Micah 2:4
In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled: he has changed the portion of my people: how has he removed it from me! turning away he has divided our fields.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Shall one take up a parable against youi.e., the enemies shall repeat in mockery the doleful lamentations with which you bewail your pitiable state.

Turning away he hath divided.—Rather, to an apostatei.e., an idolater—he hath divided our fields. The land they were taking from others God would give into the hands of an idolatrous king.

Micah 2:4-6. In that day shall one take up a parable — Shall use a figurative speech, against you — A parable signifies a speech out of the ordinary way, as the Greek word παροιμια imports, and illustrated with metaphors or rhetorical figures. So speaking in parables is opposed to speaking plainly, John 16:25; John 16:29. And lament, &c. — Your friends for you, and you for yourselves. He hath changed the portion of my people — Their wealth, plenty, freedom, joy, and honour, into poverty, famine, servitude, grief, and dishonour. How hath he removed it — How dreadfully hath God dealt with Israel; removing their persons into captivity, and transferring their possessions to their enemies! Turning away he hath divided our fields — Turning away from us in displeasure, God hath divided our fields among others. Thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord — None that shall ever return to this land, to see it allotted by line, and given them to possess it. In the congregation of the Lord — They shall no more be the congregation of the Lord, nor their children after them. They shall not prophesy — The people often said to the prophets, Prophesy ye not; and God here declares that he would, in his displeasure, grant their desire: and that the time should come, when the prophets should no longer prophesy unto them, that they might no longer bring contempt upon themselves, or be ignominiously treated by the people, as they had long been.2:1-5 Woe to the people that devise evil during the night, and rise early to carry it into execution! It is bad to do mischief on a sudden thought, much worse to do it with design and forethought. It is of great moment to improve and employ hours of retirement and solitude in a proper manner. If covetousness reigns in the heart, compassion is banished; and when the heart is thus engaged, violence and fraud commonly occupy the hands. The most haughty and secure in prosperity, are commonly most ready to despair in adversity. Woe to those from whom God turns away! Those are the sorest calamities which cut us off from the congregation of the Lord, or cut us short in the enjoyment of its privileges.In that day shall one take up a parable against you - The mashal or likeness may, in itself, be any speech in which one thing is likened to another:

1) "figured speech,"

2) "proverb," and, since such proverbs were often sharp sayings against others,

3) "taunting figurative speech."

But of the person himself it is always said, he "is made, becomes a proverb" Deuteronomy 28:37; 1 Kings 9:7; 2 Chronicles 7:20; Psalm 44:15; Psalm 69:12; Jeremiah 24:9; Ezekiel 14:8. To take up or utter such a speech against one, is, elsewhere, followed by the speech itself; "Thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, ..." Isaiah 14:4. "Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and say, ..." Habakkuk 2:6. Although then the name of the Jews has passed into a proverb of reproach (Jerome, loc. cit.), this is not contained here. The parable here must be the same as the doleful lamentation, or dirge, which follows. No mockery is more cutting or fiendish, than to repeat in jest words by which one bemoans himself. The dirge which Israel should use of themselves in sorrow, the enemy shall take up in derision, as Satan does doubtless the self-condemnation of the damned. Ribera: "Men do any evil, undergo any peril, to avoid shame. God brings before us that deepest and eternal shame," the shame and everlasting contempt, in presence of Himself and angels and devils and the good Psalm 52:6-7; Isaiah 66:24, that we may avoid shame by avoiding evil.

