Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Amos 3:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I will smite the winter house with the summer house - I will not only destroy the poor habitations and villages in the country, but I will destroy those of the nobility and gentry as well as the lofty palaces in the fortified cities in which they dwell in the winter season, as those light and elegant seats in which they spend the summer season. Dr. Shaw observes that "the hills and valleys round about Algiers are all over beautified with gardens and country seats, whither the inhabitants of better fashion retire during the heats of the summer season. They are little white houses, shaded with a variety of fruit trees and evergreens, which beside shade and retirement, afford a gay and delightful prospect toward the sea. The gardens are all well stocked with melons, fruits, and pot herbs of all kinds; and (which is chiefly regarded in these hot countries) each of them enjoys a great command of water."

And the houses of ivory - Those remarkable for their magnificence and their ornaments, not built of ivory, but in which ivory vessels, ornaments, and inlaying abounded. Thus, then, the winter houses and the summer houses, the great houses and the houses of uncommon splendor, shall all perish. There should be a total desolation in the land. No kind of house should be a refuge, and no kind of habitation should be spared. Ahab had at Samaria a house that was called the ivory house, 1 Kings 22:39. This may be particularly referred to in this place. We cannot suppose that a house constructed entirely of ivory can be intended.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I will smite the winter house with the summer house - Upon idolatry, there follow luxury and pride. “So wealthy were they,” says Jerome, “as to possess two sorts of houses, “the winter house” being turned to the south, the “summer house” to the north, so that, according to the variety of the seasons, they might temper to them the heat and cold.” Yet of these luxuries, (so much more natural in the East where summer-heat is so intense, and there is so little provision against cold) the only instance expressly recorded, besides this place, is “the winter house” of Jehoiakim. In Greece and Rome, the end was attained, as with us, by north and south rooms in the same house. These, which Amos rebukes, were like our town and country houses, separate residences, since they were to be destroyed, one on the other. “Ivory houses” were houses, paneled, or inlaid, with ivory. Such a palace Ahab built 1 Kings 22:39. Even Solomon “in all his glory” had but an ivory throne 1 Kings 10:18. Else “ivory palaces” Psalm 45:8 are only mentioned, as part of the symbolic glory of the King of glory, the Christ. He adds, “and the great (or many) houses shall have an end, saith the Lord.” So prosperous were they in outward show, when Amos foretold their destruction. The desolation should be wide as well as mighty. All besides should pass away, and the Lord alone abide in that Day.: “What then shall we, if we would be right-minded, learn hence? How utterly nothing will all earthly brightness avail, all wealth, glory, or ought besides of luxury, if the love of God is lacking, and righteousness be not prized by us! For “treasures of wickedness profit nothing; but righteousness delivereth from death” Proverbs 10:2.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 286

“The houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the Lord.” “The Lord God of hosts is He that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn.” “Thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.” “Because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” Amos 9:8-10; 3:15; Amos 9:5; 7:17; Amos 4:12. PK 286.1

For a season these predicted judgments were stayed, and during the long reign of Jeroboam II the armies of Israel gained signal victories; but this time of apparent prosperity wrought no change in the hearts of the impenitent, and it was finally decreed, “Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.” Amos 7:11. PK 286.2

The boldness of this utterance was lost on king and people, so far had they gone in impenitence. Amaziah, a leader among the idolatrous priests at Bethel, stirred by the plain words spoken by the prophet against the nation and their king, said to Amos, “O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: but prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.” Verses 12, 13. PK 286.3

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Cross References
The Golden Ages of the 9th & 8th centuries BCE