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under water, as by the river of Egypt. 6. He that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and foundetlo his compact foundation in the earth; he that calleths for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon

the face of the earth : Jehoval is his name --8. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth ; saving only that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob *, saith the Lord. 9. For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel † among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve; yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. 10. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shal} not overtake nor prevent us.

11. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches ..

the periodical flood of the Nile. The same imagery is used by Isaiah. “ Whose land rivers have spoiled.” Isaiah xviii. 2.

* The sinful kingdom--the house of Jucob.] There is a manifest and remarkable distinction here made between the kingdom and the house. The kingdom should be utterly destroyed in both its branches of Israel and Judah : the house, whatever calamities might befall it, should be preserved.

+ I will sift the house of Israel.] Sowing the house of Israel among the nations means, as Bp. Horsley observes, making them the socd of the Church: but sifting them with a sieve denotes most expressively their dispersion. His Lordship is so perfectly right in his observation, that not a single instance, I believe, can be produced, in which sozing the house of Israel ever signifies a judgment inflicted upon them.

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thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. 12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the nations upon whom my name hath been called *, saith the Lord that doeth this. 13. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper f : and the treader of grapes, bim that soweth seed i and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shah melt. 14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel I; and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them : and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15. And I will plant them

upon their own laud, and they shall no more

* Edom, and of all the nations upon whom my name hath been called.] This expression is remarkable, and clearly shews us what kind of nations are inteuded. The mystic Edom and his confederate nations are not pagans, ignorant of the very name of the Lord, but professed worshippers of him. Against these nominal and corrupt believers of the Roman Edom the wrath of God is denounced in almost every prophecy, that treats of the restoration of the Jews.

+ The days cume, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper.] " This and the following verses ought to be understood of the u happy state of the Millennium, which may be supposed to

begin after the Jews are restored to their country. Compare “ Joel iii. 18," Mr. Lowth in loc.

1 I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel.] “ will restore them to their own country, and settle them in “ it” (Mr. Lowth in loc.). Captivity is a noun of number meaning a multitude of captives, as in many other places.

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be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.

COMMENTARY.

In the beginning of this prophecy, Amos predicts the dispersion of Israel; and foretells, that, in consequence of their rejecting the Messiah, there shoald be among them a great famine of true religious instruction. He adds, that even in the land of their 'captivity many of them should be slain by the sword; a declaration woefully fulfilled in the many persecutions which the Jews have suffered from the sanguinary bigotry of Popery. Meanwhile their land shall be overflowed and deluged by rivers of foreign invaders, as the Nile overflows the land of Egypt. The Persians shall succeed the Romans: the Saracens, the Persians; the western crusaders, the Saracens; the Turks, the crusaders; and last of all, at the period of their restoration, the armies of Antichrist shall plant their tents in the glorious holy mountain. The whole of this is the Lord's doing. Yet, though he will utterly destroy the sinful kingdom of Israel, he will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob. The civil and ecclesiastical polity shall be completely dissolved; but the individuals themselves shall be preserved. These God will scatter among all nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve: yet, unlike natural corn, not a single grain shall fall to the earth. Every grain, distinct from its fellow, shall continue flying, as it were, between the earth and the sieve of God's wrath, unable to settle upon

natural * It might seem at first, that the expression not the least gruia shall fall to the earth signifies, that every individual should be preserved; but, when the whole imagery is considered, I incline to think that I have adopted the right interpretation. Suppose that some miracle prevented the sifted grains of wheat from talling to the ground; they would in that case be carried about by every wind, unconnected with each other, and never able to continue long in one place. In this wonderful manner God threatens to sift the Jews among all nations. The sieve of his wrath shall scatter them: but they shall never, like the Normans, the Saxons, and other kindred tribes, that have spread themselves far and wide; they shall never fall to the ground, and be as rest.

the ground and coalesce into heaps, as is the case with natural corn when sifted *.

Nevertheless, while they are in this seattered and forsaken state, the Lord will suddenly raise up the tabernacle of David, and bring again the captivity of Israel. He will cause them to possess the remnant of the mystic Edom which had so long persecuted and afflicted them, and of all those nations of mere nominal Christians upon whom the name of the Lord had been called in letter though not in spirit. He will bless them with wonderful prosperity in the land of their fathers; and will never again suffer them to be violently dragged away from it. Such are the good things yet in

store

store for Israel

, when he shall turn unto the Lord his God:

It is to be observed, that the prophecy is couched in general terms, and relates to the house of Joseph no less than to the house of Judah.

PROPHECY XXXIII.

The certainty of the restoration of Judah and Israel.

Micah ii. 12. 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 t, as the flock in the inidst of her fold: they shall make a great noise by reason of the multitude of men. 13. He that breaketh down is come up before them I: they have broken down the wall,

and

* I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.]. “This promise “ relates to the general restoration of the Jewish nation." Mr. Lowth in loc.

+ I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah.] “ God is “ often styled the shepherd of Israel, and his care over his peo“ple is compared to that of a shepherd over his flock “ Bozrah is a noted place in Idumèa where there were large “ flocks of sheep.” Mr. Lowth in loc.

1 He thut breaketh down is come up before them.] “He, that “ shall break the bonds of their captivity, or break through “ all obstacles that hinder their return home-The Jewish

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commentators

VOL. II.

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