And lament with a doleful lamentation - The words in Hebrew are varied inflections of a word imitating the sounds of woe. It is the voice of woe in all languages, because the voice of nature. Shall wail a wail of woe, It is the funeral dirge over the dead Jeremiah 31:15, or of the living doomed to die Ezekiel 32:18; it is sometimes the measured mourning of those employed to call forth sorrow Amos 5:16; Jeremiah 9:17, Jeremiah 9:19, or mourning generally 1 Samuel 7:2; Jeremiah 9:18. Among such elegies, are still Zion-songs, (elegies over the ruin of Zion,) and mournings for the dead. The word woe is thrice repeated in Hebrew, in different forms, according to that solemn way, in which the extremest good or evil is spoken of; the threefold blessing, morning and evening, with the thrice-repeated name of God Numbers 6:24-26, impressing upon them the mystery which developed itself, as the divinity of the Messiah and the personal agency of the Holy Spirit were unfolded to them. The dirge which follows is purposely in abrupt brief words, as those in trouble speak, with scarce breath for utterance. First, in two words, with perhaps a softened inflection, they express the utterness of their desolation. Then, in a threefold sentence, each clause consisting of three short words, they say what God had done, but name Him not, because they are angry with Him. God's chastisements irritate those whom they do not subdue .

The portion of my people He changeth;

How removeth He (it) as to me!

To a rebel our fields He divideth.

They act the patriot. They, the rich, mourn over "the portion of my people" (they say) which they had themselves despoiled: they speak, (as men do,) as if things were what they ought to be: they hold to the theory and ignore the facts. As if, because God had divided it to His people, therefore it so remained! as if, because the poor were in theory and by God's law provided for, they were so in fact! Then they are enraged at God's dealings. He removeth the portion as to me; and to whom giveth He our fields?

"To a rebel!" the Assyrian, or the Chaldee. They had deprived the poor of their portion of "the Lord's land" . And now they marvel that God resumes the possession of His own, and requires from them, not the fourfold Exodus 22:1; 2 Samuel 12:6; Luke 19:8 only of their spoil, but His whole heritage. Well might Assyrian or Chaldee, as they did, jeer at the word, renegade. They had not forsaken their gods; - but Israel, what was its whole history but a turning back? "Hath a nation changed their gods, which yet are no gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit" Jeremiah 2:11.

Such was the meaning in their lips. The word "divideth" had the more bitterness, because it was the reversal of that first "division" at the entrance into Canaan. Then, with the use of this same word Numbers 26:53, Numbers 26:55-56; Joshua 13:7; Joshua 14:5; Joshua 18:2, Joshua 18:5, Joshua 18:10; Joshua 19:51, the division of the land of the pagan was appointed to them. Ezekiel, in his great symbolic vision, afterward prophesied the restoration of Israel, with the use of this same term Ezekiel 47:21. Joel spoke of the parting of their land, under this same term, as a sin of the pagan (Joel 4:2, (Joel 3:3 in English)). Now, they say, God "divideth our fields," not to us, but to the pagan, whose lands He gave us. It was a change of act: in impenitence, they think it a change of purpose or will. But what lies in that, we be "utterly despoiled?" Despoiled of everything; of what they felt, temporal things; and of what they did not feel, spiritual things.

Despoiled of the land of promise, the good things of this life, but also of the Presence of God in His Temple, the grace of the Lord, the image of God and everlasting glory. "Their portion" was changed, as to themselves and with others. As to themselvcs, riches, honor, pleasure, their own land, were changed into want, disgrace, suffering, captivity; and yet more bitter was it to see others gain what they by their own fault had forfeited. As time went on, and their transgression deepened, the exchange of the portion of that former people of God became more complete. The casting-off of the Jews was the grafting-in of the Gentiles Acts 13:46. Seeing ye judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo! we turn to the Gentiles. And so they who were "no people" Romans 10:19, became the people of God, and they who were His people, became, for the time, "not My people" Hosea 1:9 : and "the adoption of sons, and the glory, and the covenants, and the lawgiving, and the service of God, and the promises" Romans 9:4-5, came to us Gentiles, since to us Christ Himself our God blessed forever came, and made us His.

How hath He removed - The words do not say what He removed. They thought of His gifts, the words include Himself. They say "How?" in amazement. The change is so great and bitter, it cannot be said. Time, yea eternity cannot utter it. "He hath divided our fields." The land was but the outward symbol of the inward heritage. Unjust gain, kept back, is restored with usury Proverbs 1:19; it taketh away the life of the owners thereof. The vineyard whereof the Jews said, the inheritance shall be ours, was taken from them and given to others, even to Christians. So now is that awful change begun, when Christians, leaving God, their only unchanging Good, turn to earthly vanities, and, for the grace of God which He withdraws, have these only for their fleeting portion, until it shall be finally exchanged in the Day of Judgment Luke 16:25. Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.

continued...

