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Chapter 4

Second Summons

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,[a]
    who live on the mount of Samaria:
Who oppress the destitute
    and abuse the needy;
Who say to your husbands,
    “Bring us a drink!”
The Lord God has sworn by his holiness:
Truly days are coming upon you
    when they shall drag you away with ropes,
    your children with fishhooks;
You shall go out through the breached walls
    one in front of the other,
And you shall be exiled to Harmon—[b]
    oracle of the Lord.

Come to Bethel[c] and sin,
    to Gilgal and sin all the more!
Each morning bring your sacrifices,
    every third day your tithes;
Burn leavened bread as a thanksgiving sacrifice,
    proclaim publicly your voluntary offerings,
For so you love to do, Israelites—
    oracle of the Lord God.

Though I made your teeth
    clean of food in all your cities,
    and made bread scarce in all your dwellings,
Yet you did not return to me—
    oracle of the Lord.(A)
(B)And I withheld the rain from you
    when the harvest was still three months away;
I sent rain upon one city
    but not upon another;
One field was watered by rain,
    but the one I did not water dried up;
Two or three cities staggered to another to drink water
    but were not satisfied;
Yet you did not return to me—
    oracle of the Lord.
I struck you with blight and mildew;
    locusts devoured your gardens and vineyards,
    the caterpillar consumed your fig trees and olive trees;
Yet you did not return to me—
    oracle of the Lord.(C)
10 I sent upon you pestilence like that of Egypt;(D)
    with the sword I killed your young men and your captured horses,
    and to your nostrils I brought the stench of your camps;
Yet you did not return to me—
    oracle of the Lord.
11 I overthrew you
    as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah;
    you were like a brand plucked from the fire,(E)
Yet you did not return to me—
    oracle of the Lord.
12 Therefore thus I will do to you,[d] Israel:
    and since I will deal thus with you,
    prepare to meet your God, O Israel!
13 The one who forms mountains and creates winds,
    and declares to mortals their thoughts;
Who makes dawn into darkness
    and strides upon the heights of the earth,
    the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!


  1. 4:1 Cows of Bashan: the pampered women of Samaria; Bashan was a region east of the Sea of Galilee, famous for its rich pasture and fattened herds.
  2. 4:3 Harmon: or perhaps “Mount Mon”; an unidentified site, probably far to the north of Israel, under the control of Assyria.
  3. 4:4 Come to Bethel: Amos’s invitation to the people to come and “sin” at two of the major religious centers in Samaria is sarcastic. His point is that sacrifice and worship without justice is an abomination to the God of Israel; cf. 5:21–24.
  4. 4:12 Therefore thus I will do to you: this climax of vv. 6–12, announcing the sentence the Lord intends to pass on Israel, is open-ended.

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