on Amos 6 :1
Wo to them that are at ease in Zion - For השאננים hashshaanannim, "who dwell at ease," it has been proposed to read השעננים hashshaanannim, "who confidently lean," the two words differing only in one letter, an ע ain for an א aleph. They leaned confidently on Zion; supposing that, notwithstanding their iniquities they should be saved for Zion's sake. Thus the former clause will agree better with the latter, "leaning upon Zion," and "trusting in the mountain of Samaria." Those that are at ease may mean those who have no concern about the threatened judgments, and who have no deep concern for the salvation of their own souls. Houbigant would read, "Go to them who despise Zion, and trust in Samaria." So the Septuagint, reading שנאים soneim, hating, instead of שאננים shaanannim, being at rest, tranquil Calmet first proposed this conjecture; Houbigant follows him.
Are named chief - Newcome renders, "That are named after the chief of the nations;" and observes, that the Hebrew word נקבי nekubey is an allusion to marking a name or character by punctures. See on Isaiah 44:5 (note). They call themselves not after their ancestors, but after the chief of the idolatrous nations with whom they intermarry contrary to the law.
Perhaps the words here rather refer to the mountains and their temples, than to the people. The mountain of Zion, and the mountain of Samaria, were considered the chief or most celebrated among the nations, as the two kingdoms to which they belonged were the most distinguished on the earth.
on Amos 6 :1
Woe to them that are at ease - The word always means such as are recklessly at their ease, "the careless ones," such as those whom Isaiah bids Isaiah 32:9-11, "rise up, tremble, be troubled, for many days and years shall ye be troubled." It is that luxury and ease, which sensualize the soul, and make it dull, stupid, hard-hearted. By one earnest, passing word, the prophet warns his own land, that present sinful ease ends in future woe. "Woe unto them that laugh now: for they shall mourn and weep" Luke 6:25. Rup.: "He foretells the destruction and captivity of both Judah and Israel at once; and not only that captivity at Babylon, but that whereby they are dispersed unto this day." Luxury and deepest sins of the flesh were rife in that generation (see John 8:9; Romans 2:21-24; Luke 11:39, Luke 11:42; Matthew 23:14, Matthew 23:23, Matthew 23:26), which killed Him who for our sakes became poor.
And trust in the mountain of Samaria - Not in God. Samaria was strong (see the note above at Amos 3:9), resisted for three years, and was the last city of Israel which was taken. "The king of Assyria came up throughout all the land and went up to Samaria, and besieged it 2 Kings 17:5. Benhadad, in that former siege, when God delivered them 2 Kings 7:6, attempted no assault, but famine only.
Which are named the chief of the nations - Literally, "the named of the chief of the nations," that is, those who, in Israel, which by the distinguishing favor of God were "chief of the nations," were themselves, marked, distinguished, "named." The prophet, by one word, refers them back to those first princes of the congregation, of whom Moses used that same word Numbers 1:17. They were "heads of the houses of their fathers Numbers 1:4, renowned of the congregation, heads of thousands in Israel Numbers 1:16. As, if anyone were to call the Peers, "Barons of England," he would carry us back to the days of Magna Charta, although six centuries and a half ago, so this word, occurring at that time , here only in any Scripture since Moses, carried back the thoughts of the degenerate aristocracy of Israel to the faith and zeal of their forefathers, "what" they ought to have been, and "what" they were. As Amalek of old was "first of the nations" Numbers 24:20 in its enmity against the people of God , having, first of all, shown that implacable hatred, which Ammon, Moab, Edom, evinced afterward, so was Israel "first of nations," as by God. It became, in an evil way, "first of nations," that is, distinguished above the heat by rejecting Him.
To whom the house of Israel came, or have come - They were, like those princes of old, raised above others. Israel "came" to them for judgment; and they, regardless of duty, lived only for self-indulgence, effeminacy, and pride. Jerome renders in the same sense, "that enter pompously the house of Israel," literally, "enter for themselves," as if they were lords of it, and it was made for them.
on Amos 6 :1
6:1 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.