Will I raise up the tabernacle of David - It is well known that the kingdom of Israel, the most profane and idolatrous, fell first, and that the kingdom of Judah continued long after, and enjoyed considerable prosperity under Hezekiah and Josiah. The remnant of the Israelites that were left by the Assyrians became united to the kingdom of Judah; and of the others, many afterwards joined them: but this comparatively short prosperity and respite, previously to the Babylonish captivity, could not be that, as Calmet justly observes, which is mentioned here. This could not be called closing up the breaches, raising up the ruins, and building it as in the days of old; nor has any state of this kind taken place since; and, consequently, the prophecy remains to be fulfilled. It must therefore refer to their restoration under the Gospel, when they shall receive the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, and be by him restored to their own land. See these words quoted by James, Acts 15:17. Then indeed it is likely that they shall possess the remnant of Edom, and have the whole length and breadth of Immanuel's land, Amos 9:12. Nor can it be supposed that the victories gained by the Asmoneans could be that intended by the prophet and which he describes in such lofty terms. These victories procured only a short respite, and a very imperfect re-establishment of the tabernacle of David; and could not warrant the terms of the prediction in these verses.
In that day I will raise up - Amos, as the prophets were taught to do, sums up his prophecy of woe with this one full promise of overflowing good. For the ten tribes, in their separate condition, there was no hope, no future. He had pronounced the entire destruction of “the kingdom” of Israel. The ten tribes were, thenceforth, only an aggregate of individuals, good or bad. They had no separate corporate existence. In their spiritual existence, they still belonged to the one family of Israel; and, belonging to it, were heirs of the promises made to it. When no longer separate, individuals out of its tribes were to become Apostles to their whole people and to the Gentiles. Of individuals in it, God had declared His judgment, anticipating the complete exactness of the Judgment of the Great Day. “All the sinners of” His “people” should “die” an untimely death “by the sword;” not one of those who were the true grain should perish with the chaff.
He now foretells, how that salvation, of those indeed His own, should be effected through the house of David, in whose line Christ was to come. He speaks of the house of David, not in any terms of royal greatness; he tells, not of its palaces, but of its ruins. Under the word “tabernacle,” he probably blends the ideas, that it should be in a poor condition, and yet that it should be the means whereby God should protect His people. The “succah, tabernacle” (translated “booth” in Jonah) Jonah 4:5; Genesis 33:17, was originally a rude hut, formed of “intertwined” branches. It is used of the cattle-shed Genesis 33:17, and of the rough tents used by soldiers in war 2 Samuel 11:11, or by the watchman in the vineyard Isaiah 1:8; Job 27:18, and of those wherein God “made the children of Israel to dwell, when” He “brought them out of the land of Egypt Leviticus 23:43. The name of the feast of “tabernacles, Succoth,” as well as the rude temporary huts in which they were commanded to dwell, associated the name with a state of outward poverty under God‘s protection.
Hence, perhaps, the word is employed also of the secret place of the presence of God Psalm 18:11; Job 36:29. Isaiah, as well as Amos, seems, in the use of the same word Isaiah 4:6, to hint that what is poor and mean in man‘s sight would be, in the Hands of God, an effectual protection. This “hut of David” was also at that time to be “fallen.” When Amos prophesied, it had been weakened by the schism of the ten tribes, but Azariah, its king, was mighty 2 Chronicles 26:6-15. Amos had already foretold the destruction of the “palaces of Jerusalem by fire” Amos 2:5. Now he adds, that the abiding condition of the house of David should be a state of decay and weakness, and that from that state, not human strength, but God Himself should “raise” it. “I will raise up the hut of David, the fallen.” He does not say, of “that” time, “the hut that is fallen,” as if it were already fallen, but “the hut, the fallen,” that is, the hut of which the character should then be its falling, its caducity.
So, under a different figure, Isaiah prophesied, “There shall come forth a rod out of the stump Isaiah 11:1 of Jesse, and a Branch shall put forth from its roots.” When the trunk was hewn down even with the ground, and the rank grass had covered the “stump,” that “rod” and “Branch” should come forth which should rule the earth, and “to” which “the Gentiles should seek” Isaiah 11:10. From these words of Amos, “the Son of the fallen,” became, among the Jews, one of the titles of the Christ. Both in the legal and mystical schools the words of Amos are alleged, in proof of the fallen condition of the house of David, when the Christ should come. “Who would expect,” asks one, “that God would raise up the fallen tabernacle of David? and yet it is said, “I will raise up the tabernacle of David which is fallen down.” And who would hope that the whole world should become one band? as it is written, “Then I will turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one shoulder” Zephaniah 3:9. This is no other than the king Messiah.” And in the Talmud; “R. Nachman said to R. Isaac; Hast thou heard when ‹the Son of the fallen‘ shall come? He answered, Who is he? R. Nachman; The Messiah. R. Isaac; Is the Messiah so called? R. Nachman; Yes; ‹In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David which is fallen down. ‹“
And close up - Literally, “wall up, the breaches thereof.” The house of David had at this time sustained breaches. It had yet more serious breaches to sustain thereafter. The first great breach was the rending off of the ten tribes. It sustained breaches, through the Assyrians; and yet more when itself was carried away captive to Babylon, and so many of its residue fled into Egypt. Breaches are repaired by new stones; the losses of the house of David were to be filled up by accessions from the Gentiles. God Himself should “close up the breaches;” so should they remain closed; and “the gates of hell should not prevail against” the Church which He builded. Amos heaps upon one another the words implying destruction. A “hut” and that “falling; breaches; ruins;” (literally, “his ruinated, his destructions”). But he also speaks of it in a way which excludes the idea of “the hut of David,” being “the royal Dynasty” or “the kingdom of Judah.” For he speaks of it, not as an abstract thing, such as a kingdom is, but as a whole, consisting of individuals.
He speaks not only of “the hut of David,” but of “‹their (fem.)‘ breaches,” “‹his‘ ruins,” that God would “build ‹her‘ up,” “that ‹they‘ (masc.) may inherit;” using apparently this variety of numbers and genders, in order to show that he is speaking of one living whole, the Jewish Church, now rent in two by the great schism of Jeroboam, but which should be reunited into one body, members of which should win the pagan to the true faith in God. “I will raise up,” he says, “the tabernacle of David, the fallen, and will wall up ‹their‘ breaches,” (the breaches of the two portions into which it had been rent) and I will raise up “his” ruins (the “ruinated places” of David) and I will build “her” (as one whole) as in the days of old, (before the rent of the ten tribes, when all worshiped as one), that “they,” (masculine) that is, individuals who should go forth out of her, “may inherit, etc.”