Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Fat kine. He means the great ones that lived in plenty and wealth, (Challoner) and without restraint, (Isaias xv. 5., and Jeremias xlvi. 20.; Calmet) having no compassion for the poor. (Worthington) — The women who had too great an ascendency over their husbands, like Jezabel, may also be meant. (Theodoret; Grotius) — In many parts of the East the women affect being fat.
Ver. 2. Holiness. He has none but himself to swear by, Hebrews vi. 13. His word is infallible; but he condescends to use an oath to make a deeper impression on man. — Pikes; spits, or large shields. Hebrew also, “They will lead you away with hooks, (in the nose, Isaias xxxvii. 29.) and your children with fish-hooks,” or pots. You shall be treated like victims, being either roasted or boiled. No part shall be left.
Ver. 3. Breaches of the city. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “naked.” Hebrew, “apart.” (Haydock) — The victors shall divide you among them. (Calmet) — Armon, a foreign country; some understand it of Armenia, (Challoner) and this is the general opinion. (Menochius) — Septuagint, “on Mount Remmon.” Theodotion, “Mona.” Israel was removed into Armenia, “the mountain of Menni,” Jeremias li. 27.
Ver. 4. Galgal. Thither the people went of their own accord, as to a place of devotion, Osee iv. 15. Amos ironically tells them to proceed, as Christ addressed the Jews, Matthew xxiii. 32. (Calmet) — After many admonitions have proved fruitless, God suffers infidels to act as they please. (Worthington) — This is the most dreadful of his judgments. (Haydock) — Morning, with haste. — Three days. This also may denote the false exactitude of the Israelites to perform what God did not require, while they neglected the most essential duties, like the Pharisees. It may also imply the giving tithes every third year, (Deuteronomy xiv. 28.) or presenting themselves at the three great festivals, Exodus xxiii. 14. The schismatics observed parts of the law, and had a devotion of their own choice. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. With. Hebrew mechamets, (Haydock) also “without leaven.” It was expressly forbidden, (Leviticus ii. 11.) though not in the first fruits, Leviticus xxiii. 17. — It, to beg that God would remember you, Numbers x. 10. Hence the Pharisees did so when they gave alms, (Matthew vi. 2.; Calmet) but out of ostentation. (Haydock) — Septuagint, “And they read the law of their own invention, (Theodoret) or of God, out of the land, (which the Jews were not to do; St. Chrysostom, or. 3. c. Jud. Const. Apost. vi. 24.) and proclaimed praise or confession.” (Haydock) — These interpreters read inaccurately, (Calmet) krau méuts thure, &c., yet S. Jerome explains their words of heretics reading the Scriptures out of the true Church, and misapplying them.
Ver. 6. Dulness, (stuporem) as when the teeth have bitten at a stone (Haydock) and are edged, Jeremias xxxi. 29. Septuagint, “gnashing.” Hebrew, “cleanness,” through want of food. Eliseus foretold a famine under Achab, 4 Kings viii. 1. That of Joel (i.) seems to have happened later than this. (Calmet) — God sent these afflictions for their amendment. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Months. The latter rain falls in April. See Deuteronomy xi. 14. (Calmet) — Harvest. Septuagint have as usual, “vintage.” But this is less accurate, as it never rains in the preceding summer months. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 9. Wind. Protestants, “blasting.” (Haydock) — “Pestilential air,” (Septuagint, Symmachus, &c.) which destroys the corn (Calmet) and men. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Egypt, as I published the Egyptians, (Calmet) or the Hebrews, when they came thence, and wished to return. (Chaldean; St. Cyril) — Horses. I have deprived you of them, (Haydock) under Achab and Joachaz, 4 Kings vi. and xiii. — Nostrils. Hazael slew many subjects of Jehu, 4 Kings x. 32. (Calmet) — The stench of their carcasses and of the locusts caused death or the plague. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Burning. This comparison shews the condition of Israel. Hardly any escaped, Zacharias iii. 2., and 1 Corinthians iii. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. These. He mentions not what, to keep them in greater suspense and dread; (St. Jerome) or he will put in execution what he had threatened before, ver. 2. — Meet. Septuagint, “beseech.” Aquila, “oppose,” or to receive the Messias. (St. Jerome) — Prepare by repentance to find mercy. (Calmet) — After long captivity, Christ will save some. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Wind. Septuagint, “the Spirit, and announcing to man his Christ,” (Haydock) or Cyrus. (Theodotion) — But this version has read improperly. (Calmet) — Some hence brought an argument against the divinity of the Holy Spirit. (St. Jerome) — Mist. Septuagint, “the morning and the cloud,” spreading light or darkness over man. — Earth, on the wings of the wind, Psalm xvii. 11. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The Israelites are reproved for their oppressing the poor, for their idolatry, and their incorrigibleness.
1 Hear this word, ye fat kine that are in the mountains of Samaria: you that oppress the needy, and crush the poor: that say to your masters: Bring, and we will drink.
2 The Lord God hath sworn by his holiness, that lo, the days shall come upon you, when they shall lift you up on pikes, and what shall remain of you in boiling pots.
3 And you shall go out at the breaches, one over-against the other, and you shall be cast forth into Armon, saith the Lord.
4 Come ye to Bethel, and do wickedly: to Galgal, and multiply transgressions: and bring in the morning your victims, your tithes in three days.
5 And offer a sacrifice of praise with leaven: and call free offerings, and proclaim it: for so you would do, O children of Israel, saith the Lord God.
6 Whereupon I also have given you dulness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet you have not returned to me, saith the Lord.
7 I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon: and the piece whereupon I rained not, withered.
8 And two and three cities went to one city to drink water, and were not filled: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord.
9 *I struck you with a burning wind, and with mildew, the palmer-worm hath eaten up your many gardens, and your vineyards: your olive-groves, and fig-groves: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord.
10 I sent death upon you in the way of Egypt, I slew your young men with the sword, even to the captivity of your horses: and I made the stench of your camp to come up into your nostrils: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord.
11 I destroyed some of you, *as God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha, and you were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord.
12 Therefore I will do these things to thee, O Israel: and after I shall have done these things to thee, be prepared to meet thy God, O Israel.
13 For behold, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth his word to man, he that maketh the morning mist, and walketh upon the high places of the earth; the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name.
9: Aggeus ii. 18.
11: Genesis xix. 24.