Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Herdsmen.
St. Jerome's manuscripts after Aquila, have "pastorals," (Haydock) pastoralibus. (Calmet) --- Theodotion retains Nokedim.
Septuagint read Accarim, (Haydock) substituting r for d, (St. Jerome) and perhaps Š for n. (Haydock) --- They have also
"Jerusalem," for Israel, though the prophecy regard the latter. The country south of Thecua has no towns, and
is solely for pasture. (St. Jerome) --- Amos might have many flocks, like Mesa and king Dejotarus, 4 Kings iii. 4. (Calmet)
--- David was taken from the flocks to be king, and Amos to be a prophet. (Worthington) --- King. These two lived long
in prosperity. (Calmet) --- Earthquake. Many understand this of a great earthquake, which, they say, was felt
at the time that king Ozias attempted to offer incense in the temple. But the best chronologists prove that the earthquake
here spoken of must have been before that time: because Jeroboam the second, under whom Amos prophesied, was dead long before
that attempt of Ozias. (Challoner) --- This is asserted by Usher. Yet his arguments are not conclusive. If the attempt and
earthquake happened in the 23d year of Ozias, Amos might commence the year of the world 3215, six years before the death of
Jeroboam, 4 Kings xv. 5., and Zacharias xi. 15. (Calmet) --- Josephus ([Antiquities?] ix. 1.) fixes upon the former period.
Jeroboam, however, died inthe 38th of Ozias, who was deposed 14 years later. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Carmel.
"God's vineyard," may denote any fruitful mountain. Amos refers to pastoral affairs. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Three---four.
That is, for their many unrepented of crimes. (Challoner) --- Three is the first number of which we can say "many or all."
Four denotes excess. Thus God forgives many sins, yet punishes when they become excessive. (Worthington) --- Thus profane
authors say, (Calmet)
Terque quaterque pectus percussa decorum. (Virgil, ∆neid iv.)
--- Convert it. That is, I will not spare them, nor turn away the
punishments I design to inflict upon them. (Challoner) --- My decree is absolute. --- Wains, designed to make the corn
come out, (Calmet) or to cut the straw. (St. Jerome) --- Such instruments were sometimes trailed over men. Septuagint, "they
have sawed the pregnant women," &c. This circumstance is borrowed from 4 Kings viii. Damascus was often at war with Israel.
But Jeroboam punished it as Theglathphalassar did afterwards, ver. 5., and 4 Kings xvi. 9. Amos might witness the ravages
of the former. (Calmet) --- Azael, or Hazael, who slew his master, Benadad. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Plain.
The city "Bikhath-Aven," or the latter word, probably denotes Baal, as the Syrians style Baal-Bek, the city which the Greeks
call Heliopolis. The valley between the two mountains extending northward, is still called Bucca. --- Pleasure. Hebrew,
"Beth Heden." We find Eden in a delightful part of Libanus. --- Cyrene, not in Africa, but on the river Cyrus, in Albania,
4 Kings xv. 29.
Ver. 6. Edom.
The Philistines and Tyrians (ver. 9.) exercised this inhumanity on the Idomeans, probably before they had thrown off the yoke
of Juda, under Joram, (4 Kings viii. 21.) as the Lord seems concerned for them; (Calmet) or they sold the captive Israelites
to Edom, to increase their misery. (St. Jerome) --- Septuagint, "the captivity of Solomon," or the subjects of that monarch.
But the Hebrew word means also perfect, (Haydock) or absolute, (Jeremias xiii. 19.; Calmet) or "pacific," seizing the
citizens in times of peace. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Gaza.
Ozias, Ezechias, and Psammetichus, ravaged the country, 2 Paralipomenon xxvi. 6., 4 Kings xviii. 8., and Isaias xiv. 29. The
Philistines recovered strength; but Nabuchodonosor, Alexander, and the Machabees conquered them again.
