Amos 6

The Word Made Fresh

1Those of the family of Israel
who relax in comfort in Zion and trust in Mt. Samaria,
and those of the family of Israel
who come to the kings of the nations are doomed!
2Go across to Calneh and have a look;
then to Hamath Rabbah.
Continue on to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than they?
Is your land larger than theirs?
3Did you think evil was far away?
Is that why you brought a reign of terror?
4Woe to you who lie on your ivory beds
and lounge on your couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
and calves from the herd.
5Then you sing silly songs accompanied by the harp
and make up tunes on the instruments, like David.
6You drink wine from bowls and anoint yourselves with expensive oils,
but have no grief for the downfall of Joseph.
7That is why you will be the first to be taken into exile.
Then the celebrations of the lazy ones who lounge all day will end.
8The LORD God Almighty has sworn:
“I detest Jacob’s pride and hate his walled cities.
I will turn the cities and their inhabitants over to their enemies.

9If there are ten people in one house, they will all die. 10If a neighbor who is responsible for burning the dead picks up a body to bring it out of the house, then calls out to someone else in the house, “Is anyone else here with you?” and they answer, “No,” the neighbor will say, “Be quiet! And don’t mention the name of the LORD.”

11The LORD gives the orders. The largest houses will be shattered
and the smallest ones will be scattered in pieces.
12Horses cannot run on rocks,
nor can oxen be used to plow the sea.
But you have turned justice into poison
and the results of righteous acts into rot.
13You who rejoice in Lo-Debar, and say to yourselves,
“We have taken Karnaim for ourselves by our own strength,”
14I am raising against you a nation, says the LORD God Almighty.
Oh, Israel, they will oppress you from Lebo-Hamath
all the way to the Arabah stream.


1-3: Amos goes after the well-to-do in Samaria who think everything is fine. He tells them to visit some of the larger cities in adjacent countries: Calneh, Hamath and Gath; Samaria will suffer from the comparisons, he says.

4-7: The wealthy are oblivious to what is happening in the country. All they care about is enjoying their lives of ease. As was the case when populations were taken into exile, the rich and the powerful are the first to be taken because that further destabilizes the population.

8-11: Amos describes the punishment of the city in a rather curious exchange. God delivers up the city in verse 8, but then he describes a gruesome scene within the city. Ten people die in one house, and a relative whose job as next-of-kin is to dispose of the bodies comes to carry them out. Apparently there is but one survivor in the house. The horror of it is such that they are afraid to mention the name of the LORD, fearing that the mention of God’s name might bring about even greater disaster since it is God who is behind the attack. Indeed, God is determined that all the houses, big and small, will be shattered.

12-14: The deliberate misuse of justice is like trying to run a horse on rocks, he says. Justice has been corrupted by those who “rejoice in Lo-Debar” and “have taken Karnaim.” These are slight misspellings of towns in Gilead; Amos is using them as a play on words. God is raising up a nation, he says, which we know will be Assyria even though Amos never mentions Assyria.


God is loving and forgiving, but don’t take that for granted! There is a point at which God will say, “Enough!” and the punishment, which is the inevitable outcome of sinfulness, will begin.