Amos 6 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Amos 6)

Verse 1

[1] Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!

At ease — That neither fear nor believe the threatened judgments of God.

In Zion — That is put for the kingdom of the two tribes, and principally the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Samaria — Woe to them also who rely upon the strength, wealth, and policy of the kingdom of Samaria or Israel.

Which — Which two cities, Zion and Samaria.

Named chief — Accounted the chief cities of that part of the world.

To whom — To which place all Israel had recourse, the two tribes to Zion, the ten tribes to Samaria.

Verse 2

[2] Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?

Pass ye — Run over the history of that great and ancient city.

Hemath — Head of the Syrian kingdom, lately overthrown by Tiglath-Pilneser, and a fresh instance of God's just indignation against secure sinners.

Gath — The chief city of the Philistines, a few years before wasted by the arms of Hazael; by these examples learn to amend your ways, or expect to perish in them.

Greater — That is, greater than these kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and their borders, or bounds, greater than these of Israel and Judah.

Verse 3

[3] Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;

Ye — That flatter yourselves the day of darkness foretold, is far off.

The seat — The judgment seat which should relieve the oppressed, is made a seat of violence.

Verse 4

[4] That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;

That lie — That out of laziness or luxury, lay themselves to rest.

And eat — The very best in all their flock.

Verse 5

[5] That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;

That chant — That in a time of deep mourning entertain themselves with songs, and musical instruments.

Verse 6

[6] That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

In bowls — Not in little vessels, but probably bowls: they drank these filled as full as they could hold too, and in design to drink each other down.

And anoint — In those hot countries this anointing was much used.

Not grieved — Nothing affected with the calamities of their country.

Verse 7

[7] Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.

The banquet — The feastings of voluptuous ones shall cease.

Verse 8

[8] The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.

The excellency — All that the seed of Jacob accounts a glory and excellency to them, all their external privileges and worship.

Verse 9

[9] And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.

Remain — Escaping the enemies sword.

Ten men — Many men, a certain number for an uncertain.

They shall die — Tho' they escape a while, they shall not finally escape.

Verse 10

[10] And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.

Uncle — Or near kinsman, instead of those who were wont to do this, and were paid for it; but now none of these remaining, the next to the dead must, as well as he is able, take him up on his shoulders, and carry him.

That burneth — Though the Jews mostly buried, yet in some cases they burned the dead bodies, as in this of pestilence.

The bones — The flesh being consumed, the bones are reserved to be buried.

Unto him — Any one he sees near the house out of which the bones are carried.

Is there yet any — Is any one living in your house.

Hold thy tongue — Do not complain, lest thou thyself be killed, lest all be rifled.

For — It is too late to seek God, who is executing his immutable decree.

Verse 11

[11] For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.

For behold — It seems to be the continued speech of him who took care of the dead, verse 10, God hath sent out war, famine, and pestilence.

The great house — The palaces of great men shall have great breaches made in them, and the cottages of poor men shall, by lesser strokes, be ruined.

Verse 12

[12] Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:

Shall horses — If prophets exhort or advise, it does no more good than if you would run your horses upon the precipices of rocks.

Verse 13

[13] Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?

Who rejoice — In your victories, alliances, and idols.

Have we not — We have raised ourselves to greatness by our wisdom and courage.

Verse 14

[14] But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.

Hemath — A city of Syria, bordering on Israel, north-east.

The wilderness — Which is the south-west parts of Canaan. So all your country shall be destroyed.