Amos 4


Reminder:  The peculiar quotation marks in this chapter indicate that Amos did not inscribe this book.  The inscriber, unknown to us, is quoting Amos.

שִׁמְעוּ הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה פָּרוֹת הַבָּשָׁן אֲשֶׁר בְּהַר שֹׁמְרוֹן הָעֹשְׁקוֹת דַּלִּים הָרֹצְצוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים הָאֹמְרֹת   4:1       לַאֲדֹנֵיהֶם הָבִיאָה וְנִשְׁתֶּה׃

Amos 4:1   “Hear this word, cows of Bashan

                             who are on the mountain of Samaria,

                     oppressing the poor, crushing the needy,

                             saying to their lords, ‘Bring in, so we may feast.’”

At least some bible commentators believe the cows of Bashan are the women of Israel.  I’m not so sure of this.  I suspect the reference may be to the men (whose wives treat them as cows, milking them daily, so to speak, requiring their obedience to their every desire).  Why do I hold this belief?  Because it was the men who oppressed the poor and crushed the needy, not the women.  Moreover, all the second-person pronouns in the next verse and following, which would seem to be referring to the same “cows,” are all masculine.  If these are not enough evidence for my belief, I harbor it also because it provides the most reasonable explanation for the otherwise mysterious third-person feminine pronoun found in v. 4:3 below.

נִשְׁבַּע אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה בְּקָדְשׁוֹ כִּי הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים עֲלֵיכֶם וְנִשָּׂא אֶתְכֶם בְּצִנּוֹת וְאַחֲרִיתְכֶן בְּסִירוֹת   4:2         דּוּגָה׃

Amos 4:2   “The Master, the Lord, swears by His holiness that behold,

                             days are coming upon you

                     when one will carry you away with hooks,

                             and the last of you, with the hooks of a fishery.”

וּפְרָצִים תֵּצֶאנָה אִשָּׁה נֶגְדָּהּ וְהִשְׁלַכְתֶּנָה הַהַרְמוֹנָה נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   4:3

Amos 4:3   “’And you shall come out of the breaches,

                              each one directly before her,

                     and you shall be cast off to Harmon,’ declares the Lord.”

The pronoun her in the middle line can be explained only by understanding that it is the men of Israel being addressed, and each of them shall come out of the breaches directly before his own wife, who incited him to plunder and thus led him (and herself) to the sacrifice.

בֹּאוּ בֵית־אֵל וּפִשְׁעוּ הַגִּלְגָּל הַרְבּוּ לִפְשֹׁעַ וְהָבִיאוּ לַבֹּקֶר זִבְחֵיכֶם לִשְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים מַעְשְׂרֹתֵיכֶם׃   4:4

Amos 4:4   “’Enter Beth-el and transgress!

                              To Gilgal, do more to transgress!

                     Then bring your sacrifice in the morning,

                               your tithes for three days,

The three days of tithes presumably refer to the three annual festivals.

וְקַטֵּר מֵחָמֵץ תּוֹדָה וְקִרְאוּ נְדָבוֹת הַשְׁמִיעוּ כִּי כֵן אֲהַבְתֶּם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה׃   4:5

Amos 4:5   and a sacrifice of thanksgiving made from leaven;

                                endow freewill offerings, proclaim;

                     ‘For such you love, children of Israel,’

                                declares the Master, the Lord.”

The use of leaven in meal offerings is prohibited, and is a transgression of several verses throughout the Torah.

וְגַם־אֲנִי נָתַתִּי לָכֶם נִקְיוֹן שִׁנַּיִם בְּכָל־עָרֵיכֶם וְחֹסֶר לֶחֶם בְּכֹל מְקוֹמֹתֵיכֶם וְלֹא־שַׁבְתֶּם עָדַי   4:6                   נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Amos 4:6   “’Though I have now delivered cleanness of teeth to you

                                in all your cities

                     and a lack of bread

                                in all your places;

                     yet you do not return to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

The phrase cleanness of teeth would seem to imply an imposition of famine, thereby conveying an image of very little to eat; thus the teeth would be clean.

