Amos 6.1-14 seems to be addressed to Israel and Judah and Benjamin under the names “Samaria” and “Zion” and to the rulers of both. They will be threatened for their disregard of the Torah and God’s judgment.
v 1…Woe to those (lamentations await you) who are at ease in Zion (Judah and Benjamin to the south; they don’t believe judgment is coming-they are complacent-Zeph 1.12; Rev 3.15-16), and to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria (north). The distinguished men of the foremost of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes (at certain times the ten tribes came to Samaria, and the two tribes to Jerusalem).
v 2…Go over to Calneh (a city in Babylon-Gen 10.10) and look (and see what happened to that city), and go from there to Hamath (in Syria) the great, then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms (you saw the punishments of the other nations; do you think you are better than they are?), or is their territory greater than yours?
v 3…Do you put off the day of calamity (they thought the evil foretold was for the distant future, not near), and would you bring near the seat of violence (by committing more acts of violence and injustice, believing the evil day will never come on them)?
v 4…Those who recline on beds of ivory and sprawl on their couches (living in splendor and ease), and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall (the choicest of animals),
v 5…who improvise to the sound of the harp (chanted according to the sound, sometimes with no meaning), and like David have composed songs for themselves (new ones; but David was inspired by God, but they weren’t; they thought they were like him; much like the religious musicians of today),
v 6…who drink wine from bowls (not small cups or glasses, but to excess) while they anoint themselves with the finest of oils (very indulgent), yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph (“breach of Joseph” meaning over the coming disaster).
v 7…Therefore they (those who indulged themselves in this way) will now go into exile at the head of the exiles (go first into captivity), and the sprawlers banqueting will pass away (no more reclining at ease and drunkenness).
v 8…The Lord God (Adonai Yehovah) has sworn by himself (because there was no one greater), the Lord God (Yehovah Elohay) of hosts (the armies) has declared: “I loathe the arrogance of Jacob (their prosperity and power has made them arrogant), and I detest his citadels (palaces); therefore I will deliver up the city and all it contains (no escape).”
v 9…And it will be, if ten men are left in one house, they will die (by famine or disease; no matter how many, none will escape).
v 10…Then one’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burns him (a near relative who had the duty of providing for his burial and one man could not carry the body, so he burns the body so that they only had to carry the bones; possibly burned because of disease), will lift him up to carry out his bones from the house, and he will say to the one who is in the innermost part of the house, “Is anyone else with you?” And that one will say, “No one.” Then he will answer, “Keep out! For the name of the Lord (Yehovah) is not to be mentioned (it is useless to call on him now, or they feared that it might draw attention to the last remaining one and they will die also).
v 11…For behold (take note and see), the Lord (Yehovah) is going to command that the great house be smashed to pieces and the small house to fragments (he will strike the houses of the great and small).
v 12…Do horses run on rocks (you won’t have a good result)? Will one plow with oxen (both acts are absurd and stupid and a waste of time- he says this to get their attention)? Yet you have turned justice into poison (just as absurd and a stupid thing to do), and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood (bitter justice),
v 13…you who rejoice in Lo-debar (“no word” or a thing of vanity and emptiness, nothing) and say, “Have we not by our strength (power) taken Karnaim (“pair of horns”) for ourselves (they believed they had been successful by their power)?”
v 14…” For behold (take note of), I am going to raise up a nation against you (Assyria), O house of Israel,” declares the Lord God (Yehovah Elohay) of hosts (the armies), “and they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath (on the border of Syria in the northeast) to the torrent (river) of the Arabah (in the south-the whole nation will be afflicted; what river this is referring to has some believing it is at the southwest towards Egypt, and others say it is to the southeast and a river that was the southern border of Moab. Either way, the whole land is meant).”
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