Amos 8:8
Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwells therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.
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(8) Shall not the land . . .?—The rendering should be, The whole of it rises as the Nile, surges and subsides (or sinks) as the Egyptian Nile. The solid land shall rise up in earthquake, like the Nile that ascends twenty feet in the time of its inundation, and then subsides.

Amos 8:8. Shall not the land tremble — Shall not the state, or government, and all the people of the land, be terribly afraid, and greatly troubled; for this — This, that you have done, O house of Israel, in sinning, and this that God will do in punishing? And every one mourn that dwelleth therein — Shall not all be deeply concerned and distressed, since all have sinned and deserved punishment, and all will suffer in the approaching calamity? Certainly they shall. Observe, reader, those that will not tremble and mourn as they ought for national sins, shall be made to tremble and mourn for national judgments; those that look unconcerned upon the sins of oppressors, which should make them tremble, and upon the miseries of the oppressed, which should make them mourn, God will find out a way to make them tremble at the fury of those that oppress them, and mourn for their own losses and sufferings by it. And it shall rise up wholly as a flood — The LXX. read, with a very small alteration in the Hebrew points, και αναβησεται ως ποταμος συντελια, Destruction shall rise up like a flood; that is, the judgment, the calamity of a hostile invasion by the Assyrians, shall be like an inundation, which in a short time overflows a whole country. And it shall be cast out and drowned — The inhabitants of the land shall be cast out of their possessions, or the land itself shall be overwhelmed as by the flood, or rather, the river of Egypt, that is, as Egypt is by the inundation of the river Nile. Thus the Chaldee paraphrase: He shall make a king come up against it [the land] with a numerous army like a flood, and he shall drive out the inhabitants thereof, and [the land itself]

shall be drowned as when the flood of Egypt [overflows.]8:4-10 The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty of oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our time better than in communion with God? When employed in religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no regard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will not long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they deal with. They take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance or necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouring poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord, we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker; as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get them. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks the case of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed, miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation every where. It shall come upon them when they little think of it. Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments, even life itself; in the midst of life we are in death. What will be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful and sensual pleasures!Shall not the land tremble for this? - o: "For the greater impressiveness, he ascribes to the insensate earth sense, indignation, horror, trembling. For all creation feels the will of its Creator." "It shall rise up wholly as a flood," literally, "like the river." It is the Egyptian name for "river, which Israel brought with it out of Egypt, and is used either for the Nile, or for one of the artificial "trenches," derived from it. "And it shall be cast out and drowned," literally, "shall toss to and fro" as the sea, "and sink as the river of Egypt." The prophet represents the land as heaving like the troubled sea. As the Nile rose, and its currents met and drove one against the other, covered and drowned the whole land like one vast sea, and then sank again, so the earth should rise, lift up itself, and heave and quake, shaking off the burden of man's oppressions, and sink again. It may be, he would describe the heaving, the rising and falling, of an earthquake. Perhaps, he means that as a man forgat all the moral laws of nature, so inanimate nature should be freed from its wonted laws, and shake out its inhabitants or overwhelm them by an earthquake, as in one grave. 8. the land … rise up wholly as a flood—The land will, as it were, be wholly turned into a flooding river (a flood being the image of overwhelming calamity, Da 9:26).

cast out and drowned, &c.—swept away and overwhelmed, as the land adjoining the Nile is by it, when flooding (Am 9:5). The Nile rises generally twenty feet. The waters then "cast out" mire and dirt (Isa 57:20).

Shall not the land tremble? either literally, are not such sins and judgments enough to shake the very foundations of the earth? Or, metonymically, the land for the people of it, as after in the verse, they that dwell therein.

For this; this that you have done, O house of Israel, in sinning, and this that God will do in punishing, enough to melt the earth, as Psalm 46:6.

And every one mourn; since every one hath sinned too much, and every one shall suffer in this approaching calamity, every one at the news may well mourn and lament;

that dwelleth therein; in the land of Israel.

It shall rise up wholly as a flood; or, by an interrogation, shall it not? i.e. shall not the judgment, the invading troops of Assyria, the displeasure of God, rise and grow as a mighty, wasting flood? or else thus, the whole land shall rise up; soaked in these judgments, it shall seem to swell and grow greater, ready, like a hydropic, to burst asunder: or else it is a hypallage, the land shall rise up, i.e. the flood shall rise over the land; or, which I rather incline to, the whole judgment shall rise as a flood.

