Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Wealthy. Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic, “despisers of Sion.” Hebrew also, “who hate Sion.” The prophecy wholly regards Israel. (Calmet) — It is a great crime for the rich to neglect the poor; but still more so, when wealthy clergymen shew no compassion for the spiritual or corporal wants of their neighbours. (Worthington) — State. Hebrew, “to whom the house of Israel comes” for judgment.
Ver. 2. Chalane. Ctesiphon (Calmet) was built on its ruins, Genesis x. 10. (Haydock) — Why do you imitate these cities? or, has their greatness protected them? Phul probably took Chalane, and Jeroboam II the other cities, ver. 15., and 4 Kings xiv. 25. At that time there was no appearance of the kingdom being destroyed; yet Amos composes a funeral canticle, to shew the certainty of the event.
Ver. 3. Separated. Hebrew, “remove the evil day,” as if it would not overtake you, Ezechiel xii. 22. Septuagint, “who are praying (Calmet) or coming (Grabe) to the evil day, approaching and touching false sabbaths.” (Haydock) — They pray to be delivered, while they continue (Calmet) their false worship. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Ivory, with which the beds for eating were adorned, ver. 7. (Calmet) — Wanton. Hebrew, “stretch themselves out upon their,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. David. They think they excel him in music; but he consecrated his talent to a better purpose. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “they deemed them stable, and not fugitive things.” (Haydock) — They have placed their chief good in such pleasures. (Theodoret) (Calmet)
Ver. 6. In bowels. Septuagint, “refined,” (Haydock) or cleared of the dregs. — Joseph, of their brethren, or they seem to have no share in the sufferings of mankind, Psalm lxxii. 5.
Ver. 7. Luxurious. Hebrew, “the feast of those who stretch themselves out, shall,” &c. Septuagint, “the neighing shall be removed from Ephraim.” His lusts shall be punished, Jeremias v. 8. — Some translate [the] Hebrew, “the mourning of those who stretch themselves on their beds is at hand.” Others, “their funeral feast is distant.” None shall bewail their death. So ambiguous is the original. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Jacob. God loved the humility of the patriarch, and hated the pride of his posterity. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Die. Their numbers will not protect them from the plague.
Ver. 10. Burn. After the captivity, it was more common to bury or to embalm the dead. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Lord. He has done it. Do not repine. (Theodoret; St. Cyril) — Hebrew, “Be silent, and not to remember the,” &c. He will offer comfort. (Calmet) — Still, none will return to the Lord. (St. Jerome)
Ver. 12. Clefts. All shall perish, (Calmet) both Israel and Juda. (Chaldean) (Grotius) — But he speaks only of the former.
Ver. 13. Buffles, which cannot be tamed. Hebrew, “with oxen.” We must understand, on rocks. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “Shall they be silent when they are with females?” (Haydock) — To turn the works of justice into sins, is no less unnatural than to plough with wild buffles. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Naught: in your idols, which are nothing, (1 Corinthians viii. 4.) or in your own strength, fortifications, or allies. — Horns: glory and power. (Calmet) — Parata tollo cornua. (Horace, epod. 6.)
Ver. 15. Nation; the Assyrians. — Desert, commonly called Bezor, (Calmet) between Damietta and Rhinocorura. (St. Jerome) — The whole territory of Israel, reaching so far, (ver. 2.) shall be laid waste. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The desolation of Israel, for their pride and luxury.
1 Woe *to you that are wealthy in Sion, and to you that have confidence in the mountain of Samaria: ye great men, heads of the people, that go in with state into the house of Israel.
2 Pass ye over to Chalane, and see, and go from thence into Emath the great: and go down into Geth, of the Philistines, and to all the best kingdoms of these: if their border be larger than your border.
3 You that are separated unto the evil day: and that approach to the throne of iniquity.
4 You that sleep upon beds of ivory, and are wanton on your couches: that eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the herd.
5 You that sing to the sound of the psaltery: they have thought themselves to have instruments of music like David.
6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the best ointments: and they are not concerned for the affliction of Joseph.
7 Wherefore, now they shall go captive at the head of them that go into captivity: and the faction of the luxurious ones shall be taken away.
8 *The Lord God hath sworn by his own soul, saith the Lord, the God of hosts: I detest the pride of Jacob, and I hate his houses, and I will deliver up the city, with the inhabitants thereof.
9 And if there remain ten men in one house, they also shall die.
10 And a man’s kinsman shall take him up, and shall burn him, that he may carry the bones out of the house: and he shall say to him that is in the inner rooms of the house: Is there yet any with thee?
11 And he shall answer: There is an end. And he shall say to him: Hold thy peace, and mention not the name of the Lord.
12 For behold, the Lord hath commanded, and he will strike the greater house with breaches, and the lesser house with clefts.
13 Can horses run upon the rocks, or can any one plough with buffles, for you have turned judgment into bitterness, and the fruit of justice into wormwood?
14 You that rejoice in a thing of naught: you that say: Have we not taken unto us horns by our own strength?
15 But behold, I will raise up a nation against you, O house of Israel, saith the Lord, the God of hosts: and they shall destroy you from the entrance of Emath, even to the torrent of the desert.
1: Luke vi. 24.
8: Jeremias li. 14.