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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Amos 6

Verses 1-6



Verses 1-6:

For Lack Of Security---While Frivolity Covers The Land, v. 1-6

Verse 1 announces woe to those at ease in Zion, like fattened hogs, waiting for slaughter, Luke 6:24. These trusted in the mountains of Samaria in vain. Though they resisted Assyria for three years, from that fortress they were ingloriously conquered, 2 Kings 17:5-6. Though once these men of Israel were held in esteem by other nations, that esteem had vanished like a vapor, because of their sins, as they had become idolatrous, and adulterous degenerates, Numbers 1:17; 1 Chronicles 12:31; Psalms 2:12.

Verse 2 calls upon Israel to look in three directions, east, north, and southwest, and upon three once mighty heathen cities, all of which have fallen under the Assyrians. They were Calneh, Hamath, and Gath, Isaiah 10:9; 2 Kings 18:34. Their cities and borders had been taken and Israel had become more heathenish than these heathen gentile cities. They are no more worthy of mercy and as sure for judgment as these, Nahum 3:8.

Verse 3 continues pronouncement of woe upon those who put "far away", or assign to the distant future, the matters of captivity-judgment, declared by the prophet Amos, and others, to be at hand, or very near. The sinner’s notion, that judgment for. his sins is far away, has always been an incentive for their reckless and violent living, Ezekiel 12:21-28; Psalms 94:20; Ecclesiastes 8:12; Ecclesiastes 8:12; Matthew 24:48.
Verse 4 further denounces the behavior of those leaders in Israel who "lived it up," sleeping on ivory beds, pouring themselves out (carefree), unnerved and relaxed, on luxurious couches, Amos 3:15. They feasted on the choicest of lambs of the flocks, and stall-fed calves from the herds, the most delicious, in self-indulgent worldliness, loving it more than God, 1 John 2:15-16.

Verses 5 describes their festive, sensual behavior as chanting to the sound or music of the viol, in which the rhythm was everything and the sense nothing. They "invent to themselves," instruments of music, like David. While David made them not for "self-gratification," but for praising the Lord, 1 Chronicles 23:5; Nehemiah 12:36. David used these instruments, adapted to temple worship, to praise the Lord therewith, but these degenerate Israelites lowered their use to their sensual satisfaction.

Verse 6 denounced them further for using large bowls, used for sprinkling blood of sacrifices, from which to drink wine. They seem to have stolen them from the idolatrous altars. They anoint themselves with luxurious ointments, the most costly, not for reasons of health or cleanliness, but for carnal pride. They have no pity or care for the afflictions of Israel’s poor, Isaiah 60:2; Ezekiel 34:4; Genesis 49:23.

Verses 7-14

Further Reasons For Israel’s Punishment, v. 7-14

Verse 7 prophesies that "they", the luxurious, at case in Zion, rulers should be led away first into captivity. And their banquets and festivals should be caused to cease. These carousing, half inebriated, merry-making, big-bowl-wine-drinkers among Israel’s chief civil and religious rulers should be the first to taste captivity pains, as their sins "found them out," Numbers 32:23.

Verse 8 again affirms that the Lord God of hosts, the Almighty, has declared an oath that he abhorred the self-exalted excellency (pride) of Jacob, in the prosperity He had sent, and hated his palaces, residents of Israel’s ruling kings and princes; This was the basis of His decreed judgment on all her cities and people, Psalms 47:4; Ezekiel 24:21. See also Jeremiah 51:14; Hebrews 6:13; Hebrews 6:17. The palaces of the rulers had come to be storehouses of robbery, Amos 3:10; Amos 3:15. How sad a change, from God’s love of Zion’s gates, when the people walked in paths of holy and Divine obedience, Psalms 87:2; Psalms 48:3; Psalms 48:13.

Verse 9 announces the extent of the destruction in households. Even if ten men escape the battle, captivity, and immediate destruction of the invading armies, a rare case, they shall all ten die, Amos 5:3. Perhaps this alludes to plagues of diseases, infections, and starvation that followed such wars in the Mideastern countries, Jeremiah 24:10; Jeremiah 44:13; Ezekiel 6:11.

Verse 10 describes the burial of the final ones who die under these circumstances. The uncle or nearest relative left alive was to burn the corpses of the dead ones, as prescribed by law, Genesis 25:9; as they inquired if there were any other in the house, but avoid use of the name of the Lord, Joshua 23:7; Revelation 6:16.

Verse 11 restates or reaffirms that the message of Amos is of Divine inspiration, progressively given of the Lord, commanding him to deliver it to Israel and Judah, Psalms 119:160; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21. Once given it must be fulfilled, Isaiah 55:11. God will smite (judge with firmness) both the "great house", (Israel, the northern kingdom) and the "little house" (Judah, the southern kingdom), the former with breaches or ruins and the latter with clefts or rents, that threaten her fall, but permit her to stand for a little longer. This smiting was by earthquake, pestilence, and sword.

Verse 12 inquires of them whether horses may race on rocks, or oxen may plow on them. The answer is "not successfully," not with ease or pride. So were they incapable of justice now. They had perverted just judgment into the bitterness of gall, a thing

obnoxious, and to be despised, and had twisted the fruit of righteousness into hemlock, moral, ethical, and spiritual poison. The idea is that justice and righteousness are sweet, like good fruit of the ground, but evil and injustice, of which they were grossly guilty, is bitter, poisonous, injurious and deathly, Deuteronomy 29:18.

Verse 13 presses charges against them as evil doers for "rejoicing in a thing of naught," thing improper, in your vain power, crumbling empire, and vanishing riches. They boasted of having accumulated to themselves armed or conquering power, expressed in "horns", like fighting goats or rams, a symbol of power which they had "taken to themselves," as in 2 Kings 14:25; Psalms 75:10; Deuteronomy 33:17.

Verse 14 warns with clarity that God would raise up a nation, probably Assyria, against the house of Israel, the whole nation. It will afflict or crush them from Hemath, point of entrance from Syria, to the north, to the river of the wilderness, the Kedron river which empties into the Dead Sea, just south of Jericho, southern border of Israel, 2 Kings 14:25; 2 Chronicles 28:15, or to the Nile river if it includes Judah, 1 Kings 8:65. The afflicting armies are to be a devastating affliction over all the promised land, that Israel and Judah had controlled ; It was as a result of their hardened, obstinate, idolatrous wrongs, as forewarned Deuteronomy 28:15-62.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Amos 6". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.