Amos 6:2
Pass you to Calneh, and see; and from there go you 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?
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(2) The meaning is obscure. Kalneh, the Kalno of Isaiah 10:9, the Assyrian Kulunu (comp. Genesis 10:10), is here probably mentioned first because it is most easterly. It is identified by Kiepert with Holwân, but its position is uncertain, though generally regarded as lying in the neighbourhood of the Greek Ctesiphon, on the Tigris. Hamath is the ancient Hittite city in the valley of the Orontes, and it had felt the strong hand of Jeroboam II. (2Kings 14:28). We have no reason for believing that at this period the Assyrian power had destroyed the importance of these places, though the prophet may have regarded that issue as imminent. Hamath the Great (or Rabba; comp. Joshua 11:8), according to the inscriptions, sustained defeats from Salmanassar II. about 850 B.C. It was finally overthrown by Sargon in 720 B.C., who in his own boastful language “swept over its land like a flood.” Gath, the home of Goliath, had probably lost its original importance. Uzziah destroyed it. Were Calno, Hamath, Gath, more important than Zion or Samaria? Then, says the prophet, do not expect in your opulence and self-satisfaction immunity from a worse doom.

Amos 6:2. Pass ye unto Calneh — To check their pride and carnal security, the prophet bids them consider the state of those cities in the neighbourhood of Canaan that had been as illustrious in their time as ever Zion and Samaria were, and yet had been destroyed. Calneh, called Calno, (Isaiah 10:9,) was a city in the land of Shinar, or the territory of Babylon, (Genesis 10:10,) supposed by St. Jerome to be the same as Ctesiphon; and, it seems, had been taken and destroyed, probably by some king of Assyria, not long before the uttering of this prophecy. Thence go ye to Hamath the great — A city of Syria, on the Orontes. It was conquered by Jeroboam, 2 Kings 14:25; and by the Assyrians, 2 Kings 19:34. It is called here Hamath the great, to distinguish it from another Hamath, mentioned Amos 6:14, which was the northern boundary of Palestine. Then go down to Gath — This city was taken by Uzziah, in whose reign Amos prophesied, 2 Chronicles 26:6. Be they better than these kingdoms? — The kingdoms of Judah and Israel? The answer seems to be, Yes; they were better, and their border greater than your border. So that they had more reason to be confident of their safety than you have; yet you see what is become of them, and dare you be secure? Thus Nahum asks Nineveh, (Nahum 3:8,) Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, whose rampart was the sea? &c.; yet she was carried away, she went into captivity. By these examples, then, learn to amend your ways, or expect to perish in them. Or, the sense may be, Were these cities more favoured of God than Israel and Judah? or had they a larger and more fertile country to live in, and therefore were more deserving of the wrath of God for their ingratitude? or had they greater riches to tempt the avarice of invaders? In this sense Archbishop Newcome seems to have understood the passage, and therefore supposes the prophet to ask, “Why then do ye worship their gods? and why are ye not grateful to Jehovah?” The prophet, however, seems to have intended rather to check and reprove their presumption than their ingratitude, as appears by the next verse.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.Pass over to Calneh - He bids them behold, east, north, and west, survey three neighboring kingdoms, and see whether God had not, even in the gifts of this world, dealt better with Israel. Why then so requite Him? "Calneh" (which Isaiah calls "Calno" Isaiah 10:9, Ezekiel, "Canneh Ezekiel 27:23), was one of the four cities, built by Nimrod "in the land of Shinar Genesis 10:10, the beginning of his kingdom." From that time, until this of Amos, no mention of it occurs. It, probably, was more than once conquered by the Assyrians , lying, as it did, on the Tigris, some 40 miles perhaps from Babylon. Hence, it was said, under its new name Ctesiphon , to have been built, that is, rebuilt, by the Macedonians , and again by the Parthians, , whose "kings made it their winter residence on account of its good air."

It was anew destroyed by Severus , rebuilt by Sapor II in the 4th Century . Julian's generals held it impregnable , being built on a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Tigris . It became the scene of repeated persecutions of Christianity ; Nestorianism was favored . A center of Persian luxury, it tell at once and forever before Omar , and the Persian empire perished with it. It was replaced by the neighboring Bagdad. The history illustrates the tenacity of life in those well-chosen sites, and the character of the place, of whose conquest Sennacherib boasted, with which Amos compared the land of Israel.

