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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Amos 6

Verse 1

Amo 6:1. Woe is pronounced just once in the present connection and it applies to all the leading men in Israel who are described in the first 6 verses of the chapter. It is from nowv and Strong defines it with the single word "oh!” It has been rendered by ah, alas, ho, O, and woe in the A. V. It signifies that something very distressing is going to come upon those of whom it is spoken. At ease means to be feeling secure and contented, and unconcerned about the comfort of others. And that, too, even when the feeling of security might be at the expense of the poor and be causing them much distress. Zion is used figuratively to denote the people of Israel as a nation. Samaria was the capital of the 10-tribe kingdom, and that portion of the Jews trusted in the power of their headquarters to stand between them and all trouble. Named chief of the nations. These leaders of the Israelites had obtained a high standing even among the heathen nations because of their partaking with them in idolatrous practices. House of Israel came. These princes had so much power that the common people looked to them for leadership, notwithstanding the unjust treatment they had received concerning their own rights.

Verse 2

Amo 6:2. Calneh, Hamath and Gath were communities of the heathen which were once powerful. But what was their condition now as Amos was writing? It was one of humiliation brought about by the same people who were predicted to come against Israel. Since the people of the Lord were no stronger than the mentioned ones who were subdued, they should not loll around with a feeling of “security” as if nothing evil could come upon them.

Verse 3

Amo 6:3, The false teachers denied that the nation was in any danger, or at least for the time being. Such as-surances of security misled the people because they believed their prophets. The result of it was to encourage further acts of injustice. This is along the same line as a statement of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8; Ecclesiastes 11 : “Because sentence against, an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil,”

Verse 4

Amo 6:4. The simple meaning of this verse is that the princes and other leaders of the nation were living in the height of luxury. That fact alone would have been bad enough, hut by picking out the choicest food only, they deprived the common people of their share of the good things that were intended for all of the citizens.

Verse 5

Amo 6:5. With all of the facts and truths before him that have been so clearly set forth, surely the reader is prepared to avoid a fundamental error that has been made in commenting on this verse, It is a common thing for certain .teachers to use this verse in showing that God condemned instrumental music even in Old Testament times. In such teaching they miss en-tirely the point the prophet is making. The verse is but another item of the practice I have already explained, that of mixing some things that would have been endorsed previously, with their idolatrous and other evil things, thinking that God would accept the whole program.

Verse 6

Amo 6:6. In the preceding chapter we saw how these selfish leaders had sandwiched their evil doings with some of the original ordinances of the law, and the same thing is done in this. Verse 5 is the "fining” composed of instrumental music, something in-troduced and endorsed by David with the Lord’s blessing. Then around that are the things that were prompted by their own evil desires. Drink wine in bowls. The last word is from MIZBAQ, which Strong defines, "A bowl (as if for sprinkling),” and the word has also been rendered by ‘'basin." It indicates the extravagance and selfishness of these men. They were not satisfied with what a regular drinking cup would supply, but drank so much wine that it required these large vessels to serve them. The ointments were all precious and costly, but these men appropriated to their personal use the chief or choice ones. After his description of the general program of these leaders, the prophet states his concluding charge against them in the words, but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. For some reason the name of Joseph is occasionally used to designate the nation as a whole, especially when the writer is dealing with the sorrows and injustices of its common people. This is doubtless because he was such an unusual example of patience and virtue even under the most trying circumstances. But the hardships of the poor did not mean anything to these leaders among the Israelites, for they persisted in gratifying their own selfish desires at the expense of their poor brethren.

Verse 7

Amo 6:7. When an army invades a city or territory, it is considered good strategy to capture its leading men first if possible (for example see 1Ki 22:31). That idea seems to have been followed in this case, for the men who were “out in front” in their selfish domination over the common people, were destined to he first, to go when the enemy came against, the land. That will put ail end to their banquets and other indulgencies. The reader should again consult the long note in connection with the comments on Isa 1:10, volume 3 of this Commentary.

Verse 8

Amo 6:8. Excellency is from a Hebrew word that means arrogance or pride. Jacob is used as a designation for the nation as a whole, but espedaily the leading men who dominated the common people. These men exalted themselves in their pride of power, and did many evil things under the pretense of their position. It was all this that God said he abhorred, and caused Him to decree the complete destruction of their city.

Verse 9

Amo 6:9. The destruction threatened was to be so complete that if a house contained 10 men. they would a!! die and would need to be disposed of by someone outside the building who was supposed to be Interested in their cases.

Verse 10

Amo 6:10. It was customary in ancient times for the nearest relative living to bury the dead (see Gen 25:9; Gen 35:29; Jdg 16:31), which is the reason that the uncle is mentioned here. Burneth is rendered “burial" in Moffatt’s translation, I shall Quote from Funk and Wagnalls Standard Bible Dictionary on the subject of “Mode of Burial.” “Cremation was not practiced in Israel; the usage was rather to bury the dead, while cremation, of criminals for example (Leviticus 20; Leviticus 14; Lev 21:9; Jos 7:25), appears as a disgrace added to the penalty of death.” The burning of incense in connection with burial cere-monials sometimes might be mistaken for the burning of the bones of the dead (1 Samuel 31; 1 Samuel 12; 2Ch 16:11; Jer 31:5). By the sides of the house means someone near the house where those 10 men were just found dead. Is there yet any with thee; is there one that I have overlooked? Hold thy tongue, etc. The destruction decreed for the place was to be so complete that it would he of no use at that late hour to make any appeal to the Lord.

Verse 11

Amo 6:11. This verse explains why the remark was made in the close of the preceding one. The Lord had com-manded that just such a complete de-struction. was to come upon the people and houses of Israel as is described.

Verse 12

Amo 6:12. The two questions in the beginning of this verse should be an-swered in the negative. The wickedness of the nation had turned good judgment into gall (bitterness), and righteousness had been supplanted by hemlock (poison). Therefore the Lord determined to strip the land of its fertility, and render it useless to work their beasts.

Verse 13

Amo 6:13. Strong says the figurative meaning of the original for horn is "power.” These exacting leaders of Israel were boasting that they had power by reason of their own merit. Tile truth of the matter was that they beat down all who asked for their own rights, and usurped a position of almost absolute power.

Verse 14

Amo 6:14. Hemath was a place at the northern extremity of Palestine, and the wilderness refers to the valley at the south near the Dead Sea. The prediction is that a nation was to come against Israel and subdue the Whole territory between the points.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Amos 6". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/amos-6.html. 1952.