Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, Volume 2 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 116)

Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, Volume 2 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 116)

Translated by ROBERT C. HILL
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 442
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32b3kd
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  • Book Info
    Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, Volume 2 (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 116)
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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1216-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. COMMENTARY ON THE TWELVE PROPHETS
    • Commentary on the Prophet Amos
      • PREFACE TO THE COMMENTARY ON AMOS
        (pp. 5-6)

        Amos was a goatherd, raised in the ways and norms of shepherds. He passed his life in the wilderness to the south of the country of the Jews, which stretched from the shores of the Indian sea to the land of the Persians, and where countless barbarian nations grazed their stock. It was much suited to feeding flocks of sheep, being fertile, spacious, and offering a variety of fodder. Amos was from the town of Tekoa, at the very edge of the wilderness. Since he was a good man, practiced in complete simplicity, he was given the rich grace of...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER ONE
        (pp. 7-26)

        He is saying that these are the words of prophecy of Amos from Tekoa, which came in Akkarim. Now, it should be realized that the Hebrew has no knowledge at all of this reading, in Akkarim, saying only, “The words of Amos from Tekoa.” For their part the other translators put “cattlemen” for in Akkarim. So he is saying that these are the words of Amos from Tekoa, which came at the time when there was still grazing, and in the actual sheep pens.¹ The words on Jerusalem he says he did not so much hear as see; God made...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER TWO
        (pp. 27-40)

        The moabites likewise were guilty of such extreme impiety as to exceed even the inherent clemency and patience of the God of all. Their crime was a sin against a corpse, namely, burning the bones of the king of Idumea, and burning them in such a way as to reduce them to dust and ashes. What, then, was the crime? Hatred, inhumanity, and unrestrained ferocity against the people of Israel. Burning the bones of the aforementioned king would seem to be done for no other reason than that it was against the people of Israel alone.

        I shall in brief...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER THREE
        (pp. 41-54)

        The verse could be taken as addressed to the whole of Israel, not citing Judah and Ephraim separately, but as though addressing a unit comprising every tribe, since every tribe of Israel was led out of the land of Egypt. With no one excluded, then, they are bidden to listen to what comes from God.¹ What was it? While the cities and towns throughout the world under heaven were beyond counting, he says, I made a choice from all of only you, the people of Israel, clearly making you mine by many marvels, rescuing you from harsh and unbearable slavery,...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER FOUR
        (pp. 55-65)

        The people of Samaria were conspicuous for extreme arrogance and luxury, surpassing all others for the abundance of their wealth; as I said, they built themselves fine and lavish houses suited to the seasons—I mean winter and summer—which the oracle announced in advance would completely and utterly perish. (438) It is therefore to these people who owned their own houses and were devoted to spoiling themselves with fading luxury he refers as cows of Bashan. Now, the country of Bashan was wooded and leafy, very suited to being able to provide abundant fodder to whatever grazed there. God...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER FIVE
        (pp. 66-82)

        On learning in advance of the troubles befalling some people, the blessed prophets were filled with terror at the prospect and grieved bitterly for them as brethren; sometimes they delivered their reproof ardently, as if moved by love to weeping, and prompting them to alertness by prediction of all that had yet to occur. This is the process the prophet follows in this case, too, speaking as if on his own part, not, however, from his own understanding, but on the basis of divine oracles. Consequently he says, Hear this word of the Lord that I adopt in lamentation over...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER SIX
        (pp. 83-96)

        Once again the verse deplores not only the people from Ephraim, or the two tribes in Samaria, but also those from Judah and Benjamin. He had previously demonstrated that even those before them were always unstable and fickle in mind, having made a calf and adopted the tent of Moloch. He now accuses them of imitating their ancestors and following in their footsteps by way of impiety in bringing the ire of the Lord of all upon themselves. He says that those from Judah and Benjamin scorned Zion; though they abode in Jerusalem and had the divine Temple, they set...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER SEVEN
        (pp. 97-104)

        God reveals to the prophet what nation will be brought upon the people of Israel, or what harm will befall them; on the other hand, he follows his custom of informing him of what will be done through things of which he has a precise knowledge. The locust and the young locust always strike shepherds as being frightful, and really are; when fodder is, as it were, sheared off by them, the flocks then necessarily perish. God therefore indicates the calamities of war to the prophet as to a shepherd. (497) He indicates the Assyrian under the guise of a...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER EIGHT
        (pp. 105-117)

        The prophet’s discourse continues on its way; the matters that have been touched on received adequate treatment, and the order of the visions is adjusted to the purpose proper to it. So he saw the vast numbers of the Assyrians like an early plague of locusts, and with them Gog, or Sennacherib, described under the form of a young locust on account of the creature’s vigorous leaping on the ground; the arrogant person is something like this, ever leaping on high, declining to live the life of lowly people. He also saw judgment referred to as fire, and adamant placed...