Go thence to Hamath the great - Originally, a Canaanite kingdom Genesis 10:18. "The entrance to" it was assigned as the northern border of Israel Numbers 34:7-8; Joshua 13:5. In David's time its king was at war with the king of Zobah 2 Samuel 8:9-10, and made presents to David on his subdual. In Solomon's time it had fallen under the power of the king of Zobah, from where it was called Hamath-zobah. Solomon won it from him, incorporated it with Israel, and built towns in its territory 2 Chronicles 8:3-4. The "Hamathites" were, under their own king, united with Benhadad, the Hittites, and the Phoenicians in their war with Shalmanubar, and defeated by him . Ezekiel speaks of the "border of Damascus" and "the coast of Hamath" Ezekiel 47:16; Ezekiel 48:1, as of places of like importance, and Zechariah Zechariah 9:1-2, of their joint subdual by Alexander. To judge from the present site, it in some respects resembled Samaria. It lay in a narrow oval valley of the Orontes; its citadel on a round hill in the center.

The city rises up the steep sides of the hills which enclose it . Vast water-wheels , some of a diameter of 67 , 80, 90 feet, raise the water of the Orontes to supply, by aid of aqueducts, the upper city, or to water the neighboring gardens. : "The western part of its territory is the granary of northern Syria." Even when Antiochus Epiphanes called it after himself Epiphania, its inhabitants called it after its old name . Mention occurs of it in the crusades . In the 13th century it had its own well-known prince ; and has still a population of some 30,000 .

Gath - (Winepress) must, from its name have been situated in a rich country. It lay on the confines of Judea and Philistia, for Rehoboam fortified it as a border-fortress 2 Chronicles 11:8. It had been contrariwise fortified by the Philistines against Judah, since, when David took it "out of the hand of the Philistines," it had the title (2 Samuel 8:1, compare 1 Chronicles 18:1) "methegammah," "bridle of the mother city," or metropolis. It had at that time "daughter towns" 1 Chronicles 18:1 dependent upon it. It must also have been near Micah's birthplace, "Moresheth Gath," that is, Moresheth of Gath, which in Jerome's time was "a small village near Eleutheropolis," (Bethgabrin). Of Gath itself Jerome says , "It is one of the five cities of Philistia, near the confines of Judea, and now too a very large village on the way from Eleuthcropolis to Gaza." Eusebius says , "about the 5th milestone from Eleutheropolis to Diospolis" (Lydda).

Since the Philistines carried the ark of God from Ashdod to Gath, and thence to Ekron 1 Samuel 5:8, 1 Samuel 5:10, it seems likely that Gath lay nearer to Ashdod than Ekron, although necessarily more inland than either, since it was a border-city to Judah. The Tel-es-Safiyeh corresponds with these conditions, lying at the entrance of the Shephelah, about 5 miles from Beit-Jibrin on the road to Lydda, (Ludd). It "rises about 100 feet above the eastern ridge which it terminates, and perhaps 200 over the plain which terminates its western base. The ruins and subterranean reservoirs shew that it is a site of high antiquity, great strength, and importance." Gath had at this time probably been taken by Uzziah who "broke down" its "wall" 2 Chronicles 26:6; and since it is not mentioned with the other four Philistine cities, whose sentence is pronounced by Amos Amo 1:7-8 himself, Zephaniah ZEphesians 2:4, and Zechariah Zechariah 9:5, it is probable that it never recovered.

Be they better than these kingdoms? - The prophet seems purposely to say less than he might, in order that his hearers might have to supply the more. Calneh, Hamath, Gath, had not been more guilty against God than Ephraim, yet probably they had all been conquered: Gath by Judah; Hamath by Israel (see the note below at Amos 6:14) himself; Calneh by Assyria. Both Shalmanubar and Shamasiva conquered in Babylonia ; and Shamasiva "declares that he took above 200 towns" in Babylonia. Amos, then, upbraids Israel for their ingratitude, both as to the original gift of their good land, and its continuance. The pagan had suffered; they, the guiltier, had been spared; yet still they acted no otherwise than these pagan.

