This chapter begins, as those two next foregoing began, with, Hear this word. Where God has a mouth to speak we must have an ear to hear; it is our duty, it is our interest, yet so stupid are most men that they need to be again and again called upon to hear the word of the Lord, to give audience, to give attention. Hear this word. this convincing awakening word must be heard and heeded, as well as words of comfort and peace; the word that is taken up against us, as well as that which makes for us; for, whether we hear or forbear, the word of God shall take effect, and not a tittle of it shall fall to the ground. It is the word which I take up—not the prophet only, but the God that sent him. It is the word that the Lord has spoken, Amos 3:1. The word to be heard is a lamentation, a lamentable account of the present calamitous state of the kingdom of Israel, and a lamentable prediction of its utter destruction. Their condition is sad: The virgin of Israel has fallen (Amos 5:2), has come down from what she was; that state, though not pure and chaste as a virgin, yet was beautiful and gay, and had its charms; she looked high herself, and was courted by many as a virgin; but she has fallen into contempt and poverty, and is universally slighted. Nay, and their condition is helpless: She shall no more rise, shall never recover her former dignity again. God had lately begun to cut Israel short (2 Kgs. 10:32), and, because they repented not, it was not long before he cut Israel down. 1. Their princes, that should have helped them up, were disabled: She is forsaken upon her land. Not only those she was in alliance with abroad failed her, but her friends at home deserted her; she would not have been carried captive into a strange land if she had not first been forsaken upon her own land and thrown to the ground there, and all her true interests abandoned by those that should have had them at heart. There is none to raise her up, none that can do it, not that cares to lend her a hand. 2. Their people, that should have helped them up, were diminished, Amos 5:3. “The city that had a militia, 1000 strong, and, in the beginning of the war, had furnished out 1000 effective men, able-bodied and well-armed, when they come to review their troops after the battle, shall find but 100 left; and, in proportion, the city that sent out 100 shall have but ten come back, so great a slaughter shall be made, and so few left to the house of Israel for the public service and safety.” Scarcely one in ten shall escape of the hands that should relieve this abject, this dejected, nation. Note, The lessening of the numbers of God’s spiritual Israel, by death or desertion, is just a matter for lamentation; for by whom shall Jacob arise, by whom shall the decays of piety be repaired, when he is thus made small?
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