Seek ye the Lord and ye shall live - Literally, "seek the Lord and live;" being united to Him, the Fountain of life. He reimpresses on them the one simple need of the creature, "seek God," the one true God as He revealed Himself, not as worldly people, or the politicians of Jeroboam' s court, or the calf-priests, fabled of Him. "Seek Him." For in Him is all; without Him, nothing.
Lest He break out like fire in Bethel - Formerly the Spirit of God came vehemently down upon Sansom Judges 14:6, Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14 and Saul I Samuel 10:6; I Samuel 11:6 and David I Samuel 16:13, to fit them as instruments for God; as did the Evil spirit, when God departed from Saul I Samuel 18:10. So now, unless they repented, God Himself would suddenly show His powerful presence among them, but, as He had revealed Himself to be, "the, Lord thy God is a consuming Fire" Deuteronomy 4:24. "And devour" it, literally, "and it" (the fire) "shall devor, and" there be "none to quench" it "in" (better, "for" ) Bethel." Bethel, the center of their idol-hopes, so far from aiding them then, shall not be able to help itself, nor shall there be any to help it. The fire of God kindles around it, and there is none to quench it for her (as in Jeremiah 4:4).
Montanus: "The whole place treateth of mercy and justice. The whole ground of people' s punishment, calamities, condemnation is ascribed to their own fault and negligence, who neglect the deliverance often promised and offered them by God, and ' love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil' John 3:19. Whoever is not saved, the whole blame lies in their own will and negligence and malice. God, who ' willeth not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance' II Peter 3:9, Himself unsought, seeks, entreats, ceases not to monish, exhort, set before them their guilt, that they may cease to prepare such evil for themselves. But they neither give Him entrance, nor hear His entreaties, nor admit the warnings of the divine mercy, which if they neglect, they must needs be made over to His justice. The goodness of God is lacking to no one, save those who are wanting to themselves. Wherefore, having often besought them before, He invites them yet again to salvation, putting forth that His Name, so full of mysteries of mercy; ' Seek the Lord and live,' " seek Him who is, the Unchangeable. He who had willed their salvation, still willed it, for He "changes not" Malachi 3:6. "He adds threatenings, that those whom He calls to life, He might either allure by promises, or scare from death through fear of the impending evil."
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Amos 5:6:
1 Samuel 10:6
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