Rib.: "What spacious, what wide border have we, boundless as the life of God and eternity!" Lap.: "Our hopes and the bounds of our bliss are measured, not like those of the worldly and ungodly, by the limits of a petty time or by this dot of earth, but by the boundless space of eternity and of heaven; so that we may say confidently to the ungodly, 'Is not our border wider than your border? '"

2. Calneh—on the east bank of the Tigris. Once powerful, but recently subjugated by Assyria (Isa 10:9; about 794 B.C.).

Hameth—subjugated by Jeroboam II (2Ki 14:25). Also by Assyria subsequently (2Ki 18:34). Compare Am 6:14.

Gath—subjugated by Uzziah (2Ch 26:6).

be they better—no. Their so recent subjugation renders it needless for Me to tell you they are not. And yet they once were; still they could not defend themselves against the enemy. How vain, then, your secure confidence in the strength of Mounts Zion and Samaria! He takes cities respectively east, north, south, and west of Israel (compare Na 3:8).

Pass ye unto Calneh; run over the history of that great and ancient city; as, Go to Shiloh, Jeremiah 7:12. It was built by Nimrod, Genesis 10:10, and after a long growth to power, wealth, and security, through near one thousand three hundred years, was at last ruined, as is probable, in the civil wars which ended in the utter ruin of Sardanapalus by Arbaces, and Pul-belochus, grandfather to Shalmaneser who captivated Israel; the story of which, fresh in the days of Amos, is thus referred unto for warning to Israel. And see; consider well what befell that city built on Euphrates, rich, delightful, and, as you, full of sin.

Hamath; head of the Syrian kingdom, lately overthrown by Tiglath-pileser; a very fresh instance of God’s just indignation against secure sinners, and a very fit warning to Israel.

Gath; the chief city of the Philistines, a few years before wasted by the arms and cruelty of Hazael, 2 Kings 12:17; by these examples learn to amend your ways, or expect to perish in them.

Be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? The reading this passage interrogatively renders it darker than if it were read assertively, Yet they were better, i.e. greater, than these kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and their borders, i.e. the bounds of those kingdoms, greater than these of Israel and Judah. But if you retain our version, it will amount to this; Are they, i.e. Israel and Judah, better, more just, thankful, and merciful than these kingdoms, that they should hope to escape? or is the border of these two kingdoms greater, that they should hope to stand by power? Pass ye unto Calneh, and see,.... What is become of that city, which was in the land of Shinar, an ancient city, as early as the days of Nimrod, and built by him, and was with others the beginning of his kingdom, Genesis 10:10; it belonged to Babylon, and is by Jarchi here interpreted by it, being put for Babel, as he supposes. According to Jerom (g), it is the same city, sometimes called Seleucia, in his days Ctesiphon; very probably it had been lately taken by the king of Assyria, and therefore made mention of; see Isaiah 10:9; where it is called Calno;

and from thence go ye to Hamath the great; the same with Antiochia, as Jarchi and Jerom; called the great, to distinguish it from Hamath the less, sometimes called Epiphania; or from Hamathzobah, near Tadmor, or Palmyra, in the wilderness, 2 Chronicles 8:3; though it might be so called with respect to its own grandeur and magnificence; as Sidon is called "Sidon the great", though there was no other, Joshua 11:8; for it was a royal city; we read of Toi, king of Hamath, in the times of David, 2 Samuel 8:9. It is placed by Josephus (h) on the north of the land of Canaan; and so it appears to be, and to be between Damascus and the Mediterranean sea, from Ezekiel 47:15. Abu'lfeda (i), a learned prince, who reigned in Hamath, and should know its situation, places it on the Orontes, between Hems and Apamea, that river surrounding it on the east and north. The learned Vitringa (k) thinks that neither Antiochia nor Epiphania are meant, but the city Emissa; which Ammianus Marcellinus (l) makes mention of along with Damascus, as a famous city in Syria, equal to Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus: and of the same opinion was Theodoret (m) among the ancients, and so Calmet (n) of late. And so Hamath and Damascus are mentioned together as recovered by Jeroboam, 2 Kings 14:28; very probably the kingdom of Hamath became subject to the kings of Damascus; see Jeremiah 49:23; but, be it what place it will, it is very likely it had been lately spoiled by the king of Assyria; see Isaiah 37:13.