4. one take up a parable against you—that is, Some of your foes shall do so, taking in derision from your own mouth your "lamentation," namely, "We be spoiled," &c.

lament with a doleful lamentation—literally, "lament with a lamentation of lamentations." Hebrew, naha, nehi, nihyah, the repetition representing the continuous and monotonous wail.

he hath changed the portion of my people—a charge of injustice against Jehovah. He transfers to other nations the sacred territory assigned as the rightful portion of our people (Mic 1:15).

turning away he hath divided our fields—Turning away from us to the enemy, He hath divided among them our fields. Calvin, as the Margin, explains, "Instead of restoring our territory, He hath divided our fields among our enemies, each of whom henceforward will have an interest in keeping what he hath gotten: so that we are utterly shut out from hope of restoration." Maurer translates as a noun, "He hath divided our fields to a rebel," that is, to the foe who is a rebel against the true God, and a worshipper of idols. So "backsliding," that is, backslider (Jer 49:4). English Version gives a good sense; and is quite tenable in the Hebrew.

In that day; when God shall retaliate, as Micah 2:3, when he shall by the Assyrian captivity fulfil what hero is threatened by the prophet.

Shall one take up; there shall be taken up, or be in common ordinary use among those that know what is befallen you.

A parable; or taunting, scorning proverb; this tells them how their Assyrian conquerors should reflect reproach and shame upon captive Israel, much like that Psalm 137:3, which the Babylonians used toward captive Judah.

Lament with a doleful lamentation; your friends for you, and you for yourselves, shall mourn most bitterly, as the import of the Hebraism is, lament with a lamentation of lamentations. So though all are not alike affected, yet every one shall carry it towards miserable Israel according as they are affected, condoling their sad state, or insulting over them.

We be utterly spoiled: this is the sum of their mournful lamentation over their own state; Our land wasted, our friends slain, our cities taken, plundered, and sacked, our houses and goods either taken away from us or burnt, and our persons no more our own, but captives, under the power and will of our enemy; thus spoiled, nothing is any longer ours.

He; the Assyrian, say some; God, say others; indeed God did it by the Assyrians. Hath changed the portion; the estate, wealth, plenty, freedom, safety, joy, and honour, into poverty, famine, servitude, danger, grief, and dishonour. The land of Canaan was the inheritance, and all the conveniencies it afforded were part of the portion of Israel; but, O doleful change! these all taken away from Israel, and given to others.

My people; it is either the prophet, who calls them his people, or rather, every one of Israel that useth this lamentation, Who saith

my people. How hath he removed it from me! how dreadfully hath God dealt with Israel! removing their persons into captivity, and transferring their right and possession to enemies!

Turning away he hath divided our fields; either, thus turning away from us in displeasure, God hath divided our fields among others, given them to the enemy, and he hath divided them to whom he pleaseth, to his own people and soldiers; or else this word turning away may be rendered returning, and be spoken of the enemy, when he returned he did divide our fields; or, as the margin of our Bibles, instead of restoring our fields, which we hoped, and our mistaken leaders promised, God hath given the enemy success and power to divide our fields, and to allot them to others. In that day shall one take up a parable against you,.... Making use of your name, as a byword, a proverb, a taunt, and a jeer; mocking at your calamities and miseries: or, "concerning you" (c); take up and deliver out a narrative of your troubles, in figurative and parabolical expressions; which Kimchi thinks is to be understood of a false prophet, finding his prophecies and promises come to nothing; or rather a stranger, a bystander, a spectator of their miseries, an insulting enemy, mimicking and representing them; or one of themselves, in the name of the rest:

and lament with a doleful lamentation; or, "lament a lamentation of lamentation" (d): a very grievous one; or, "a lamentation that is", or "shall be", or "is done" (e); a real one, and which will continue:

