1. What does “ye kine of Bashan” mean?
This phrase is in verse 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” (Amos 4:1).
- The word translated “kine” means: “a heifer: — cow, heifer, kine” (Strong’s # 6510).
- The word Bashan means: “of uncertain derivation; Bashan (often with the article), a region East of the Jordan: — Bashan. A district east of the Jordan known for its fertility which was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh” (Strong’s # 1316).
- It is in reference to those made fat like cows (Deuteronomy 32:14-15). As we will address in the notes on the next question, they had prospered by taking advantage of the poor and needy.
- Remember, Israel was called a “backsliding heifer” in Hosea’s teachings (Hosea 4:16).
2. What days did the Lord swear would come upon those oppressing the poor and crushing the needy?
The days of them being taken away: “(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. (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. (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. (4) Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: (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” (Amos 4:1-5).
- Chapter three starts out with “Hear this word” as well (Amos 3:1).
- They oppressed the poor (Jeremiah 5:28, Ezekiel 22:6-7, and Amos 2:6-7) and crushed the needy (Isaiah 10:1-2, Ezekiel 22:29, and Amos 8:4-6).
- Even into the first century (James 2:5-13). Thus, they were told to look after the widows and fatherless (James 1:21-27).
- God rises up against those oppressors (Psalms 12:5, Psalms 140:12, Proverbs 22:22-23, and Proverbs 23:10-11).
- In connection to the oppression of the poor, they sought drink of their masters (Joel 3:3).
- Think about the emphasis of the Lord swearing (Psalms 89:35) putting His holiness on the line (Leviticus 22:32).
- The imagery of being taken out by hooks, through the breaches in the fences like cows, etc. (Jeremiah 16:14-21).
- Palace is “Harmon” or the high fortress. Their sons were going to serve in the palace (Isaiah 39:7).
- Then the Lord says, go and do more transgressions and be thankful for it. In other words, your done go and do what you will (Ezekiel 20:39).
3. Did famine cause them to return to the Lord?
No: “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” (Amos 4:6).
- Going forward, they are not going to repent regardless of the corrective measures God sent forth upon them (Isaiah 1:2, Jeremiah 7:23-24, Jeremiah 18:12, and Zechariah 7:8-14).
- Solomon had long ago asked the Lord to hear the cries of repentance from Israel if they faced the conditions in this passage and the ones to follow (I Kings 8:26-40).
- God sent famine on their land (II Kings 8:1 and II Kings 25:1-3).
- They were going to face famine so bad that their carcases were left for creatures of the earth to eat (Jeremiah 16:4).
4. When the Lord withheld water from them, did they return to the Lord?
No: “(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. (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” (Amos 4:7-8).
- The Lord causes it to rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
- The seasons are evidence of His being (Acts 14:17).
- Yet, they had become so corrupt He chose to cease sending water upon the land to punish them as He long ago said He would (Deuteronomy 28:23-24).
- As we’re seeing, they could have repented from this (II Chronicles 7:13-14); but they chose not to (Jeremiah 5:24-25 and Hosea 7:10).
- Even after all these things, in their future from now, they will face like punishment again after Babylonian captivity (Haggai 1:10-11).
- This once happened for a period of 3 1/2 years (I Kings 17:1-18:46; cf. James 5:17-18).
5. When the Lord ruined their crops, did they repent?
No: “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” (Amos 4:9).
- “Blasting” is: “blight: — blasted(-ing). Blighted or blasted thing, blighted, blasted; blight (of crops)” (Strong’s # 7711). Mildew was often from drought. Then a kind of locusts that kills the plants. See: Deuteronomy 28:22; 28:42
- This too did not work this time or in the future (Haggai 2:17).
6. Did pestilence cause them to repent?
No: “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” (Amos 4:10).
- Pestilence [plague; cattle disease] after the manner of Egypt (Exodus 9:1-15).
- A consuming pestilence (Jeremiah 14:12).
- Pestilence brought about death as we see happened when David numbered Israel (I Chronicles 21:14) or going into Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 21:1-7).
- The stink of death happened as a result of no burials (Jeremiah 16:1-7).
7. Did being overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah bring about changes?
No: “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” (Amos 4:11).
- Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:23-19:38, II Peter 2:6-7, and Jude 1:7).
- Overthrown (Isaiah 1:7; cf. Proverbs 12:7).
- Babylon was said to be worse than of Sodom and Gomorrah (Lamentations 4:1-6).
8. What did Israel need to prepare for?
To meet the Lord: “(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. (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” (Amos 4:12-13).
- This starts with God saying that His words are going to be His actions (Jeremiah 1:12 and Ezekiel 12:21-28).
- Prepare to meet thy God is a huge statement against a sinful people (Hosea 13:4-8).
- The fact is, they are woefully unprepared to meet God (Psalms 5:4-6, Psalms 76:7 [cf. Isaiah 1:4], and Amos 9:8).
- Here it is… Remember that you are going to be “meeting” the Creator of this earth (Job 40:1-42:6, Isaiah 45:9-11, Isaiah 50:8, and Romans 9:20-21).
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.