For, behold, the LORD commands, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.Exodus 12:23. The "breaches" denote probably the larger, "the cleft" the smaller ruin. The greater pile was the more greatly destroyed.
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. 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.''For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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. Joel 2:1. "Blow ye the trumpet upon Zion, and cause it to sound upon my holy mountain! All the inhabitants of the land shall tremble; for the day of Jehovah cometh, for it is near." That this summons is addressed to the priests, is evident from Joel 2:15, compared with Joel 2:14. On tiq‛ū shōphâr and hârı̄‛ū, see at Hosea 5:8. "Upon Zion," i.e., from the top of the temple mountain. Zion is called the holy mountain, as in Psalm 2:6, because the Lord was there enthroned in His sanctuary, on the summit of Moriah, which He claimed as His own. Râgaz, to tremble, i.e., to start up from their careless state (Hitzig). On the expression, "for the day of Jehovah cometh," see Joel 1:15. By the position of בּוא at the head of the sentence, and that in the perfect בּא instead of the imperfect, as in Joel 1:15, the coming of the day of Jehovah is represented as indisputably certain. The addition of kı̄ qârōbh (for it is near) cannot be accounted for, however, from the fact that in the spiritual intuition of the prophet this day had already come, whereas in reality it was only drawing near (Hengstenberg); for such a separation as this between one element of prophesying and another is inconceivable. The explanation is simply, that the day of the Lord runs throughout the history of the kingdom of God, so that it occurs in each particular judgment: not, however, as fully manifested, but simply as being near or approaching, so far as its complete fulfilment is concerned. Joel now proclaims the coming of the day in its full completion, on the basis of the judgment already experienced, as the approach of a terrible army of locusts that darkens the land, at the head of which Jehovah is riding in all the majesty of the Judge of the world. The description is divided into three strophes thus: he first of all depicts the sight of this army of God, as seen afar off, and its terrible appearance in general (Joel 2:2 and Joel 2:3); then the appearance and advance of this mighty army (Joel 2:4-6); and lastly, its irresistible power (Joel 2:7-11); and closes the first strophe with a figurative description of the devastation caused by this terrible army, whilst in the second and third he gives prominence to the terror which they cause among all nations, and over all the earth.
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