and say, we be utterly spoiled; our persons, families, and friends; our estates, fields, and vineyards; our towns and cities, and even our whole land, all laid waste, spoiled, and plundered:

he hath changed the portion of my people; the land of Israel, which was the portion of the people of it, given unto them as their portion by the Lord; but now he, or the enemy the Assyrian, or God by him, had changed the possessors of it; had taken it away from Israel, and given it to others:

how hath he removed it from me! the land that was my portion, and the portion of my people; how comes it to pass that he hath taken away that which was my property, and given it to another! how strange is this! how suddenly was it done! and by what means!

turning away, he hath divided our fields; either God, turning away from his people, because of their sins, divided their fields among their enemies; "instead of restoring" (f), as some read it, he did so; or the enemy the Assyrian, turning away after he had conquered the land, and about to return to his own country, divided it among his soldiers: or, "to the perverse", or "rebellious one (g), he divideth our fields"; that is, the Lord divides them to the wicked, perverse, and blaspheming king of Assyria; so the word is used of one that goes on frowardly, and backslides, Isaiah 57:17.

(c) "super vos", Pagninus, Montanus; "de vobis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "super vobis", Cocceius. (d) "et lamentabitur lamentum lamenti", Montanus. (e) "factum est", De Dieu; "ejulatu vero", Cocceius; "actum est", Burkius. (f) "pro reddendo", Castalio. (g) "aversus, refractarius", Drusius; "ingrato et rebelli", De Dieu.

In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, {b} We be utterly spoiled: he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me! turning away he hath divided our fields.

(b) Thus the Jews lament and say that there is no hope of restitution, seeing their possessions are divided among the enemies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. shall one take up a parable] Or, a taunting song (as probably Isaiah 14:4, Habakkuk 2:6). The Hebr. mâshâl means properly a saying characterized by parallelism—‘the parallelism may consist either in the moral application of emblems, or simply in the parallel disposition of the lines and the sense. From the fact that emblems were generally applied in a witty, satirical manner, mâshâl sometimes obtains the meaning of taunt-song.’ So, too, we may add, the participial noun môshçl acquires the sense of taunt-singer in Numbers 21:27, Ezekiel 16:44. In the present instance, the prophet means (see next clause) that the same words from different speakers would be at once a lamentation and a taunt. When an Israelite should say plaintively, ‘It is all over,’ his enemy should take up his words in a tone of triumph or mockery.

and lament with a doleful lamentation, &c.] Rather, and lament with a lamentation:

‘It is done,’ they shall say,

‘We be utterly spoiled:

He changeth the portion of my people;

How doth he remove it from me!

Unto the rebellious he divideth our fields.’