Ver. 9. Brethren;
for Edom and the Jews sprung from the same stock. Some think that he alludes to the alliance between the king of Tyre and
David. But that had long ceased, and was not agreeable to the law; (Exodus xxii. 32., and 3 Kings ix. 13.; Calmet) at least
when it was attended with much danger. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Thereof.
Salmanasar besieged it five years (Menander) and Nabuchodonosor thirteen, when he destroyed Tyre, Ezechiel xxvi.
Ver. 11. Sword.
Edom was subdued by David, and remained tributary till Joram. It attempted to recover its liberty under Josaphat, though the
Hebrew text have improperly Aram, 2 Paralipomenon xx. 2, 23. The two nations were often at variance. (Calmet) --- Cast
off. Septuagint, "violated the womb, or the mother on the earth."
Ver. 12. Houses,
&c. Septuagint, "its foundations," (Haydock) or the fortified country. (St. Jerome) --- Bosor lay towards Philadelphia,
in the ancient territory of Edom. Their strong places were seized by Ozias, by the Chaldeans, and by the Machabees.
Ver. 13. Border.
They pretended that Galaad belonged to them, Judges xi. 12. David subdued Ammon; but after the division of the kingdom, they
recovered their independence, and took occasion to commit these cruelties, while Israel had to contend with Syria. Jeremias
(xlix. 1.) speaks of a later period.
Ver. 14. Rabba,
the capital, called also Philadelphia. Ozias and Joatham attacked the people with advantage. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Melchom,
the god or idol of the Ammonites, otherwise called Moloch, and Melech; which, in Hebrew, signifies a king, or Melchom
their king. (Challoner) --- He assumed the title of "their king," Judges xi. 14., and Jeremias xlix. 3. (Haydock) ---
Blind people, who could not see the vanity of such impotent gods! (Calmet) --- Both he. Septuagint, "and their priests."
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The prophet threatens Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and
Ammon with the judgments of God, for their obstinacy in sin.
1 The *words of Amos, who was among herdsmen of Thecua: which he saw
concerning Israel in the days of Ozias, king of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joas, king of Israel, **two
years ***before the earthquake.
2 And he said: *The Lord will roar from Sion, and utter his voice from
Jerusalem: and the beautiful places of the shepherds have mourned, and the top of Carmel is withered.
3 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I
will not convert it: because they have threshed Galaad with iron wains.
4 And I will send a fire into the house of Azael, and it shall devour
the houses of Benadad.
5 And I will break the bar of Damascus: and I will cut off the inhabitants
from the plain of the idol, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of pleasure: and the people of Syria shall be
carried away to Cyrene, saith the Lord.
6 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Gaza, and for four, I will
not convert it, because they have carried away a perfect captivity to shut them up in Edom.
7 And I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, and it shall devour the
8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Azotus, and him that holdeth
the sceptre from Ascalon: and I will turn my hand against Accaron, and the rest of the Philistines shall perish, saith the
9 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Tyre, and for four, I will
not convert it: because they have shut up an entire captivity in Edom, and have not remembered the covenant of brethren.
10 And I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, and it shall devour
the houses thereof.
11 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Edom, and for four, I will
not convert him: because he hath pursued his brother with the sword, and hath cast off all pity, and hath carried on his fury,
and hath kept his wrath to the end.
12 I will send a fire into Theman: and it shall devour the houses of
13 Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of the children of Ammon, and
for four, I will not convert him: because he hath ript up the women with child, of Galaad, to enlarge his border.
14 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabba: and it shall devour
the houses thereof with shouting in the day of battle, and with a whirlwind in the day of trouble.
15 And Melchom shall go into captivity, both he, and his princes together,
saith the Lord.
1: Year of the World about 3224, Year before Christ 780. ---
** Zacharias xiv. 5. --- *** Year of the World 3216, Year before Christ 788.
2: Jeremias xxv. 30.; Joel iii. 16.