But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of
Israel, saith the Lord, the God of hosts
The Assyrian nation, under its king, Shalmaneser; who invaded Israel, came up to Samaria, and after a three years' siege took it, and carried Israel captive into foreign lands, ( 2 Kings 17:5 2 Kings 17:6 ) ; and they shall afflict you;
by battles, sieges, forages, plunders, and burning of cities and towns, and putting the inhabitants to the sword: from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness;
from Hamath the less, said by Josephus F17 and Jerom F18 to be called Epiphania, in their times, from Antiochus Epiphanes; it was at the entrance on the land of Israel, and at the northern border of it; so that "the river of the wilderness", whatever is meant by it, lay to the south; by which it appears that this affliction and distress would be very general, from one end of it to the other. Some, by this river, understand the river of Egypt, at the entrance of Egypt in the wilderness of Ethan; Sihor or Nile; which, Jarchi says, lay southwest of Israel, as Hamath lay northwest of it. And a late traveller F19 observes, that the south and southwest border of the tribe of Judah, containing within it the whole or the greatest part of what was called the "way of the spies", ( Numbers 21:1 ) ; and afterwards Idumea, extended itself from the Elenitic gulf of the Red sea, along by that of Hieropolis, quite to the Nile westward; the Nile consequently, in this view and situation, either with regard to the barrenness of the Philistines, or to the position of it with respect to the land of promise, or to the river Euphrates, may, with propriety enough, be called "the river of the wilderness", ( Amos 6:14 ) ; as this district, which lies beyond the eastern or Asiatic banks of the Nile, from the parallel of Memphis, even to Pelusium, (the land of Goshen only excepted,) is all of it dry, barren, and inhospitable; or if the situation be more regarded, it may be called, as it is rendered by the Septuagint, the western torrent or river. Though some F20 take this to be the river Bosor or Bezor, that parts the tribes, of Judah and Simeon, and discharges itself into the Mediterranean between Gaza, or rather Majuma, and Anthedon. Though Kimchi takes this river to be the sea of the plain, the same with the Salt or Dead sea, ( Deuteronomy 3:17 ) ; which may seem likely, since Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, under whom Amos prophesied, had restored the coast of Israel, from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, ( 2 Kings 14:25 ) ; with which they were elevated, and of which they boasted; but now they should have affliction and distress in the same places, and which should extend as far.
F17 Antiqu. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 2.
F18 Comment in Isa. x. fol. 20. G. & in Zech. ix. fol. 116. L. De locis Heb. fol. 88. E. & Quaest. in Gen. fol. 67. B.
F19 Dr. Shaw's Travels, p. 287, 288. Ed. 2.
F20 See the Universal History, vol. 2. p. 427, 428.