I know your manifold transgressions - I have marked the multitude of your smaller crimes, as well as your mighty offenses. Among their greater offenses were,
3. Refusing to hear the poor, who had no money to give them.
For I know - Literally, “I have known.” They thought that God did not know, because He did not avenge; as the Psalmist says, “Thy judgments are far above out of his sight” Psalm 10:5. People who do not act with the thought of God, cease to know Him, and forget that He knows them. “Your manifold transgressions;” literally, “many are your transgressions and mighty your sins.” Their deeds, they knew, were mighty, strong, vigorous, decided. God says, that their “sins” were so, not many and great only, but “mighty, strong”, “issuing not out of ignorance and infirmity, but out of proud strength”, “‹strong‘ in the oppression of the poor and in provoking God,” and bringing down His wrath. So Asaph says of the prosperous; “Pride encompasseth them, as a chain; they are corrupt, they speak oppression wickedly; they speak from on high” Psalm 73:6, Psalm 73:8.
They afflict the just - Literally, “afflicters of the just,” that is, such as habitually afflicted him; whose habit and quality it was to afflict him. Our version mostly renders the word “enemies.” Originally, it signifies “afflicting, persecuting” enemies. Yet it is used also of the enemies of God, perhaps such as persecute Him in His people, or in His Son when in the flesh. The unjust hate the just, as is said in the book of Wisdom; “The ungodly said, Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is not for our turn, and is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the law. He profeseth to have the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the child of the Lord. He was made to reprove our thoughts. He is grievous unto us even to behold, for his life is not as other people‘s, his ways are of another fashion” (Wisdom Psalm 2:1, Psalm 2:12-15). So when the Truth and Righteousness came into the world, the Scribes and Pharisees hated Him because He reproved them, “denied” Acts 3:14 and crucified “the Holy one and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto” them, haters and “enemies of the Just,” and preferring to Him the unjust.
That take a bribe - Literally, “a ransom.” It may be that, contrary to the law, which forbade, in these same words Numbers 35:22, “to take any ransom for the life of a murderer,” they took some ransom to set free rich murderers, and so, (as we have seen for many years to be the effect of unjust acquittals,) blood was shed with impunity, and was shed the more, because it was disregarded. The word, however, is used in one place apparently of any bribe, through which a man connives at injustice 1 Samuel 12:3.
Will you do that? Will you wrestle with God at this meeting until you know that He reveals Himself to you? There are sins that afflict your souls; your sins grieve you. Will you say, “Now, Lord, I must have pardon written opposite my name,” and wrestle and plead with God, laying hold upon the righteousness of Christ. “He must save; I believe in Him; I take Him at His word.” Now, brethren, what shall we do? FW 75.2Read in context »
Against the marked oppression, the flagrant injustice, the unwonted luxury and extravagance, the shameless feasting and drunkenness, the gross licentiousness and debauchery, of their age, the prophets lifted their voices; but in vain were their protests, in vain their denunciation of sin. “Him that rebuketh in the gate,” declared Amos, “they hate, ... and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.” “They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.” Amos 5:10, 12. PK 282.1
Such were some of the results that had followed the setting up of two calves of gold by Jeroboam. The first departure from established forms of worship had led to the introduction of grosser forms of idolatry, until finally nearly all the inhabitants of the land had given themselves over to the alluring practices of nature worship. Forgetting their Maker, Israel “deeply corrupted themselves.” Hosea 9:9. PK 282.2
The prophets continued to protest against these evils and to plead for rightdoing. “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy,” Hosea urged; “break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” “Turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.” “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity: ... say unto Him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.” Hosea 10:12; 12:6; Hosea 14:1, 2. PK 282.3Read in context »