then go down to Gath of the Philistines; one of their five principalities, and a chief one, so called to distinguish it from other Gaths, as Gathhepher, Gathrimmon. It stood about five or six miles south of Jamnia, about fourteen south of Joppa, and thirty two west of Jerusalem. A village of this name as shown, as Jerom (o) says, five miles from Eleutheropolis, as you go to Diospolis or Lydda, and is taken to be the same place. It is famous for being the birthplace of Goliath; and is called in 2 Samuel 8:1; compared with 1 Chronicles 18:1, Methegammah, or the bridle of Ammah, or Metheg and her mother; that is, Gath and her daughters. Reland (p) thinks Gath is the city Cadytis of Herodotus (q), who says it is a city of the Syrians, called Palestines or Philistines, and speaks of the mountains of it; and this city was not far from the mountainous country of Judea: now this city had been taken by Hazael, king of Syria, and its wall was broke down by Uzziah, king of Judah, 2 Kings 12:17;

be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? that is, do Calneh, Hamath, and Gath, excel in dignity and grandeur, in wealth and strength, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah? or are they of a larger circumference, and exceed them in length and breadth? no, they did not; and therefore the more ungrateful were Israel and Judah to sin against the Lord as they had done, who had given them such rich and large kingdoms, and therefore might expect to be taken and spoiled as well as they: though some think there is a change of number and persons in the text, and that the sense is, are you better than these kingdoms, or your border greater than theirs? and, if not, you may expect to fare as they; see a like expression in Nahum 3:8.

(g) Quaest. in Gen. fol. 66. M. (h) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 1.((i) See the Universal History, vol. 2. p. 316. (k) Comment. in Jessiam, c. 10. 9. (l) Lib. 23. (m) Comment. in Jer. ii. 15. and xlix. 23. (n) Dictionary, in the word "Hamath". (o) De locis Hebr. fol. 92. A. (p) Palestina Illustrata, tom. 2. l. 3. p. 669. (q) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 159. & Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 5.

Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be {c} they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?

(c) If God has destroyed these excellent cities in three different kingdoms, that is Babylon, Syria, and that of the Philistines, and has narrowed their wide borders more than yours yet are, do you think that you are better, or that you will escape?

2. Two diametrically opposed explanations of this verse have been given. (1) It has been regarded as continuing the argument of Amos 6:1, the cities named in it being referred to as examples of prosperity: Can you find, from Calneh and Hamath in the North of Syria to the Philistine border on the South, a single kingdom ‘better’ (i.e. more flourishing) than your own? Thus has Jehovah favoured you; and ye requite Him with indifference and neglect (Amos 6:3-6). Therefore (Amos 6:7) the sentence is, Ye shall be amongst the first to go into exile. The argument is similar to that of Amos 2:9-16, Amos 3:2 : Israel has been visited by Jehovah with unwonted favour; that however will not exempt it from punishment, if it acts in such a way as to merit punishment. So Ew., Hitz., Keil, W. R. Smith, Proph. p. 138, &c. (2) It has been taken as introductory to Amos 6:3-7, the places named in it being pointed to as examples of fallen greatness: if cities, till recently so flourishing, so far from being now ‘better,’ or more prosperous (Jeremiah 44:17), than Israel and Judah, have been overtaken by disaster, let Israel take warning betimes, and not rely too implicitly that its present good fortune will continue to attend it: the ground why such warning is needed follows then in Amos 6:3-6. So Baur, Pusey, Schrader, von Orelli, Wellhausen. In support of this view it may be urged that it is not very obvious why the places named—especially the distant Calneh—should be specially selected as examples of flourishing cities: the age was one in which the cities of Western Asia were liable at any moment to be roughly treated by the Assyrians (see below); and of Gath, in particular, it is observed that it is not mentioned among the Philistine cities enumerated either by Amos himself in Amos 1:7-8, or in Jeremiah 47, or Zephaniah 2:4-7, or Zechariah 9:5-7; and hence it has been inferred (G. A. Smith, Geogr. p. 194) that it must have been destroyed by the Assyrians about 750 b.c. But, on the whole, the former, which is also the general view, seems preferable. Hamath (see below) was taken by Sargon in 720; and the conquest of Calneh—at least, if it be the same as Calno—is alluded to as recent in 701 (Isaiah 10:9); and there is no sufficient reason for supposing (Schrad., Wellh.; cf. G. A. Smith, p. 173 n.) that the verse is an insertion in the original text of Amos made towards the end of the 8th cent. b.c.