      • COMMENTARY ON AMOS, CHAPTER NINE
        (pp. 118-132)

        With the eye of their mind enlightened by the torch of the Spirit, the blessed prophets were not only beneficiaries of knowledge of the future, but also at times had a vision of the events themselves as though they were painted on a tablet. While themselves aghast, they strove to make the listeners similarly affected in their earnest efforts to clarify the force of the visions. Blessed Amos had thus said, “The Lord said to me, The end has come for my people Israel: I shall never again pass their way. The ceilings of the Temple will lament on that...

    • Commentary on the Prophet Obadiah
      • PREFACE TO THE COMMENTARY ON OBADIAH
        (pp. 135-136)

        It is likely that obadiah likewise prophesied at the same time as Joel, and was, as it were, accorded the same vision and shared the explanation. While the divinely inspired Joel, remember, at the very end of his prophecy says, “Egypt will become a wasteland, and Idumea a desolate countryside for the wrongs done to the children of Judah, in return for the innocent blood they have poured out in their land,”¹ the other in due course explains in detail the manner and style of the destruction of Idumea. Since it is useful for the readers of the historical account...

      • COMMENTARY ON OBADIAH
        (pp. 137-144)

        In this verse he explains to us the overall purpose of his prophecy, or vision, and specifies his focus; he tries to confirm that his vision deals with what is going to happen to Idumea. He confirms the listeners in the belief that what is said will completely come to pass, and endeavors to persuade them by saying that, far from being his, the words are rather from God. Hence his saying, I heard a report from the Lord against Idumea. How it should be understood he personally clarified straightway by going on, he dispatched a confinement to the nations....

    • Commentary on the Prophet Jonah
      • PREFACE TO THE COMMENTARY ON JONAH
        (pp. 147-150)

        The divinely inspired jonah was the son of Amittai, and came from Gath-hepher, a little city or town of the land of the Jews, so the story goes. He probably delivered his prophecy at the same time as those before him, namely, Hosea, Amos, Micah, and the rest.¹ You could find him uttering a great number of oracles to the Jewish populace, transmitting the words from God on high and clearly foretelling the future. Though no other prophetic text from him is extant than this one, therefore, the divinely inspired Scripture confirms that he continued predicting to the Jewish masses...

      • COMMENTARY ON JONAH, CHAPTER ONE
        (pp. 151-162)

        With an understanding of the ministry and mission of Jonah’s prophecy, you would be quite right to make the opportune remark in terms of the praise uttered by blessed Paul, “Is he the God of Jews only, and not of gentiles also? In fact, he is the God of gentiles also, since God is one, and he will justify the circumcised on the grounds of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” And having learned this through experience, the divinely inspired Peter himself also proclaims it to us in the words, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality;...

      • COMMENTARY ON JONAH, CHAPTER TWO
        (pp. 163-166)

        Coming to no harm, using the sea monster as a home, thinking clearly, and suffering no kind of ill effects of body or mind, he sensed divine assistance, knowing God is benevolent. On the other hand, not unaware that what had happened was due to his reluctance for ministry, he turned to prayer, uttering sentiments of thanksgiving, at the same time confessing the glory of his Savior, admiring his power, and proclaiming his clemency. He said, in fact, that his prayer was accepted, in my view coming to this realization from a prophetic spirit. Now, by the phrase from the...

      • COMMENTARY ON JONAH, CHAPTER THREE
        (pp. 167-172)

        Taking advantage of his more ardent enthusiasm, then, God bids him again go to Nineveh and adopt the same message communicated to him at the outset, the meaning of “a clamor has ascended to me from their wickedness.” Although I previously stated what relates to Christ, therefore, I shall still repeat it, feeling no reluctance; Scripture says, remember, “To say the same things is not wearisome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.”¹ So before the precious crucifixion we shall find Christ still somewhat hesitant—that is, as far as proposing the message of the Gospel oracles to...

