Amos 4:1 “…you cows of Bashan…Who say to your husbands…”
He’s not mincing words. Calls the prominent women cows. Not sure why he used that particular analogy. Gives me the picture of cattle moving in a herd, stepping on anything and everything, giving no mind to what they’re doing or what damage they may be causing. Just mindless animals. He mentions oppressing the poor and crushing the needy while telling their husbands to bring more wine, the finer things of life. Sounds like a herd to me.
2-3 “…He will take you away with fishhooks…You will go out through broken walls…”
After the siege, the city wall will be breached, and they will be led out captive. Not sure if the use of the fishhooks has more significance than just that they’re being led. Commentaries suggest use of fishhooks comes from the suddenness of the action. Apparently says thorns or hooks. Translation must be taking the context into account. One also suggested something I’ve heard before, that some ancient cultures would put a hook in the captives’ noses to lead them away. Not sure of everything Amos had in mind, but it’s not difficult to get the picture.
3 “…you will be cast into Harmon…”
Apparently this is a difficult spot to translate. Some use the word palace instead of Harmon. Even then the idea is hard to understand. If Harmon is a place, its location is unknown. Interesting mystery.
4-5 “Come to Bethel and transgress, At Gilgal multiply transgression; Bring your sacrifices…Your tithes…Offer a sacrifice…with leaven…”
He’s being very sarcastic. Go ahead, do what you want. Treat God any way you please. Going through the motions, acting like that is all it takes to please God. Some bread offered was supposed to have leaven, but much was not. They didn’t care to make the distinction.
6 “…cleanness of teeth…”
Allusion to famine, not a blessing. Teeth were clean because there was no food to eat to soil them.
7 “I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest…”
Trying to get the people’s attention, to turn them back to Himself. Lack of rain that late in the growing season would ensure bad yields. Plants would come up, then die and wither from lack of water.
9 “I blasted you with blight and mildew…”
Even when the crops grew, the blight and mildew would make them unusable. I’ve seen that with tomatoes. Grow well until just before they’re ready for picking and then the blight gets them.
11 “…you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning…”
Commentary suggests a reference to God allowing them to be nearly destroyed earlier, but saved from total destruction at the last moment.
12 “…Prepare to meet your God…”
No doubt as to the meaning of that statement. Time is up. You’ve wasted all opportunities to change.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.