Amos 6:11
For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
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(11) Breaches.—For this read ruins. (See end of Note on Amos 6:8.) The overthrow of all classes of the population is here referred to.

6:8-14 How dreadful, how miserable, is the case of those whose eternal ruin the Lord himself has sworn; for he can execute his purpose, and none can alter it! Those hearts are wretchedly hardened that will not be brought to mention God's name, and to worship him, when the hand of God is gone out against them, when sickness and death are in their families. Those that will not be tilled as fields, shall be abandoned as rocks. When our services of God are soured with sin, his providences will justly be made bitter to us. Men should take warning not to harden their hearts, for those who walk in pride, God will destroy.The Lord commandeth and He will smite - Jerome: "If He commandeth, how doth He smite? If He smiteth, how doth He command? In that thing which He "commands" and enjoins His ministers, He Himself is seen to "smite." In Egypt the Lord declares that He killed the first-born, who, we read, were slain by "the destroyer" Exodus 12:23. The "breaches" denote probably the larger, "the cleft" the smaller ruin. The greater pile was the more greatly destroyed. 11. commandeth, and he will smite—His word of command, when once given, cannot but be fulfilled (Isa 55:11). His mere word is enough to smite with destruction.

great house … little house—He will spare none, great or small (Am 3:15). Jerome interprets "the great house" as Israel, and "the small house" as Judah: the former being reduced to branches or ruins, literally, "small drops"; the latter, though injured with "clefts" or rents, which threaten its fall, yet still permitted to stand.

For, behold; consider this well: it seems to be the continued speech of him who took care of the dead, Amos 6:10.

The Lord commandeth; God, provoked by our sins, hath sent out thy enemies; war, famine, and pestilence all come commissioned of God, and when the arrow is shot it will hit and kill.

He will smite the great house with breaches; the palaces of great men, and their families, shall have great breaches made in them, by which they shall be ruined.

And the little house with clefts; the cottages and lesser dwellings of poor men, with their families, shall by lesser strokes be ruined, their clefts shall be enough to do this. All shall be overthrown, and we must submit to it.

For, behold, the Lord commandeth,.... Hath determined and ordered the judgment before, and what follows: Kimchi paraphrases it, hath decreed the earthquake, as in Amos 3:15; of which he understands the following:

and he will smite the great house with breaches; or "droppings" (h); so that the rain shall drop through:

and the little house with clefts; so that it shall fall to ruin; that is, he shall smite the houses both of great and small, of the princes, and of the common people, either with an earthquake, so that they shall part asunder and fall; or, being left without inhabitants, shall of course become desolate, there being none to repair their breaches. Some understand, by the "great house", the ten tribes of Israel; and, by the "little house", the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin; to which sense the Targum seems to incline,

"he will smite the great kingdom with a mighty stroke, and the little kingdom with a weak stroke.''

(h) "guttis, seu stillis", Piscator; "quae est minuta et rorans pluvia", Drusius.

For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
11. For behold, &c.] The words give the reason for Amos 6:8, rather than for Amos 6:9-10, which describe merely an episode in the ruin.

commandeth] viz. the human agents, by whose instrumentality (cf. Isaiah 10:6) He carries out His will. Who these agents are conceived by Amos to be will appear in Amos 6:14.

the great house into fragments and the little house into clefts] Neither the palaces of the wealthy, nor the more modest dwellings of the ordinary citizens, will escape the coming ruin.