      • COMMENTARY ON JONAH, CHAPTER FOUR
        (pp. 173-178)

        Since god is compassionate (593) to those who avert the effects of wrath by repentance, even when the time had passed for the decreed outcome, and what had been foretold was due to occur and yet none of the expectations had come to pass, the blessed Jonah was extremely distressed. It was not because the city had escaped destruction—the attitude of a wicked and envious man, unbecoming a saint—but because he gave the impression of being a liar and a braggard, idly alarming them, speaking his own mind and not at all what came from the mouth of...

    • Commentary on the Prophet Micah
      • PREFACE TO THE COMMENTARY ON MICAH
        (pp. 181-182)

        The single purpose of all the holy prophets, dear also to God, was to persuade Israel to decide to part company resolutely with deception and instead to opt for serving God, living and true, and glorying in the ornaments of righteousness by removing as far as possible their involvement in wrongdoing. There was a long series of them as God in some fashion gave prior assurance and clearly predicted in a great number of statements that, unless they chose to live an upright life and to set great store by making a change for the better, they would bring punishment...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER ONE
        (pp. 183-198)

        Again it should be understood that the Hebrew text has Moresheth in place of Morathi, the intention being to give the name not of the father but of his native place; they say Morathi was a town or little city of the country of the Jews. The other translators agree with this text as well; so Morathi would not be the prophet’s father; instead, by mention of Moresheth, as I said, there is a reference to his native place.¹ We need now to study what the words were that came to him. Which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem; that...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER TWO
        (pp. 199-211)

        When the god of all delivers a long passage on the punishment of some people, he begins by citing their crimes and exposing the magnitude of their impiety to avoid being thought harsh and wrathful instead of as a just Judge properly weighing up each one’s faults and treating the guilty according to their works. So he mentions the ways in which they are evil and then reach such a degree of knavery as to plan at night to make hardships the object of their attention—that is, to hatch plots against someone—and devise troubles—that is, scheme to...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER THREE
        (pp. 212-220)

        The one who opened the gates to those making war on Israel, who made everything smooth for them and overcame the difficulties so that they might then proceed with great ease and dominate the resistance without effort, is the Lord, who leads them. He it is, too, who will say to the leadership and the remnant of the people, by will say meaning “will address.” He charges with indifference those responsible for leadership, and with being ruinous and destructive by neglecting those in their care; the subjects who were deceived by the knavery of men in power he lets know...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER FOUR
        (pp. 221-231)

        In this is now recognized a clear prediction of the church from the nations. When Israel according to the flesh was removed from the scene, sacrifices according to the Law were at an end, the priesthood of the bloodline of Levi deserted, the celebrated Temple itself burnt down, and Jerusalem left desolate, Christ instituted the church from the nations, at the final moment, as it were—that is, at the end of this age, when he became like us. By mountain, therefore, he refers to the church, which is the house of the living God.¹ It is on high because...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER FIVE
        (pp. 232-245)

        Many peoples and many nations will be assembled on Zion. Then, when they expected to exult over it and mock it, they were beaten and crushed, since God cast them under the feet of the victors in the manner (673) of a sheaf. The country of the Samaritans was captured and destroyed, wasted by war, and it is of it he says that it will be hemmed in and obstructed, obviously when God determines it should be subject to a constraint and suffer the effects. Now, by daughter Ephraim he refers to Samaria, or the population of Samaria; to its...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER SIX
        (pp. 246-256)

        The passage is exhortatory, and, as it were, cries out in protest (692) against the Jews’ insensitivity in giving no importance to the divine words, despite their being gentle and restrained [words], as though from a father demonstrating sincerity of love for his children and giving them no grounds for obduracy. Now, it is customary with the God who loves goodness sometimes to frighten sinners with a prediction of dire happenings, not to leave them remiss and resistant as though beyond hope, but to lend a note of comfort to the impending fate, and retain the possibility, as it were,...

      • COMMENTARY ON MICAH, CHAPTER SEVEN
        (pp. 257-278)

        Out of love the prophet mocks Israel for being on the point of going off to destruction, and of reaching such a small number that very few would in the end be left. They would be like what falls from the sheaves, which the hands of the harvesters pass by, whereas the few survivors are quick to collect even stubble because of dire need. They no less resemble also what is called gleanings, which the harvesters’ sickles miss. In my view he is suggesting in this also the difficulty of encountering holy people, for the reason of there being few...

