Amos 8:11. Behold the days come, saith the Lord This is spoken of events which were yet at some distance. That I will send a famine in the land, not of bread, &c., but of hearing the words of the Lord When Amos prophesied, and for a considerable time after, there were several prophets, and abundant opportunities of hearing the word of the Lord, in season and out of season: they had precept upon precept and line upon line. Prophecy was their daily bread; but they despised it as Israel did the manna in the wilderness; and therefore God threatens that he would hereafter deprive them of this privilege. It appears that there were not so many prophets in the land of Israel, about the time that their destruction came upon them, as there were in the land of Judah; and after the ten tribes were carried away captive, they saw not their signs; there were no more any prophets among them; none to show them How long; Psalms 74:9. The Jewish church also, after Malachi, had no prophets for many ages. Now, 1st, This was the departure of a great part of their glory: what especially made their nation great and high was, that to them were committed the oracles of God: but when these were taken from them their beauty was stained, and their honour laid in the dust. 2d, This was a token of God’s highest displeasure against them: surely he was angry indeed with them, when he would no more speak to them as he had done; and had abandoned them to ruin, when he would no more reprove them for their sins, and call them to repentance by his messengers. 3d, This made all the other calamities that were upon them truly melancholy; that they had no prophets to instruct and comfort them from the word of God, nor to give them any hopeful prospect. We should say at any time, and shall be compelled to say in a time of trouble, that a famine of the word of God is, of all others, the sorest famine the heaviest judgment. It is not improbable that this threatening was intended to look further than to the judgment now referred to, even to the blindness which has in part happened to Israel, in the days of the Messiah, and the veil that is on the hearts of the unbelieving Jews. They reject the gospel, and the ministers of it, which God sends to them, and covet to have prophets of their own, as their fathers had; but they shall have none, the kingdom of God being taken from them and given to another people.
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