It shall be cast out; the land, the state, people, and what they have, shall be, as in a shipwreck, or mighty flood which breaks all down before it, tossed in the surges and waves;

and drowned as by the flood of Egypt; and at last, by the continuance of this tempest, drowned all as the overflowing on Nilus doth drown all the plains of Egypt. Shall not the land tremble for this,.... For this wickedness committed, in using the poor with so much inhumanity? may not an earthquake be expected? and which happened two years after Amos began to prophesy, Amos 1:1; or that the earth should gape and swallow up these men alive, guilty of such enormities? or shall not the inhabitants of the land tremble at such judgments, which the Lord hath sworn he will bring upon it?

and everyone mourn that dwelleth therein? at the hearing of them, and especially when they shall come upon them: as the calamity would be general, the mourning should be universal:

and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; that is, the calamity threatened shall rise up at once like a flood of waters, like Noah's flood, and cover the whole land, and wash off and utterly destroy man and beast:

and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt; or the river of Egypt, the Nile, which overflows at certain times, and casts up its waters and its mud, and drowns all the country; so that the whole country, during its continuance, looks like a sea: it overflows both its banks, both towards Lybia or Africa, and towards Arabia, and on each side about two days' journey, as Herodotus (d) relates; and this it does regularly every year, in the summer solstice, in the higher and middle Egypt, where it seldom rains, and its flood is necessary; but is not so large in the lower Egypt, where it more frequently rains, and the country needs it not. Strabo (e) says this flood remains more than forty days, and then it decreases by little and little, as it increased; and within sixty days the fields are seen and dried up; and the sooner that is, the sooner they plough and sow, and have the better harvests. Herodotus (f) says it continues a hundred days, and is near the same in returning; and he says, unless it rises to sixteen, or at least fifteen cubits, it will not overflow the country (g): and, according to Pliny (h), the proper increase of the waters is sixteen cubits; if only they arise to twelve, it is a famine; if to thirteen, it is hunger; if to fourteen, it brings cheerfulness; if to fifteen, security; and if to sixteen, delights. But Strabo (i) relates, that the fertility by it is different at different times; before the times of Petronius, the greatest fertility was when the Nile arose to the fourteenth cubit; and when to the eighteenth, it was a famine: but when he was governor of that country, when it only reached the twelfth cubit, there was great fruitfulness; had when it came to the eighth (the eighteenth I suppose it should be) no famine was perceived. An Arabic writer (k) gives an account of the Nilometry, or measures of the Nile, from the year of Christ 622 to 1497; and he says, that, when the depth of the channel of the Nile is fourteen cubits, a harvest may be expected that will amount to one year's provision; but, if it increases to sixteen, the corn will be sufficient for two years; less than fourteen, a scarcity; and more than eighteen makes a famine. Upon the whole, it seems that sixteen cubits have been reckoned the standard that portends plenty, for many generations, to which no addition has appeared to have been made during the space of five hundred years.

"This we learn (says Dr. Shaw) (l), not only from the sixteen children that attend the statue of the Nile, but from Pliny also; and likewise from a medal of Hadrian in the great brass where we see the figure of the Nile, with a boy upon it, pointing to the number sixteen. Yet in the fourth century, which it will be difficult to account for, fifteen cubits only are recorded by the Emperor Julian (m) as the height of the Nile's inundation; whereas, in the middle of the sixth century, in the time of Justinian, Procopius (n) informs us that the rise of the Nile exceeded eighteen cubits; in the seventh century, after Egypt was subdued by the Saracens, the amount was sixteen or seventeen cubits; and at present, when the river rises to sixteen cubits, the Egyptians make great rejoicings, and call out, "wafaa Allah", that is, "God has given them all they wanted".''

The river begins to swell in May, yet no public notice is taken of it till the twenty eighth or twenty ninth of June; by which time it is usually risen to the height of six or eight pikes (or cubits, a Turkish measure of twenty six inches); and then public criers proclaim it through the capital, and other cities, and continue in the same manner till it rises to sixteen pikes; then they cut down the dam of the great canal. If the water increases to the height of twenty three or twenty four pikes, it is judged most favourable; but, if it exceed that, it does a great deal of mischief, not only by overflowing houses, and drowning cattle, but also by engendering a great number of insects, which destroy the fruits of the earth (o). And a late learned traveller (p) tells us, that

"eighteen pikes is an indifferent Nile (for so high it is risen when they declare it but sixteen); twenty is middling; twenty two is a good Nile, beyond which it seldom rises; it is said, if it rises above twenty four pikes, it is looked on as an inundation, and is of bad consequence.''

