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8. A Basket of Ripe Fruit

Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. 2And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. 3And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.

4Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 5Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 6That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. 9And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: 10And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. 13In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst. 14They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.

And he assails by name the princes of the people, Hear this, he says, ye who tread upon or swallow up the poor The Prophets, as we have already stated, did not without reason direct their discourses to the chief men, though the common people were nearly as much involved in the same guilt. It is certain that the state of the people of Israel was then so corrupt, that all, from the highest to the lowest, were become degenerated and none were free from blame. But as more guilt belongs always to leaders, this is the reason why the Prophets treated them with more sharpness and severity: for many of the common people go astray through thoughtlessness or ignorances or are led on by others, but they who govern, pervert what is just and right, and then become the originators of all kinds of licentiousness. It is no wonder then that the Lord by his Prophets inveighed so sharply against them; and this is now the object of the Prophet in saying, Hear this: for there is an emphasis in the expression, when he bids them to hear; it was either because they did not sufficiently observe their sins, and were wholly deaf, or because they in vain contended with God; for hypocrites think that by evasion they can escape judgment. Hear, he says, ye who devour the miserable, and destroy the poor of the land. We see here some difference marked, and that the Prophet does not generally and indiscriminately summon the common people and the princes to God’s tribunal; but turns his discourse to the princes only. It now follows —


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