וְגַם אָנֹכִי מָנַעְתִּי מִכֶּם אֶת־הַגֶּשֶׁם בְּעוֹד שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים לַקָּצִיר וְהִמְטַרְתִּי עַל־עִיר אֶחָת וְעַל־עִיר   4:7 אַחַת לֹא אַמְטִיר חֶלְקָה אַחַת תִּמָּטֵר וְחֶלְקָה אֲשֶׁר־לֹא־תַמְטִיר עָלֶיהָ תִּיבָשׁ׃

Amos 4:7   “’And I have even withheld the rain from you

                                with there still being three months to the harvest,

                     and I would send rain upon one city

                                while upon another city I would not permit rain

                     (one parcel would be rained on,

                                and a parcel upon which it would not rain would wither)

וְנָעוּ שְׁתַּיִם שָׁלֹשׁ עָרִים אֶל־עִיר אַחַת לִשְׁתּוֹת מַיִם וְלֹא יִשְׂבָּעוּ וְלֹא־שַׁבְתֶּם עָדַי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃   4:8

Amos 4:8   so two, three cities would have to move

                                to one city to drink water.

                     Still you have not returned to me,’ declares the Lord.”

הִכֵּיתִי אֶתְכֶם בַּשִּׁדָּפוֹן וּבַיֵּרָקוֹן הַרְבּוֹת גַּנּוֹתֵיכֶם וְכַרְמֵיכֶם וּתְאֵנֵיכֶם וְזֵיתֵיכֶם יֹאכַל הַגָּזָם   4:9                     וְלֹא־שַׁבְתֶּם עָדַי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Amos 4:9   “’I have stricken you with blight and mildew;

                                so many of your gardens and your vineyards

                     and your fig trees and your olive trees

                                the maggot would have to eat;

                     still you do not return to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

שִׁלַּחְתִּי בָכֶם דֶּבֶר בְּדֶרֶךְ מִצְרַיִם הָרַגְתִּי בַחֶרֶב בַּחוּרֵיכֶם עִם שְׁבִי סוּסֵיכֶם וָאַעֲלֶה בְּאֹשׁ מַחֲנֵיכֶם   4:10 וּבְאַפְּכֶם וְלֹא־שַׁבְתֶּם עָדַי נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Amos 4:10   “’I have sent pestilence among you

                                in the manner of Egypt;

                        I have slain your young men by the sword,

                                along with the capture of your horses,

                        and I have caused a stench to ascend from your camps

                                even into your nose.

                        Still you do not return to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

הָפַכְתִּי בָכֶם כְּמַהְפֵּכַת אֱלֹהִים אֶת־סְדֹם וְאֶת־עֲמֹרָה וַתִּהְיוּ כְּאוּד מֻצָּל מִשְּׂרֵפָה וְלֹא־שַׁבְתֶּם עָדַי   4:11     נְאֻם־יְהוָה׃

Amos 4:11   “’I have overthrown some among you,

                                 like God overthrowing Sodom and Gomorrah,

                        yet you were like a brand

                                 saved from burning,

                        and you did not return to Me,’ declares the Lord.”

לָכֵן כֹּה אֶעֱשֶׂה־לְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֵקֶב כִּי־זֹאת אֶעֱשֶׂה־לָּךְ הִכּוֹן לִקְרַאת־אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל׃   4:12

Amos 4:12   “’Therefore, I shall do thus to you, Israel.

                                 Because surely this I shall do to you

                        -- be prepared to meet your God, Israel.’”

כִּי הִנֵּה יוֹצֵר הָרִים וּבֹרֵא רוּחַ וּמַגִּיד לְאָדָם מַה־שֵּׂחוֹ עֹשֵׂה שַׁחַר עֵיפָה וְדֹרֵךְ עַל־בָּמֳתֵי אָרֶץ יְהוָה   4:13 אֱלֹהֵי־צְבָאוֹת שְׁמוֹ׃

Amos 4:13   “For behold!  The Former of mountains

                                 and Creator of wind,

                       and Declarer to humanity

                                 of what is its thought,

                       Producer of the dawn,

                                 of the darkness,

                       and Treader on the high places

                                 of the earth;

                        the Lord, God of hosts, is His name.”


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