And to such a flood the allusion is here. Thus the land of Israel should be overwhelmed and plunged into the utmost distress, and sink into utter ruin, by this judgment coming upon them; even the Assyrian army, like a flood, spreading themselves over all the land, and destroying it. So the Targum,

"a king shall come up against it with his army, large as the waters of a river, and shall cover it wholly, and expel the inhabitants of it, and shall plunge as the river of Egypt;''

see Isaiah 8:7.

(d) Euterpe, sive l. 9. c. 19. (e) Geograph. l. 17. p. 542. (f) Ut supra. (Euterpe, sive l. 9. c. 19.) (g) Ibid. c. 13. (h) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 9. (i) Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 17. p. 542.) (k) Apud Calmet. Dictionary, in the word "Nile". (l) Travels, p. 384. Ed. 2.((m) Ecdicio, Ephesians 50. (n) De Rebus Gothicis, l. 3.((o) Universal History, vol. 1. p. 413. (p) Pocock's Description of the East, p. 200.

Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and {f} drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.

(f) That is, the inhabitants of the land will be drowned, as the Nile drowns many when it overflows.

8–9. A hyperbolical description of the terrible nature of the coming judgement. On account of such enormities, the land will tremble, and rise up in mighty convulsions against the offenders; and darkness at noon-day will envelope the heavens.

Shall not on this account &c.] Cf. (esp. in the Heb.) Jeremiah 5:9; Jeremiah 5:29; Jeremiah 9:9 (Hebrews 8).

mourn] viz. in terror, as they feel the earth beginning to shake.

and it shall rise up, all of it, as the Nile, and it shall be tossed about (Isaiah 57:20), and sink (again), as the Nile of Egypt] As the Nile, at the time of its annual inundation, rises, overflows, and sinks again, so will the land of Israel, in all its length and breadth, heave, and be convulsed, as by an earthquake, as it labours to rid itself of its guilty inhabitants (Isaiah 24:19-20). The acquaintance shewn by Amos with a natural phenomenon peculiar to Egypt is interesting; comp. the knowledge of Egypt shewn by Isaiah (Isaiah 19:2; Isaiah 19:5-9), and Nahum (Amos 3:8). There was no doubt more intercourse between Canaan and Egypt, during the period of the kings, than is commonly supposed. The verse (except the first clause) is repeated with unsubstantial alterations in Amos 9:5.Verse 8. - Shall not the land tremble for this? "This" is the coming judgment, or the oath with which God announced it in the previous verse and the prophet asks, "Shall not the land tremble as with an earthquake when the Lord comes to judgement?" The LXX., rendering ἐπὶ τούτοις, takes the reference to be to the "works" or sins of the people (ver. 7); but the thought in these two verses is the punishment of the transgressions, not the transgressors themselves. And it shall rise up wholly as a flood (ch. 9:5). The LXX., pointing differently, renders, Καὶ ἀναβήσεται ὡς ποταμὸς συντέλεια, "And destruction shall come up as a river;" the Vulgate, Et ascendet quasi fluvius universus; it is best, however, to refer both clauses to the Nile: "Yea, it shall rise up wholly like the river" - the land shall heave and swell like the waters of the Nile at its annual rising. And it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt; better, it shall be tossed up and sink again, like the river of Egypt - a picturesque comparison, which would allude to a phenomenon well known to the Israelites. It is as though the whole earth were turned into a sea, tossing and labouring under a tempestuous wind (comp. Isaiah 24:4). (Heb. ch. 3). Outpouring of the Spirit of God, and Announcement of Judgment.

(Note: Among other special expositions of these verses, see Hengstenberg's Christology, vol. i. p. 326ff. translation.)

Joel 2:28. "And it will come to pass afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions. Joel 2:29. And also upon the men-servants and maid-servants I will put out my Spirit in those days." As 'achărē-khēn points back to bâri'shōn in Joel 2:23, the formula vehâyâh achărē-khēn describes the outpouring of the Spirit as a second and later consequence of the gift of the teacher for righteousness. שׁפך, to pour out, signifies communication in rich abundance, like a rain-fall or water-fall. For the communication of the Spirit of God was not entirely wanting to the covenant nation from the very first. In fact, the Spirit of God was the only inward bond between the Lord and His people; but it was confined to the few whom God endowed as prophets with the gift of His Spirit. This limitation was to cease in the future.

(Note: "There is no doubt that the prophet promises something greater here than the fathers had experienced under the law. We know that the grace of the Holy Spirit flourished even among the ancient people; but the prophet promises here not what the faithful had formerly experienced, but something greater. And this may be gathered from the verb 'to pour' which he employs. For שׁפך does not mean merely to give in drops, but to pour out in great abundance. But God did not pour out the Holy Spirit so abundantly or copiously under the law, as He has since the manifestation of Christ." - Calvin.)

