They were still living in denial and laying on beds of ivory and living it up with excessive drinking and made no connection with the people.   They “just hadn’t gotten it.”  It’s getting worse─ten men in one house and all are dead and a relative comes for the burial.  The last verse of the chapter says it all and here it is summarized:  I will rise up a nation against you (Syria) and they will make hash of you from the extreme north to the extreme south.


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!


Amos is at his sarcastic best in this message to Israel. He claims that they are living on easy street.  In prosperous times like Amos’s they grew addicted to luxury and power, forgetting all about God. Six hundred and fifty years before, Moses had warned against this very syndrome.

Deu 8:6-20  “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. 7  “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8  a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9  a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10  “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. 11  “Beware lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12  lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them13  and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14  then your heart becomes proud, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 15  “He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 16  “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 17  “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18  “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19  “And it shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God, and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you shall surely perish. 20  “Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God.

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?

Go North, East, or West and look at the neighboring countries and see if God hasn’t dealt better to Israel.  If God has therefore dealt you a better hand then you have some responsibility to honor him instead of the gods of your border countries.

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

They were headed down a slippery slope and a catastrophe was about to come upon them.

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;

While their country was going to ruin they were living in luxury, indifferent to the fate of others and addicted to easy living and eating out.  They demanded nothing but the finest of lambs and veal all the while their country was on a slippery slope toward an angry God.

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

This was the jet-set and party goers who liked the music of the night clubs.  If I hear one more rendition of your songs, I’m going to scream.  What I want to hear is a roaring river of justice raging through your courts.  You need to wash-up, clean-up and straighten-up.

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

These people were addicted to wine and were drinking it by the buckets. They were obsessed with life without-wrinkles so they anointed themselves with the latest fad in ointments, but could care less where the country was heading.

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

They will be the first to be deported…their new banquet will be a forced march to exile.

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.

God assures them that he will stand by his word.  He says that he is so repulsed by their arrogance and that he is going to hand over the city and all its palaces to the Assyrians.

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

When the army finally breaks the bars and doors they will not take any prisoners.

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. 

Huddled somewhere in a house is a bunch of men and a relative comes to check on them and make funeral arrangements…he will ask if there is any one else alive and the answer is NO!

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

God is in charge and he is going to wreck their houses whether large or small.  It will look like a bulldozer passed thru the neighborhood

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:

The answer to both these questions is No.  Horse races are not conducted in a cobblestone field and you can’t plow on top of a rock with oxen the plow would break.  If you can’t race horses on rocks or plow on a rock then how can a nation survive that has turned judgment into gall and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock.

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

These leaders made great speeches about how they had created jobs and brought prosperity to the nation.  They felt that their national security was in good hands.

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.

God says that he is going to move an army in from a pagan nation against the house of Israel.  This army will hit you from one end to the other.