- The security of Israel and Judah, verse 1-6.
- Their punishment, verse 7-14.
At ease - That neither fear nor believe the threatened judgments of God. In Zion - That is put for the kingdom of the two tribes, and principally the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Samaria - Woe to them also who rely upon the strength, wealth, and policy of the kingdom of Samaria or Israel. Which - Which two cities, Zion and Samaria. Named chief - Accounted the chief cities of that part of the world. To whom - To which place all Israel had recourse, the two tribes to Zion, the ten tribes to Samaria.
Pass ye - Run over the history of that great and ancient city. Hemath - Head of the Syrian kingdom, lately overthrown by Tiglath-Pilneser, and a fresh instance of God's just indignation against secure sinners. Gath - The chief city of the Philistines, a few years before wasted by the arms of Hazael; by these examples learn to amend your ways, or expect to perish in them. Greater - That is, greater than these kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and their borders, or bounds, greater than these of Israel and Judah.
Ye - That flatter yourselves the day of darkness foretold, is far off. The seat - The judgment seat which should relieve the oppressed, is made a seat of violence.
That lie - That out of laziness or luxury, lay themselves to rest. And eat - The very best in all their flock.
That chant - That in a time of deep mourning entertain themselves with songs, and musical instruments.
In bowls - Not in little vessels, but probably bowls: they drank these filled as full as they could hold too, and in design to drink each other down. And anoint - In those hot countries this anointing was much used. Not grieved - Nothing affected with the calamities of their country.
The banquet - The feastings of voluptuous ones shall cease.
The excellency - All that the seed of Jacob accounts a glory and excellency to them, all their external privileges and worship.
Remain - Escaping the enemies sword. Ten men - Many men, a certain number for an uncertain. They shall die - Tho' they escape a while, they shall not finally escape.
Uncle - Or near kinsman, instead of those who were wont to do this, and were paid for it; but now none of these remaining, the next to the dead must, as well as he is able, take him up on his shoulders, and carry him. That burneth - Though the Jews mostly buried, yet in some cases they burned the dead bodies, as in this of pestilence. The bones - The flesh being consumed, the bones are reserved to be buried. Unto him - Any one he sees near the house out of which the bones are carried. Is there yet any - Is any one living in your house. Hold thy tongue - Do not complain, lest thou thyself be killed, lest all be rifled. For - It is too late to seek God, who is executing his immutable decree.
For behold - It seems to be the continued speech of him who took care of the dead, verse 10, God hath sent out war, famine, and pestilence. The great house - The palaces of great men shall have great breaches made in them, and the cottages of poor men shall, by lesser strokes, be ruined.
Shall horses - If prophets exhort or advise, it does no more good than if you would run your horses upon the precipices of rocks.
Who rejoice - In your victories, alliances, and idols. Have we not - We have raised ourselves to greatness by our wisdom and courage.
Hemath - A city of Syria, bordering on Israel, north-east. The wilderness - Which is the south-west parts of Canaan. So all your country shall be destroyed.