The purport of the complaint is that Jehovah (for the Israelites recognize him as the sender of their trouble) has transferred the promised land to heathen men, who from their very birth have been rebels against Jehovah. The epithet ‘rebellious’ deserves notice. True, it is the Jews who use it, but the prophet would certainly have sanctioned its employment. We find him, in chap. Micah 5:15, announcing the punishment of the heathen for their disobedience, and his great contemporary Isaiah, in Isaiah 10:5-15 (comp. Isaiah 37:26), rebuking Sennacherib for ‘vaunting himself’ against Him who gave him his commission. Both prophets imply that the heathen had a certain natural light, which might have led them to the true God, or at least have preserved them from rejecting Him, when His claims were brought before them. Comp. St Paul’s words in Romans 1:20, ‘so that they are without excuse.’Verse 4. - In that day. The evil time mentioned in ver. 3. A parable (mashal); probably here "a taunting song." The enemy shall use the words in which Israel laments her calamity as a taunt against her (Habakkuk 2:6). And lament with a doleful lamentation. The Hebrew gives a remarkable alliteration, Nahah nehi niheyah; Septuagint, Θρηνηθήσεται θρῆνος ἐν μέλει, "Lament a lamentation with melody;" Vulgate, Cantabitur canticum cum suavitate; "Wail a wail of woe." (Pusey). The Syriac coincides with the LXX. By taking the three words as cognates, we get a very forcible sentence; but most modern commentators consider niheyah not a feminine formation, butniph. of the substantive verb hayah; hence the words would mean, "Lament with the lamentation;" "It is done," they shall say; "we are utterly spoiled." Thus Cheyne. The lamentation begins with "It is done," and continues to the end of the verse. The verbs are used impersonally - "one shall take up," "one shall lament," "one shall say;" but it is plain that the last two refer to the Jews who shall utter the given dirge, which in turn shall be repeated as a taunt by the enemy. We are utterly spoiled. According to the second of the explanations of the preceding clause, these words expand and define the despairing cry, "It is done!" In the other case, they are the commencement of the lamentation. Septuagint, Ταλαιπωρίᾳ ἐταλαιπωρήσαμεν, "We are miserably miserable." The complaint is twofold. First, the once flourishing condition of Israel is changed to ruin and desolation. Secondly, He hath changed (changeth) the portion of my people. This is the second calamity: he, Jehovah, passes our inheritance over to the hands of others; the land of Canaan, pledged to us, is transferred to our enemies. Septuagint κτεμετρήθη ἐν σχοινίῳ, "hath been measured with a line." How hath he removed it [the portion] from me! This is better than the alternative rendering, "How doth he depart from me?" Turning away he hath divided our fields; rather, to an apostate he divideth our fields. The apostate is the King of Assyria or Chaldea; and he is so named as being a rebel against Jehovah, whom he might have known by the light of natural religion (comp. Micah 5:15; Romans 1:20). This was fulfilled later by the colonization of Samaria by a mixed population. Amos 5:26 is attached in an adversative sense: "To me (Jehovah) ye have offered no sacrifices, but ye have borne," etc. The opposition between the Jehovah-worship which they suspended, and the idol-worship which they carried on, is so clearly expressed in the verbs הגּשׁתּם and נשׂאתם, which correspond to one another, that the idea is precluded at once as altogether untenable, that "Amo 5:26 refers to either the present or future in the form of an inference drawn from the preceding verse: therefore do ye (or shall ye) carry the hut of your king," etc. Moreover, the idea of the idols being carried into