Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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.CHAPTER 4
The Second Discourse
1. Divine threatening and irony (Amos 4:1-5)
2. Yet have ye not returned unto Me (Amos 4:6-11)
3. Prepare to meet thy God (Amos 4:12-13)
Amos 4:1-5. The prophet addresses them as “kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria.” The cows of Bashan were noted for their sleek and well-fed condition, feeding on the choicest of pasture. The term is descriptive of Israel’s prosperous condition as well as their beastly character. They were selfish and cruel, for they oppressed the poor and crushed the needy. It seems that women are mostly here in view, which explains the fact that the comparison is with kine and not with bulls. They asked their masters to supply them means for debauchery. But what happens to dumb cattle would happen to them in their luxurious and selfish life. They would be taken with hooks and their posterity with fishhooks, and they would be taken away. The last sentence of Amos 3:3 is correctly translated “Ye shall be cast away to Har (mountain) Monah.” It has been surmised that this means Armenia.
Then follows a statement of bitter irony. “Go to Bethel and sin; at Gilgal multiply transgression.” Go on in your idolatry in these sacred places of your past history! In Bethel the Lord had revealed Himself to the progenitor Jacob; in Gilgal on the banks of the Jordan, the reproach of Egypt had been rolled away Joshua 5:1-15, and these favored places were now the scenes of their wicked idolatries. It is also mockery when the prophet says, “Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven,” for leaven always typifies sin.
Amos 4:6-11. The Lord had sent different chastisements upon them at different times. There had been famines, drought; yea, it had rained here and there, while lots of ground received rain others remained parched, so that they might recognize in it the hand of God. He smote them with mildew and blasting; the locusts came and devoured vegetation; there were frightful pestilences and other judgments, but they did not return unto Him. Five times in this paragraph we find the same statement, “Yet have ye not returned unto Me.” They were an impenitent nation and hardened their hearts as Pharaoh did. They were incorrigible, though they knew that through His mercy they were “as a firebrand plucked out of the burning.”
In the book of Revelation we read of a similar condition in the coming days when the Lord deals with the earth in the decreed and revealed judgments. It is written that the inhabitants of the earth, in spite of these judgments falling upon the earth, do not repent of their sins.
Amos 4:12-13. And now they were to come face to face with Himself as the judge.