What Moses expressed as a wish - namely, that the people were all prophets, and the Lord would put His Spirit upon them (Numbers 11:29) - was to be fulfilled in the future. Rūăch Yehōvâh is not the first principle of the physico-creaturely life (i.e., not equivalent to rūăch Elōhı̄m in Genesis 1:2), but that of the spiritual or ethical and religious life of man, which filled the prophets under the Old Testament as a spirit of prophecy; consequently Joel describes its operations under this form. "All flesh" signifies all men. The idea that it embraces the irrational animals, even the locusts (Credner), is rejected with perfect justice by Hitzig as an inconceivable thought, and one unheard-of in the Bible; but he is wrong in adding that the Old Testament does not teach a communication of the Spirit of God to all men, but limits it to the people of Israel. A decided protest is entered against this by Genesis 6:3, where Jehovah threatens that He will no longer let His Spirit rule bâ'âdâm, i.e., in the human race, because it has become bâsâr (flesh). Bâsâr, as contrasted with rūăch Yehōvâh, always denotes human nature regarded as incapacitated for spiritual and divine life. Even in this verse we must not restrict the expression "all flesh" to the members of the covenant nation, as most of the commentators have done; for whatever truth there may be in the remark made by Calovius and others (compare Hengstenberg, Christol. i. p. 328 transl.), that the following clause, "your sons, your daughters, your old men, your young men, and men-servants and maid-servants," contains a specification of כּל־בּשׂר, it by no means follows with certainty from this, that the word all does not do away with the limitation to one particular nation, but merely that in this one nation even the limits of sex, age, and rank are abolished; since it cannot be proved that the specification in Joel 2:2 and Joel 2:3 is intended to exhaust the idea of "all flesh." Moreover, as the prophecy of Joel had respect primarily to Judah, Joel may primarily have brought into prominence, and specially singled out of the general idea of kol-bâsâr in Joel 2:28 and Joel 2:29, only those points that were of importance to his contemporaries, viz., that all the members of the covenant nation would participate in this outpouring of the Spirit, without regard to sex, age, or rank; and in so doing, he may have looked away from the idea of the entire human race, including all nations, which is involved in the expression "all flesh." We shall see from Joel 2:32 that this last thought was not a strange one to the prophet. In the specification of the communication of the Spirit, the different forms which it assumes are rhetorically distributed as follows: to the sons and daughters, prophesying is attributed; to the old, dreams; to the young, sights or visions. But it by no means follows from this, that each of these was peculiar to the age mentioned. For the assertion, that the Spirit of God only manifests itself in the weakened mind of the old man by dreams and visions of the night; that the vigorous and lively fancy of the youth or man has sights by day, or true visions; and lastly, that in the soul of the child the Spirit merely works as furor sacer Tychs., Credner, Hitzig, and others), cannot be historically sustained. According to Numbers 12:6, visions and dreams are the two forms of the prophetic revelation of God; and נבּא is the most general manifestation of the prophetic gift, which must not be restricted to the ecstatic state associated with the prophesying. The meaning of this rhetorical individualizing, is simply that their sons, daughters, old persons, and youths, would receive the Spirit of God with all its gifts. The outpouring of the Spirit upon slaves (men-servants and maidens) is connected by vegam, as being something very extraordinary, and under existing circumstances not to be expected. Not a single case occurs in the whole of the Old Testament of a salve receiving the gift of prophecy. Amos, indeed, was a poor shepherd servant, but not an actual slave. And the communication of this gift to slaves was irreconcilable with the position of slaves under the Old Testament. Consequently even the Jewish expositors could not reconcile themselves to this announcement. The lxx, by rendering it ἐπὶ τοὺς δούλους μου καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς δούλας μου, have put servants of God in the place of the slaves of men; and the Pharisees refused to the ὄχλος even a knowledge of the law (John 7:49). The gospel has therefore also broken the fetters of slavery.

