Amos 6:1 MEANING

Amos 6:1
(1) Trust.--The word for "trust" is a participle, and we should translate as the parallelism indicates: the confident (or complacent) dwellers in the mountain of Samaria; i.e., the upper luxurious classes, "the chief of the first of nations," meaning the rulers, to whom Israel, the supreme and highly-favoured nation, comes up for judgment and for guidance in all civil affairs. These are now summoned to listen to the rebuke of the Divine Judge.

Verses 1-6. - With a second woe the prophet denounces the chiefs of the whole nation, who were quite satisfied with the present state of things, and, revelling in luxury, feared no coming judgment. Verse 1. - Them that are at ease in Zion; living in fancied security and self-pleasing (Isaiah 32:9, 11; Zephaniah 1:12). Judah is included in the denunciation, because she is equally guilty; the whole covenant nation is sunk in the same dangerous apathy. Septuagint, τοῖς ἐξουθενοῦσι Σιών, "them that set at naught Zion." The same rendering is found in the Syriac, and can be supported by a small change in the Hebrew. It may have been intended thus to confine the announcement to Israel alone, in conformity with the prophet's chief scope. But he has introduced mention of Judah elsewhere, as Amos 2:4; Amos 6:5; Amos 9:11, and his sense of his own people's careless ease may well lead him to include them in his warning. Trust in the mountain of Samaria. The city was deemed impregnable, and it kept the Assyrians at bay for three years before it was finally taken (2 Kings 18:9, etc.; see notes on Amos 3:9 and Amos 4:1). Another rendering, not so suitable, is, the careless ones upon the mountain of Samaria. The point, however, is the supposed impregnability of the city which occasioned a feeling of perfect security. Which are named chief of the nations; rather, to the notable men of the chief of nations; i.e. the principal men of Israel, which had the proud title of the chief of the nations because it was beloved and elected of God, and was designed to keep alive true religion, and to set an example to the rest of the world (Exodus 19:5; Numbers 1:17; Deuteronomy 4:20; 2 Samuel 7:23). Septuagint, ἀπετρόγησαν ἀρχὰς ἐθνῶν, "they plucked the chiefs of the nations," where the verb is a mistaken Tendering. To whom the house of Israel came; or, come. Resort for counsel and judgment (2 Samuel 15:4), and who ought therefore to be patterns of righteousness and equity. The rendering of the Vulgate, ingredientes pompatice domum Israel, "entering with pomp into the house of Israel" (which does not agree with the present Hebrew text), implies that these chieftains carried themselves haughtily in the congregation of Israel.

