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Amos 4

AMOS CHAPTER 4

1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of

Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say

to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.

2 The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days

shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and

your posterity with fishhooks.

3 And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is

before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.

4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression;

and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three

years:

5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim

and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of

Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,

and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto

me, saith the LORD.

7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were

yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city,

and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained

upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.

8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but

they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the

LORD.

9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens

and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased,

the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me,

saith the LORD.

10 I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt:

your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away

your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up

unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the

LORD.

11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and

Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning:

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do

this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and

declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning

darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD,

The God of hosts, is his name.

 

INTRODUCTION TO AMOS CHAPTER 4

The women of Samaria had led their husbands around and now he tells them that they will be led away to captivity with fishhooks in their nose.  God had withholden the rain, smitten them with blasting and mildew, gardens had failed trees and crops were ravished by the locust, their young men had perished.  Deuteronomy 28 was being fulfilled before their very eyes and yet they could not see.  The prophet urges them to prepare to meet their God.  He’s coming down hard on them with the devastations mentioned in the text.  Yes, it will not be a god that they carry around with them or wear around their neck.  It will be the God who is the mountain shaper and the wind maker─he’s the one who brings everything out of nothing.  This visit won’t be friendly and they will have no one to help them.

EXPOSITION TO AMOS CHAPTER 4

 

1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of

Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say

to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.

 

With ridicule Amos calls the women of Samaria cows of Bashan.  He says that these women have no feelings for the poor or needy and all they want is another drink.  Amos uses the epithet  “fat cows of Bashan” to describe the court women.  Cows that break down fences and grow fat because they are unrestrained describes the drunken women of Samaria.  Amos likened these iniquitous, opulent, idle, lazy women as being fattened for the slaughter.  Picture them as saying to their husbands “bring me another tall cool drink.”

 

2 The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.

Monuments discovered by archaeologist show pictures of relief on the monuments of people in long lines with fish hooks in their noses all chained together in a line being led to the destination of their captivity.

3 And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is

before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.

 

I have been in on the cattle round up riding a horse and yelling at the top of my lungs and when we got the cattle rounded up in pens we used a cattle prod to get them in the chute for vaccination or loading to haul them to market.  The prophet Amos tells the cows (women) of Samaria that they are going to be roped and hooked in the nose with a fish hook and drove off to kingdom come.

 

 

4 Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression;

and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three

years:

 

The prophet is pouring out his derision and contempt upon these fat cows by telling them to come to Bethel and sin and over at Gilgal they would make an offering to the Golden Calf.  All of this was nothing more than a religious show.

 

5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim

and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of

Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

 

They went thru a ritual of thanksgiving to the Idol –not only paying their tithes but publishing their free offerings.  This was a religious sham.

 

6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,

and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto

me, saith the LORD.

 

God had punished them with poor harvest, famine, and want of bread, but they still did not get hungry for God.

 

7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were

yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city,

and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained

upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.

 

God had caused a drought—and just before harvest when the barley crop needed raid to ear properly he withheld the rain—some rain here but for the most part their crops were withering and still they did not thirst for God.

 

8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but

they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the

LORD.

 

The famine became so severe that people wandered from city to city for drinking water and yet they never wandered back to God.

 

9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens

and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased,

the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me,

saith the LORD.

 

Blight began to spread from field to field.  The insect infestation (palmerworm or locust) was wiping out their fig and olive harvest and “yet have ye not returned to me, saith the LORD.”

 

10 I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt:

your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away

your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up

unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the

LORD.

 

It’s getting worse! An old Egyptian plague has arrived.  Their young men have begun to disappear (War) your prize horses suddenly dying.  It stinks to high heaven from the rotting carcasses.  They are still ignoring the signs and will not return to God.

 

11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and

Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning:

yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

 

He probably hit them with an earthquake and fires like when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.  Some had been rescued like a burning piece of firewood—they are still ignoring God.

 

 

12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do

this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 

 

This verse is the golden text of Amos, “prepare to meet thy God!”  Amos has just told them about the disasters of famine, drought, blight, plagues, war and fires and they had not responded─time was running out─Amos tells them to get ready to meet God.  They may have escaped famine, drought and flood but how are they going to escape the awful wrath of God?

 

 13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD,The God of hosts, is his name.

The atom and angel maker—the mountain shaper and wind maker—the mind reader and light giver—the mountain stalker and God of Gods.   Amos reminds them that He is the one whom they need to “prepare to meet.”

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