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Amos: Chapter 4

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Text view alone

1

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on Mount Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!” 2 The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness: The time is surely coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. 3 Through breaches in the wall you shall leave, each one straight ahead; and you shall be flung out into Harmon, a Gk Syr Vg: Heb and his wrath kept says the LORD. 4 Come to Bethel—and transgress; to Gilgal—and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; 5 bring a thank offering of leavened bread, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel! says the Lord GOD.

6

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me, says the LORD.

7

And I also withheld the rain from you when there were still three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would be rained upon, and the field on which it did not rain withered; 8 so two or three towns wandered to one town to drink water, and were not satisfied; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD.

9

I struck you with blight and mildew; I laid waste a That is, those separated or those consecrated your gardens and your vineyards; the locust devoured your fig trees and your olive trees; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD.

10

I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword; I carried away your horses; b Meaning of Heb uncertain and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD.

11

I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a brand snatched from the fire; yet you did not return to me, says the LORD.

12

Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!

13

For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind, reveals his thoughts to mortals, makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

Notes:

c Gk Syr Vg: Heb and his wrath kept

b That is, those separated or those consecrated

a Meaning of Heb uncertain

Text Commentary view alone

4.1–3 : Israel's luxurious excesses.

Wealthy and greedy women of Samaria would be punished along with their husbands.

1 :

Cows of Bashan, Bashan was a fertile region in northern Transjordan renowned for its cattle (Ps 22.12 ). Israel's hold on this prize testifies to its prosperity in Amos's day.

3 :

Straight ahead, with the city walls in ruins, the captives will be easily taken away.

4.4–5 : Israel's piety is satirized.

4 :

Bethel, see 3.14n. Gilgal, a venerable Israelite shrine near Jericho (e.g., Josh 4.20; 10.43; 1 Sam 7.16 ), condemned by Amos ( 5.5 ) and his contemporary Hosea (Hos 4.15; 9.15; 12.11 ). The ritual practices listed here are prescribed elsewhere; for the morning sacrifice, see Ex 29.29 ; tithes, see Lev 27.30–32; Deut 14.28–29 ; thank offering of unleavened bread, see Lev 7.13 ; freewill offerings, see Num 15.3 . Note the association of tithes with Bethel in Gen 28.22 .

4.6–13 : Israel has ignored the divine warnings issued through plagues.

These plagues typify the curses a treaty partner brought on itself through disobedience. Israel's covenantal documents contained such curses (Lev 26.14–39; Deut 28.15–68 ).

6 :

Cleanness of teeth, i.e., famine.

10 :

A pestilence after the manner of Egypt, Ex 9.3–7,15 . The stench of unburied corpses, as in Isa 34.3 .

11 :

The verb overthrew here could refer to an earthquake, as it seems to in Gen 19.25,29 , in which the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is described.

13 :

The first of three doxologies interspersed throughout Amos ( 5.8–9; 9.5–6 ). These hymn‐like sections emphasize that the God Israel encounters in judgment is the creator.

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