Verse 11. - The prophet confirms the judgment denounced in ver. 8. The Lord commandeth, and he will smite. The expression, thus taken, implies that God executes his commands through the ministers of his judgment; but it may well be rendered, "and men shall smite" (comp. Amos 9:9). Breaches... clefts. The great palace requires a breach to bring it to the ground; the little but is ruined by a small rent or cleft. All houses, great and small, shall be smitten. Possibly Israel and Judah are signified respectively by "the great house" and "the little house" (comp. Amos 9:11); and their treatment by the Assyrians may be thus symbolized. Amos 6:11This threat is carried out still further in Amos 6:8-11. Amos 6:8. "The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by Himself, is the saying of Jehovah, the God of hosts: I abhor the pride of Jacob, and his palaces I hate; and give up the city, and the fulness thereof. Amos 6:9. And it will come to pass, if then men are left in a house, they shall die. Amos 6:10. And when his cousin lifts him up, and he that burieth him, to carry out the bones out of the house, and saith to the one in the hindermost corner of the house, Is there still any one with thee? and he says, Not one; then will he say, Hush; for the name of Jehovah is not to be invoked. Amos 6:11. For, behold, Jehovah commandeth, and men smite the great house to ruins, and the small house into shivers." In order to show the secure debauchees the terrible severity of the judgments of God, the Lord announces to His people with a solemn oath the rejection of the nation which is so confident in its own power (cf. Amos 6:13). The oath runs here as in Amos 4:2, with this exception, that instead of בּקדשׁו we have בּנפשׁו in the same sense; for the nephesh of Jehovah, His inmost being or self, is His holiness. מתאב, with the guttural softened, for מתעב. The participle describes the abhorrence as a continued lasting feeling, and not a merely passing emotion. גּאון יעקב, the loftiness or pride of Jacob, i.e., everything of which Jacob is proud, the true and imaginary greatness and pride of Israel, which included the palaces of the voluptuous great men, for which reason they are placed in parallelism with גאון יע. This glory of Israel Jehovah abhors, and He will destroy it by giving up the city (Samaria), and all that fills it (houses and men), to the enemies to be destroyed. גאון יע, to give up to the enemy, as in Deuteronomy 32:30 and Obadiah 1:14; not to surround, to which וּמלאהּ is unsuitable. The words not only threaten surrounding, or siege, but also conquest, and (Amos 6:11) the destruction of the city. And then, even if there are ten in one house, they will all perish. אנשׁים: people, men. Ten in one house is a large number, which the prophet assumes as the number, to give the stronger emphasis to the thought that not one will escape from death. This thought is still further explained in Amos 6:10. A relative comes into the house to bury his deceased blood-relation. The suffix to נשׂאו refers to the idea involved in מתוּ, a dead man. Dōd, literally the father's brother, here any near relation whose duty it was to see to the burial of the dead. מסרף for משׂרף, the burner, i.e., the burier of the dead. The Israelites were indeed accustomed to bury their dead, and not to burn the corpses. The description of the burier as mesârēph (a burner) therefore supposes the occurrence of such a multitude of deaths that it is impossible to bury the dead, whose corpses are obliged to be burned, for the purpose of preventing the air from being polluted by the decomposition of the corpses. Of course the burning did not take place at the house, as Hitzig erroneously infers from להוציא עצמים; for עצמים denotes the corpse here, as in Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32, and 2 Kings 13:21, and not the different bones of the dead which remained without decomposition or burning. The burier now asks the last living person in the house, who has gone to the very back of the house in order to save his life, whether there is any one still with him, any one still living in the house beside himself, and receives the answer, אפס (Adv.), "Nothing more;" whereupon he says to him, has, "Be still," answering to our Hush! because he is afraid that, if he goes on speaking, he may invoke the name of God, or pray for the mercy of God; and he explains his words by adding, "The name of Jehovah must not be mentioned." It is not Amos who adds this explanation, but the relation. Nor does it contain "the words of one who despairs of any better future, and whose mind is oppressed by the weight of the existing evils, as if he said, Prayers would be of no use, for we too must die" (Lievl., Ros.). לא להזכּיר, "it is not to (may not) be mentioned," would be unsuitable as an utterance of despair. It rather indicates the fear lest, by the invocation of the name of God, the eye of God should be drawn towards this last remaining one, and he also should fall a victim to the judgment of death. This judgment the Lord accomplishes not merely by a pestilence which breaks out during the siege, and rages all around (there is no ground for any such limitation of the words), but also by sword and plague during the siege and conquest of the town. For the reason assigned for the threat in Amos 6:11 points to the latter. כּי links the words to the main thought in Amos 6:11, or even Amos 6:10: "When the Lord delivers up the city and all that fills it, they will all perish; for, behold, He commands, orders the enemy (the nation in Amos 6:14), and it will smite in pieces the houses, great and small." The singular הבּית is used with indefinite generality: every house, great and small (cf. Amos 3:15).
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