6:1-7 Those are looked upon as doing well for themselves, who do well for their bodies; but we are here told what their ease is, and what their woe is. Here is a description of the pride, security, and sensuality, for which God would reckon. Careless sinners are every where in danger; but those at ease in Zion, who are stupid, vainly confident, and abusing their privileges, are in the greatest danger. Yet many fancy themselves the people of God, who are living in sin, and in conformity to the world. But the examples of others' ruin forbid us to be secure. Those who are set upon their pleasures are commonly careless of the troubles of others, but this is great offence to God. Those who placed their happiness in the pleasures of sense, and set their hearts upon them, shall be deprived of those pleasures. Those who try to put the evil day far from them, find it nearest to them.Woe to them that are at ease in Zion,.... Or "secure" (c) there; which was a strong hold, the city of David, the seat of the kings of Judah; where their court was kept, and the princes and chief men resided and thought themselves safe, the place being well fortified with walls, towers, and bulwarks: or "at ease"; that is, in easy, prosperous, comfortable circumstances of life; as Job was before his troubles, and others he mentions, Job 16:12; though to be in such a state is not criminal, but a blessing of Providential goodness, for which men should be thankful, and make use of it aright: but "woe to the rich in Zion" (d), as the Vulgate Latin Version renders it, when they have nothing else but temporal riches; this is all their portion, and the whole of their consolation, Luke 6:24; when they trust in these uncertain riches, and consume them on their lusts, as described in the following verses; are unconcerned at the troubles of others, and give them no relief, but despise them, Job 12:5; and even are thoughtless about their own future state, and put away the evil day far from them, Luke 12:19; and such are they who like Moab are at ease from their youth as to their spiritual state, Jeremiah 48:11; never had any true sight of sin, or sense of danger; never complain of a body of sin, or are concerned about sins of omission or commission; nor troubled with the temptations of Satan, and have no fears and doubts about their happiness; and such there be who yet are in Zion, or in a church state, which Zion often signifies; and being there, trust in it, and in the privileges of it, and so are secure, and at ease; such are the foolish virgins and hypocrites, who place their confidence in a profession of religion, in being church members, and in their submission to external ordinances, and so cry Peace, peace, to themselves, when, destruction is at hand: and are moreover at ease, and wholly unconcerned about the affairs of Zion, both temporal and spiritual, and especially the latter; they do not trouble themselves about the doctrines they hear, whether truth or error; and about the success of them, whether they are made useful for conversion and edification; and about the continuance of a Gospel ministry, and a succession in it; and about the discipline of the church of God, and the walk of professors; or about what trials and afflictions are like to come upon the churches; or about the judgments of God in the earth; and therefore such carnal secure persons are either called upon to awake out of their sleep, and come off of their beds of ease, and shake off their vain confidence and carnal security; for the word may be rendered "ho" (e), as a note of calling, as in Isaiah 55:1; or a threatening of calamity is denounced upon them, that the day of the Lord should come upon them as a thief in the night, or as a snare upon them that dwell on earth, and they be surprised with the midnight cry, and with the terrors of devouring flames, as the foolish virgins and hypocrite's in Zion will, Matthew 25:6. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "who despise Zion", or "neglect" her; and the word is sometimes used of insolent persons, and to express their insolence; see Isaiah 37:29; and so may be understood, not of the Jews in Jerusalem, but of the ten tribes, as the following clause; who despised Zion, the city of solemnities, the temple; and, the worship of God there, and set up the calves at Dan and Bethel, and worshipped them; and therefore a woe is denounced upon them;

and trust in the mountain of Samaria; in the city of Samaria, built on a mountain, a strong fortified city, where they thought themselves safe; the royal city of the kings of Israel, the head of Ephraim, and the metropolis of the ten tribes, who here are intended: though the words may be rendered, and the sense given a little different from this, as woe to the "confident" ones that ate in Samaria (f); not that put their trust in Samaria, but dwell there; but, however, are confident in their own strength, wealth, and might. The Targum is,

"that trust in the fortress of Samaria;''

see 1 Kings 16:24;

which are named the chief of the nations; the persons at ease in Zion, and trusted in Samaria, were the principal men of both nations, Judah and Israel; or these cities of Zion and Samaria were the chief of the said nations: Zion, Which was near Jerusalem, and includes it, was the metropolis of Judea; as Samaria was the head city of Ephraim, or the ten tribes. The Targum is, that

"put the name of their children, as the name of the children of the nations;''

as the Jews did in later times, giving their children the names of Alexander, Antipater, &c.

to whom the house of Israel came; meaning not to the seven nations, of which the two named cities were chief, into which Israel entered, and took possession of, and dwelt in; for Samaria never belonged to them, but was built by Omri king of Israel, long after the entrance of the Israelites into the land of Canaan, 1 Kings 16:24; but the cities of Zion and, Samaria, into which the whole house of Israel came, or had recourse unto, at certain times: the ten tribes came to Samaria, where their kings resided, the court was kept, and the seats of judgment were; and the two tribes came to Zion, to Jerusalem, to the temple there, to worship the Lord.

(c) "secure sedentibus", Munster; "securos", Mercerus, Castalio, Burkius. (d) "Opulentis", Tigurine version. (e) "heus", Piscator, Tarnovius, Burkius. (f) "confidentibus qui habitant in monte Samariae", Liveleus; "securis qui habitant in monte", Samariae, Drusius.

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