Amos 6:4

4 Woe to those who live in luxury and expect everyone else to serve them!

Amos 6:4 Meaning and Commentary

Amos 6:4

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 F18, the Agrigentines had beds entirely made of ivory; and Horace F19 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 F20 conjectures that ivory is meant by the word used; and so Bochart F21 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 F23, 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.

F18 Apud Aelian. Var. Hist. l. 12. c. 29.
F19 "----Rubro ubi cocco Tincta super lectos cauderet vestis eburnos". Horat. Serm. l. 2. Satyr. 6. v. 102.
F20 Lexic. Talmud. col. 2475.
F21 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 24. col. 252.
F23 See Shaw's Travels, p. 209. Ed. 2.

Amos 6:4 In-Context

2 Well, wake up and look around. Get off your pedestal. Take a look at Calneh. Go and visit Great Hamath. Look in on Gath of the Philistines. Doesn't that take you off your high horse? Compared to them, you're not much, are you?
3 Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster! Catastrophe is just around the corner!
4 Woe to those who live in luxury and expect everyone else to serve them!
5 Woe to those who live only for today, indifferent to the fate of others! Woe to the playboys, the playgirls, who think life is a party held just for them!
6 Woe to those addicted to feeling good - life without pain! those obsessed with looking good - life without wrinkles! They could not care less about their country going to ruin.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.