Calneh] The identification is uncertain. A Calneh is mentioned as an ancient Babylonian city in Genesis 10:10; and a Calno is alluded to in Isaiah 10:9 as a place conquered recently by the Assyrians. According to some, Calneh may be the place usually called Zirlaba or Zarilab, the characters of which, however, admit of being read ideographically as Kulunu, and which is mentioned by Sargon in b.c. 710 as one of his conquests (Schrader, K.A.T[166][167], pp. 96, 444). According to others (Winckler, Gesch. Bab. und Ass. p. 225; Tiele, Bab.-Ass. Gesch. p. 230[168]) it is Kullani, a place mentioned in the Eponym Canon (G. Smith, Eponym Canon, p. 50) as (apparently) the principal conquest of Tiglath-pileser III. in b.c. 738: as this king was engaged that year in the north of Syria, there is a probability that it was in that region; and it is accordingly identified by Mr Tomkins (Proceedings of the Soc. of Bibl. Arch. 9 Jan. 1883, p. 61) with the present Kullanhou, about six miles from Tel Arfad (Arpad), a little N. of Aleppo (notice Calno and Arpad together in Isaiah 10:9). Guthe, Das Zukunftsbild des Jesaia (1885), p. 43, and Dillmann (on Isaiah 10:9) would identify it with Kunulua, or Kinalia, the capital of the land of Patin, between the Afrin and the Orontes, on the S.E. of Antioch, some 70 or 80 miles N. of Hamath[169], and consequently in the same neighbourhood as Kullanhou.

[166] .A.T. … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[167] … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[168] Who distinguishes it from the Calneh (= Kulunu) of Genesis 10:10.

[169] See Schrader, Keilinschr. und Geschichtsforschung (1878), p. 217 f.; Delitzsch, Paradies, p. 274. Asshurnazirpal (b.c. 885–860), in his “Standard Inscription,” iii. 72 (R.P.2 ii. 170; or Schrader, K.B. i. 107) speaks of receiving immense tribute from it.

Hamath] an important town, situated some 150 miles N. of Dan, beyond the broad valley of Coele-Syria, on the Orontes (el‘A̅ṣî), the seat of an independent kingdom, whose king Toi (or Tou) is mentioned in the time of David (2 Samuel 8:9 f.), and the modern Ḥamâ, a place of 60,000 inhabitants. The territory of Hamath extended at least as far S. as Riblah (2 Kings 23:33; 2 Kings 25:21), in Coele-Syria, about 50 miles S. of Hamath itself. The “entrance to Hamath,” i.e. probably (G. A. Smith, p. 177; Buhl, Geogr. Pal., pp. 66, 110) the mouth of the pass between the Lebanons, a little N. of Rĕḥôb and Dan (Numbers 13:21; cf. Jdg 18:28), which was considered the starting-point of the road to Hamath, is often named as the northern limit of Israelitish territory (Amos 6:14, 2 Kings 14:25; Joshua 13:5; Jdg 3:3; 1 Kings 8:65; Ezekiel 47:20; Ezekiel 48:1; Numbers 34:8; cf. Numbers 13:21). Hamath is mentioned frequently in the Assyrian Inscriptions. In 854 b.c. its king Irchulina joined Ben-hadad of Syria and Ahab of Israel in a great coalition against the Assyrians, and was defeated with his allies by Shalmaneser II. (Schrader, K.A.T[170][171] p. 201 f.). Disastrous losses were inflicted upon it by Tiglath-pileser III. in 740, and by Sargon in 720 (ib. pp. 221, 323 f.; cf. Isaiah 10:9; and see also Delitzsch, Paradies, pp. 275–278).