Judgment upon all nations goes side by side with the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Joel 2:30. "And I give wonders in the heavens and on earth, blood, fire, and pillars of smoke. Joel 2:31. The sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the day of Jehovah, the great and terrible (day), comes. Joel 2:32. And it comes to pass, every one who shall call upon the name of Jehovah will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem will be fugitives, as Jehovah hath said, and among those that are left will be those whom Jehovah calls." With the word ונתתּי, Joel 2:3 is attached to Joel 2:2 as a simple continuation (Hitzig). The wonders which God will give in the heavens and upon earth are the forerunners of judgment. Mōphethı̄m (see at Exodus 4:21) are extraordinary and marvellous natural phenomena. The wonders on earth are mentioned first, in Joel 2:30; then in Joel 2:31 those in the heavens. Blood and fire recal to mind the plagues which fell upon Egypt as signs of the judgment: the blood, the changing of the water of the Nile into blood (Exodus 7:17); the fire, the balls of fire which fell to the earth along with the hail (Exodus 9:24). Blood and fire point to bloodshed and war. Timrōth ‛âshân signifies cloud-pillars (here and in Sol 3:6), whether we regard the form timrōth as original, and trace it to timrâh and the root tâmar, or prefer the reading תּימרות, which we meet with in many codices and editions, and take the word as a derivative of yâmar equals mūr, as Hengstenberg does (Christol. i. p. 334 transl.). This sign has its type in the descent of Jehovah upon Sinai, at which the whole mountain smoked, and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a smelting-furnace (Exodus 19:18). We have not to think, therefore, of columns of cloud ascending from basons of fire, carried in front of caravans or armies on the march to show the way (see at Sol 3:6), but of pillars of cloud, which roll up from burning towns in time of war (Isaiah 9:17). Joel 2:31. In the heavens the sun is darkened, and the moon assumes a dull, blood-red appearance. These signs also have their type in the Egyptian plague of darkness (Exodus 10:21.). The darkening and extinction of the lights of heaven are frequently mentioned, either as harbingers of approaching judgment, or as signs of the breaking of the day of judgment (it was so in Joel 2:2, Joel 2:10, and is so again in Joel 3:14 : see also Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 34:4; Jeremiah 4:23; Ezekiel 32:1-8; Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25). What we have to think of here, is not so much periodically returning phenomena of nature, or eclipses of the sun and moon, as extraordinary (not ecliptic) obscurations of the sun and moon, such as frequently occur as accompaniments to great catastrophes in human history.

(Note: Compare O. Zoeckler, Theologia Natural. i. p. 420, where reference is made to Humboldt (Kosmos, iii.-413-17), who cites no fewer than seventeen extraordinary cases of obscuration of the sun from the historical tradition of past ages, which were occasioned, not by the moon, but by totally different circumstances, such as diminished intensity in the photosphere, unusually large spots in the sun, extraneous admixtures in our own atmosphere, such as trade-wind dust, inky rain, and sand rain, etc.; and many of which took place in most eventful years, such as 45 b.c., a.d. 29 (the year of the Redeemer's death), 358, 360, etc.)

And these earthly and celestial phenomena are forerunners and signs of the approaching or bursting judgment; not only so far as subjective faith is concerned, from the impression which is made upon the human mind by rare and terrible phenomena of nature, exciting a feeling of anxious expectation as to the things that are about to happen,

(Note: Calvin has taken too one-sided and subjective a view of the matter, when he gives the following explanation of Joel 2:31 : "What is said here of the sun and moon - namely, that the sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood - is metaphorical, and signifies that the Lord will fill the whole universe with signs of His wrath, which will paralyze men with fear, as if all nature were changed into a thing of horror. For just as the sun and moon are witnesses of the paternal favour of God towards us, while they give light in their turns to the earth, so, on the other hand, the prophet affirms that they will be the heralds of an angry and offended God.... By the darkness of the sun, the turning of the moon into blood, and the black vapour of smoke, the prophet meant to express the thought, that wherever men turned their eyes, everywhere, both above and below, many things would meet the eye that would fill them with terror. So that it is just as if he had said, that there had never been such a state of misery in the world, nor so many fierce signs of the wrath of God." For example, the assertion that they "are metaphorical expressions" cannot possibly be sustained, but is at variance with the scriptural view of the deep inward connection between heaven and earth, and more particularly with the scriptural teaching, that with the last judgment the present heavens and present earth will perish, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth will ensue. Moreover, the circumstance that a belief in the significance of these natural phenomena is met with in all nations, favours their real (not merely imaginary) connection with the destinies of humanity.)

but also in their real connection with the onward progress of humanity towards its divinely appointed goal, which may be explained from the calling of man to be the lord of the earth, though it has not yet received from science its due recognition and weight; in accordance with which connection, they show "that the eternal motion of the heavenly worlds is also appointed by the world-governing righteousness of God; so that the continued secret operation of this peculiar quality manifests itself through a strong cosmico-uranian symbolism, in facts of singular historical significance" (Zoeckler, l. c.).

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