captivity, which would be the meaning of נשׂא in that case, is utterly foreign to the prophetical range of thought. It is not those who go into captivity who carry their gods away with them; but the gods of a vanquished nation are carried away by the conquerors (Isaiah 46:1). To give a correct interpretation to this difficult verse, which has been explained in various ways from the very earliest times, it is necessary, above all things, to bear in mind the parallelism of the clauses. Whereas in the first half of the verse the two objects are connected together by the copula ו (ואת), the omission of both את and the copula ו before כּוכב indicates most obviously that כּוכב אלהיכם does not introduce a third object in addition to the two preceding ones, but rather that the intention is to define those objects more precisely; from which it follows still further, that סכּוּת מלכּכם and כּיּוּן צלמיכם do not denote two different kinds of idolatry, but simply two different forms of the very same idolatry. The two ἁπ. λεγ. sikkūth and kiyyūn are undoubtedly appellatives, notwithstanding the fact that the ancient versions have taken kiyyūn as the proper name of a deity. This is required by the parallelism of the members; for צלמיכם stands in the same relation to כיון as מלככם to סכות. The plural צלמיכם, however, cannot be in apposition to the singular כיון (kiyyūn, your images), but must be a genitive governed by it: "the kiyyūn of your images." And in the same way מלככם is the genitive after סכות: "the sikkūth of your king." Sikkūth has been taken in an appellative sense by all the ancient translators. The lxx and Symm. render it τὴν σκηνήν; the Peshito, Jerome, and the Ar. tentorium. The Chaldee has retained sikkūth. The rendering adopted by Aquila, συσκιασμός, is etymologically the more exact; for sikkūth, from סכך, to shade, signifies a shade or shelter, hence a covering, a booth, and is not to be explained either from sâkhath, to be silent, from which Hitzig deduces the meaning "block," or from the Syriac and Chaldee word סכתא, a nail or stake, as Rosenmller and Ewald suppose. כּיּוּן, from כּוּן, is related to כּן, basis (Exodus 30:18), and מכונה, and signifies a pedestal or framework. The correctness of the Masoretic pointing of the word is attested by the kiyyūn of the Chaldee, and also by צלמיכם, inasmuch as the reading כּיון, which is given in the lxx and Syr., requires the singular צלמכם, which is also given in the Syriac. צלמים are images of gods, as in Numbers 33:52; 2 Kings 11:18. The words כּוכב אל which follow are indeed also governed by נשׂאתם; but, as the omission of ואת clearly shows, the connection is only a loose one, so that it is rather to be regarded as in apposition to the preceding objects in the sense of "namely, the star of your god;" and there is no necessity to alter the pointing, as Hitzig proposes, and read כּוכב, "a star was your god," although this rendering expresses the sense quite correctly. כּוכב אלהיכם is equivalent to the star, which is your god, which ye worship as your god (for this use of the construct state, see Ges. 116, 5). By the star we have to picture to ourselves not a star formed by human hand as a representation of the god, nor an image of a god with the figure of a star upon its head, like those found upon the Ninevite sculptures (see Layard). For if this had been what Amos meant, he would have repeated the particle ואת before כּוכב. The thought is therefore the following: the king whose booth, and the images whose stand they carried, were a star which they had made their god, i.e., a star-deity (אשׁר refers to אלהיכם, not to כּוכב). This star-god, which they worshipped as their king, they had embodied in tselâmı̄m. The booth and the stand were the things used for protecting and carrying the images of the star-god.

