Amos 4

Israel Has Not Returned to God

1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”
2 The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks.[a]
3 You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon,[b] ” declares the LORD.
4 “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years.[c]
5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign LORD.
6 “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.
7 “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up.
8 People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.
9 “Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, destroying them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.
10 “I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.
11 “I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.
12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.”
13 He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.

Amos 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Israel is reproved. (1-5) Their impenitence shown. (6-13)

Verses 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.

Verses 6-13 See the folly of carnal hearts; they wander from one creature to another, seeking for something to satisfy, and labour for that which satisfies not; yet, after all, they will not incline their ear to Him in whom they might find all they can want. Preaching the gospel is as rain, and every thing withers where this rain is wanting. It were well if people were as wise for their souls as they are for their bodies; and, when they have not this rain near, would go and seek it where it is to be had. As the Israelites persisted in rebellion and idolatry, the Lord was coming against them as an adversary. Ere long, we must meet our God in judgment; but we shall not be able to stand before him, if he tries us according to our doings. If we would prepare to meet our God with comfort, at the awful period of his coming, we must now meet him in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father, who came to save lost sinners. We must seek him while he is to be found.

Cross References 42

  • 1. S Psalms 22:12; Ezekiel 39:18
  • 2. S Amos 3:9
  • 3. S Isaiah 58:6; S Ezekiel 18:12
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 24:14
  • 5. Jeremiah 44:19
  • 6. S Amos 2:8; Amos 5:11; Amos 8:6
  • 7. Jeremiah 31:31
  • 8. Amos 6:8
  • 9. S 2 Kings 19:28; S 2 Chronicles 33:11; S Isaiah 19:8
  • 10. S Ezekiel 12:5
  • 11. S Joshua 7:2
  • 12. S Hosea 4:15
  • 13. S Numbers 28:3
  • 14. Deuteronomy 14:28
  • 15. S Ezekiel 20:39; Amos 5:21-22
  • 16. S Leviticus 7:13
  • 17. S Leviticus 22:18-21
  • 18. S Isaiah 3:1; S Isaiah 9:13; S Jeremiah 5:3; Haggai 2:17
  • 19. S Jeremiah 3:3; Zechariah 14:17
  • 20. Exodus 9:4,26; Deuteronomy 11:17; S 2 Chronicles 7:13; S Isaiah 5:6
  • 21. S Ezekiel 4:16-17
  • 22. Haggai 1:6
  • 23. S Jeremiah 3:7
  • 24. S Job 36:31; S Jeremiah 14:4
  • 25. S Deuteronomy 28:22
  • 26. S Exodus 10:13; S Joel 2:25
  • 27. Joel 1:7
  • 28. S Isaiah 9:13; S Jeremiah 3:10; Haggai 2:17
  • 29. S Exodus 9:3; Deuteronomy 28:27
  • 30. Exodus 11:5
  • 31. S Isaiah 9:17
  • 32. S Isaiah 34:3
  • 33. S Deuteronomy 28:21
  • 34. S Isaiah 9:13
  • 35. S Genesis 19:24; S Jeremiah 23:14
  • 36. S Isaiah 7:4; Jude 1:23
  • 37. S Job 36:13
  • 38. Psalms 65:6
  • 39. Psalms 135:7
  • 40. S Daniel 2:28
  • 41. Micah 1:3
  • 42. S Isaiah 47:4; Amos 5:8,27; Amos 9:6

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "away in baskets," / "the last of you in fish baskets"
  • [b]. Masoretic Text; with a different word division of the Hebrew (see Septuagint) "out, you mountain of oppression"
  • [c]. Or "days"

Chapter Summary


In this chapter, the great ones, or the people of Israel, are threatened with calamities for their oppression of the poor, Am 4:1-3; and in an ironic manner are reproved for their idolatry, Am 4:4,5; then follows an enumeration of several judgments that had been upon them, yet had had no effect on them, to bring them to repentance, nor even mercies, Am 4:6-11; and notwithstanding all this, in a wonderful gracious manner, they are called upon to prepare to meet their God, who is described by his power, greatness, and goodness, Am 4:12,13.

Amos 4 Commentaries