6:1 Zion . . . mountain of Samaria. Zion (Jerusalem) and Samaria were the capitals of Judah and Israel respectively. Like his contemporaries Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah, Amos was given prophecies that addressed both the southern and northern kingdoms (Hos. 6:4–11; Mic. 1:5).
first of the nations. The same ironic Hebrew phrase occurs also at Num. 24:20 (referring to Amalek). Israel had become powerful and prosperous under Jeroboam II, and might fancy herself the first among the nations.