Sikkūth was no doubt a portable shrine, in which the image of the deity was kept. Such shrines (ναΐ́σκοι) were used by the Egyptians, according to Herodotus (ii. 63) and Diodorus Sic. (i.:97): they were "small chapels, generally gilded and ornamented with flowers and in other ways, intended to hold a small idol when processions were made, and to be carried or driven about with it" (Drumann, On the Rosetta Inscription, p. 211). The stand on which the chapel was placed during these processions was called παστοφόριον (Drumann, p. 212); the bearers were called ἱεραφόροι or παστοφόροι (D. p. 226). This Egyptian custom explains the prophet's words: "the hut of your king, and the stand of your images," as Hengstenberg has shown in his Dissertations on the Pentateuch, vol. i. p. 161), and points to Egypt as the source of the idolatry condemned by Amos. This is also favoured by the fact, that the golden calf which the Israelites worshipped at Sinai was an imitation of the idolatry of Egypt; also by the testimony of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:7.), to the effect that the Israelites did not desist even in the wilderness from the abominations of their eyes, namely the idols of Egypt; and lastly, by the circumstance that the idea of there being any allusion in the words to the worship of Moloch or Saturn is altogether irreconcilable with the Hebrew text, and cannot be historically sustained,

(Note: This explanation of the words is simply founded upon the rendering of the lxx: καὶ ἀνελάβετε τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ Μολόχ καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑμῶν Ῥαιφάν, τοὺς τύπους οὓς ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς. These translators, therefore, have not only rendered מלכּכם erroneously as Μολόχ, but have arbitrarily twisted the other words of the Hebrew text. For the Hebrew reading מלככם is proved to be the original one, not only by the τοῦ βασιλέως ὑμῶν of Symm. and Theod., but also by the Μαλχόμ of Aquila and the malkūm of the Peshito; and all the other ancient translators enter a protest against the displacing of the other words. The name Ῥαιφάν (Ῥηφαν), or Ῥεμφάν (Acts 7:43), however, owes its origin simply to the false reading of the unpointed כיון as ריפן, inasmuch as in the old Hebrew writings not only is כ similar to ר, but ו is also similar to פ; and in 2 Samuel 22:12, where חשׁרת־מים is rendered σκοτός (i.e., חשׁכת) ὑδάτων, we have an example of the interchange of כ and ר. There was no god Rephan or Rempha; for the name never occurs apart from the lxx. The statement made in the Arabico-Coptic list of planets, edited by Ath. Kircher, that Suhhel (the Arabic name of Saturn) is the same as Ῥηφάν, and the remark found in a Coptic MS on the Acts of the Apostles, "Rephan deus temporis," prove nothing more than that Coptic Christians supposed the Rephan or Remphan, whose name occurred in their version of the Bible which was founded upon the lxx, to be the star Saturn as the god of time; but they by no means prove that the ancient Egyptians called Saturn Rephan, or were acquainted with any deity of that name, since the occurrence of the Greek names Υλια and Σελινη for sun and moon are a sufficient proof of the very recent origin of the list referred to. It is true that the Peshito has also rendered כּיּוּן by ke'wām (כּיון), by which the Syrians understood Saturn, as we may see from a passage of Ephraem Syrus, quoted by Gesenius in his Comm. on Isaiah (ii. p. 344), where this father, in his Sermones adv. haer. s. 8, when ridiculing the star-worshippers, refers to the Kevan, who devoured his own children. But no further evidence can be adduced in support of the correctness of this explanation of כּיון. The corresponding use of the Arabic Kaivan for Saturn, to which appeal has also been made, does not occur in any of the earlier Arabic writings, but has simply passed into the Arabic from the Persian; so that the name and its interpretation originated with the Syrian church, passing thence to the Persians, and eventually reaching the Arabs through them. Consequently the interpretation of Kevan by Saturn has no higher worth than that of an exegetical conjecture, which is not elevated into a truth by the fact that כיון is mentioned in the Cod. Nazar. i. p. 54, ed. Norb., in connection with Nebo, Bel, and Nerig ( equals Nergal). With the exception of these passages, and the gloss of a recent Arabian grammarian cited by Bochart, viz., "Keivan signifies Suhhel," not a single historical trace can be found of Kevan having been an ancient oriental name of Saturn; so that the latest supporter of this hypothesis, namely Movers (Phnizier, i. p. 290), has endeavoured to prop up the arguments already mentioned in his own peculiar and uncritical manner, by recalling the Phoenician and Babylonian names, San-Choniâth, Kyn-el-Adan, and others. Not even the Graeco-Syrian fathers make any reference to this interpretation. Theodoret cannot say anything more about Μολόχ καὶ Ῥεφάν, than that they were εἰδώλων ὀνόματα; and Theod. Mops. has this observation on Ῥεμφάν: φασὶ δὲ τὸν ἑωσφόρον οὕτω κατὰ τὴν Ἑβραίων γλῶτταν. It is still very doubtful, therefore, whether the Alexandrian and Syrian translators of Amos really supposed Ῥαιφάν and כּיון to signify Saturn; and this interpretation, whether it originated with the translators named, or was first started by later commentators upon these versions, arose in all probability simply from a combination of the Greek legend concerning Saturn, who swallowed his own children, and the Moloch who was worshipped with the sacrifice of children, and therefore might also be said to devour children; that is to say, it was merely an inference drawn from the rendering of מלככם as Μολόχ. But we are precluded from thinking of Moloch-worship, or regarding מלככם, "your king," as referring to Moloch, by the simple circumstance that כּוכב אלהיכם unquestionably points to the Sabaean (sidereal) character of the worship condemned by Amos, whereas nothing is known of the sidereal nature of Moloch; and even if the sun is to be regarded as the physical basis of their deity, as Mnter, Creuzer, and others conjecture, it is impossible to discover the slightest trace in the Old Testament of any such basis as this.

