Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.
2:1 That devise - Contrive and frame mischief. Evil work - Contrive how to work it. It is in the power - Because they can; without regarding right or wrong.
And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.
2:2 And his house - His family, which by this means is left to poverty. And his heritage - And this is done against ancient right and possession, nay, in a case where God hath forbidden them to sell their heritage.
Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks; neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil.
2:3 Against this family - God will devise evil against their family, as they devised evil against the family of their neighbours. Haughty - You have made others hang the head; so shall you now. Is evil - Full of miseries on the whole family of Jacob.
In that day shall one take up a parable against you, and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, 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.
2:4 A parable - A taunting proverb. And lament - Your friends for you, and you for yourselves. He - God. Portion - Their wealth, plenty, freedom, joy and honour, into poverty, famine, servitude, grief and dishonour. How - How dreadfully hath God dealt with Israel; removing their persons into captivity, and transferring their possession to their enemies? Turning away - Turning away from us in displeasure. God hath divided our fields among others.
Therefore thou shalt have none that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.
2:5 Thou shalt have - None that shall ever return to this land, to see it allotted by line and given them to possess it. In the congregation - They shall no more be the congregation of the Lord, nor their children after them.
Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.
2:6 They shall not prophesy - So God doth in his displeasure grant their desire. Take shame - That will not take shame to themselves.
O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
2:7 That art named - You are in name, not in truth, the seed of Jacob. Straitened - The power, wisdom, and kindness of God is not less now than formerly. Are these - Are these severe proceedings the doings your God delighteth in? Do not my words - My words promise all good, to those that with honest hearts walk in the ways of God.
Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.
2:8 Is risen up - They have risen up, Israel against Judah, and Judah against Israel, and of late the tribes have conspired against one another; subjects against their kings, and great ones against the meaner sort. With the garment - You strip those that fearing no evil, go about their private affairs.
The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.
2:9 The women - The widows. Of my people - Of Israelites, not strangers, that were by peculiar provision from God's law, to be tenderly dealt with, Exod 22:22. Cast out - You have turned out of their old habitations. From their children - You have turned their children out of their houses, and estates, which were secured by the law of God from any sale beyond the jubilee; yet you have confiscated them for ever. My glory - Which was the glory of my bounty to them.
Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction.
2:10 Arise ye - Ye inhabitants of Israel, prepare for your departure out of this land. Your rest - Though it was given this people for a rest under God's wing; yet it was on condition of continued obedience. Polluted - With many, and great, and old sins. Destroy - It shall spue you out.
If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.
2:11 Walking - If a man pretend to have the spirit of prophesy. Saying - You shall have plenty of days, and may eat, drink, and be merry. He shall even be the prophet - Such they like and chuse.
I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
2:12 Them - All the remnant. As the sheep - ln great numbers. Their fold - Their own fold, where they are safe. The multitude of men - This was fulfilled in part, when the Jews returned out of Babylon, but more fully when Christ by his gospel gathered together in one, all the children of God that were scattered abroad.
The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.
2:13 The breaker - To break down all opposition. The gate - The door of escape out of their captivity. No cities so strong, which the Assyrians shall not take and possess, and enter in through the gates. The Lord - Even Jehovah, as he was at the head of Israel, when he brought them out of Egypt.