|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 4. - That lie upon beds of ivory; couches inlaid with ivory (see note on Amos 3:15) at meals. The prophet substantiates his denunciation by describing their selfish luxury and debauchery. Stretch themselves literally, are poured out; Septuagint, κατασπαταλῶντες, "wantoning." Out of the midst of the stall. Calves put up to be fattened. They do this presumably net on festivals, when it would have been proper and excusable, but every day.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That lie upon beds of ivory,.... That were made of it, or inlaid with it, or covered with it, as the Targum; nor was it improbable that these were made wholly of ivory, for such beds we read of: Timaeus says (r), the Agrigentines had beds entirely made of ivory; and Horace (s) also speaks of such beds: and if any credit can be given to the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem on Genesis 50:1. Joseph made his father Jacob to lie on a bed of ivory. Indeed, the Latin interpreters of these Targums render it a cedar bed; but Buxtorf (t) conjectures that ivory is meant by the word used; and so Bochart (u) translates it; on these they lay either for sleep and rest, or to eat their meals;
and stretch themselves upon their couches; for the same purposes, living in great splendour, and indulging themselves in ease and sloth; as it was the custom of the eastern countries, and is of the Arabs now; that they make little or no use of chairs, but either sitting cross legged, or lying at length, have couches to lie on at their meals; and when they indulge to ease, they cover or spread their floors with carpets, which for the most part are of the richest materials. Along the sides of the wall or floor, a range of narrow beds or mattresses is often placed upon these carpets; and, for their further ease and convenience, several velvet or damask bolsters are placed upon these, or mattresses (w), to lean upon, and take their ease; see Ezekiel 13:18; and thus, and in some such like manner, did the principal men of the people of Israel indulge themselves. Some render it, "abound with superfluities"; the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, "are lascivious"; and the Arabic version, "burn in lust"; and so some of the Jewish writers interpret it of their committing adulteries, and all uncleanness, on their beds and couches;
and eat the lambs out of the flock; pick the best and fattest of them for their use: so the Targum,
"eat the fat of the sheep:''
and the calves out of the midst of the stall; where they are put, and kept to be fattened; from thence they took what they liked best, and perhaps not out of theft own flocks and stalls, but out of others, and with which they pampered themselves to excess.
(r) Apud Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 12. c. 29. (s) "----Rubro ubi cocco Tincta super lectos cauderet vestis eburnos". Horat. Serm. l. 2. Satyr. 6. v. 102. (t) Lexic. Talmud. col. 2475. (u) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 24. col. 252. (w) See Shaw's Travels, p. 209. Ed. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. (See Am 2:8).
beds of ivory—that is, adorned, or inlaid, with ivory (Am 3:15).
stretch themselves—in luxurious self-indulgence.
lambs out of the flock—picked out as the choicest, for their owners' selfish gratification.
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