[170] .A.T. … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[171] … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

go down] from the high central ground of Palestine to the plain by the sea, on which the Philistine cities were situated. So regularly, as Jdg 14:1; Jdg 14:19, 1 Samuel 13:20; and conversely ‘went up,’ 1 Samuel 6:9. The use in geographical descriptions of these two terms should always be noted.

Gath] the fifth (see on Amos 1:7-8) chief town of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 6:17), one of the homes of the giant race of the Rephaim, Joshua 11:22, 2 Samuel 21:18-22 (cf. 1 Samuel 17:4), mentioned also in 1 Samuel 21:10; 1 Samuel 27:11, 2 Samuel 15:18 (600 warriors from Gath forming part of David’s body-guard), Micah 1:10, and elsewhere. If “Gimtu Asdudim” (? Gath of the Ashdodites) be this place, it is spoken of also as taken by Sargon at the same time that he took Ashdod (above, on Amos 1:8), in b.c. 711 (K.A.T[172][173] p. 399; cf. pp. 166, 444). Its site is uncertain. It is frequently mentioned next to Ekron, and from 1 Samuel 17:52 appears to have lain between Ekron and the vale of Elah (probably the Wâdy es-Sunt); hence many have sought it at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfiyeh, a commanding height, 11 miles S. by E. of Ekron, rising out of the plain, where the Wâdy es-Sunt opens into it, and looking across Philistia to the sea. Cf. G. A. Smith, Geogr., pp. 194–197.

