Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Romans 1:32. pagan morality too distinguished between the incontinent and the unprincipled , the man who sinned under force of temptation, and the man who had lost the sense of right and wrong John 3:20. "Everyone that doeth evil, hateth the light. Whoso longeth for things unlawful, hateth the righteousness which rebuketh and punisheth" .
Who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones - He had described the Good Shepherd; now, in contrast, he describes those who ought to be "shepherds of the people," to feed, guard, direct them, but who were their butchers; who did not shear them, but flayed them; who fed on them, not fed them. He heaps up their guilt, act by act. First they flay, that is, take away their outer goods; then they break their bones in pieces, the most solid parts, on which the whole frame of their body depends, to get at the very marrow of their life, and so feed themselves upon them. And not unlike, though still more fearfully, do they sin, who first remove the skin, as it were, or outward tender fences of God's graces; (such as is modesty, in regard to inward purity; outward demeanor, of inward virtue; outward forms, of inward devotion;) and so break the strong bones of the sterner virtues, which hold the whole soul together; and with them the whole flesh, or softer graces, becomes one shapeless mass, shred to pieces and consumed. So Ezekiel says; "Woe to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves; should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you, with the wool, ye kill them that are fed, ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened ..." (Ezekiel 34:2-4, add Ezekiel 34:5-10).Eat; maintain themselves and their followers, nay, live in luxury and excess, revelling in banquets and feasts, as the word is many times used, Amos 6:4.
The flesh; the estates, goods, and livelihood of their subjects, neighbours, and brethren.
My people; whom I have chosen, maintained, and allotted an inheritance unto, of whom I once said, Who toucheth them toucheth the apple of mine eye, Deu 32:10 Zechariah 2:8.
Flay their skin from off them; with barbarous cruelty and unheard-of injustice strip off (as butchers strip the sheep they kill) the very skin; or as hunters, which having taken the prey, wearied and worried first by their dogs, do strip off the skin to sell, and eat the flesh in feasts and riotous banquetings.
They break their bones; an allusion to wolves, boars, or lions, which devour the flesh, tear the skin, and break the bones of the innocent, weak, and defenseless lambs or sheep; thus our prophet tells these rulers plainly what they were, did, and how barbarously cruel and wicked.
Chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron: these bloody murderers, princes, and chieftains are here compared to cooks, and the subjects, weak neighbours, are compared to the bare bones which the cook doth by his art prepare for the pot, and to the flesh cut small for the caldron, that all might be boiled and extracted out to make pottage, and delicious broths or jellies: thus the great ones used the meaner sort, who lived under their jurisdiction. Possibly the prophet may aim at the bloody, cruel, and devouring times under Shallum, &c., or to that reported of Menahem, 2 Kings 15:16, when probably much of this was done according to the very letter.
"who spoil the substance of my people, and their precious mammon they take from them;''
and what aggravated their guilt was, that they were the Lord's people by profession and religion they so used; whom he had committed to their care to rule over, protect, and defend:
and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron: did with them as cooks do, who not only cut flesh off the bones, and into slices, but break the bones themselves, to get out the marrow, and chop them small, that they may have all the virtue that is in them, to make their soup and broth the richer; by which is signified, that these wicked and avaricious rulers took every method to squeeze the people, and get all their wealth and riches into their hands, that they might have in a more riotous and luxurious manner.Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 3. - The idea of the last verse is repeated here with more emphasis. The people are treated by their rulers as cattle made to be eaten, flayed, broken up, chopped into pieces, boiled in the pot (comp Psalm 14:4). (For an analogous figure, see Ezekiel 34:3-5.) Amos 6:12. "Do horses indeed run upon the rock, or do men plough (there) with oxen, that ye turn justice into poison, and the fruit of the righteousness into wormwood? Amos 6:13. They who rejoice over what is worthless, who say: with our strength we make ourselves horns! Amos 6:14. For, behold, I raise over you, O house of Israel, is the saying of Jehovah, the God of hosts, a nation; and they will oppress you from the territory of Hamath to the brook of the desert." To explain the threat in Amos 6:11, Amos now calls attention in Amos 6:12, under two different similes, to the perversity with which the haughty magnates of Israel, who turn right into bitter wrong, imagine that they can offer a successful resistance, or bid defiance with their own strength to the enemy, whom the Lord will raise up as the executor of His judgment. The perversion of right into its opposite can no more bring salvation than horses can run upon rocks, or any one plough upon such a soil with oxen. In the second question בּסּלע (on the rock) is to be repeated from the first, as the majority of commentators suppose. But the two questions are not to be taken in connection with the previous verse in the sense of "Ye will no more be able to avert this destruction than horses can run upon rocks," etc. (Chr. B. Mich.). They belong to what follows, and are meant to expose the moral perversity of the unrighteous conduct of the wicked. For הפכתּם וגו, see Amos 5:7; and for ראשׁ, Hosea 10:4. The impartial administration of justice is called the "fruit of righteousness," on account of the figurative use of the terms darnel and wormwood. These great men, however, rejoice thereby in לא דבר, "a nothing," or a thing which has no existence. What the prophet refers to may be seen from the parallel clause, viz., their imaginary strength (chōzeq). They rested this hope upon the might with which Jeroboam had smitten the Syrians, and restored the ancient boundaries of the kingdom. From this might they would take to themselves (lâqach, to take, not now for the first time to create, or ask of God) the horns, to thrust down all their foes. Horns are signs and symbols of power (cf. Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11); here they stand for the military resources, with which they fancied that they could conquer every foe. These delusions of God-forgetting pride the prophet casts down, by saying that Jehovah the God of hosts will raise up a nation against them, which will crush them down in the whole length and breadth of the kingdom. This nation was Assyria. Kı̄ hinnēh (for behold) is repeated from Amos 6:11; and the threat in Amos 6:14 is thereby described as the resumption and confirmation of the threat expressed in Amos 6:11, although the kı̄ is connected with the perversity condemned in Amos 6:12, Amos 6:13, of trusting in their own power. Lâchats, to oppress, to crush down. On the expression לבוא חמת, as a standing epithet for the northern boundary of the kingdom of Israel, see Numbers 34:8. As the southern boundary we have נחל הערבה instead of ים הערבה (2 Kings 14:25). This is not the willow-brook mentioned in Isaiah 15:7, the present Wady Sufsaf, or northern arm of the Wady el-Kerek (see Delitzsch on Isaiah, l.c.), nor the Rhinokorura, the present el-Arish, which formed the southern boundary of Canaan, because this is constantly called "the brook of Egypt" (see at Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4), but the present el-Ahsy (Ahsa), the southern border river which separated Moab from Edom (see at 2 Kings 14:25).
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