Amos 7:2

And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.

And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land,.... That is, the grasshoppers or locusts; when in the vision it seemed to the prophet that almost all the grass of the land was eaten up, and they were going to seize upon the corn, and other fruits of the earth: this signifies not Sennacherib's invasion of the land of Judea, but Pul's invasion of the land of Israel, whose army seemed like these locusts; and spreading themselves over the land, threatened it with desolation, as these locusts seemed to have wholly consumed all the grass of the land; then the prophet said what follows:

then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee; the sins of the people, as the Targum, which were the cause of these locusts coming, or of the Assyrian army invading the land; and the prophet prays that God would avert this judgment, signified in this vision, or remove it, which is often in Scripture meant by the forgiveness of sin, Exodus 32:31; this is the business of the prophets and ministers of the Lord, to intercede for a people when ruin is near; and happy is that people, when they have such to stand up in the breach for them. The argument the prophet uses is,

by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small; or "little" {a}; like the first shooting up of the grass, after it has been own: or, as Noldius {b} renders it, "how otherwise should Jacob stand?" and so Kimchi, how should there be a standing for him? that is, unless God forgives his sin, and turns away his wrath, how shall he stand up under the weight of his sins, which must lie upon him, unless forgiven? and how shall he bear the wrath and indignation of God for them? and so if any sinner is not forgiven, how shall he stand before God to serve and worship him now? or at his tribunal with confidence hereafter? or sustain his wrath and displeasure to all eternity? see Ps 130:3; or, "who of" or "in Jacob shall stand" {c}? not one will be left; all must be cut off, if God forgive not; for all are sinners, there are none without sin: or, "who shall stand for Jacob?" {d} or intercede for him? it will be to no purpose, if God is inexorable: so the Targum,

"who will stand and ask "pardon" for their sins?''

or, "who will raise up Jacob?" {e} from that low condition in which he is, or likely to be in, if God forgive not, and does not avert the judgment threatened, to a high and glorious state of prosperity and happiness; for, if all are cut off, there will be none left to be instruments of such a work: "for he is small"; few in number, and greatly weakened by one calamity or another; and, if this should take place, would be fewer and weaker still. So the church of Christ, which is often signified by Jacob, is sometimes in a very low estate; the number of converts few; has but a little strength to bear afflictions, perform duty, and withstand enemies; it is a day of small things with it, with respect to light and knowledge, and the exercise of grace, especially faith; when some like the prophet are concerned for it, by whom it shall arise; the God of Jacob can cause it to arise, and can raise up instruments for such service, and make his ministers, and the ministry of the word and ordinances, means of increasing the number, stature, spiritual light, knowledge, grace, and strength of his people.

{a} Njq "parvulus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "parvus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.
{b} bqey Mwqy ym "quomodo (alias) surgeret Jacob?" Concord. Ebr. Part. p. 60. No. 1979. "quomodo consistet?" Liveleus; "quomodo surget Jacob?" Drusius.
{c} "Quis staret, Jahacobo?" Junius & Tremellius; "quis remaneret Jacobo?" Piscator.
{d} "Quis stabit pro Jacobo?" Mercerus.
{e} "Quis suseitabit Jahacob?" V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus.