exodus 15:26, where the Lord showed Himself as the physician of Israel, by making the bitter water at Marah drinkable, and at the same time as their helper out of every trouble. In Hosea 11:4, again, there is a still further reference to the manifestation of the love of God to Israel on the journey through the wilderness. חבלי אדם, cords with which men are led, more especially children that are weak upon their feet, in contrast with ropes, with which men control wild, unmanageable beasts (Psalm 32:9), are a figurative representation of the paternal, human guidance of Israel, as explained in the next figure, "cords of love." This figure leads on to the kindred figure of the yoke laid upon beasts, to harness them for work. As merciful masters lift up the yoke upon the cheeks of their oxen, i.e., push it so far back that the animals can eat their food in comfort, so has the Lord made the yoke of the law, which has been laid upon His people, both soft and light. As הרים על על does not mean to take the yoke away from (מעל) the cheeks, but to lift it above the cheeks, i.e., to make it easier, by pushing it back, we cannot refer the words to the liberation of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, but can only think of what the Lord did, to make it easy for the people to observe the commandments imposed upon them, when they were received into His covenant (Exodus 24:3, Exodus 24:7), including not only the many manifestations of mercy which might and ought to have allured them to reciprocate His love, and yield a willing obedience to His commandments, but also the means of grace provided in their worship, partly in the institution of sacrifice, by which a way of approach was opened to divine grace to obtain forgiveness of sin, and partly in the institution of feasts, at which they could rejoice in the gracious gifts of their God. ואט is not the first pers. imperf. hiphil of נטה ("I inclined myself to him;" Symm., Syr., and others), in which case we should expect ואט, but an adverb, softly, comfortably; and אליו belongs to it, after the analogy of 2 Samuel 18:5. אוכיל is an anomalous formation for אאכיל, like אוביד for אאביד in Jeremiah 46:8 (cf. Ewald, 192, d; Ges. 68, 2, Anm. 1). Jerome has given the meaning quite correctly: "and I gave them manna for food in the desert, which they enjoyed."
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