The second verse of this first chapter gives the key to the book. Jehovah declared Himself in judgment. Beginning at the point farthest from Israel, the prophet delivered his messages to the nations as such. Each in turn passes before Jehovah, and receives sentence.
The sin of Syria was cruelty. At last, sentence was uttered; the flame would devour, all defense would be useless, and the people would be driven into captivity.
The sin of Philistia had been the slave trade. Here, as before, and as in each subsequent case, the form of the declaration reveals the exhausted patience of God. Philistia would be visited with the devouring flame, her inhabitants be cut off, and even the remnant would perish. Phoenicia's special guilt had been that in spite of the covenant made, she had acted as a slave agent. Edom was doomed for determined and revengeful unforgiveness. The children of Ammon were specially denounced for cruelty based upon cupidity.
Moab's chief wickedness had been her shocking and vindictive hatred.
Having thus uttered the word of God concerning the surrounding nations, thereby revealing the fact of His government over all, the prophet turned to Judah, and declared that she also was to share the doom of the other nations, because she had despised the law of Jehovah and had not kept His statutes.
Finally, he spoke to Israel. All the foregoing had been in preparation for this. He described the sins of Israel in detail and with almost startling directness. He charged the people with injustice, avarice, oppression, immorality, profanity, blasphemy, and sacrilege. Moreover, he said that their sin had been very greatly aggravated by the privileges which they had enjoyed. They had seen the Amorites destroyed before them for the very sins which they themselves had subsequently committed. They had been brought up out of Egypt and so knew the power of Jehovah. They had raised up their sons for false prophets and young men for Nazarites, and had silenced the true prophets. The sentence against them was that of oppression and judgment, from which there would be no possibility of escape.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25