|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-5 What is got by extortion is commonly used to provide for the flesh, and to fulfil the lusts thereof. What is got by oppression cannot be enjoyed with satisfaction. How miserable are those whose confidence in unscriptural observances only prove that they believe a lie! Let us see to it that our faith, hope, and worship, are warranted by the Divine word.
Verse 4. - The prophet now turns to Israel, and ironically bids them exhibit their zeal for idolatry, and thus increase their guilt. Bethel; as the chief seat of idol worship (Amos 3:14). At Gilgal; rather, to Gilgal, "come ye" being repeated in thought. Gilgal was a strong position in the plain of Jordan, three miles east of Jericho, taking its name probably from the stone circles erected for purposes of worship in very early times. Joshua (Joshua 5:9) gave a new meaning to the old name. There is a large pool of water in this neighbourhood called Jil-julieh, about four miles from the Jordan, which is doubtless a corruption of the ancient name Gilgal. It seems to have been regarded as a holy place in Samuel's days or even before (see Judges 3:19; 1 Samuel 7:16; 1 Samuel 10:8; 1 Samuel 11:14, etc.; 1 Samuel 13:8, etc.); and later was appropriated to false worship, though we have no information as to the date of this declension. Gilgal and Bethel are associated together in idolatrous worship (Amos 5:5 and in Hosea 4:15; Hosea 9:15; Hosea 12:11). Bring your sacrifices every morning. They were careful to maintain the outward semblance of the regular Levitical worship, even beyond the letter of the Law in some respects, though their service was all the time idolatry. As this and the following clause are still ironical, Amos is speaking, not of the daily-prescribed sacrifice (olah, Numbers 28:3), but of the offerings (zebach) of individual Israelites which were not required to be presented every day. Your tithes after three years; literally, on the three of days; lishlosheth yamim; Vulgate, tribus diebus; Septuagint, εἰς τριημερίαν, "every third day." Revised Version, "every three days." So Gesenius, Ewald, Keil, Schegg, Hitzig, Baur. The prophet bids them bring their tithes, not as the Law ordered, every year (Leviticus 27:30), or, as in the case of the second tithe, every three years (Deuteronomy 14:28; Deuteronomy 26:12), but, by an ironical exaggeration, "every three days." Dr. Pusey defends the English Version on the ground of the idiomatic use of "days" for one circle of days, i.e. a year (Leviticus 25:29; Judges 17:10; 1 Samuel 27:7). But this loses the irony which is so marked in the whole passage. Keil, "If ye would offer slain sacrifices every morning, and tithe every three days, ye would only thereby increase your apostasy from the living God."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Come to Bethel and transgress,.... and what follows, are ironic and sarcastic speeches, not giving liberty to sin, but in this way reproving for it: Bethel was one of the places where the calves were placed and worshipped: and here they are bid to go thither, and go on with and continue in their idolatrous worship, by which they transgressed the law of God, and mark what would be the issue of it. The sense is the same with Ecclesiastes 11:9; see Ezekiel 20:29;
at Gilgal multiply transgression; that is, multiply acts of idolatry: Gilgal was a place where high places and altars were erected, and idols worshipped; as it had formerly been a place of religious worship of the true God, the ten tribes made use of it in the times of their apostasy for idolatrous worship; see Hosea 4:15;
and bring your sacrifices every morning; and offer them to your idols, as you were wont formerly to offer them unto the true God, according to the law of Moses, Exodus 29:38;
and your tithes after three years; the third year after the sabbatical year was the year of tithing; and after the tithe of the increase of the fruits of the earth, there was "maaser sheni", the second tithe, the same with "maaser ani", the poor's tithe, which was given to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless; and the widow, to eat with them, Deuteronomy 14:22; and this they are sarcastically bid to observe in their idolatrous way. It is, in the Hebrew text, "after three days"; and so the Targum,
"your tithes in three days;''
days being put for years, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe. It may be rendered, "after three years of days" (s); three complete years.
(s) "post tres annos dierum", Piscator.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
4:4 Come to Beth - el - A strong irony, giving them over as incorrigible. At Gilgal - Gilgal was a place where much idolatry was acted. Every morning - In the same irony God reproves their sins tho' they imitated the instituted worship at Jerusalem. Three years - God had Deut 14:28, commanded every third year that all the tithe of that year should be brought, and laid up in a publick store - house.
Amos 4:4 Parallel Commentaries
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible