3:9-15 That power which is an instrument of unrighteousness, will justly be brought down and broken. What is got and kept wrongfully, will not be kept long. Some are at ease, but there will come a day of visitation, and in that day, all they are proud of, and put confidence in, shall fail them. God will inquire into the sins of which they have been guilty in their houses, the robbery they have stored up, and the luxury in which they lived. The pomp and pleasantness of men's houses, do not fortify against God's judgments, but make sufferings the more grievous and vexatious. Yet a remnant, according to the election of grace, will be secured by our great and good Shepherd, as from the jaws of destruction, in the worst times.
12. shepherd—a pastoral image, appropriately used by Amos, a shepherd himself.
piece of … ear—brought by the shepherd to the owner of the sheep, so as not to have to pay for the loss (Ge 31:39; Ex 22:13). So if aught of Israel escapes, it shall be a miracle of God's goodness. It shall be but a scanty remnant. There is a kind of goat in the East the ears of which are a foot long, and proportionally broad. Perhaps the reference is to this. Compare on the image 1Sa 17:34, 35; 2Ti 4:17.
that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed—that is, that live luxuriously in Samaria (compare Am 6:1, 4). "A bed" means here the Oriental divan, a raised part of the room covered with cushions.
in Damascus in a couch—Jeroboam II had lately restored Damascus to Israel (2Ki 14:25, 28). So the Israelites are represented as not merely in "the corner of a bed," as in Samaria, but "in a (whole) couch," at Damascus, living in luxurious ease. Of these, now so luxurious, soon but a remnant shall be left by the foe. The destruction of Damascus and that of Samaria shall be conjoined; as here their luxurious lives, and subsequently under Pekah and Rezin their inroads on Judah, were combined (Isa 7:1-8; 8:4, 9; 17:3). The parallelism of "Samaria" to "Damascus," and the Septuagint favor English Version rather than Gesenius: "on a damask couch." The Hebrew pointing, though generally expressing damask, may express the city "Damascus"; and many manuscripts point it so. Compare for Israel's overthrow, 2Ki 17:5, 6; 18:9-12.