The Alexandrian translation of this passage, which we have thus shown to rest upon a misinterpretation of the Hebrew text, has acquired a greater importance than it would otherwise possess, from the fact that the proto-martyr Stephen, in his address (Acts 7:42-43), has quoted the words of the prophet according to that version, simply because the departure of the Greek translation from the original text was of no consequence, so far as his object was concerned, viz., to prove to the Jews that they had always resisted the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as the Alex. rendering also contains the thought, that their fathers worshipped the στρατιᾶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.)

whereas star-worship, or at any rate the worship of the sun, was widely spread in Egypt from the very earliest times. According to the more recent investigations into the mythology of the ancient Egyptians which have been made by Lepsius (Transactions of the Academy of Science at Berlin, 1851, p. 157ff.), "the worship of the sun was the oldest kernel and most general principle of the religious belief of Egypt;" and this "was regarded even down to the very latest times as the outward culminating point of the whole system of religion" (Lepsius, p. 193). The first group of deities of Upper and Lower Egypt consists of none but sun-gods (p. 188).

(Note: It is true, that in the first divine sphere Ra occupies the second place according to the Memphitic doctrine, namely, after Phtha (Hephaestos), and according to the Theban doctrine, Amen (Ἄμων). Mentu and Atmu stand at the head (Leps. p. 186); but the two deities, Mentu, i.e., the rising sun, and Atmu, i.e., the setting sun, are simply a splitting up of Ra; and both Hephaestos and Amon (Amon-Ra) were placed at the head of the gods at a later period (Leps. pp. 187, 189).)

Ra, i.e., Helios, is the prototype of the kings, the highest potency and prototype of nearly all the gods, the king of the gods, and he is identified with Osiris (p. 194). But from the time of Menes, Osiris has been worshipped in This and Abydos; whilst in Memphis the bull Apis was regarded as the living copy of Osiris (p. 191). According to Herodotus (ii. 42), Osiris and Isis were the only gods worshipped by the ancient Egyptians; and, according to Diodorus Sic. (i. 11), the Egyptians were said to have had originally only two gods, Helios and Selene, and to have worshipped the former in Osiris, the latter in Isis. The Pan of Mendes appears to have also been a peculiar form of Osiris (cf. Diod. Sic. i. 25, and Leps. p. 175). Herodotus (ii. 145) speaks of this as of primeval antiquity, and reckons it among the eight so-called first gods; and Diodorus Sic. (i. 18) describes it as διαφερόντως ὑπὸ τῶν Αἰγυπτίων τιμώμενον. It was no doubt to these Egyptian sun-gods that the star-god which the Israelites carried about with them in the wilderness belonged. This is all that can at present be determined concerning it. There is not sufficient evidence to support Hengstenberg's opinion, that the Egyptian Pan as the sun-god was the king worshipped by them. It is also impossible to establish the identity of the king mentioned by Amos with the שׂעירים in Leviticus 17:7, since these שׂעירים, even if they are connected with the goat-worship of Mendes, are not exhausted by this goat-deity.

The prophet therefore affirms that, during the forty years' journey through the wilderness, Israel did not offer sacrifices to its true King Jehovah, but carried about with it a star made into a god as the king of heaven. If, then, as has already been observed, we understand this assertion as referring to the great mass of the people, like the similar passage in Isaiah 43:23, it agrees with the intimations in the Pentateuch as to the attitude of Israel. For, beside the several grosser outbreaks of rebellion against the Lord, which are the only ones recorded at all circumstantially there, and which show clearly enough that it was not devoted to its God with all its heart, we also find traces of open idolatry. Among these are the command in Leviticus 17, that every one who slaughtered a sacrificial animal was to bring it to the tabernacle, when taken in connection with the reason assigned, namely, that they were not to offer their sacrifices any more to the Se‛ı̄rı̄m, after which they went a whoring (Amos 5:7), and the warning in Deuteronomy 4:19, against worshipping the sun, moon, and stars, even all the host of heaven, from which we may infer that Moses had a reason for this, founded upon existing circumstances. After this further proof of the apostasy of Israel from its God, the judgment already indicated in Amos 5:24 is still further defined in Amos 5:27 as the banishment of the people far beyond the borders of the land given to it by the Lord, where higlâh evidently points back to yiggal in Amos 5:24. מהלאה ל, lit., "from afar with regard to," i.e., so that when looked at from Damascus, the place showed itself afar off, i.e., according to one mode of viewing it, "far beyond Damascus."

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