[172] .A.T. … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[173] … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.Verse 2. - Pass ye. Go and compare your condition with that of other countries, from the furthest east to the north, to your own neighbours - has not God done more for you than for them? Nothing is said about the destruction of the three capitals, nor is Samaria threatened with similar ruin. Rather the cities are contemplated as still flourishing and prosperous (though by this time they had suffered at their enemies' hands), and Israel is bidden to remember that she is more favoured than they. Calneh, one of the five great Babylonian cities, is probably the Kul-unu of the inscriptions, a town in Southern Babylonia, whose site is unknown. In Genesis 10:10 and Isaiah 10:9 the LXX. call it Chalanne or Chalane; in the present passage they mistake the Hebrew, and render, διάβητε πάντες, "pass ye all by" (see Schrader, 'Die Keilinschriften,' p. 442). St. Jerome identifies it with Ctesiphon, on the east bank of the Tigris. Others (see Rawlinson, 'Herodotus,' 1, p. 490, 2nd edit.) find in it Nopher or Nipur, the modern Niffer, some sixty miles southeast of Babylon. As one of the oldest cities in the world, ranking with Babel, Erech, and Aecad, it was well known to the Israelites. Hamath the great; Septuagint, Ἐματραββά. This was the principal city of Upper Syria, and a place of great importance. In after years it was called Epiphania, after Antiochus Epiphanes (Genesis 10:18; Numbers 34:8; Isaiah 10:9). It fell in Sargon's reign, B.C. 720; afterwards it lost its independence, and was incorporated in the Assyrian empire. Oath of the Philistines. One of their five chief cities, and at one time the principal (1 Chronicles 18:1). The site is placed by Porter at Tell-es-Safi, an isolated hill; standing above the bread valley of Elah, and "presenting on the north and west a white precipice of many hundred feet." Dr. Thomson ('The Land and the Book,' p. 215, etc.) considers Gath to be the same city as Betogabra, Eleutheropolis, and the modern Beth Jibrin, which is some few miles south of Tell Safi. He thinks the site of Tell Sift is not adapted for the seat of a large city, and he saw few indications of ancient ruins there; whereas Beit Jibrin has in and around it the most wonderful remains of antiquity to be found in all Philistia. It had probably declined in importance at this time (see note on ch. 1:6), but its old reputation was still remembered. It was taken by Uzziah, but seems not to have remained long in his possession (2 Chronicles 26:6). In the year B.C. 711 Sargon reduced Ashdod and Garb, which he calls Gimtu Asdudim, i.e. Gath of the Ashdodites. Be they better? Have they received more earthly prosperity at God's hands than you? Is their territory greater than yours? No. How ungrateful, then, are you for all my favours (comp. Jeremiah 2:5-11)! Schrader and Bickell regard the verse as an interpolation, grammatically, metrically, and chronologically inadmissible; but their arguments are not strong, and Ames makes no mention of the fate of these cities. The whole nation is to mourn over this devastation. Joel 1:8. "Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. Joel 1:9. The meat-offering and the drink-offering are destroyed from the house of Jehovah. The priests, the servant of Jehovah. mourn. Joel 1:10. The field is laid waste, the ground mourns: for the corn is laid waste: the new wine is spoiled, the oil decays. Joel 1:11. Turn pale, ye husbandmen; howl, ye vinedressers, over wheat and barley: for the harvest of the field is perished. Joel 1:12. The vine is spoiled, and the fig-tree faded; the pomegranate, also the palm and the apple tree: all the trees of the field are withered away; yea, joy has expired from the children of men." In Joel 1:8 Judah is addressed as the congregation of Jehovah. אלי is the imperative of the verb אלה, equivalent to the Syriac 'elā', to lament. The verb only occurs here. The lamentation of the virgin for the בּעל נעוּריה, i.e., the beloved of your youth, her bridegroom, whom she has lost by death (Isaiah 54:6), is the deepest and bitterest lamentation. With reference to חגרת־שׂק, see Delitzsch on Isaiah 3:24. The occasion of this deep lamentation, according to Joel 1:9, is the destruction of the meat-offering and drink-offering from the house of the Lord, over which the servants of Jehovah mourn. The meat and drink offerings must of necessity cease, because the corn, the new wine, and the oil are destroyed through the devastation of the field and soil. Hokhrath minchâh does not affirm that the offering of the daily morning and evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:38-42) - for it is to this that מנחה ונסך chiefly, if not exclusively, refers - has already ceased; but simply that any further offering is rendered impossible by the failure of meal, wine, and oil. Now Israel could not suffer any greater calamity than the suspension of the daily sacrifice; for this was a practical suspension of the covenant relation - a sign that God had rejected His people. Therefore, even in the last siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, the sacrificial worship was not suspended till it had been brought to the last extremity; and even then it was for the want of sacrificers, and not of the material of sacrifice (Josephus, de bell. Jud. vi. 2, 1). The reason for this anxiety was the devastation of the field and land (Joel 1:10); and this is still further explained by a reference to the devastation and destruction of the fruits of the ground, viz., the corn, i.e., the corn growing in the field, so that the next harvest would be lost, and the new wine and oil, i.e., the vines and olive-trees, so that they could bear no grapes for new wine, and no olives for oil. The verbs in Joel 1:11 are not perfects, but imperatives, as in the fifth verse. הבישׁ has the same meaning as bōsh, as in Jeremiah 2:26; Jeremiah 6:15, etc., to stand ashamed, to turn pale with shame at the disappointment of their hope, and is probably written defectively, without ו, to distinguish it from הובישׁ, the hiphil of יבשׁ, to be parched or dried up (Joel 1:10 and Joel 1:12). The hope of the husbandmen was disappointed through the destruction of the wheat and barley, the most important field crops. The vine-growers had to mourn over the destruction of the vine and the choice fruit-trees (Joel 1:12), such as the fig and pomegranate, and even the date-palm (gam-tâmâr), which has neither a fresh green rind nor tender juicy leaves, and therefore is not easily injured by the locusts so as to cause it to dry up; and tappūăch, the apple-tree, and all the trees of the field, i.e., all the rest of the trees, wither. "All trees, whether fruit-bearing or not, are consumed by the devastating locusts" (Jerome). In the concluding clause of Joel 1:12, the last and principal ground assigned for the lamentation is, that joy is taken away and withered from the children of men (hōbbı̄sh min, constr. praegn.). כּי introduces a reason here as elsewhere, though not for the clause immediately preceding, but for the הבישׁוּ and הילילוּ in Joel 1:11, the leading thought in both verses; and we may therefore express it by an emphatic yea.
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