Amos 4 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Amos 4)

Verse 1

[1] 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.

Kine of Bashan — So Amos compares the mighty, wanton, and oppressive rulers of Israel, to those full-fed, strong, and wanton beasts which in the herds did push at, hurt, and disturb the weaker cattle.

Verse 2

[2] The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.

By his holiness — By himself as he is the holy God.

The days — Of famine, desolation and captivity.

He — God by the Assyrian army will take you, as fish are taken with the hook.

Your posterity — The children of these oppressors.

Verse 3

[3] And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.

Ye — Kine of Bashan.

Go out — Ye shall endeavour to make your escape.

The breaches — Which the besieging enemy make in your walls, when Samaria is besieged.

Before her — Taking the readiest way.

The things — All the riches and ornaments of your palaces.

Verse 4

[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years:

Come to Beth-el — A strong irony, giving them over as incorrigible.

At Gilgal — Gilgal was a place where much idolatry was acted.

Every morning — In the same irony God reproves their sins tho' they imitated the instituted worship at Jerusalem.

Three years — God had Deuteronomy 14:28, commanded every third year that all the tithe of that year should be brought, and laid up in a publick store-house.

Verse 5

[5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

With leaven — As all the rest of your will-worship, so this also is against the express law, Leviticus 2:11. However, do so at your peril, try whether it will end in good.

Proclaim — Publickly persuaded your people to voluntary sacrifices.

Verse 6

[6] And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

An I — The Lord who gave many blessings to win you to repentance, hath also tried what might be done by judgments.

Cleanness of teeth — This is a description of famine.

Verse 7

[7] And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.

When — At a season when your country most needed it.

Upon one city — That you might see my hand in it, I gave rain to one city, and withheld it from the next; nay one part of the same field was watered and flourished: another part, dry and withered.

Verse 8

[8] So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Not satisfied — Either that had not enough for them, or durst not part with it.

Verse 9

[9] I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Increased — When they were most fruitful.

Devoured — Eat up all, as is the manner of them.

Verse 10

[10] I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Your horses — The riders being killed.

The stink — So great slaughter hath been made in your camp that there were not sufficient to bury the slain.

Verse 11

[11] I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

Overthrew — By grievous and desolating judgments.

As a fire-brand — Such of you as escaped were yet as fire-brands in the midst of the fire, 'till infinite mercy saved a remnant.

Verse 12

[12] Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

Therefore — In a more terrible manner will I now proceed against thee.

Verse 13

[13] For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.

Declareth — Knows the thoughts of all men.

The God of hosts — Whose sovereign power all creatures obey, and acts for or against us as he willeth. Let us humble ourselves before this God, and give all diligence to make him our God. For happy are the people whose God he is, and who have all this power engaged for them.