Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Amos 8:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

By the sin of Samaria - Baal, who was worshipped here.

Thy god, O Dan - The golden calf, or ox, the representative of the Egyptian god Apis, or Osiris.

The manner of Beer-sheba - The worship, or object of worship. Another of the golden calves which Jeroboam had set up there. The word דרך derech, way, is here taken for the object and mode of worship; see Acts 19:9, where way is taken for the creed and form of Divine worship as practiced by the followers of Christ, and by which they were distinguished from the Jews. See also Acts 9:2.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Who swear - Literally, “the swearing,” they who habitually swear. He assigns, at the end, the ground of all this misery, the forsaking of God. God had commanded that all appeals by oath should be made to Himself, who alone governs the world, to whom alone His creatures owe obedience, who alone revenges. “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God and serve Him and swear by His Name” Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:20. On the other hand Joshua warned them, “Neither make mention of the name of their gods nor cause to swear by them nor serve them” Joshua 23:7. But these “sware by the sin of Samaria,” probably “the calf at Bethel,” which was near Samaria and the center of their idolatry, from where Hosea calls it “thy calf.” “Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off. The calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces” Hosea 8:5-6. He calls it “the guilt of Samaria,” as the source of all their guilt, as it is said of the princes of Judah using this same word, “they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served idols, and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass” 2 Chronicles 24:18. “And say, thy god, O Dan! liveth,” that is, as surely as thy god liveth! by the life of thy god! as they who worshiped God said, “as the Lord liveth!” It was a direct substitution of the creature for the Creator, an ascribing to it the attribute of God; “as the Father hath life in Himself” John 5:26. It was an appeal to it, as the Avenger of false-swearing, as though it were the moral Governor of the world.

The manner of Beersheba liveth! - Literally, “the way.” This may be, either the religion and worship of the idol there, as Paul says, “I persecuted this way unto the death” (Acts 22:4, add Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9, Acts 19:23), from where Muhammed learned to speak of his imposture, as “the way of God.” Or it might mean the actual “way to Beersheba,” and may signify all the idolatrous places of worship in the way there. They seem to have made the way there one long avenue of idols, culminating in it. For Josiah, in his great destruction of idolatry, “gathered all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places, where the priests sacrificed from Gebah to Beersheba” 2 Kings 23:8; only, this may perhaps simply describe the whole territory of Judah from north to south. Anyhow, Beersheba stands for the god worshiped there, as, “whoso sware by the Temple, sware,” our Lord tells us, “by it and by Him that dwelleth therein” Matthew 23:21.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Here was a token of God's highest displeasure. At any time, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of God is the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yet some will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a good sermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sin away. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plans and endeavours to find out a way of salvation, will stand them in no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, for want of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let us value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinning them away.