Amos 6

6:1 Woe to you who are complacent [at ease] in Zion [original hill on which Jerusalem had been built; Amos used Zion to refer to Southern Kingdom of Judah], and to you who feel secure [looked to a fortified city for security rather than the Lord] on Mount Samaria [capital of Israel; Amos used Samaria to refer to Northern Kingdom of Israel], you notable [literally “first”] men [the nation’s leaders; privileged and powerful but morally and spiritually corrupt] of the foremost nation [perhaps described how the people (of Northern and Southern Kingdoms) viewed themselves; many mistakenly thought such a status would protect them from consequences of their sins], to whom the people of Israel come!

6:2 Go to [cities that once were great but had fallen] Calneh [city in Aram (Syria)] and look at it; go from there to great Hamath [city in Aram], and then go down to Gath in Philistia. Are they better off than your two kingdoms [the answer was no]? Is their land larger than yours [the answer was no]?

6:3 You put off the evil day [Israelites never expected to face the Lord’s judgment—they did not think judgment would come] and [because they assumed they would not be brought to justice] bring near a reign of terror [literally “a seat of violence”—a reference to judicial or governmental injustice; refusal to face spiritual ills would bring disaster and judgment].

6:4 You [Israel’s leaders enjoyed a life of ease and comfort (in many cases financed at the expense of those they oppressed)] lie on beds inlaid with ivory [imported from Africa or India; common people slept on straw mats or dirt floors] and [in the daytime] lounge [means “to pour out” or “to be unrestrained” and conveys idea of one completely without control] on your couches. You dine on [the best cuts of meat] choice lambs and fattened [grain-fed] calves.

6:5 [the wealthy and powerful did not spend long hours at work] You strum away on your harps like [or hoping to be like] David [pridefully thought themselves equal to David, recognized as a significant musician (1 Sam. 16:18)] and improvise on musical instruments.

6:6 You drink wine by the bowlful [indicating heavy use of alcohol was a regular practice] and use the finest lotions [skin moisteners and fragrances, probably imported from Arabia or farther places], but you do not grieve over the ruin [the breaking; spiritual and moral condition] of Joseph [signified Northern Kingdom].

6:7 Therefore [introduces impending judgment] you [leaders; the self-indulgent wealthy and powerful] will be among the first [these “notable men” (6:1) would be the first to go into captivity; Assyrians carried off first those capable of stirring up rebellion (leaders; wealthy)] to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end [and replaced by submission, suffering, death].

6:8 The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself—the LORD God Almighty declares: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.”

6:9 If ten men are left in one house, they too will die.

6:10 And if a relative who is to burn the bodies comes to carry them out of the house and asks anyone still hiding there, “Is anyone with you?” and he says, “No,” then he will say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the LORD.”

6:11 For the LORD has given the command, and he will smash the great house into pieces and the small house into bits.

6:12 Do horses run on the rocky crags [obvious answer is no]? Does one plow there [“on the rocky crags” or “on the sea”] with oxen [obvious answer is no]? But [Amos noted equally absurd actions of Israel’s leaders—actions that had undermined their personal and national security] you [1] have turned [a reversal of ethical standards] justice [treating others as God’s law instructed] into poison [produces sickness and death] and [2] the fruit of righteousness [living according to God’s laws] into bitterness [means “to curse”]

6:13 [3] you who rejoice [boast about petty accomplishments] in the conquest of Lo Debar [Heb. name meaning “no thing” or “nothing”] and say, “Did we not take Karnaim [Heb. name means “horns,” symbol of strength] by our own strength [people had an inflated view of themselves and their military victories; people did not give God credit for their military victories]?”

6:14 For the LORD God Almighty declares, “I will stir up a nation [name of nation not specified; God used Assyria to execute His wrath on Northern Kingdom some 40 years later] against you, O house of Israel [Northern Kingdom], that will oppress you all the way from [note extent of the coming judgment] Lebo Hamath [located on the northern border of Israel] to the valley of the Arabah [marked southern boundary of Israel].”

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