Amo 6: "The voice of the 'Burden Bearer' continues to describe
the sinful condition of the nation and the spiritual decadence of its leaders.
He describes them as reclining at their entertainments, upon splendid couches,
anointing their guests with rich perfumes, indulging freely in wine, and
enjoying vocal and instrumental music, whilst neglecting the true worship of
Yahweh (Isa 5:12-13). So he indicts (v 1), warns (v 2), rebukes (vv 3-6),
pronounces impending judgment (vv 7-11), and declares that it is inevitable (vv
12-14). His indignation is against the excessive luxury of its leaders. His
language is unequivocal and without doubt as to its meaning. His language is
descriptive, but very true. There is no doubt that the ecclesia was in a parlous
state, and about to be brought into the divine judgment. Thus he sets out: 
The luxury revelling of the leaders: vv 1-6.  The punishment to fit the
crime: vv 7-11.  The folly of evildoers who think they can resist the divine
judgment: vv 12-14" (GEM).
WOE TO YOU WHO ARE COMPLACENT IN ZION: This is the last
reference to the people of Zion in this message; from now on Amos spoke only of
the Northern Kingdom. He had referred to the Judean leaders because they were
also guilty of the same sins (cp Isa. 32:9-11), but judgment was not decreed
against them... yet!
AND TO YOU WHO FEEL SECURE IN MOUNT SAMARIA: With
masterful irony, Amos addressed the self-satisfied rich, secure in their
affluence (cp Luke 6:24,25; 12:13-21).
"It must be one of the biggest curses in the western world. It
was the disease that caused the downfall of the greatest world power that ever
existed -- Rome. It was one of the main contributors to the downfall of Israel
and Judah and it will most likely be the downfall of the world today. How does
it affect you?
"The disease is complacency. When our time and possessions are
more than we need we can tend to relax and take things easy. We stop working
hard and -- because we don't seem to need anything -- we can tend to forget God.
When we become complacent we may decide that we don't need to read the Bible --
because we have already read it and we know what it says. At those times we
decide that we don't need to attend meetings with other believers to worship,
study and encourage one another -- because other things are easier or more fun
to do, and we drift from prayer because we have no need of God.
"The message is to snap out of your complacency -- Wake up!
Pay attention! and Get going again for God! Israel's complacency led to their
deaths. May we snap out of ours before it is too late" (RP).
GO TO CALNEH AND LOOK AT IT; GO FROM THERE TO GREAT HAMATH,
AND THEN GO DOWN TO GATH IN PHILISTIA. ARE THEY BETTER OFF THAN YOUR TWO
KINGDOMS? IS THEIR LAND LARGER THAN YOURS?: Amos challenged these proud
leaders to visit other cities that had once considered themselves great. Calneh
(or Calno, Isa 10:9) and Hamath were city-states in northern Aram. Shalmaneser
III of Assyria had overrun them in 854-846 BC, but Israel controlled them in
Amos' day. Gath had been a notable city in Philistia, but it had fallen before
King Hazael of Aram in 815 BC and again to King Uzziah of Judah in 760 BC.
Presently Judah controlled it. Samaria was no better than those city-states, and
their territories were larger than Samaria's. Yet they had fallen to foreign
invaders. What had happened to them could happen to Samaria even though the
people of Israel believed that Yahweh would protect it.
YOU PUT OFF THE EVIL DAY AND BRING NEAR A REIGN OF
TERROR: The leaders of Samaria dismissed the possibility that calamity would
overtake their city. But they were really hastening that day by refusing to
acknowledge and repent of their sins.
This phrase ("to put off the evil day") is still proverbial
for a procrastination in doing the job that should be done, but which is
unpleasant or onerous. Cp Amo 9:10; Ecc 8:11; Isa 47:7; 56:12; Eze 12:22,27; Mat
24:48; 1Th 5:3; 2Pe 3:4; Rev 18:7.
A REIGN OF TERROR: The 31 years following King Jeroboam
II's reign saw increasingly worse conditions for Israel (2Ki 15:8--17:6). Six
kings reigned, three of whom seized power by political coup and assassination.
Fear and violence marked this period (2Ki 15:16).
Vv 4-6: "The leaders of Israel... lie on ivory divans, sprawl
on couches, feast of tender lamb and veal, amuse themselves by 'babbling to the
sound of the harp' (the word 'chant' [AV; 'improvise' in NIV] is said to suggest
a flow of trivial words in which the rhythm of words and music was everything
and the sense nothing; the description has a modern sound). David had introduced
instruments of music into the service of the temple, but these corrupt leaders
debase them for their own amusement. The bowls in which they drink wine are
really ewers, often translated 'basons' (AV) ['bowlful': NIV] as used in the
service of the tabernacle. Silver bowls were dedicated to that service by the
heads of the tribes (Num 7). The finest ointments may have been in imitation of,
or in rivalry with, the holy ointment appointed by God and forbidden to be
copied. Both these features suggest that the Israelites were using holy things
for profane ends. They were intent upon their pleasures, but they did not grieve
for the 'breach of Joseph' " (PHZ).
YOU DRINK WINE BY THE BOWLFUL AND USE THE FINEST LOTIONS,
BUT YOU DO NOT GRIEVE OVER THE RUIN OF JOSEPH: The reference is to Gen
37:25, where Joseph's brothers sat down to enjoy their meal, while Joseph
languished in the cistern, waiting to be sold into slavery.
THE PRIDE OF JACOB: That is, the city of
IF TEN MEN ARE LEFT IN ONE HOUSE, THEY TOO WILL DIE: A
picture of the survivors (of plague or war) grouping together for support and to
sustain life -- all in one house. Yet they too will die.
A RELATIVE: "Uncle" in AV -- because the nearer
relatives are all dead!?
TO BURN THE BODIES: Because of fear of plague or
contagion -- there being so many deaths. The bodies of Saul and his son may have
been burned because they had been badly mutilated (1Sa 31:12); but more likely
it was necessary to dispose of the bodies in haste before the Philistines could
mutilate them further (KD).
WE MUST NOT MENTION THE NAME OF THE LORD:
Superstitiously, they would beg him not even to mention the name of Yahweh in
anger, lament, or praise, because to do so might draw His attention to them and
result in their deaths.
THE ROCKY CRAGS: The minds of the Israelites were like
ROCKS, unreceptive, impenetrable, unchangeable. Cp the seed falling on rocky
places (Mat 13:5).
BITTERNESS: "Hemlock" (KJV), or "wormwood" (cp Amo 5:7;
YOU WHO REJOICE IN THE CONQUEST OF LO DEBAR AND SAY, "DID
WE NOT TAKE KARNAIM BY OUR OWN STRENGTH?": The leaders felt very proud and
confident because under Jeroboam II Israel had recaptured some territory that it
had formerly lost to Aram (2Ki 14:25). This included the town of Lo-debar in
Transjordan (2Sa 9:4; 17:27). Amos, however, cleverly made light of this feat by
mispronouncing the city 'Lo-dabar', which means 'not a thing.' They had taken
nothing of much value. The people were also claiming that they had taken the
town of Karnaim (lit, a pair of horns, symbols of strength) by their own
strength. It was not they but Yahweh, however, who had strengthened them to
achieve this victory over a symbolically strong town. Really Karnaim was quite
FROM LEBO HAMATH TO THE VALLEY OF THE ARABAH: From
extreme north to extreme south of the Land.
VALLEY: Heb "nachal": the seasonal stream, or "wadi" --
the dry creek bed of the Negev.