Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit:
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George Leo Haydock
I am not a prophet. That is, I am not a prophet by education: nor is prophesying my calling or profession: but I am a herdsman, whom God was pleased to send hither to prophesy to Israel. (Challoner)
He speaks with the like humility as the baptist, John i. 21., and Luke vii. 26. It seems the prophets usually left their trade, and applied to meditation, Zacharias viii. 5. Septuagint, "I was not a prophet, nor "
Plucking. Septuagint (Theodotion), "pricking. "(Calmet)
This was requisite to make the fruit ripen in four days' time. (Pliny, xiii. 7., and xvi. 27.
Wild fig-trees have three sorts of fruits. The flies which proceed from some of them, prick the sweet figs, and make them ripen. (Tournefort i. let. 8.)
Amos probably conveyed such wild figs to be near those of the garden, while at other times he fed his cattle.
If the spirit of prophecy had always been present to the prophets, the prophet Amos when asked would never have said, “I am no prophet”; he even adds, “neither a prophet’s son, but I am a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit.” How then was he no prophet who foretold so many true things concerning the future? Or in what way was he a prophet if he at the time disowned the truth concerning himself? At the moment that he was called in question, he felt that the spirit of prophecy was not with him. He bore true testimony concerning himself in saying, “I am not a prophet.” Yet he added afterward, “Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. Therefore thus said the Lord, ‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided by line, and you shall die in a polluted land.’” By these words of the prophet it is plainly shown that while he was bearing that testimony about himself he was filled, and on the instant reward...
How good it is to raise up eyes of faith to the power of this worker, the Holy Spirit, and to look here and there at our ancestors in the Old and New Testaments. With the eyes of my faith open, I gaze on David, on Amos, on Daniel, on Peter, on Paul, on Matthew—and I am filled with a desire to behold the nature of this worker, the Holy Spirit. But I fall short. The Spirit filled a boy who played upon the harp, and made him a psalmist; on a shepherd and herdsman who pruned sycamore trees, and made him a prophet; on a child given to abstinence, and made him a judge of his elders; on a fisherman, and made him a preacher; on one who persecuted the church, and made him the teacher of the Gentiles; on a tax collector, and made him an Evangelist. What a skilled worker this Spirit is! There is no question of delay in learning what the Spirit teaches us. No sooner does the Spirit touch our minds in regard to anything than we are taught; the Spirit’s very touch is teaching. The Spirit changes the...
Amos also said, “I was no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but only a herdsman, a gatherer of sycamore fruit. And God took me.” He did not say this to exalt himself but to stop their mouths that suspected him as no prophet, and to show that he is no deceiver, and what he says does not come from his own mind.