    • Commentary on the Prophet Nahum
      • PREFACE TO THE COMMENTARY ON NAHUM
        (pp. 281-282)

        Each of the holy prophets was employed in some useful and demanding business at times for the purpose of ministering to the divine decrees and transmitting to people the messages from on high. Some foretold to Israel impending misfortunes so as to terrify them in their sins, and openly threatened that unless they decided to do what was pleasing to God, they would fall foul of dire and ineluctable troubles. Others highlighted what had actually happened, and by grieving with the victims skillfully persuaded them to opt for a better life and thus appease the divine wrath from then on....

      • COMMENTARY ON NAHUM, CHAPTER ONE
        (pp. 283-305)

        He begins by specifying the purpose of the prophecy, and helpfully makes precise the focus of his attention. He then makes clear who is speaking and from where he comes, saying it is an oracle; that is to say, the prophecy “taken up” and set in our hands has to do with nothing else than Nineveh—in other words, let the oracle of the prophecy be taken as Nineveh.¹ The book bears the inscription, an oracle of Nahum of Elkosh, which is definitely a town somewhere in the country of the Jews; (4) we shall take the phrase of Elkosh...

      • COMMENTARY ON NAHUM, CHAPTER TWO
        (pp. 306-315)

        To suggest in a compressed fashion that the necessary destruction of Nineveh would without any doubt happen, he says that it is finished, thus indicating the wish for its consummation. He also says it is gone, that is, completely felled and utterly done away with.¹ Now, the phrase one has come up also applies perfectly to Cyrus, in my view clearly implying something of the kind that the prophet Jeremiah also said of him in foretelling what would in due course befall Nineveh: “A lion has come up from its lair; it has arisen to destroy nations; it has gone...

      • COMMENTARY ON NAHUM, CHAPTER THREE
        (pp. 316-328)

        He gave it the name city of blood; those who reigned over Nineveh were bloodthirsty and disposed to murder, while on a different note its inhabitants were warlike, ever on the alert to conduct wild sorties against whomever they met. He says it was false because awash with idols, whose utter falsity could not be gainsaid; its handmade gods, falsely named, stole glory from the Divinity, (50) being only “silver and gold, works of human hands,” as Scripture says. Jeremiah in his wisdom somewhere calls it “a land of statues.”¹ In another way as well, it could be understood to...

    • Commentary on the Prophet Habakkuk
      • PREFACE TO THE COMMENTARY ON HABAKKUK
        (pp. 331-332)

        While the present prophecy has also been developed for us with great wisdom and skill, we shall find it concentrating on God’s management of things in a way becoming the saints. It becomes even the saints, in fact, to make the open admission, “It is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking in you.” Now, for those wanting to have an understanding there is need of no little sagacity, since you would notice the drift of the prophecy giving birth in you to a twofold level of meaning, both spiritual and factual.¹ For your benefit...

      • COMMENTARY ON HABAKKUK, CHAPTER ONE
        (pp. 333-347)

        By ‘oracle’ here he refers to reception of the vision, or premonition, that he had when God gave it. It is he, after all, who, according to Scripture, multiplied visions, and he who spoke to prophets, foretelling the future to them through the Holy Spirit and, as it were, setting it before their sight as though already happening.¹ Now, of the fact that they were not in the habit of uttering sentiments of their own heart,² but rather communicated to us the words from God, he clearly convinces us, calling himself a prophet and showing himself to be filled with...

      • COMMENTARY ON HABAKKUK, CHAPTER TWO
        (pp. 348-365)

        In this he explains to us a prophetic mystery. It was customary with the holy ones, you see, if they wanted to learn what was from God and to gain knowledge of the future when he was inspiring their mind and heart, to remove their mind far from distractions, concerns, and every care of this life, and by keeping it at leisure and rest, to leap up, as it were, to some peak or eminence or rock with a view to gaining an insight into what the Lord of all knowledge would choose to reveal to them. He looks, you...

      • COMMENTARY ON HABAKKUK, CHAPTER THREE
        (pp. 366-400)

        Having thoroughly presented the message to the Babylonian, and adequately foretold that those who sacked the holy city and deported Israel in captivity would pay a heavy penalty, he appositely moves to the mystery of Christ. And as though the redemption had already occurred in the case of a single nation individually, he shifts his attention to it in the case of all in general, whereby not only the remnant of Israel was saved but the whole earth was to no lesser degree saved. Cyrus son of Cambyses, remember, released Israel from captivity, destroying the haughty kingdom that was hateful...

  6. INDICES
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 433-433)